Stamps.com Glossary

Common Shipping Terms

If you are new to mailing and shipping with Stamps.com, there may be some terms you are unfamiliar with.

API

API stands for Application Program Interface. It's a set of protocols for applications (like Stamps.com) to communicate and share information with other applications or platforms. For example, when you create NetStamps, envelopes, or labels in Stamps.com, our platform communicates with USPS, UPS, GlobalPost, and DHL Express via their APIs to get rates and print your postage.

Automated Package Verification (APV)

The United States Postal Service (USPS) built the Automated Package Verification APV System to manage postage discrepancies (under-paid and over-paid postage labels) in an automated fashion. The USPS APV program considers postage paid on every domestic package based on weight, dimensions, package type, mailing service, and origin and destination ZIP codes.

Browser-Based Software

Software that is accessed via an internet browser. Stamps.com Online is browser-based software, so there is no installation process needed to start using it. Amazon and eBay are other examples of browser-based software.

Carrier

The term "carrier" refers to the company that is delivering mail and packages. USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc. are carriers. Stamps.com, on the other hand, is a postage provider.

Client

In this context, "client" refers to the interface you, as a customer, see and use to prepare postage. Stamps.com Online and Endicia Online are browser-based web clients. Stamps.com PC software is a Windows PC client.

Cost Codes

In the context of our shipping software, cost codes are custom labels you can assign to your postage purchase transaction. Stamps.com allows assigning different cost codes to different shipments for accounting purposes.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP)

When a shipment is shipped as DDP, the shipper is responsible for the shipment and for paying the taxes associated with the shipment. DDP and DDU/DAP are incoterms.

The opposite of DDU and DAP. See INCOTERM.

Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU)

The shipper is responsible for the transportation costs, but not responsible for paying the taxes associated with this shipment. Customs agents will be using the contact information provided on the invoice and customs declarations to settle the charges.

The opposite of DDP. See similar DAP. See also INCOTERM.

Dimensional Weight Pricing (DIM)

Refers to the ratio between the size of a package and its weight. Traditionally, the cost of shipping packages was based on weight. The heavier the package, the higher the cost. However, large packages take up more space on a truck or plane, so carriers now charge more for larger packages that weigh very little. An example would be a large box of pillows that might weigh only a pound or two.

To avoid DIM surcharges, a good rule is to ship in as small a package as possible.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

A method to transmit information in a standardized digital format. UPS uses EDI to transmit customs documents electronically. "EDI" will be printed on UPS labels to indicate the data has been submitted electronically.

Harmonization Tariff System Code (HS Code)

Also known as the Harmonized Tariff Schedule Code, this is a 10-digit import classification system for internationally traded products. An HTSUS code takes the same form as an HS Code for the first six digits and then has four differing last digits. This internationally recognized commodity description is set by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

You can add harmonization codes to your customs declarations prior to printing your labels. While not always required, it is recommended for international shipments. All U.S. importers should know and use the correct HTSUS codes because this classification is the basis for how commodity duties are assessed.

International Transaction Number (ITN)

The number assigned to a shipment confirming that the Automated Export System (AES) accepted the Electronic Export Information (EEI) and has it on file. Every AES shipment must have a unique ITN.

For the purposes of AES filing, a shipment is all goods (regardless of the number of packages) tendered to the USPS on the same day from one US Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) to one addressee. The USPS defines the USPPI as “the person or legal entity in the United States that receives the primary benefit, monetary or otherwise, from the export transaction.” (Source: USPS)

Marketplace Integration

Also called a Store Integration. This refers to the process of connecting an online marketplace or selling channel to Stamps.com so you can import orders placed on that marketplace.

Marketplace integrations allow our API to 'talk' to the marketplace API. This is a secure process to protect both parties and not only allows customer orders to be imported, processed, and shipped, but also allows shipping costs, ship date, and ETA to be posted back to that marketplace.

NetStamps

NetStamps are USPS Postage printed from a computer onto our USPS-approved NetStamps label sheets and rolls. Blank NeSstamps are available in both sheets, which can be used in any traditional printer (inkjet, laser) or on rolls for use with thermal printers.

ODBC

ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity. It allows databases to communicate with one another. In the shipping world, this usually refers to shippers who import orders through a spreadsheet rather than from an online store.

For example, a company selling industrial supplies that uses sales representatives or takes orders over the telephone will send a spreadsheet to its warehouse for fulfillment. The warehouse then uses ODBC to process and ship those orders by importing those orders using ODBC. ODBC typically requires a database administrator, as each installation is customized. ODBC is not for beginners!

Pay On Use Return Labels (POUR)

Pay on use return labels are shipping labels you send with a shipment that are only paid for if/when your customer uses it. Pay On Use Return labels save time for the customer when returning a shipment, as they require no approval or communication with the seller. This reduces calls/emails/chats to your customer care department.

PC Software

Refers to software that is physically installed on a computer using the Windows operating system. Stamps.com PC Software and Endicia Professional are our installed Windows applications. Both are still online services as your computer is connected to our server to provide mailing and shipping services, but the application is installed on a computer and is not browser-based.

Post Back

A process where order and shipping information is sent back to the online marketplace to complete an order transaction. This term is most commonly used when referring to ODBC integrations (sometimes also referred to as "postback").

Server

Refers to the system that controls the client. It is the vehicle through which traffic to the client moves information.

Shipping Automation

Automation is the term for setting up steps in the shipping process that don't require input or interaction from the shipper. For example, with automation, a shipper can specify that all packages weighing a certain amount or of a certain size will be sent by a specific carrier using a specific service.

The amount of shipping automation put in place is entirely up to the shipper. A little or a lot, whatever serves that shipper's process the best.

Thermal Printers

Thermal printers use heat instead of ink to print on special rolls. Thermal printers are a great option to use as dedicated postage printers. Thermal printers never require ink or toner and typically print much faster than standard desktop printers, making them both efficient and cost-effective.

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

Value-Added Tax - also known as a goods and services tax (GST) - is a consumption tax based on the value of goods and implemented as a destination-based tax. VAT usually comes into play when shipping internationally to countries that charge customs fees and taxes to recipients on imported goods. VAT may be recovered for commercial shipments only by a VAT registered recipient; VAT ranges from 5% to 25% depending upon country.

Shipments to certain countries are often subject to customs fees/taxes, like VAT. Stamps.com does provide the option to have the fees charged to the shipper (DDP), instead of the recipient, if the carrier supports that option.

API stands for Application Program Interface. It's a set of protocols for applications (like Stamps.com) to communicate and share information with other applications or platforms. For example, when you create NetStamps, envelopes, or labels in Stamps.com, our platform communicates with USPS, UPS, GlobalPost, and DHL Express via their APIs to get rates and print your postage.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) built the Automated Package Verification APV System to manage postage discrepancies (under-paid and over-paid postage labels) in an automated fashion. The USPS APV program considers postage paid on every domestic package based on weight, dimensions, package type, mailing service, and origin and destination ZIP codes.

Software that is accessed via an internet browser. Stamps.com Online is browser-based software, so there is no installation process needed to start using it. Amazon and eBay are other examples of browser-based software.

The term "carrier" refers to the company that is delivering mail and packages. USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc. are carriers. Stamps.com, on the other hand, is a postage provider.

In this context, "client" refers to the interface you, as a customer, see and use to prepare postage. Stamps.com Online and Endicia Online are browser-based web clients. Stamps.com PC software is a Windows PC client.

In the context of our shipping software, cost codes are custom labels you can assign to your postage purchase transaction. Stamps.com allows assigning different cost codes to different shipments for accounting purposes.

When a shipment is shipped as DDP, the shipper is responsible for the shipment and for paying the taxes associated with the shipment. DDP and DDU/DAP are incoterms.

The opposite of DDU and DAP. See INCOTERM.

The shipper is responsible for the transportation costs, but not responsible for paying the taxes associated with this shipment. Customs agents will be using the contact information provided on the invoice and customs declarations to settle the charges.

The opposite of DDP. See similar DAP. See also INCOTERM.

Refers to the ratio between the size of a package and its weight. Traditionally, the cost of shipping packages was based on weight. The heavier the package, the higher the cost. However, large packages take up more space on a truck or plane, so carriers now charge more for larger packages that weigh very little. An example would be a large box of pillows that might weigh only a pound or two.

To avoid DIM surcharges, a good rule is to ship in as small a package as possible.

A method to transmit information in a standardized digital format. UPS uses EDI to transmit customs documents electronically. "EDI" will be printed on UPS labels to indicate the data has been submitted electronically.

Also known as the Harmonized Tariff Schedule Code, this is a 10-digit import classification system for internationally traded products. An HTSUS code takes the same form as an HS Code for the first six digits and then has four differing last digits. This internationally recognized commodity description is set by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

You can add harmonization codes to your customs declarations prior to printing your labels. While not always required, it is recommended for international shipments. All U.S. importers should know and use the correct HTSUS codes because this classification is the basis for how commodity duties are assessed.

The number assigned to a shipment confirming that the Automated Export System (AES) accepted the Electronic Export Information (EEI) and has it on file. Every AES shipment must have a unique ITN.

For the purposes of AES filing, a shipment is all goods (regardless of the number of packages) tendered to the USPS on the same day from one US Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) to one addressee. The USPS defines the USPPI as “the person or legal entity in the United States that receives the primary benefit, monetary or otherwise, from the export transaction.” (Source: USPS)

Also called a Store Integration. This refers to the process of connecting an online marketplace or selling channel to Stamps.com so you can import orders placed on that marketplace.

Marketplace integrations allow our API to 'talk' to the marketplace API. This is a secure process to protect both parties and not only allows customer orders to be imported, processed, and shipped, but also allows shipping costs, ship date, and ETA to be posted back to that marketplace.

NetStamps are USPS Postage printed from a computer onto our USPS-approved NetStamps label sheets and rolls. Blank NeSstamps are available in both sheets, which can be used in any traditional printer (inkjet, laser) or on rolls for use with thermal printers.

ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity. It allows databases to communicate with one another. In the shipping world, this usually refers to shippers who import orders through a spreadsheet rather than from an online store.

For example, a company selling industrial supplies that uses sales representatives or takes orders over the telephone will send a spreadsheet to its warehouse for fulfillment. The warehouse then uses ODBC to process and ship those orders by importing those orders using ODBC. ODBC typically requires a database administrator, as each installation is customized. ODBC is not for beginners!

Pay on use return labels are shipping labels you send with a shipment that are only paid for if/when your customer uses it. Pay On Use Return labels save time for the customer when returning a shipment, as they require no approval or communication with the seller. This reduces calls/emails/chats to your customer care department.

Refers to software that is physically installed on a computer using the Windows operating system. Stamps.com PC Software and Endicia Professional are our installed Windows applications. Both are still online services as your computer is connected to our server to provide mailing and shipping services, but the application is installed on a computer and is not browser-based.

A process where order and shipping information is sent back to the online marketplace to complete an order transaction. This term is most commonly used when referring to ODBC integrations (sometimes also referred to as "postback").

Refers to the system that controls the client. It is the vehicle through which traffic to the client moves information.

Automation is the term for setting up steps in the shipping process that don't require input or interaction from the shipper. For example, with automation, a shipper can specify that all packages weighing a certain amount or of a certain size will be sent by a specific carrier using a specific service.

The amount of shipping automation put in place is entirely up to the shipper. A little or a lot, whatever serves that shipper's process the best.

Thermal printers use heat instead of ink to print on special rolls. Thermal printers are a great option to use as dedicated postage printers. Thermal printers never require ink or toner and typically print much faster than standard desktop printers, making them both efficient and cost-effective.

Value-Added Tax - also known as a goods and services tax (GST) - is a consumption tax based on the value of goods and implemented as a destination-based tax. VAT usually comes into play when shipping internationally to countries that charge customs fees and taxes to recipients on imported goods. VAT may be recovered for commercial shipments only by a VAT registered recipient; VAT ranges from 5% to 25% depending upon country.

Shipments to certain countries are often subject to customs fees/taxes, like VAT. Stamps.com does provide the option to have the fees charged to the shipper (DDP), instead of the recipient, if the carrier supports that option.

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