Postal Service Tests Swipe-n-Go Tech

USPS uses mobile scan and payment system to expedite services and slash customer waiting times.

by / January 2, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service hopes to use a new Mobile Point of Sale device to reduce extended customer service lines. Flickr/Erin Nekervis

It’s no secret the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been struggling to stay afloat in the face of the now ubiquitous technologies such as email, chat, web platforms and the myriad other digital communication methods that pop up constantly. Yet, despite the organization’s mired attempts toward modernization, the USPS appears to be attempting a comeback, at least in part, by way of a new mobile app that aims to cut waiting lines by scanning packages and selling USPS goods.

In a December announcement, the USPS said it has been testing a new service called Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS), a technology that uses an iPod device and printers to enable staff to scan and accept prepaid packages, scan delivered package pickups while also selling stamps, Priority Mail flat-rate postage and other retail products such as USPS’ ReadyPost items.

The system is not too different from a mobile credit card reader and is divided into three pieces: the iPod hand-held device, a printer for receipts and another printer for postage. This past holiday season, the organization reported more than 102,000 transactions processed through the new mPOS system at 50 of its facilities.

Kelly Sigmon, USPS’ Retail Channel Operations vice president, said the swipe-and-go tech is part of a larger initiative for efficient solutions through technology.

“We’re now in the process of updating many of our retail technology platforms,” Sigmon said of the push.

Whether this advancement — or potential others — will be enough to keep the USPS functioning in its current form is uncertain. In November of 2013, USPS reported losses for their fiscal year at $5 billion. Though the sum is significant, the figure is far better than 2012 losses at $15.9 billion.