Freepost is a postal service provided by various postal administrations, whereby a person sends mail without affixing postage, and the recipient pays the postage when collecting the mail. Freepost differs from self-addressed stamped envelopes, courtesy reply mail, and metered reply mail in that the recipient of the freepost pays only for those items that are actually received, rather than all that are distributed.


In one typical use of freepost, a business sends bulk mail to potential customers, the bulk mail including envelopes or postcards that potential customers can return to the business by freepost. In another typical use, magazines include subscription cards that potential subscribers can return by freepost. In yet another typical use, a seller can provide a merchandise return label bearing the appropriate freepost indicia (as described below) to a customer so that the customer can return the item to the seller by freepost upon issuance of a Return Merchandise Authorization.

Freepost in various countries


In Australia, freepost is called Reply Paid. Specially printed envelopes are used, with the permit holder's address, the words "Reply Paid" with an authorization number. The stamp is replaced by three black stripes. The permit holder pays the postage plus a fee to the postal authority. The customer may write the Reply Paid envelope out by hand.

:Wiki Foundation :Reply Paid 1345 :P.O. Box 1453 :Wherever NSW 1435

More recently, the post office has realised that it can combine the RP number and the Box number, which saves writing and reduces the number of errors.

:Wiki Foundation :Reply Paid 1345 :Wherever NSW 1435

An important customer like the Taxation Office would have an RP number the same as the post code, to minimize errors even more.

:Wiki Foundation :Reply Paid 1435 :Wherever NSW 1435


To coordinate service with the United States, Canada Post uses the same terminology and the same standards as the USPS (as explained below), with the exception of the use of Canadian Postal codes.

United States

In the United States, the United States Postal Service refers to freepost as business reply mail. A mailer wishing to receive mail by freepost must obtain a business reply permit and design the envelopes, postcards, or labels according to the standards specified by the USPS, including the use of a FIM B or C code, whichever of the two is appropriate. The address on the envelope, postcard, or label is the same as the address for regular mail, except that the ZIP+4 code is different. In some large cities, business reply mail has its own five-digit ZIP code or codes (e.g., 20077 and 20078 in Washington, D.C.). Also, the design of the envelope or postcard includes a place to identify the business reply permit number.

More generally

Other countries use freepost as well, although the envelope designs required by those countries' postal authorities differ widely from that described above. A freepost address may have a special freepost number for use along with, or instead of, the address for regular mail.

International Business Reply Service

International freepost also exists and is known variously as "International Business Reply Service," "International Business Reply Mail" and "Réponse Payée." Like USPS business reply mail, international business reply mail must conform to certain format requirements. [ [ International Business Reply Service, from the USPS Web site] ]


External links

* [,1083,CH2043%257EMO19,00.html Information on reply paid from Australia Post]
* [ Information on business reply mail from the USPS]
* [ Return and Reply Mail] (Mailpiece Quality Control Program, chapter 9), a USPS document showing the design of business reply mail in the United States

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Freepost — Free‧post [ˈfriːpəʊst ǁ poʊst] noun trademark in Britain, an arrangement where a company or organization pays the cost of letters that are sent to it by post: • Send donations to Iona Cathedral Trust, Freepost, Edinburgh EH8 0LL. • Simply… …   Financial and business terms

  • Freepost™ — UK US noun [U] UK TRADEMARK COMMUNICATIONS ► in the UK, a service offered by the Post Office, in which customers can send mail back to companies without any stamps because the companies will pay for the cost: »Write to us at the Freepost address… …   Financial and business terms

  • Freepost — [[t]fri͟ːpoʊst[/t]] N UNCOUNT Freepost is a system in Britain which allows you to send mail to certain organizations without paying for the postage. Freepost is written on the envelope as part of the address. [TRADEMARK] …   English dictionary

  • Freepost — (in Britain) a special service provided by the Post Office that allows people to post letters without a stamp to a company or organization by using ‘Freepost’ in the address. The company that receives the letter pays the cost. * * * …   Universalium

  • Freepost — Free|post [ˈfri:pəust US poust] n [U] trademark BrE an arrangement by which a company or organization pays the cost of letters that you send to it by post …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Freepost — n. mail system in Britain that allows citizens to send mail to specific organizations at no charge (because the individual organization pays the postal fees) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • freepost — adv. postage free …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Freepost — noun Brit. a postal service whereby the cost of postage is paid by the business that receives the letter …   English new terms dictionary

  • freepost — noun (U) BrE an arrangement by which a company or organization pays the cost of letters that you send to it by post …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Freepost — A UK business reply service provided by the Post Office. Members of the public reply to advertisements and the advertiser pays the cost of postage after the reply is delivered …   Big dictionary of business and management