What is Mailmark, How Does it Work and Will It Become Compulsory?

Go back 17 Feb 2022
a fulfilment centre worker scanning parcels as part of delivery process

Mailmark is a new type of barcoding system that is run by Royal Mail. The Mailmark is a type of marking that shows your mail is paid for and qualifies your mail to be carried. This qualification process is called franking, and fixing any kind of stamp or mark to a piece of mail is a type of franking. Mailmark enables faster machine-readable sorting for large or small letters.

The Royal Mail and Post Office now use Mailmark as opposed to the old-style Standard franking, and the system aims to improve many of their products and services. Mailmark is a type of franking that offers the following advantages:

  • Clearer tracking: Mailmark-enabled franking machines instantly apply or read the Mailmark barcode, so you can get all sorts of information in one place. Royal Mail offers all sorts of online data and analytics for wholesalers on their online dashboard.
  • Faster delivery: Machine-readable frank marks such as Mailmark speed up the process of sorting, collecting and delivering mail. You also get the benefit of consignment tracking and predicted delivery day, for precise delivery estimates.
  • Lower prices: Mailmark franking prices are lower for businesses, which makes it the most cost-efficient way of sending letters and parcels in the UK. Visibility and analytics of the entire Royal Mail network also result in a lower chance of things going wrong.

Franking machines of all kinds are designed to make postage simpler and cheaper, so franked mail gives you access to better mail prices and lets you send second or first class parcels and letters faster. Mailmark and franking are useful for businesses sending a large volume of mail.

We offer many fast, low-cost mail handling services for small and medium-sized businesses, so can provide some useful information on Mailmark, franking and the guidelines for using it. You will see our team can help with all aspects of mail handling as soon as you get in touch with us.

Mailmark Franking vs. Non-Mailmark Franking

Many people wonder what the difference between Mailmark franking and non-Mailmark franking is in practical terms. The good news is Mailmark is just another type of franking, so you just need a Mailmark-enabled franking machine to do it, and it works in much the same way.

The main difference between Mailmark and the older system of franking is the use of a new type of 2D barcode, which gives the machines scanning them all types of information instantly. By using Mailmark franking machines you also get the following features:

  • Cheaper mail prices from Royal Mail, you can see the latest official Royal Mail franking prices – valid from 1st January 2021 – here.
  • Pre-pay reply, ideal for companies like solicitors – this feature allows you to use pre-paid franks for clients to return documents to you, at no extra cost to them.
  • Mailmark franking machines are now fitted with faster, more reliable LAN connections, saving both time and money.
  • Postage price updates will register automatically.
  • Online data and analytics is available, from Royal Mail’s internal analytics network
  • Mailmark franks look professional, replacing traditional franks – the classic circular ‘town and crown’ marks – with a modern alternative

Using the latest technology from Royal Mail will make the process of handling and distributing mail much simpler, cheaper and more efficient. It is also a scalable technology, with the new barcodes capable of holding more or different information as standards improve and evolve.

When Will Mailmark Become Compulsory?

Mailmark is the most comprehensive type of franking technology available from the Royal Mail, but it is not compulsory. Mailmark is a technology that will be important for franking in future, so businesses should upgrade their franking machines. This will ensure all future business needs are met and gives a company the chance to enjoy the benefits of using Mailmark.

If you are not currently using Mailmark but still use one of Royal Mail’s Standard franking machines, you should be aware that support for these machines is planned to be phased out. 

The efficiency gains from using Mailmark will make it a sensible choice to upgrade, with a high potential return on investment.

Royal Mail

Mailmark Guidelines

Even though it is a new system, Mailmark works much like the standard system. However, the following are some Mailmark guidelines:

  • Suitable for marketing such as advertising mail, publishing mail or general correspondence mail
  • Mailmarks are printed directly on the envelope or the label for a parcel
  • Guidelines clearly state that all Mailmark mail should have a ‘full and accurate’ address and postcode. Mailmark is not a substitute for addresses – even though they may not be necessary for the system

Mailmark is a machine-readable format, so guidelines are in place for fast scanning at sorting centres. Please refer to the full Mailmark User Guide from Royal Mail for more information.

How to Start Using Mailmark

Mailmark is good for the customer receiving the mail, the business arranging the mail and advertisers or marketing agencies looking for reliable data on the return on investment for their mail. Mailmark is available to businesses who have agreed to the Schedule 20: Royal Mail Mailmark of the Access Letters Contract, which defines the full terms and conditions.

If you want to start using Mailmark in your business the first step is to purchase a Mailmark-enabled franking machine. You can also make use of our impressive infrastructure, including Mailmark franking and other technologies, by choosing our mail handling service. Please feel free to get in touch with us today for a free, fast and direct quote.