Postmasters in Sweden and Denmark are looking into a clever system of vending postage that a cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service might do well to consider: selling stamps via text message. The system is supposed to roll out in Denmark in April, The Local reports, and Sweden may deploy a similar system later this year.
How does one obtain a postage stamp under such a system? A user sends a text to the system requesting postage. The automated system then texts back a postage code that the user simply writes on any package up to 4.4 pounds. That’s it. It’s unclear exactly how the post office charges for the “stamp,” but presumably it either subtracts from an account the user keeps with the post office or perhaps charges users through their phone carriers.
According to Sweden’s postal chief, the risk of forgery is no higher than it is with regular stamps, and the postal service can cut down on the expense of printing secure adhesive stamps. Moreover, it saves users a trip to the post office just to spend physical money on physical stamps. If we can’t make all mail e-mail, this at least goes part of the way toward augmenting analog post with digital conveniences.