Data Enrichment & Validation

Transactional Mail and Legal Limitations

December 19, 2019
Autor
Inkit Team

Are you running a collections agency, a healthcare organization, or an insurance company? Then, you are probably familiar with the functions of transactional mail. For certain organizations, transactional mail is a must. When it comes to financial transactions and personal data, the majority of customers prefer physical mail. They associate it with formal, official, and important documents. 79% of people act immediately after receiving direct mail compared to 45% reacting to transactional emails. This is particularly essential for transactional communications, the key goal of which is nudging recipients into taking an action.

Note that transactional mail often transfers confidential information. It means that you need to make sure your mail pieces and approach to processing customer data meet legal requirements. In particular, there are specific templates for collection letters in business communication recommended for use. If you are related to the healthcare field, you should also remember about HIPAA compliant invoicing. In other words, every use case is subject to a specific set of regulations and standards.

Inkit wrote this article to give you more guidance on:

  • The uses of transactional mail (e.g., business letters, collection letters in business communication, credit card statements, HIPAA compliant invoicing, health information, and more).
  • Useful resources with business letters and certified collection letter templates.
  • Transactional mail and laws: HIPAA compliant invoicing, GDPR, PCI requirements, Debt Collection Act.

Common Cases when Transactional Mail is Used and Strictly Regulated

Transactional mail is a type of direct mail delivered to complete a transaction started by customers. Unlike marketing mail, it’s main intent is to inform recipients and serve as an official notice. Based on their survey responses, 53% of customers prefer to receive bills or statements by mail compared to 26% by email. Thus, transactional mail has much higher open rates than all types of transactional emails.

online transactions

In our recent article, we discussed transactional mail services. This time, we will talk about organizations and businesses that use transactional mail in their everyday operations.

Here are some of the most common applications:

  • Transactional Mail for Everyday Use #1: Business Letters

It’s a formal letter sent by an individual or a company to another business. Consumers usually use such mail to request additional information from a company, whereas enterprises exchange business letters for commercial purposes or legal action. To see how standard business letters look like, you may visit ResumeBuilder or TemplateLab. These web resources will help you to create the right business letter, which can be later uploaded into Inkit for automated printing and delivery to the recipients in your customer base.

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Related regulations: GDPR (Europe) and other local laws depending on the type of business letters

  • Transactional Mail for Everyday Use #2: HIPAA Compliant Invoicing and Health Information

Medical billing is one of the pillars of the US health system. Healthcare providers submit invoices to their patients or health insurance companies to receive payment for their services. Such transactional mail is regulated by HIPAA since it includes PHI (protected health information) that requires advanced security.

Related regulations: HIPAA

  • Transactional Mail for Everyday Use #3: Credit Card Statements

Statements summarize account activity, including payments, purchases, credits, fees, interest rates, and cash advances. They reflect the current balance and due amount. Similarly to a collection letter, in business communication, credit card statements help organizations receive timely payments, whereas customers get better control over their financial transactions.

Related regulations: PCI Standard, GLBA

  • Transactional Mail for Everyday Use #4: A Debt Collection Letter in Business Communication

An agency sends collection letters to inform the subject of debt about the due amount, deadlines, and terms. For example, it may remind an individual about the payment that is 30 days past due. The failure to comply with the collection letter usually results in legal proceedings and other legal actions. A collection letter in business communication helps companies to organize the billing cycle and manage transactions. For writing a collection letter, you may use one of the certified collection letter templates available at TemplateLab.

Related regulations: Debt Collection Act

Accept terms

Although transactional mail is also used for other purposes, the described cases require extra care. These are the use cases, which are strictly regulated by the US and European laws. More about the most critical regulations below.

Transactional Mail and Laws: HIPAA Compliant Invoicing, GDPR, PCI Requirements, Debt Collection Act

If you are related to a company or organization that deals with transactional mail, you must know the rules. The wrong wording of an invoice or collection letter in business communication can result in lots of issues for you and your company. You also need to know how to ensure the proper level of security of the customer information you process.

Let’s take a look at the most common laws and requirements that influence the use of transaction mail.

HIPAA Compliant Invoicing

This act requires the standardization of codes used for medical billing. It is also recommended to send HIPAA compliant invoicing and other transactional mail as certified. This allows a healthcare organization to guarantee that the documents will be received and signed by the intended person. Never use standard mail to send PHI information – it doesn’t offer the required security.

GDPR

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation came into force just a bit more than a year ago. It regulates the collection, storage, processing, and transmission of personally identifiable information. GDPR pertains to every business which handles customer data via any channel. Direct mail isn’t an exception. In this case, your key task is to make sure customers have opted for the transactional mail they receive. The breach of GDPR may cost you €20 million or 4% of the turnover. Therefore, if your business is connected with the citizens of the EU and the EEA, it’s better to cooperate with transactional mail professionals. Inkit’s mail automation tool is designed with top-notch data security, which guarantees regulatory compliance. Besides, it can automatically deliver transactional mail within 3-6 business days worldwide, so European customers will receive your updates within the shortest time.

PCI DSS

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) regulates organizations of any size, both small businesses and large enterprises, to protect cardholders. PCI Standard requires to store customer data using a compliant hosting provider and minimize the access to this information. PCI compliance is also necessary to meet the requirements of other regulations, including GDPR and GLBA. Keep in mind that in case you plan to transmit cardholder data by mail, you may fall under the restrictions of this regulation.

Debt Collection Act

This act clearly defines what information a debt collector must provide to customers and within what period of time. If the information is insufficient or names and terms are used in a misleading way, the collector may be accused of a breach of legal business practices. Generally, the Debt Collection Act helps to protect citizens from unfair debt collection. To make sure the design and content of your transactional mail are correct, consider using certified collection letter templates.

The easiest way to achieve compliance is to cooperate with a third-party direct mail service that has strong data security measures and the necessary legal expertise. Consider Inkit as an optimum choice – advanced protection, regulatory compliance, and quality transactional mail in one direct mail automation tool.

Ready to captivate your customers?

Let us show you how automating direct mail can increase your offline conversions.
Schedule a Demo