June 13, 2018
In the mid-1990s, the Postal Service won the first Alexander Hamilton Award for Excellence in Treasury Management. The prestigious award was presented in recognition of the complete transformation of the USPS cash management system. Already running one of the largest cash management systems anywhere, the USPS Office of the Treasurer added credit and debit card acceptance, rationalized the postage meter payment system, and consolidated cash management banks from 5,000 to 25.
Perhaps most important innovation, however, was the Centralized Account Payment System (CAPS). Prior to CAPS, most commercial and nonprofit mailers paid by paper check into trust accounts associated with each local mailing permit they established, usually well in advance of the next mailing. With the 1990s introduction of CAPS, customer now could cover all of their payments to USPS through one centralized account funded with electronic funds transfers.
The most advanced feature of CAPS was enabling mailers to have their own bank accounts debited by the USPS with the Automated Clearinghouse (ACH), after the mail was entered. This enabled “just in time payment” that brought USPS customer service more in line with the business world. It also reduced costs on both the customer and USPS sides, as it replaced thousands of paper checks with ACH transfers.
Now, over 20 years later, USPS is giving CAPS a makeover, and renaming it the Enterprise Payment System (EPS), a much more fitting buzzword for 2018. EPS will keep the core enhancements of CAPS that are now taken for granted and add more functionality and ease of use, according to the Postal Service announcement this week. You will note that USPS has added many more acronyms, product and service names, and registered trademarks in the past 20 years too:
USPS to Retire the Centralized Accounting Processing System (CAPS) – Effective April 1, 2019
The Postal Service has launched a new payment processing platform called Enterprise Payment System (EPS). EPS supports multiple payment options, including mobile check deposit, offers more reporting features, and allows customers to manage multiple USPS business functions under one account.
Eligible Products and Services include First-Class Mail®, Letters, Cards, and Flats, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, USPS Marketing Mail™, Letters, Flats, and Parcels, Parcel Select®, Media Mail®, Library Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Periodicals, International Products, Business Reply Mail (BRM), and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM®), submitted via hard copy, eDoc (Mail.dat/Mail.XML), Postal Wizard or the Intelligent Mail® small business (IMsb) Tool, PO Box, Caller & Reserve Services (EPOBOL), and Address Quality Products (AEC, AECII and ACS™).
Products not currently supported include Electronic Verification System (eVS®), Parcel Return Service (PRS), PC Postage®, Scan Based Payment (SBP), Merchandise Return Service (MRS), Official Mail Accounting System (OMAS), Premium Forwarding Service Commercial (PFSC™), Share Mail®, and Intelligent Mail barcode Accounting (IMbA). Customers utilizing these products will be continue to be supported through CAPS.
Effective September 1, 2018, new payment accounts must be established through EPS. Effective April 1, 2019, eligible CAPS accounts must be migrated to EPS, although customers are encouraged to migrate sooner.
Mail Entry and Business Mailer Support is hosting a series of informational sessions on EPS and the migration process:
o When: Occurs every Tuesday 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EST
o Webex: https://uspsmeetings.webex.com/uspsmeetings/j.php?MTID=mb2fa637535b3d99a3c91879db494ff8f
o Call-in toll-free number (US): 1-855-860-7461
Conference Code: 358 251 5082
For more information:
To sign-up today contact:
o Call: 1-800-522-9085
o Email: Postalone@usps.gov
Here’s hoping USPS wins more awards for the excellence of EPS! And congratulations to the Postal Service for being a finalist in the 2018 Alexander Hamilton Awards category of Operational Risk Management & Insurance!