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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is CAPS?

The Centralized Account Processing System is a postage payment system designed to make payment for all classes of mail easier and more cost-effective for you, the business mailer. It provides electronic options as customer alternatives to presenting checks and cash in person at each mailing Post Office. A national CAPS account can be used to pay for mailings at multiple locations eliminating the need for maintaining trust accounts at numerous Post Offices. In addition, when your mailing transactions are funded through a centralized account, CAPS can use those same transactions to provide you consolidated reports of mailing activity by Post Office location, mailing account and customer-defined date ranges. The reports are available in printed form as well as an electronic file that can be imported by your own electronic reporting systems.

What are the qualifications for a CAPS account?

The applicant must have at least one existing permit account or USPS Corporate Account (USPSCA) or Address Element Correction/Address Change Service account before applying for a CAPS account.

Please note that if you only have USPSCA, your sole option of funding your CAPS account is a Debit-type account.

What effect does opening a CAPS Account have on my permit numbers?

None. Customers continue to use the same permit numbers.

How do I fund my CAPS account?

For a centralized trust account, you deposit funds electronically—via standard Automated Clearing House (ACH) banking mechanisms or Fed Wire—to the CAPS bank prior to mailing. Your CAPS account is then reduced automatically as postage statements are processed by local offices.

With a centralized debit account, your designated bank account will be debited—via standard ACH banking mechanisms—for the total of the day's mailings on the next business day.

What can I pay through my CAPS account?

Currently postage for permit imprint, Periodical, and business reply mail accounts, and USPS Corporate Account (USPSCA) may be paid through CAPS. Permit and accounting fees are automatically charged to the CAPS account. Address Element Correction/Address Change Service services may also be paid through CAPS.

How are fees handled when I open a CAPS account?

Fees in effect when linking a permit to a CAPS account remain in effect until the current expiration date. Then, in advance of fee expiration dates, customers receive a notice listing fees about to expire with an explanation of the renewal process. Customers can use the CAPS account to pay the fees.

For Permit Imprint, initial application fee payment must be paid at local BMEU before linking.

For BRM Permit, annual fee must be paid at local BMEU before linking and accounting fee is optional.

Note: For Return Services Account, both annual fee and Accounting Fee must be paid at local BMEU before linking.

Can I have more than one CAPS account?

Yes. Customers may have multiple CAPS accounts. While most customers desire a single source of information for all their permit accounts, some customers find that having more than one CAPS account works best for their particular business.

How can I get the balance in my CAPS account?

You can use the Account Inquiry page on this Web site.

Can regular trust account balances be transferred to a CAPS trust account?

Yes, with one exception. When a CAPS trust account is established, the customer may elect to transfer funds in local trust accounts to the CAPS trust account. The exception is the USPS Corporate Account (USPSCA). When USPSCA customers pay postage, the Express Mail Reporting System (EMRS) checks the customer's local USPSCA trust account for a balance and deducts postage from it until the balance is zero. The system automatically offsets any additional postage against the customer's CAPS account.

What happens to the money in the local trust account when the permit is linked to a CAPS account?

The permit must be at zero balance before it can be linked to the CAPS account.

For customers with CAPS Debit Account, the local permit office will initiate a refund request through PS Form-3533 (Application for Refund of Fees, Products and Withdrawal of Customer Accounts). The customer needs to sign the form. The check will be issued and mailed to the permit customer.

Customers with CAPS Trust Account have two options:

  1. Customer can choose to roll-over the balance to the CAPS account. For this, permit customer has to issue an authorization to CAPS Service Center to transfer the funds from local trust account to the CAPS account.

  2. Permit customer may opt to get a refund check. The local permit office will initiate a refund request through PS Form-3533 (Application for Refund of Fees, Products and Withdrawal of Customer Accounts). The customer needs to sign the form. The check will be issued and mailed to the permit customer.

How do I get detailed account information?

On the Account Inquiry page, using your CAPS account number and password, you can get account balances, transaction history, fee information, and other information. The information can be formatted as a report or downloaded to your system.

How do I get my company enrolled in CAPS?

For Trust-account option, complete Forms 6001 and 6002.

For Debit-account option, complete Forms 6001, 6002 and 6003.

Complete the application forms available on this Web site. Sign and mail them in original form to:

CAPS Service Center
US Postal Service
2700 Campus Drive
San Mateo CA 94497-9433

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