Business-to-business paper payments likely will still arrive on time even if the U.S. Postal Service gets Congress to go along with its plan to reduce mail delivery from six to five days a week to contain the service's burgeoning deficit.

The change will have a "fairly minimal impact" on companies' payments from other companies, says Lex Litton, senior vice president of operations at Phoenix-Hecht, a financial services research firm in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Corporations generally don't mail out payments on Saturdays, he notes. "And the postal service will continue delivery operations Saturday night into Sunday, as well as Sunday afternoon, at their plants, and that's where lockboxes pick up their mail, from the plants," Litton says. "So, essentially the weekend flow of receipts that occurs today in wholesale lockboxes will continue."

Retail lockboxes–the operations that process payments from consumers–will also be able to collect their mail on Saturdays. But consumers will not be able to mail payments on Saturdays, Litton notes, since the Postal Service will no longer be picking up mail from mailboxes or moving mail that is deposited at post offices. He speculates that a move to five-day delivery could boost consumers' interest in paying bills online.

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