A system for the metering of encrypted postage and similar indicia includes a device for printing such indicia and a device for reading such indicia. The printing is accomplished with a dot matrix printer driven by signals obtained from a character generator and an encryption circuit. The reading is accomplished by correlating received characters against a stored array of symbols to determine the presence of a symbol and the comparison of the separated coded data with a reference code to determine the accuracy of the printed material. Thereby, forgery and alteration is inhibited. Alphanumeric characters are utilized for both the data and the code, a group of characters for the data being separated from a group of characters for the code to allow for the reading of the data, while readily extracting the remaining characters for verification purposes.