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5 CMRA Compliance Essentials in 2024

Embark on the journey to CMRA compliance with this user-friendly guide. From the application process to maintaining secure records, this article provides actionable steps for both CMRAs and their clients.

Mail Compliance for CMRAs​

A CMRA, or Commercial Mail Receiving Agency, is a business that provides a physical address for individuals or businesses to receive mail and packages. CMRA compliance refers to the rules and regulations set by postal authorities and government agencies to ensure the security, privacy, and proper handling of mail by a CMRA. Interested in becoming a CMRA? Read our article on How to Become a CMRA.

Why is mail compliance crucial? Because non-compliant CMRAs may face suspension. Compliance must be achieved within 30 days, or the Postal Service may terminate the CMRA’s authorization to accept mail on behalf of others. Yikes! 

What does it take to be CMRA compliant?

1. Register as a CMRA with PS form 1583-A

So, you’re dreaming of becoming a legit CMRA owner? First things first, fill out PS Form 1583-A, Application to Act as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency, and personally deliver it to your postmaster. If any information on that form changes over time or expires, the CMRA owner must submit an updated form to the Postal Service.

If you don’t know who your local postmaster is or where you should be going to register, you can log onto the USPS website and find this information here. Note that CMRA designations are location-specific and each of your locations must file a separate application even if they are under the same postmaster’s domain. Also note that even if you have locations in the same zip code near each other, they may fall under different post offices and postmasters.

What’s the CMRA Customer Registration Database (CRD)? The USPS is creating a new online database, the Customer Registration Database (CRD), where all CMRAs must submit their customer account information. A CMRA is required to input the information provided on each PS Form 1583 and upload a legible copy of each identification document into the CRD. Furthermore (yes, there’s more!), the CMRA must certify in the USPS CRD every quarter (certification due on January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15) that every PS Form 1583 submitted is current, all termination dates have been updated, and no identification documents have expired.

2. Have all renters fill out form PS 1583

When renters apply for a private mailbox (PMB), they must submit Form PS 1583, Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent. It’s the golden ticket that authorizes an operator to accept mail on a renter’s behalf for a PMB. The CMRA must ensure every addressee (customer) has a current PS Form 1583 on file, and that the information is up to date in the USPS CMRA CRD. Any expired, illegible, or unclear identification or address documents uploaded into the platform will be considered not in compliance. Also, updates must include termination dates for any PMBs closed in the previous quarter.

Who needs to submit Form PS 1583? Each recipient (addressee/customer), including spouses, must submit their own Form PS 1583 with IDs. Also, mail recipients with multiple business names need to file Form 1583 for each business entity.

Do you need to keep a copy of a renter’s documents? Yep. The CMRA must maintain, at a minimum, a digital copy of a completed PS Form 1583 at the CMRA business location. The form must be available at all times for examination by Postal Service representatives and Postal Service inspectors. Keep them for a minimum of 6 months after the termination date.

Need help with the form? Refer to our CMRA Cheat Sheet when completing the new 2023 CMRA Form PS 1583.

3. Verify all renter’s identity

To prevent mail fraud and maintain security, CMRAs are required to verify their customer’s identities before providing mailbox services. Therefore, along with form PS 1583, renters must submit two forms of identification, one of which must include a photo.

Quick rule of thumb: IDs include government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. Identification documents must be current, meaning not expired.

4. Establish mail forwarding procedures after a renter terminates a PMB

When an individual decides to terminate their private mailbox (PMB), the CMRA is obligated to notify the Post Office. Now, let’s rewind a bit. Upon enrolling for a PMB, individuals must share their permanent address, a requirement in Form 1583. This serves as the designated address for mail forwarding once the partnership ends and must be entered into the USPS CRD. 

How long is a CMRA required to accept a customer’s mail and forward it? For 6 months post-PMB breakup. 

5. Prioritize secure storage of mail and retention of records

Compliance includes keeping the renter’s records, including Form PS 1583 and identification documents, securely. Therefore, prioritize security measures, including the secure storage of mail and the proper retention of records. A lockable filing cabinet will do just fine, or if you have the space, you can have an entire room designated for mail. But the point is it should be kept secure. You can start with a small, lockable filing cabinet and folders arranged in alphanumerical order. It’s an easy solution, and at our coworking locations, it’s a tried and tested way to begin your mail journey!

Staying on Top of Compliance with PilotoMail

At PilotoMail, we’re pros at understanding coworking and mailroom operations. We’re compliance veterans who know how to tailor systems to operators’ needs. We’ve already made changes to our platform to reflect the new 1583 form and are implementing technology to recognize Identifications Expiry Date, making the process smoother for everyone. Cheers to efficient (and compliant) mail handling! 📬✨

PilotoMail has automated compliance during the onboarding process, making it easy for your new user to confirm their identity while, as a CMRA, you’re fulfilling your compliance requirements. PilotoMail also keeps a record of your compliant renters and those pending compliance. You can set up rules to remind your renters to complete their verification process and sign Form 1583.

Want to read more about compliance? Head over to our compliance resource page.

About PilotoMail

PilotoMail is a mail management platform that creates recurring revenue streams for mailrooms through postal mail handling automation, and virtual mailboxes for the remote workforce. Property managers, coworking spaces, mail centers & registered agents can handle large volumes of mail efficiently, comply with all postal regulations, and increase revenue from their existing footprint effortlessly.

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