UNITED STATES. Pitney Bowes' kiosk stamps
Karim Roder and Otto Bergman

In 2005, Pitney Bowes Inc. and NCR Corporation launched a jointly developed self-service kiosk (left image) for weighing, printing postage stamps and mailing parcels or letters. The user-friendly kiosk with a touch-screen, outlets for thermal printed stamps (image below) and receipts, is targeted at consumers in post offices, businesses, shopping malls and other locations such as universities. Machines accept debit/credit cards, as well as coins and notes (if required, e.g. Royal Mail).
The first postal kiosk in the US was installed and ready to use at Pitney Bowes’ headquarters in Shelton, CT on December 9th 2005. Over the years, more than 100 kiosks have been installed in the US. An improved model was introduced in early 2007.

An interesting test took place in the UK in 2007/2008. Royal Mail started testing two Post & Go kiosks at the Pinfold Street P.O., Birmingham, on January 29th, 2007 (right image). Unlike its American cousins, the UK units would only allow mailing of letters, large letters or packets (first and second class only). The dated labels (image below right), very similar to the labels issued by the Horizon counter printers, had to be used immediately to frank the item to be mailed and could not be taken home for future use.

Domestic 1st class 'recorded letter' franked with correct postage (34p '1st class, Letter' label, 0 – 100 g, to cover 1st class postage; 70p '1st class, Large Letter' label, 101-250 g, to cover the 'recorded' postage fee).
Three more kiosks were installed around October 29th 2007 in Doncaster, South Shields and Bristol. All test machines were removed in 2008.

This successful trial led to the installation of the current Wincor-Nixdorf Post & Go kiosks, starting on October 8th 2008.

A similar trial took place with six Pitney Bowes postal kiosks (left image) in Canada between September 30th 2008 and the end of 2008/early 2009. Payment was only possible with debit or credit cards, and the thermally printed postage stamp (below) is valid, indefinitely, for postage.
Postal kiosk installed at Meadowlands P.O. in Ancaster, Ontario

On September 21st 2011 Pitney Bowes began testing its latest kiosk model 'mail&go' ™ Postal Kiosk in Shelton, CT.
Besides, printing individual thermally printed stamps (right image), the improved and sleeker model also offers the consumer a choice to buy sheets of ten self-adhesive full colour stamps, on demand, in any denomination from 29c to $9.99 each due to inkjet technology.

Probably, starting in 2007, Pitney Bowes Inc. began testing a self-service machine that could print multicolour postage labels on demand. It was planned to install such kiosks at different locations, such as supermarkets or shopping centres.
One demo machine was exhibited at the Post-Expo 2007 in Barcelona (October 2nd to 4th 2007, left image). It allowed users to choose both a denomination and an image (six different were available). The multicolored '24/7 stamps on demand' were printed by an ink jet printer and dispensed in sheets of six labels (right).

Whereas thermal printing as used for Faststamps (both Wincor-Nixdorf and Hytech machines) fades over time – even when properly stored, inkjet printing results in a crisp impression that is stable for a very long time when stored properly.
It is planned to have dozens of stock images available to choose from, eventually. Currently, only stamps depicting the U.S. flag can be purchased. Stamps measure 45 x 30 mm (image below, left) and are printed on fluorescent, non-tagged paper with die-cut simulated perforations on all sides. Each stamp shows a 2D barcode (IBI lite indicium) and below the image 'US POSTAGE', the denomination, the sales date and typically the mail class. Printed between the image and the 2D code are two numerical codes. The left number on the stamp indicates the total amount of postage in dollars and cents sold by the machine. The right number ('PSD device ID') consists of three codes. The colour kiosk stamps are valid indefinitely and can be used anywhere in the U.S.

Left. Single 29c POSTCARD on demand stamp from a test kiosk.
Right. Single 30c stamp from the kiosk installed at the SuperTarget store in Dallas

Pitney Bowes installed the first new mail&go ™ postal kiosks (left image) for public use at several SuperTarget stores in the Dallas Fort Worth area and Oklahoma during late October 2011.
Sheets printed in the Texas stores have the preprinted text Pitney Bowes mail&go ™ (right image) on the bottom of the left selvage (unlike the test sheet selvages that are plain), and the stamps (right upper image) have a much finer simulated perforation and are slightly smaller in size (44.5 x 29.75 mm).
In the future, one might expect to see postal kiosks being installed at stamp shows where collectors can purchase stamps on demand, with the show’s logo.
Latest mail&go postal kiosk located at the Dallas NE SuperTarget store.

The authors Karim Roder and Otto Bergman are indebted to Pitney Bowes for providing relevant information and images. Special thanks to Earle Covert and Peter Elias.

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This page was created in December 2011
and last updated:  30.12.11 . English edition rewritten by S. Goodman (08.12.2011)