Stress-free online shopping abroad
Customs and post app
The Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Finance, Dr. Michael Meister, and German Customs presented the free “Customs and Post” app (iOS, Android) at the Frankfurt Airport Post Centre. The focus of the app is a tax calculator that solves a problem faced again and again by citizens who online-shop abroad:
It seems like a bargain, when ordering a camera from the USA or jeans from Asia. But then for many customers, a subsequent letter from the customs office is a rude awakening. Products from outside the EU often incur import taxes, and they must be paid on receipt of the shipment. Even for savvy consumers it had previously been difficult to calculate and foresee the amount of tax.
The "Customs and Post" app remedies all this – it determines the estimated import duties by considering the product category, country of purchase and the purchase amount. It also gives background on duties and taxes, as well as answering frequently asked questions from customers, such as the whereabouts of the package, pickup at the customs office or on issues including product safety and piracy.
“This app shows that the German Customs is a transparent and service-oriented authority. Citizens can now quickly and easily calculate the total cost of the levies, thanks to the implementation of integrated assessment rates," says Dominik Grobien, Head of Public Relations at the Ministry of Finance.
“Like the ‘Customs and Travel’ app that ]init[ developed, ‘Customs and Post’ is a modern service channel by the German Government with high user value for citizens. You can clarify many questions in advance via the app, to reduce waiting times at customs offices,” says Harald Felling, Chief Operating Officer at ]init[.
Throughout both concept and development stages of the app, the project team placed a high emphasis on simple and intuitive use. Group tests in the conceptual and design phases guaranteed that the mobile interface satisfied modern UX requirements, and the app’s offline functionality ensures that it can also be used without an Internet connection. Administrative language was deliberately sidestepped, and the app will be continuously improved with the addition of new features.
2012 saw the release of game changing app for the Federal Ministry of Finance, also developed by ]init[. "Customs and Travel", which indicated quantity and value limits on goods bought on vacation, became a popular travel companion for Germans and always ranked highly in the Apple and Google Play app charts during the holiday season.