Automated Postal Center and new Priority Mail box display
Image by Aranami
The automated postal center is a custom-made platform by Wincor-Nixdorf based on one of their indoor ATM designs (a version of which can often be seen as a Chase ATM inside certain Target stores). It has an online internet-based connection that, according to the guy servicing it, interacts with postal systems in Washington D.C. through a secure connection.
The scale on the left was custom made just for the Post Office. It can support up to 200lbs, is accurate to a fraction of an ounce and is legal for trade. The scale is the big metal square on the left, there are also ruler markings embossed onto the metal edging on the platform.
There are three thermal label printers on the bottom. The leftmost slot dispenses package labels, these are the common 4"x6" vertical labels you see with the address and confirmation barcodes. The one labeled "forms" in the middle dispenses a combined Return Receipt and Certified Mail labels; the same label prints if you buy any of these services, and it has instructions on how to tear off and apply only the one’s you’ve paid for. Both of these print from rolls.
The "postage" slot underneath the screen dispenses 18-stamp "ATM stamp" panes of Forever Stamps. It can also dispense other denominations of stamps as IBI-stamps on tiny slips of sticker paper that are about 1.5" by 3". The IBI (Information Based Indicia) stamps have an DataMatrix barcode similar to the ones seen on the 4"x6" labels and on postage meters, however, these stamps can be used at any time.
Like PC postage stamps, APC stamps identify packages from a "known mailer" and may be used to mail items over 13 ounces without taking the package to a retail counter. This is because the APC takes your photo and only accepts credit/debit cards.
The camera is the black square under the screen in the center of the APC, and captures a still image when you reach the payment options screen. These images are retained for an unknown amount of time (the postal employee said he didn’t know how long) to deter fraud and prohibited materials. The APC also has software that measures the image and will not let you proceed to the payment screen if the image is too dark or the camera is not functional. So if you want to anonymously mail a bunch of fireworks and illegal drugs with your boss’s credit card, you’re out of luck.
Available services include:
Sending Domestic mail at most retail rates, including Package Services, First Class, Priority and Express, as long as it fits in the special chute at the right
Sending International mail for envelopes containing documents and correspondence only
Delivery Confirmation, Insured Mail, Certified Mail, Return receipt (electronic and physical)
Calculating rates for any package you are allowed to send with the APC
Sending packages with partial postage already on it (minimum purchase .00)
Buying sheets of 18 Forever stamps
Buying variable-denominated IBI postage stamps (minimum total .00)
Renew PO Box
Postal services that the APC does NOT provide:
Signature Confirmation (why?) – you may purchase a similar Return Receipt Electronic service only with Certified Mail or Insurance Over 0
PO Box Application (available on the web, present ID to pick up keys)
Money Orders, DineroSeguro or any other financial services
Any packages that do not fit completed in the chute
Note: APC doesn’t take cash. There is a minimum purchase for credit card transactions.