Postal Service:

Proposed Policy to Accept Credit and Debit Cards Makes Sense Conceptually

GGD-94-154: Published: Jun 16, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 5, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Postal Service's (USPS) proposed policy to accept credit and debit cards as payment for postal products and services, focusing on whether USPS has a sound business basis for its proposal.

GAO found that: (1) accepting credit and debit cards would have a number of benefits and would help ensure the sustainability of the postal system; (2) credit card acceptance would reduce the number of times a customer visits a post office, but it may have no effect on total sales revenues; (3) customers appear to be satisfied with the credit card option where it is available; (4) customers would welcome the option of using cards at vending machines, since they would not have to wait in line; (5) card acceptance at vending machines would reduce labor costs, improve cash management at post offices, and reduce cash handling and bad check expenses and employee fraud; (6) card acceptance would make USPS more competitive with private mail services; (7) before implementing the proposal nationwide, USP is considering what cards to accept, what equipment to use, where cards should be accepted, limitations on card use, card promotion, employee training, and implementation and operating costs; and (8) USPS is testing card acceptance at selected post offices and at vending machines in various states and it will not expand card acceptance beyond these sites until it has evaluated the test results.

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