DMM TOC > 700 Special Standards|
1.0 Standardized Documentation for First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Flat-Size Bound Printed Matter
1.1 Basic Standards
For First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Bound Printed Matter, documentation to support mail volume and preparation must be produced by standardized documentation according to this section. Standardized documentation contains the elements described in 1.2 through 1.8, as applicable. Documentation produced by Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation (PAVE)-certified or Manifest Analysis and Certification (MAC)-certified software is considered standardized documentation.
For First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Bound Printed Matter, standardized documentation includes:
a. A heading identifying the listing as a “USPS Qualification Report” appearing at the top of each page. The heading must contain these elements:
1. For First-Class Mail and Standard Mail, the name of the mailer and the mailing, a mailing identification code corresponding to the postage statement, the date when the list was processed or the documentation was produced, the class of mail, and either the DMM standard under which the mail was prepared (e.g., 245.10.0 for Standard Mail automation letters) or the type of prices claimed.
2. For Periodicals, each publication number and title corresponding to the postage statement and entry office, the date when the list was processed or the documentation was produced, the class of mail, and either the DMM standard under which the mail was prepared (e.g., 207.24.0 for letter-size barcoded Periodicals) or the type of prices claimed. For publications that are combined or copalletized and represented on the same documentation, list all publication titles and numbers in the header on the first page.
1. Tray/sack sortation level. Note with an asterisk (“*”) all trays containing overflow mail moved into that tray under 235.6.5, 245.8.3 or 245.7.5.
2. Tray/sack destination ZIP Code from top line of tray/sack label except that, for 3-digit carrier routes trays, list the individual 5-digit ZIP Codes in each tray.
3. The number of pieces for each 5-digit ZIP Code in 5-digit/scheme bundles or trays; for each 3-digit ZIP Code in 3-digit/scheme bundles or trays; for each 3-digit/scheme in (A)ADC bundles or trays; for each (A)ADC in mixed (A)ADC bundles or trays (or, for Periodicals, origin mixed ADC trays). Exception: documentation for 3-digit/scheme letters in AADC trays or for AADC letters in mixed AADC trays is not required unless those trays contain overflow mail. For automation letter mailings, the number of pieces in the next higher level tray in lieu of overflow trays if applicable. For ECR letters prepared under 245.9.0, the number of pieces in carrier routes within full trays. For bundled mail, the number of pieces in each bundle level and presort destination.
4. Separate columns with the number of pieces for each price reported in the mailing, and a continuous running total of pieces for each mailing (group information either in ZIP Code order and by sortation level or by sortation level and within each sortation level, by ZIP Code; report trays and sacks on pallets by pallet level and destination; include all information required in 1.2c. for mail in trays or sacks). For pieces prepared in FSS scheme bundles, list by 5-digit ZIP Code within each bundle. For pieces prepared in 5-digit scheme bundles, list by 5-digit ZIP Code within each bundle. For pieces prepared in 3-digit scheme bundles, list by 3-digit ZIP Code within the bundle. Periodicals firm bundles may be listed in a separate firm bundle column or in the appropriate column based on container level.
5. The tray identification number and size (1-foot or 2-foot) if available for letter mail in trays. The tray identification number is optional for tray-based automation flats.
6. For all Periodicals mailings, include a separate “Zone” column. If all automation letters for a specific tray, group, or bundle destination are subject to the same zone price or entry discount, show the applicable zone or destination entry discount for those copies using the zone abbreviations in 1.6.3. If automation letters for a bundle or tray destination are for multiple zones, show all zones included (e.g., “3/4/6”) or show “Mixed” (or the authorized abbreviation “M”) in the “Zone” column.
7. For Periodicals mailings that contain both In-County and Outside-County pieces, the listing may include a separate “Container Charge” and “Bundle Charge” column. Indicate which trays, sacks, and bundles are subject to the container or bundle charges and a total or a running total.
3. For each bundle, the sortation level and number of pieces claimed at each price. Periodicals firm bundles may be listed in a separate firm bundle column or in a column based on container level.
4. Separate columns with the number of pieces for each price reported in the mailing, and a continuous running total of pieces (group information either in ZIP Code order and by sortation level or by sortation level and within each sortation level, by ZIP Code). Document SCF, ADC, or NDC pallets created as a result of bundle reallocation under 705.8.11, 705.8.12, or 705.8.13 by designating the protected pallet with an identifier of “PSCF” (for an SCF pallet), “PADC” (for an ADC pallet), or “PBMC” (for a NDC pallet). These identifiers are required to appear only on the USPS Qualification Report; they are not required on pallet labels or on any other documentation.
6. For all Periodicals mailings, include a separate “Zone” column. If all copies for a bundle destination are subject to the same zone price or entry discount, show the zone or entry discount for those copies using the abbreviations in 126.96.36.199. If copies for a bundle destination are for multiple zones, show all zones included (e.g., “3/4/6”) or show “Mixed” (or “M”) in the “Zone” column. Report foreign copies separately.
7. For Periodicals mailings that contain both In-County and Outside-County pieces, the listing may include separate “Container Charge” and “Bundle Charge” columns. Indicate which pallets and bundles are subject to the container or bundle charges and a total or a running total.
8. At the end, a summary report of the number of pieces claimed at each price on each pallet by postage payment method, and the number of pieces and the weight of the mail on each pallet.
e. At the end of the documentation, a summary report of the number of pieces mailed at each price for each mailing by postage payment method (and by entry point for drop shipment mailings) and the number of pieces in each mailing. This information must match the information reported on the postage statement(s). For Periodicals mailings, documentation also must provide:
1. A summary of the number of each type of bundle in the mailing and, optionally, the total bundle charge paid. Report only bundles subject to the Outside-County bundle prices under 188.8.131.52.
2. A summary of the number of each type of container in the mailing and, optionally, the total container charge paid. Report only trays, sacks, and pallets subject to the Outside-County container prices under 184.108.40.206.
3. For combined mailings, a summary by mailer of the number of each type of bundle and container in the mailing and, optionally, the bundle and container price paid. Report only bundles, trays, sacks, and pallets subject to the Outside-County bundle and container prices.
4. A summary of the number of copies for each zone, including In-County, DDU, SCF, and ADC prices. A separate summary report is not required if a PAVE-certified postage statement facsimile generated by the presort software used to prepare the documentation is presented for each mailing.
b. Presorted First-Class Mail, barcoded and nonbarcoded Periodicals flats, nonbarcoded Periodicals letters, and machinable and nonmachinable Standard Mail:
1.4 Sortation Level
The actual sortation level (or corresponding abbreviation) is used for the bundle, tray, sack, or pallet levels required by 1.2 and shown below:
For combined or copalletized mailings of Periodicals and Standard Mail, documentation must show this additional information:
2. Prices for each product or edition shown in the correct “Price” column and summarized for each tray, sack, or pallet and for the entire mailing.
b. For Periodicals, when copies of multiple editions or publications are combined in a firm bundle: report “1” in the appropriate “Piece Price” column for one edition or publication, and report “0” in the “Piece Price” and the “Product/Edition Code” columns for the other editions or publications in the firm bundle.
c. For large-volume mailing jobs reported on a single listing, the mailer may provide abbreviated documentation that shows full bundle detail for the first 20 pallets/sacks and every twentieth pallet/sack after that. Mailers must maintain full bundle detail (by product or edition code and price) for the entire mailing job for 90 days and provide it to the USPS on request within 3 working days. This documentation must include the price summary by product or edition for each pallet/sack, including those for which full detail bundle listings are not reported.
1.6.1 Definition and Retention
The publisher must be able to present documentation to support the number of copies of each edition of an issue, by entry point, mailed to each zone, and at DDU, DFSS, DSCF, DADC, DNDC, and In-County prices. This listing is separate from the standardized documentation required to support presort and may be submitted with each mailing, or a publisher may keep these records for 2 months after the mailing date. A publisher must be able to submit detailed zone listings for specific mailings upon request by the USPS.
Report the number of copies mailed to each 3-digit ZIP Code area using either one of the following formats:
a. Report copies by each 3-digit ZIP Code in ascending numeric order. Include columns for: 3-digit ZIP Code, zone, and number of copies per zone. Include a summary of the number of copies at each zone price at the end of the report. A 3-digit ZIP Code may appear more than once if there are copies at different zone prices (e.g., In-County and Outside-County copies) for that 3-digit ZIP Code.
b. Report copies by each zone and by 3-digit ZIP Code in ascending numeric order. For each zone, include columns for: 3-digit ZIP Code and number of copies. Include a summary of the total number of copies for each zone at the end of each zone listing. A 3-digit ZIP Code may appear under more than one zone if there are copies at different zone prices for that 3-digit ZIP Code.
1.6.3 Zone Abbreviations
A mailer must present documentation to support the actual number of bundles and containers of each edition of an issue as explained in 1.7.1 and 1.7.2 below.
Standardized documentation may include additional information about the pieces mailed (such as individual tray or sack total piece counts, optional identification codes, bundle weights) if this information does not conflict with the information required under 1.2 through 1.7.
2.1.1 Basic Information
The Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation (PAVE) program is a process to evaluate presort software and determine its accuracy in sorting address files under DMM standards. PAVE is available only to software and hardware manufacturers (i.e., companies that develop presort software or manufacture presorting equipment). PAVE certification does not guarantee acceptance of customer mail prepared with PAVE-validated hardware/software.
PAVE evaluates the accuracy of presort products by providing test address files to vendors. Vendors process the test file(s) through their presort software or hardware and return the resulting postage statement facsimile(s) and other presort documentation to the USPS National Customer Support Center (NCSC) for evaluation of the answers. Each test file is evaluated for its accuracy of presort, compliance with current DMM standards, accuracy of sack/tray/pallet tag labels, and general acceptability of computer-generated facsimiles of postage statements and other presort documentation. If the answers are accurate, the vendor’s presort product is validated for a 12-month period or until the end of the current annual period.
For information on participation in PAVE, presort product developers may request the PAVE Program Technical Guide from the NCSC by calling 1-800-238-3150. Participants may use the PAVE form included in that guide to order PAVE test files.
The Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) improves the accuracy of delivery point codes, ZIP+4 codes, 5-digit ZIP Codes, and carrier route codes on mailpieces. CASS provides a common platform to measure the quality of address matching software and to diagnose and correct software problems.
Any mailing claimed at an automation price must be produced from address lists properly matched and coded with CASS-certified address matching methods listed below. A mailer using multiline optical character readers (MLOCRs) to print delivery point barcodes on mailpieces must also obtain CASS certification (including Multiline Accuracy Support System (MASS)) for the address matching software used on the MLOCRs.
Delivery point or ZIP+4 coding may be obtained by using the CASS-certified DPC address matching software with components DPV and LACSLink; CASS-certified Z4CHANGE process; CASS-certified DirectDPV process; NCOALink; or DSF2 process.
Any user of address matching software that applies ZIP+4 codes to address lists to obtain an automation price must use address matching software that is CASS-certified. Address matching software used to ZIP+4 code address records must, as part of its process, return a standardized address to ensure that the ZIP+4 code or mailer-applied barcode represents the proper depth of code available. The original input address submitted for coding may also be returned. The CASS-certified address matching software must be used according to specific parameter settings (configurations) as described below.
3.2.2 Software Configuration
All address lists used to produce mailings for automation prices must be matched and ZIP+4 coded with current CASS-certified software in line with the configuration standards shown below. Summary output reports or computer-generated facsimile Forms 3553 must contain information about the configuration used when processing the address list on the CASS-certified address matching software.
a. Vendor-Supplied Software With Vendor CASS-certified Software Configurations. The software vendor is CASS-certified for specific configurations. The user is using that software as prescribed by the vendor and with the CASS-certified configurations obtained by the vendor.
b. Vendor-Supplied Software With User CASS-certified Software Configurations. The software user is using vendor-supplied software in a configuration not CASS-certified by the vendor but by the user.
c. User-Developed Software for Which User Obtained CASS Certification. The software user obtained individual user CASS certification for self-developed software and is using it as certified.
When used for ZIP+4 or delivery point barcoding, the address matching software and coding methods must have a valid CASS certification and use the current USPS ZIP+4 Product updated to include all applicable change transaction files.
3.3 Date of Address Matching and Coding
3.3.1 Update Standards
Unless Z4CHANGE or DirectDPV is used, all automation and carrier route mailings bearing addresses coded by any AIS product must be coded with current CASS-certified software and the current USPS database. Coding must be done within 90 days before the mailing date for all carrier route mailings and within 180 days before the mailing date for all non-carrier route automation price mailings. All AIS products may be used immediately on release. New product releases must be included in address matching systems no later than 45 days after the release date. The overlap in dates for product use allows mailers adequate time to install the new data files and test their systems. Mailers are expected to update their systems with the latest data files as soon as practicable and need not wait until the “last permissible use” date. The mailer’s signature on the postage statement certifies that this standard has been met when the corresponding mail is presented to the USPS. The “current USPS database” product cycle is defined by the following table.
3.3.2 Z4CHANGE List Matching
a. The entire address list must first be matched and ZIP+4 coded with current CASS-certified software and the current USPS ZIP+4 Product.
b. Every 60 days after the first matching, the address list must be processed through Z4CHANGE using USPS-certified software to identify changed records since the last update.
c. The changed records identified through the Z4CHANGE processing must then be matched and coded using current CASS-certified address matching software and the current ZIP+4 Product.
d. The entire address list must be rematched and ZIP+4 coded every 3 years using current CASS-certified software and the current USPS ZIP+4 Product.
3.3.3 DirectDPV List Matching
a. The entire address list must first be matched and ZIP+4 coded with Cycle L (or later) CASS-certified software and the current USPS ZIP+4 product.
b. Every 180 days after the initial matching, the address list must be processed through DirectDPV using Cycle L (or later) CASS-certified address matching software to identify changed records since the last update.
c. If an address record was previously ZIP+4 coded and that ZIP+4 code is not in DirectDPV, it does not need to be run through CASS-certified address matching software until the annual run. Address records identified as changed through DirectDPV that have a valid converted 11-digit record require additional processing. These records can either be reconstructed using the 11-digit code provided or reprocessed through CASS-certified software. Address records identified as changed through DirectDPV that have a zero 11-digit code must then be matched and coded using Cycle L (or later) CASS-certified address matching software and the current USPS ZIP+4 product.
d. The entire address list must be processed once a year using current CASS-certified address matching software and the current USPS ZIP+4 product.
3.4 Definitions—Mailing and Address Lists
For this section, mailing list or address list is the group of names and addresses to which mailpieces in the corresponding mailing are addressed. Whether the addresses used in a mailing are obtained from a single list or from two or more lists (whole lists or extracts of those lists), each list used to produce a mailing claimed at an automation price must meet the standards in 3.0.
3.5.1 Form 3553
Unless excepted by standard, the mailer must complete a Form 3553 for each mailing claimed at all automation prices and all carrier route prices. A computer-generated facsimile may be used if it contains the required data elements in a format similar to the USPS form. The data recorded on Form 3553 must refer only to the address list used to produce the mailing with which it is presented. The postage statement must be annotated in the block(s) provided to reflect the date when address matching and coding were performed. When a mailing is produced using multiple lists, the mailer must show the earliest (oldest) date of address matching and coding (shown on Form 3553, section B2). The mailer certifies compliance with this standard when signing the corresponding postage statement.
3.5.2 Retention Period
Form 3553 and other documentation must be retained by the mailer or the mailer’s agent for 1 year from the date of mailing and be made available to the USPS on 24-hour notice.
3.5.3 Using Output Information
The data recorded on Form 3553 is taken from the summary output report generated by the computer process by which address lists are matched and ZIP+4 coded using CASS-certified software. The summary output information may also be generated as a facsimile Form 3553. Form 3553 may show summary output information for a single address list or consolidate summary output information from multiple address lists combined to produce a single mailing. Figures on Form 3553 are not required to match total mailpiece figures on the corresponding postage statement.
3.5.4 Providing Required Data
a. CASS-certified company name as it appears on the CASS certificate; name and software version that received CASS certification; and the software configuration used when processing the address list.
b. Name of the list processor using the CASS-certified software to match and code the address list, the date the address list was processed, the date of the USPS database used to code the address list, the address list name or identification number, the total number of address records on the list submitted for coding, the total number of address records successfully coded to the appropriate depth of code, and the valid dates for the records successfully coded.
3.5.5 Using a Single List
When a mailing is produced using all or part of a single address list, the mailer must retain one Form 3553 and other required documentation reflecting the summary output information for the entire list, as obtained when the list was coded. When the same address list is used for other mailings within 180 days of the date it was matched and coded, a copy of the Form 3553 must be retained with the documentation for each mailing.
3.5.6 Using Multiple Lists
When a mailing is produced using multiple address lists, the mailer must retain a consolidated Form 3553 summarizing the individual summary output and/or facsimile Forms 3553 for each list used (and other required documentation). As an alternative, the mailer may combine the addresses selected from the multiple lists into a single new list, reprocess the addresses using CASS-certified address matching software, and retain one Form 3553 for the summary output generated by that process.
3.5.7 Using CASS Certificate
If the name of the CASS-certified company entered on Form 3553 does not appear on the list published by the USPS, a copy of the CASS certificate for the software used also must be retained by the mailer with the documentation.
3.6.1 Testing Arrangements
To obtain information on standards and arrange for testing of carrier route, ZIP+4, or delivery point address matching software, contact the National Customer Support Center by calling 1-800-238-3150, or by writing to the CASS Certification Department, National Customer Support Center (see 608.8.0 for address).
3.6.2 CASS Stage I
The CASS certification process is a two-stage procedure. Stage I is a test file with answers supplied on request to customers wanting to certify an address matching software product. The Stage I file contains fabricated sample addresses from address ranges across the country with missing or incorrect address elements. The correct answers supplied on this Stage I test file allow self-assessment of address matching software/hardware accuracy so that software/hardware vendors or users can predetermine product readiness for the actual test.
3.6.3 CASS Stage II
The Stage II file is the actual test without answers. This test measures the accuracy of address matching software/hardware. Similar to the Stage I file, the Stage II file contains fabricated sample addresses from address ranges across the country with missing or incorrect address elements that the address matching software must correct. Software vendors or users process the Stage II file against their address matching products, appending the correct or missing information in each address record. After completing the test, the vendor or user returns the Stage II file to the USPS for analysis, scoring, and, if qualified, certification. For multiline optical character readers (MLOCRs) and encoding stations, CASS certification is obtained by barcoding sample mailpieces in a test deck. After completing the test, the vendor or user returns the test deck to the USPS for analysis, scoring, and, if qualified, certification.
3.6.4 Certification Standards
a. Delivery point code address matching software/hardware must correctly ZIP+4 code the addresses in the Stage II file or test deck with an accuracy rate determined by the CASS Certification Department and must correctly append the additional two digits of the delivery point code (plus a check digit) to the Stage II file or test deck with 100% accuracy.
b. A 2-digit utility (separate or stand-alone address matching software that appends only the correct 2-digit DP9019C information) must use the standardized address information returned by DPC address matching software when determining the correct delivery point code. A 2-digit utility must assign the 2-digit delivery point code (plus a check digit) to the addresses in the Stage II file with 100% accuracy.
c. Address matching software used to assign 5-digit ZIP Codes and carrier route codes must assign the appropriate codes to the Stage II file with an accuracy rate determined by the CASS Certification Department.
3.6.5 Customer Notification
The USPS sends written notice informing the customer of the results of the analysis and the product certification status. Follow-up notification is mailed to remind previously certified vendors and users of the next certification.
Intelligent Mail barcodes and POSTNET (Postal Numeric Encoding Technique) barcodes are USPS-developed methods to encode ZIP Code information on mail that can be read for sorting by automated machines. Intelligent Mail barcodes also encode other tracking information. POSTNET barcodes do not qualify for automation pricing.
4.2 POSTNET Barcode
POSTNET (Postal Numeric Encoding Technique) is the USPS-developed barcode method to encode ZIP Code information on mail that can be read for sorting by automated machines. A POSTNET barcode can represent a 5-digit ZIP Code (32 bars), a 9-digit ZIP+4 code (52 bars), or an 11-digit delivery point code (62 bars). The information content of the barcode is based on the combination of tall (full) bars and short (half) bars. A tall bar represents “1,” and a short bar represents “0.” When separated into groups of five, these bars sequentially represent each of the digits of the ZIP Code (or ZIP+4 code or delivery point code) for the delivery address, plus an additional digit designated as the correction digit. The correction digit is derived from adding the numbers in the ZIP Code (or ZIP+4 or delivery point code) and determining which single-digit number must be added to that sum to make the total a multiple of 10. The first and last bars of the barcode are frame bars and must always be full bars.
4.2.2 5-Digit Barcode
A 5-digit barcode is a single field of 32 bars consisting of a frame bar, a series of 25 bars that represent the correct 5-digit ZIP Code for the address on the piece, 5 bars that represent the correction digit, and a final frame bar.
4.2.3 ZIP+4 Barcode
A ZIP+4 barcode is a single field of 52 bars consisting of a frame bar, a series of 45 bars that represent the correct ZIP+4 code for the address on the piece, 5 bars that represent the correction digit, and a final frame bar.
4.2.4 Delivery Point Barcode
A delivery point barcode (DPBC) is formed by adding 10 bars (representing two additional digits) to the ZIP+4 barcode. The correct DPBC must be derived from a CASS-certified delivery point code address matching process. To obtain information on the rules for delivery point code calculation, contact the National Customer Support Center by calling (toll-free) 1-800-642-2914, or by writing to CASS/ZIP+4 Matching, National Customer Support Center (see 608.8.0 for address). The following unique codes are also valid DPBCs:
a. For a firm (unique) 5-digit ZIP Code, the correct DPBC represents the 5-digit ZIP Code: either the USPS-assigned -0001 or (if the customer assigns four-digit add-ons to internal separations) the correct four digits applicable to the point of delivery, followed by the last two digits of the primary street number, Post Office box number, or rural/highway contract route box number derived from the standardized address returned by the CASS-certified ZIP+4 or delivery point code address matching process.
b. For an individual (unique) ZIP+4 code assigned to a business customer, the correct DPBC represents the ZIP+4 code followed by the last two digits of the primary street number derived from the standardized address returned by the CASS-certified ZIP+4 or delivery point address matching process.
POSTNET barcodes are subject to these standards for bar dimensions and spacing. Extraneous ink or ink voids must not cause any bar to fail to meet these standards:
a. A full bar must be 0.125 ±0.010 inch high.
b. A half bar must be 0.050 ±0.010 inch high.
c. All bars must be 0.020 ±0.005 inch wide.
d. Measured over any 1/2 inch, horizontal spacing of the bars must be 22 ±2 bars per inch, and pitch (a bar and a space) must average at least 0.0416 inch but no more than 0.05 inch. The clear vertical space between bars must not be less than 0.012 inch or more than 0.04 inch.
An Intelligent Mail barcode is the USPS-developed barcode that mailers use to encode routing and tracking information on mail that can be read by automated mail processing equipment to sort mail and to provide tracking information to the mailers. An Intelligent Mail barcode consists of 65 vertical bars, each representing one of four possible states: full bar, ascender, tracker, and descender. These 65 bars encode a string of 31 digits, divided into two parts: a 20-digit tracking code and an 11-digit routing code (when required). The 11-digit routing code may contain a ZIP Code, a ZIP+4 code, or a delivery point code, unless required to contain a certain level of code in specific applications; no correction digit is needed within an Intelligent Mail barcode. Mailers may use Intelligent Mail barcodes as follows:
a. When used on letters for automation-price eligibility purposes, the routing code must contain a delivery point code that accurately matches the delivery address.
b. When used on flat-size pieces for automation-price eligibility purposes, the barcode must contain a delivery point routing code that accurately matches the delivery address. When flat-size pieces bear an Intelligent Mail barcode for automation price eligibility, the barcode on a piece that contains an optional endorsement line (OEL) must contain OEL coding that includes information in Exhibit 7.1.1 corresponding to the correct sortation level of each bundle. The OEL information in the Intelligent Mail barcode is required in addition to a physical OEL. See the Intelligent Mail Barcode Resource Guide available at http://ribbs.usps.gov/ for more information on incorporating OELs in Intelligent Mail barcodes.
c. Reply mail pieces using origin Confirm Service do not require a Mailer ID to be encoded into the Mailer Identifier field. All other mailpieces, including QBRM letters and PRM pieces, bearing Intelligent Mail barcodes must include the Mailer ID in the Mailer Identifier field. Confirm subscribers approved for OneCode Confirm must incorporate their Confirm Subscriber ID (which is their MID) when using Intelligent Mail barcodes. OneCode Confirm subscribers can contact Confirm Customer Assistance at 1-800-238-3150 or refer to Publication 197 for specific instructions. Mailers printing the Intelligent Mail barcode solely for automation price eligibility can contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 1-800-522-9085 to obtain a MID.
Complete specifications for Intelligent Mail barcodes are defined in USPS publication USPS-B-3200.This publication also provides details on how to encode the routing code and tracking code into an Intelligent Mail barcode, barcode dimensions and spacing, clear zone, skew and rotation tolerance, and print characteristics. The assignment of a Barcode Identifier, Service Type Identifier, and Mailer ID are described by the respective publications for each extra service. These publications are available at http://ribbs.usps.gov/.
4.4.1 Background Reflectance
A background reflectance of at least 50% in the red portion and 45% in the green portion of the optical spectrum must be produced in the following locations when measured with a USPS or USPS-licensed envelope reflectance meter:
a. The barcode clear zone of a card-size or a letter-size piece barcoded in the lower right corner.
b. The area surrounding the barcode (within 1/8 inch of the leftmost and rightmost bars and 1/25 inch above and below the barcode) of a card-size, letter-size, or flat-size piece barcoded in the address block and of a flat-size, First-Class Mail parcel, or First-Class Package Service parcel barcoded elsewhere.
A print reflectance difference (PRD) of at least 30% in the red and green portions of the optical spectrum is required between the background material of the mailpiece and the barcode, when measured with a USPS or USPS-licensed envelope reflectance meter. (PRD equals the reflectance of the background minus the reflectance of the ink.)
The material on which the barcode appears must have enough opacity to prevent printing from “showing through” to the extent that it interferes with postal equipment that reads the barcode. The print contrast ratio (PCR) of print (other than the barcode) that shows through the barcode clear zone or the barcode area in the address block must not exceed 15% when measured in the red and green portions of the optical spectrum.
Dark fibers or background patterns that produce a print contrast ratio of more than 15% when measured in the red and green portions of the optical spectrum are prohibited in these locations:
a. The area of the address block or the barcode clear zone where the barcode appears on a card-size or a letter-size piece mailed at automation prices or at Enhanced Carrier Route saturation or high density prices.
b. The area of the address block or the area of the mailpiece where the barcode appears on a flat-size piece in an automation mailing or on a First-Class Mail parcel or a First-Class Package Service parcel.
For a barcode on a card-size or a letter-size piece, the combined effects of positional skew (slant or tilt of the entire barcode baseline) and rotational skew (slant or tilt of the individual barcode bars) must be limited to a maximum rotation of the bars of ±5 degrees from a perpendicular to the bottom edge of the piece. The individual bars of a barcode must not shift (be vertically offset) more than 0.015 inch from the average baseline of the barcode. For information on barcode placement for card-size and letter-size pieces, see 202.5.0.
4.5.2 Flat-Size Pieces, First-Class Mail Parcels, First-Class Package Service Parcels, and Standard Mail Irregular Parcels
The maximum rotational skew (slant or tilt of the individual barcode bars) for barcodes is ±10 degrees from a perpendicular to the baseline of the barcode. There is no positional skew requirement. The individual bars of a barcode must not shift (be vertically offset) more than 0.015 inch from the average baseline of the barcode. For information on barcode placement for flat-size pieces, see 202.5.0. For information on barcode placement on parcels weighing less than 6 ounces, see 202.4.0.
To help mailers evaluate the quality of their equipment producing barcodes, the USPS offers optional testing and certification to manufacturers of barcoding software and hardware. Certified barcoding equipment ensures that the equipment can produce dimensionally correct barcodes meeting postal specifications. Certification does not ensure that barcodes produced from that equipment can meet the requirements for automation prices because many other variables in barcode production (e.g., ink color and quality, paper color and contrast, equipment operation and maintenance) affect the quality of the barcodes printed on mailpieces.
4.6.2 Testing Arrangements
Manufacturers who want their products tested and mailers who want information on available certified products should contact the National Customer Support Center (see 608.8.0 for address).
An Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) is the USPS-developed barcode that can be read by automated parcel processing equipment and scanning devices, and consists of a data string that generally follows the GS1-128 specification. These barcodes include a variable length format that is determined by the elements selected by the mailer, and supplies tracking and routing data for packages and extra service applications. Intelligent Mail package barcodes may be used on all packages, and on other mailpieces requesting extra services. All mailers generating Intelligent Mail package barcodes must also submit piece-level information to the USPS via an approved electronic file format (except for mailers generating barcodes for use on return services products, such as MRS). Electronic files must include the destination delivery address (recommended) and/or ZIP + 4 for all records. The ZIP + 4 is recommended, but not required to be encoded into the barcode.
5.1.2 Barcode Location
5.1.3 Barcode Data Fields
The following fields are used in conjunction with the Intelligent Mail package barcode. Not every barcode type will use every field, and some fields may be suppressed from the human-readable text. Detailed specifications are provided in Publication 199 and on RIBBS at http://ribbs.usps.gov/.
a. Channel Application Identifier (AI): identifies the business induction channel from which the mailpiece originated and the location of the payment record.
b. Channel Identifier: identifies the retail system from which the barcode originates.
d. Device Identifier: used in conjunction with the AI to identify the exact printing source.
e. Julian Date: used in conjunction with the AI to identify the print date.
f. Mailer Identifier (MID): identifies the 6 or 9-digit MID of the mailer or mail service provider. A 6-digit MID must begin with a “0” through an “8” and a 9-digit MID must begin with a “9.”
g. Mod 10 Check Digit: used as the final digit in the barcode string.
h. Postal Code Application Identifier: identifies the presence of a routing code, when used.
i. Serial Number: identifies the mailpiece, the length for which is determined by the induction channel for the mailer.
j. Service Type Code: a 3-digit code that identifies the mail class, product and/or extra services.
k. Source Identifier: a 2-digit field that identifies the type of online source or platform that generated the barcode.
Detailed physical specifications for barcodes are provided in the resource documents and Publication 199, available on RIBBS at http://ribbs.usps.gov/. Physical barcode requirements are as follows:
a. Barcode Symbology: generally follows GS1-128 symbology.
b. X-Dimension: defines the width of the narrowest bar or space element within the barcode and must be between 0.013 inch and 0.021 inch. X-Dimension must remain constant through the barcode.
c. Barcode Length: the overall length is a function of the number of characters encoded and the X-Dimension used.
d. Barcode Height: unless allowed by exception, the minimum height must be at least 0.75 inch.
e. Minimum Horizontal Barcode Quiet/Clear Zone: must measure at least ten (10) times the X-Dimension to the left and right of the barcode. A clear zone of at least 0.25 inch is recommended.
f. Minimum Vertical Barcode Quiet/Clear Zone: a clear zone of at least 0.125 inch must be maintained directly above and below the barcode.
g. Human-Readable Representation of Barcode Data and Service Banner: text must be printed in accordance with Exhibit 5.1.4 and as follows:
2. Service Banners must include the human-readable text “USPS SIGNATURE TRACKING #” (or “USPS SIGNATURE TRACKING NUMBER”) for mailpieces requiring a signature at delivery and ``USPS TRACKING #” (or “USPS TRACKING NUMBER”) for all other mailpieces. Service Banner text shown in Exhibit 5.1.4 is an example. See Publication 199 for additional information.
h. Identification Bars: are horizontal black lines that extend at least the total combined width of the barcode and the minimum horizontal clearance to the left and right of the barcode, and may extend beyond this measurement to the width of the label are printed in accordance with Exhibit 5.1.4
Exhibit 5.1.4 Barcode Specifications
Detailed specifications for measuring print quality are defined in the Intelligent Mail Package Barcode Specification and Publication 199.
a. Reflectance: barcodes must be printed on substrate (e.g. shipping label) of uniform color and must meet requirements for reflectance as measured on a USPS-specified reflectance meter or barcode verifier.
b. Symbol Contrast: when measured in accordance with the Intelligent Mail Package Barcode Specification, must be greater than 40 percent.
c. Barcode Quality: barcodes in each mailing must have an acceptable overall symbol grade.
5.1.6 Quality Assurance
5.1.7 Electronic File
All mailers generating Intelligent Mail package barcodes must transmit piece-level information to the USPS in an approved electronic file format (except for mailers generating barcodes for use on return services products, such as MRS). Specifications for electronic files are available on RIBBS at http://ribbs.usps.gov/. Electronic files must include the following elements:
a. Header Record: provides summary information regarding the entity transmitting the file and the nature of the mailing.
b. Detail Record 1: defines the class and service type of the item, fees and postage, destination ZIP Code and information related to containerization.
c. Detail Record 2: provides detail on special products (e.g. Priority Mail Express).
d. Version 1.6 (or subsequent versions) of the electronic shipping services manifest files including each destination delivery address or ZIP + 4 Code. Effective January 25, 2015, shipping services manifests, or other approved electronic documentation, must include the destination delivery address or delivery point validated (DPV) 11-digit ZIP Code for each record in the file.
e. Electronic shipping manifest files, or approved alternative electronic documentation, must include data identifying the mailing agent and mail owner, as applicable.
5.1.8 Alternate Approval
Labels not meeting IMpb specifications or other label element standards, but are still able to demonstrate acceptable functionality within USPS processes, may be allowed using an alternative approval process authorized by the vice president, Product Information.
A separate postal routing barcode may be used on parcels to provide routing information, when used in conjunction with an IMpb. Each parcel must bear a properly prepared GS1-128 barcode symbology as described in 5.2.2 that accurately represents the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code of the delivery address. For information on barcode placement for parcels, see 202.4.0.
a. Barcode Type. GS1-128 is the only acceptable barcode and must be printed within Subset C.
b. Start Code. Postal routing barcodes must start with a Symbol Start Code, which is not shown in the human-readable text.
c. Function One (FNC1). The FNC1 numeric character for GS1-128 follows the symbol start character, is part of the symbology overhead, and is not shown in the human-readable text.
d. Application Identifier (AI). The AI for a postal routing barcode is “420” for domestic mail and is not shown in the human-readable text.
e. ZIP Code or ZIP+4 Code. Postal routing barcodes must include the 5-digit ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code of the address. Only the 5-digit ZIP Code appears in the human-readable text.
f. Check Digit. A check digit must be added at the end of the sequence of numbers to validate the authenticity of the number. GS1-128 postal routing barcodes must utilize a MOD 103 check digit, which is not shown in the human-readable text.
g. Stop Code. The GS1-128 postal routing barcode must end with a Symbol Stop Code, which is not shown in the human-readable text.
Exhibit 5.2.2 Postal Routing GS1-128 Barcode Format
Eligible machinable parcels may qualify for the barcode discount and bear a USPS Tracking or Signature Confirmation barcode using one of the following options:
a. The Single Concatenated Barcode (see Exhibit 5.2.3a). Mailers may place a single concatenated barcode that combines the postal routing information and USPS Tracking or Signature Confirmation information. Single concatenated barcodes must be prepared in accordance with the technical specifications and requirements in 503 for USPS Tracking or Signature Confirmation, and in Publication 199. If a parcel bears a single concatenated barcode, then no other barcode that contains the postal routing barcode may be affixed to the package.
Exhibit 5.2.3a Confirmation Services Concatenated GS1-128 Barcode Format
b. Separate Barcodes. Mailers may place both a postal routing barcode described in 5.2.2 and a USPS Tracking barcode or Signature Confirmation barcode described in 503 and in Publication 199 on the same parcel.
Exhibit 5.2.3b Confirmation Services GS1-128 Barcode Format Using a Separate Postal Routing Barcode
To eliminate the need to place one barcode for USPS Tracking or Signature Confirmation and another barcode for insurance, eligible machinable parcels may qualify for the barcode discount by placing a single integrated barcode that combines USPS Tracking or Signature Confirmation and insurance using one of the following options:
a. Single Concatenated Integrated Barcode that combines postal routing information and postal insurance (503.4.0) with USPS Tracking service or Signature Confirmation service. Single concatenated integrated barcodes must be prepared in accordance with the technical specifications and requirements in 503 for USPS Tracking and Signature Confirmation, and Publication 199. If a parcel bears a single concatenated integrated barcode then no other barcode that contains the postal routing barcode may be affixed to the package.
b. Separate Barcodes. Mailers may place both a postal routing barcode described in 5.2.2 and an integrated barcode that combines insurance as described in 5.2a. on the same parcel with USPS Tracking in 503.7.0 or Signature Confirmation in 503.8.0. The integrated barcode option allows electronic mailers to combine multiple special services into a single barcode on their packages.
The preferred range of widths of narrow bars and spaces is 0.015 inch to 0.017 inch. The width of the narrow bars or spaces must be at least 0.013 inch but no more than 0.021 inch. All bars must be at least 0.75 inch high.
5.2.7 Clear Zone
The barcode must be located as specified in 202.6.2. No printing may appear in an area 1/8 inch above and below the barcode. A minimum clear (quiet) zone equal to 10 times the average measured narrow element (bars or space) width must be maintained to the left and right of the barcode.
Barcodes must be printed on substrate (e.g. shipping label) of uniform color and must meet requirements for reflectance as measured on a USPS-specified reflectance meter or barcode verifier.
All barcodes in each mailing must measure American National Standards Institute (ANSI) grade C or above. Information concerning ANSI guidelines X3.182-1990 may be obtained from the ANSI (see 608.8.3).
5.2.10 Human-Readable Information
The human-readable information on the barcode must conform to one of the following options:
a. For postal routing barcodes printed under 5.2.2, 5.2.3b, and 5.2.4b, if the postal routing barcode is printed on a separate label, the human-readable equivalent of the ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code encoded in the barcode preceded by the word “ZIP” must be printed between 1/8 inch and 1/2 inch below the barcode in 10-point or larger bold sans-serif type. Alternatively, the word “ZIP” may be placed no less than 10 times the average narrow bar or space element width and no more than 1/2 inch to the left of the barcode, in 10-point or larger bold sans-serif type (see Exhibit 5.2.2). While not recommended, if the postal routing barcode is printed on the delivery address label and is in close proximity to the address, the human-readable equivalent of the ZIP Code (and the word “ZIP”) may be omitted.
b. For barcodes printed under 5.2.3b or 5.2.4b the human-readable information for the concatenated or concatenated/integrated barcode must include as text the application identifiers (AI) 420 and 91 and the full tracking identification number. When the AI 420 and ZIP Code information is used, it must be parsed separately from the main body of text. The first group will contain the 420 AI, space, 5-digit ZIP Code, space, +4 code (if used), space, with the remaining human-readable text parsed in groups of four with the remaining digits grouped at the end (e.g., 420 22021 9122 1234 5678 9123 4567 83).
5.2.11 Service Banner Text
Except with Certified Mail, Registered Mail, Adult Signature, Parcel Return Service, and Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail Open and Distribute services, mailers preparing extra service barcodes under 5.2 may optionally use a “USPS TRACKING #” human-readable service banner text above the barcode on packages not requiring a signature at delivery, and a “USPS SIGNATURE TRACKING #” service banner text above the barcode on packages where a signature is required at delivery.
5.2.12 Technical Specifications
Postal routing codes must meet the technical specifications in the GS1-128 Application Identifier Standard, which can be obtained from Uniform Code Council Inc. (see 608.8.0), and the barcode characteristics in 5.0.
5.2.13 Substrate Material
Barcodes must be printed on substrate material that preserves the optical specification as described in the AIM-USA Uniform Symbology Specification documents. Typically, white label stock commonly used for barcode generation is suitable, providing it is not glossy (causing mirror-like, specular reflection) or prone to smearing or smudging.
6.0 Standards for Barcoded Tray Labels, Sack Labels, and Container Placards
6.1.1 Tray and Sack Labels
Intelligent Mail tray labels are the USPS-approved method to encode routing, content, origin, and mailer information on trays and sacks. Intelligent Mail tray labels are designed for optimum use with Intelligent Mail barcoded mail and have the capacity to provide unique identification throughout postal processing, but are required for use on all trays and sacks in presorted mailings.
6.1.2 Container Placards
Mailer-generated container placards bearing Intelligent Mail container barcodes identify the mail owner or agent and uniquely identify the unit (pallet, container, or rolling stock). Intelligent Mail container placards are designed for use with Intelligent Mail barcoded mail and Intelligent Mail tray labels.
a. Intelligent Mail container placards are not required for small mailings of Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter letters and flats when entered at a BMEU, if the mailing is less than 500 pounds of bundles or sacks, and fewer than 72 linear feet of trays.
b. Intelligent Mail container placards are not required when entering mail at a co-located BMEU within the service area where mail is entered, if the mailing consists of 100 but less than 250 pounds of bundles or sacks, and at least 12 but fewer than 35 linear feet of trays.
Exhibit 6.2.1 shows the types of mail requiring barcoded tray or sack labels. Barcoded labels must meet these general standards:
b. Mailer-produced barcoded labels must meet the standards in 6.0, and tray labels must be non-adhesive.
c. All information on barcoded labels must be machine-printed. Alterations to preprinted barcoded labels (e.g., handwritten changes) may not be made.
d. Barcoded labels must be inserted completely into the label holder on the tray or sack to prevent their loss during transport and processing.
Exhibit 6.2.1 Required Barcoded Tray and Sack Labels
a. Placement. The destination line must be the top line of the label. An exception is that one line of extraneous information may appear above the destination line on tray and sack labels as provided in 6.3.2, and 6.3.3f. The destination line must be completely visible when placed in the label holder. Visibility is ensured if the destination line is no less than 1/8 (0.125) inch below the top of the label, when the label is cut and prepared.
b. Information. The destination line must contain only the information required by the standards for the class, processing category, sortation level of the tray or sack, and the prices claimed. This information is contained in the labeling lists for all sortation and price levels except trays and sacks to carrier route, 5-digit carrier routes, merged 5-digit, and 5-digit destinations. For the destination line of carrier route, 5-digit carrier routes, merged 5-digit, and 5-digit trays and sacks, the city, two-letter state abbreviation, and 5-digit ZIP Code of the destination 5-digit ZIP Code area must be shown.
c. Overseas Military Mail. The exact content identifier number (CIN) that matches the level of tray or sack must be used in the barcode and its numeric line on barcoded tray or sack labels. The required second line of information that corresponds to the CIN must appear on the human-readable content line of the label. The human-readable content line is automatically printed when labels are obtained through the CLDS system (clds.usps.com). A footnote at the end of the content line information means that the mailer must add appropriate information when ordering and printing tray and sack labels.
6.2.3 Line 2 (Content Line)
a. General. The content line must appear directly below the destination line as shown in b. or c. . This line must show the class, processing category, and the sortation level of the tray or sack as required by the applicable standards for the mailing. The appropriate content identifier number (CIN) in 6.2.4 that corresponds to that content line must be used in the barcode.
2. “NEWS” if published weekly or more often or if authorized newspaper treatment as of March 1, 1984.
c. Additional Information. For 3-digit scheme trays as specified by the labeling list, the content line for some destinations must be followed by the letter “A,” “B,” or “C,” which is not required to be right-justified. For carrier route trays and sacks, the content information must be followed by a one-letter carrier route type description followed by a space and a 3-digit route number for the route to which the tray is destined.
[1-17-16] The exact content identifier number (CIN) that matches the level of tray or sack must be used in the barcode and its numeric line on barcoded tray or sack labels. The required second line of information that corresponds to the CIN must appear on the human-readable content line of the label. The human-readable content line is automatically printed when labels are obtained by mailers through the CLDS system (clds.usps.com). A footnote at the end of the content line information means that the mailer must add appropriate information when ordering and printing tray and sack labels. See Exhibit 6.2.4 .
Exhibit 6.2.4 3-Digit Content Identifier Numbers
6.2.5 Line 3 (Origin Line)
The origin line must appear below the content line, except as allowed under 6.3.4 and 6.2.5a and 6.2.5b. The origin line must show the city and state of the entry Post Office or the mailer's name and the city and state of the mailer's location (city and state information may be abbreviated if such abbreviations are in the USPS City State Product). A mailer code assigned by the USPS or such words as “Mailer” or “From” may appear before the required information on this line. Mailers who choose to print destination entry office information on line 3 instead of the origin information must print the origin information as follows:
a. When the origin information is not printed on line 3, it must be printed right-justified in the “MAILER AREA” shown in exhibit 6.3.2.
b. When the origin information is printed in the “MAILER AREA” instead of line 3, it must be directly preceded by “ORIGIN:” or “ORGN:” and it may contain, at a minimum, the mailer's name and ZIP Code of origin entry.
Intelligent Mail tray labels are 2-inch labels used on trays and sacks to provide unique identification within postal processing. 24-digit Intelligent Mail tray labels include only a 24-digit barcode printed in International Symbology Specification (ISS) Code 128 subset C symbology (see Exhibit 6.3.3). Intelligent Mail tray labels also include a human readable field designed to indicate the carrier route for carrier route mailings, display an “AUTO” indicator text for automation mailings, or remain blank for nonautomation mailings. Mailers using Intelligent Mail tray labels must print labels in the 24-digit Intelligent Mail tray label format. Detailed specifications for the tray label and barcode formats are at http://ribbs.usps.gov.
Intelligent Mail tray labels, printed in the 24-digit format, can be used on all trays and sacks to uniquely identify each tray and sack in addition to each mailer or mail preparer. 24-digit Intelligent Mail tray labels bear a single barcode and permit an expanded mailer's use area (see Exhibit 6.3.2).
Exhibit 6.3.2 Intelligent Mail Tray Label
i. Mailer area (set aside for mailer-generated human-readable information or for origin information on 24-digit Intelligent Mail tray labels when the mailer chooses to print destination entry office information on line 3 of the tray label).
6.3.4 Barcode Composition
The barcode composition is dependent on the Mailer ID assigned by the USPS. Upon request by the mailer, the USPS assigns a 6-digit or 9-digit Mailer ID based on the demonstrated mail volume of the mailer. Intelligent Mail tray barcodes contain the following elements:
d. Mailer ID.
6.3.5 Unique Serial Number
[6-6-16] The Intelligent Mail tray barcode can encode a unique identifier for each tray and sack. Tray or sack serial numbers associated to an individual Mailer ID cannot be duplicated within a 45-day period, regardless of the acceptance location.
Mailers printing Intelligent Mail tray labels are responsible for the inspection and testing of the labels prior to submission to USPS and for maintaining the overall quality of the labels produced. Inspection and testing of Intelligent Mail tray labels should be performed periodically. Mailers and label vendors are encouraged to submit samples to the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) in Memphis for certification (see 608.8.0 for address).
Mailer-generated container placards bearing Intelligent Mail container barcodes identify pallets and other rolling stock, such as all-purpose containers. Intelligent Mail container barcodes uniquely identify each container and may be scanned at induction points. Detailed specifications for Intelligent Mail container barcodes and placards are available at http://ribbs.usps.gov.
Intelligent Mail container placards must be affixed on the outside of any shrinkwrap or plastic by self-adhesive or other adhesive means. Placards may be produced in two configurations:
a. Affixed placard measuring at least 8 inches by 11 inches. See 6.4.3 for placard specifications and 6.4.5 placard placement.
b. Optional affixed placard measuring at least 4 inches by 7 inches. See 6.4.6 for placard specifications and 6.4.5 for placard placement.
In addition to the requirements for pallet placards in 705.8.6, Intelligent Mail container placards (see Exhibit 6.4.3) must retain the top one-half of the placard for USPS-required elements, except as allowed under 705.8.6.6. The USPS banner, identification bars, and human-readable text are required elements related to the Intelligent Mail container barcode and will serve as a guide to distinguish the barcode from the other information on the container placard. Required elements include:
a. USPS Banner. “USPS SCAN REQUIRED” must be printed in all uppercase letters centered above the barcode and embedded within the upper identification bar. Clear zone and font size are as follows:
1. A clear zone of at least 0.125 inch, but no more than 0.5 inch, must be maintained between the bottom edge of the text and the top of the barcode.
2. The banner must be printed in a boldface sans-serif font of at least 14-point type.
b. Identification Bars. Horizontal black bars of at least 0.10 inch thick must be printed above and below the barcode. At a minimum, the bars must extend the length of the barcode. Clear zone and other requirements are as follows:
2. The upper bar must have a void in the middle sufficient to insert the USPS banner without any element being obscured.
3. The lower bar must be printed at least 0.125 inch below the human-readable representation of the barcode string.
c. Human-Readable Representation of Barcode Data. The human-readable representation of barcode data (text) must be printed in a boldface sans-serif font of at least 12-point type. The text must not exceed the length of the barcode and must be separated by data field. Two blank character spaces must be left between each field. The text must be centered at least 0.125 inch, but no more than 0.25 inch, below the barcode.
d. Barcode Location. The barcode, along with the corresponding USPS banner and identification bars, must be printed on the front side of the pallet placard. When the identification bars extend beyond the length of the barcode, the barcode must be horizontally centered.
e. Minimum size. The minimum size of this placard is 8 inches high by 11 inches long. See additional specifications at http://ribbs.usps.gov. Mailers using larger placards must ensure the barcode conforms to the published specification and the human-readable content is provided as illustrated in Exhibit 6.4.3 and as published on the RIBBS web site.
Exhibit 6.4.3 Intelligent Mail Container Placard
6.4.4 Barcode Format
Intelligent Mail container barcodes are 21 characters in length and contain a USPS-assigned Mailer ID. The format depends on the Mailer ID assigned. Intelligent Mail container barcodes contain the following elements:
c. Mailer ID.
6.4.5 Placard Requirements
Mailers may use placards bearing Intelligent Mail container barcodes only under the following conditions:
a. Two placards must be placed on each pallet, one on each adjacent side. Placards must be affixed by self-adhesive or other adhesive means that will not obscure any required element of the placard and remain secure throughout USPS processing.
d. Placards prepared in the optional smaller format under 6.6 may be white, but must include a vertical pink 1/2-inch wide identification bar along the left-hand side of the placard, unless prepared under 6.4.5e..
e. Placards containing Periodicals may be all white when used in conjunction with a pink designator label meeting the following criteria:
1. Designator labels must be printed in landscape orientation and, except for the defined mailer-use area, must not include any print or graphics, other than the required markings in 6.4.5e..2. and 6.4.5e..3.. Mailers may place extraneous information, meeting the criteria in 705.8.6.8, only in the mailer-use area of the label.
2. The mailer-use area consists of the bottom 3 inches of designator labels measuring at least 8 inches by 11 inches, and the bottom 1 inch of designator labels measuring less than 8 inches by 11 inches. Mailers must define the mailer-use area by placing a horizontal black line of at least 0.10 inch in thickness, extending the width of the label, and must include “MAILER-USE ONLY” text printed in all uppercase letters centered and embedded within the horizontal black line. This text must be printed using boldface sans-serif font and must be in at least 14-point type.
3. Designator labels must meet or exceed both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the accompanying Intelligent Mail container placard and must bear only a “PERIODICALS” or “NEWS” marking at least 1/2-inch high (or at least 48-point type).
4. Designator labels may be affixed on the outside of, or be placed beneath, any shrinkwrap or plastic, but must be immediately adjacent to the Intelligent Mail container placard.
5. When using this option, each Intelligent Mail container placard must be accompanied by an adjacent designator label.
Mailers may prepare placards bearing Intelligent Mail container barcodes (see Exhibit 6.4.6) in a smaller alternate format as follows:
c. Placards prepared in the minimum size of 4 inches high by 7 inches long may include a restricted mailer/acceptance unit area that cannot exceed one line of text or contain print no larger than 12 point. Text in the restricted mailer/acceptance unit area must be restricted to the bottom line of the placard (below the lower barcode identification bar).
d. Intelligent Mail container placards prepared in the optional smaller format, but measuring more than 4 inches high by 7 inches long in both (or either) dimensions, must preserve the top 3.75 inches of the placard, or the area including and above the lower barcode identification bar (whichever is greater), for USPS-required elements. The remainder of the placard is available for restricted mailer/acceptance unit use. Text in the restricted mailer/acceptance unit area, when used, must contain print no larger than 12 point.
e. All text placed in the mailer/acceptance unit area must be approved by the business mail entry unit (BMEU) servicing the mailer for acceptance and verification, except as allowed under 705.8.6.6a. or 705.8.6.6b. for optional placement of required origin office/mailer location information. Mailers wishing to include information other than that approved or allowed for use in this area must use the larger size placard specified in 6.4.3.
f. Placards must be securely affixed on two adjacent sides on the outside of the shrinkwrap or plastic of pallets.
g. Placards containing Intelligent Mail container barcodes must meet the specifications for placards posted at http://ribbs.usps.gov.
Exhibit 6.4.6 Intelligent Mail Container Placard—Optional Format with Restricted Mailer Area
The Intelligent Mail container barcode can encode a unique identifier for each container. Mailers must ensure that serial numbers in barcodes remain unique for 45 days.
Mailers printing Intelligent Mail container placards are responsible for the inspection and testing of the placards prior to submission to the USPS and for maintaining the overall quality of the placards they produce. Inspection and testing of Intelligent Mail container placards should be performed periodically. Mailers are encouraged to work with their local mailpiece design analyst to validate the accuracy and quality of their placards.
7.1 OEL Use
7.1.1 Basic Standards
An optional endorsement line (OEL) may be used to label bundles instead of applying pressure-sensitive bundle labels or facing slips to the top piece of bundles. The OEL must show carrier route information or the type of bundle and ZIP Code information as shown in Exhibit 7.1.1. Use of OELs on bundles is subject to the standards for the price claimed. At the mailer's option, pieces in trays of noncarrier route automation letter-size mail may bear OEL information that corresponds to the sortation level of the tray in which the pieces are placed. The ZIP Code for use on OELs must include the 3-digit ZIP Code prefix or 5-digit ZIP Code as required.
Exhibit 7.1.1 OEL Formats
When flat-size pieces bear an Intelligent Mail barcode (under 4.3) for automation-price eligibility purposes, the barcode on a piece that contains an optional endorsement line (OEL) must contain OEL coding that includes information in Exhibit 708.7.1.1 that corresponds to the correct sortation level of each bundle. The OEL information in the Intelligent Mail barcode is required in addition to a physical OEL. See the Intelligent Mail Barcode Resource Guide available at http://ribbs.usps.gov/ for more information on incorporating OELs in Intelligent Mail barcodes.
A mailer's keyline or comparable information may not be placed on the same line as the OEL or on the line above the OEL. A keyline used on valid ACS mailpieces is subject also to 7.2.4.
7.1.4 Firm Bundles
On a firm bundle of carrier route presorted Periodicals, “FIRM” may precede “CAR-RT SORT” in the carrier route information line under 6.0.
7.1.5 Price Markings
At the mailer’s option, price markings required by the standards for the price claimed may be included in the OEL if the OEL appears on each piece in the mailing and if it remains a single line with the basic bundle label information (required by 7.1.1) at the right end (e.g., on a carrier route bundle of Enhanced Carrier Route Saturation Standard Mail: * * * * ECRWSS**C-001; on an automation Standard Mail 3-digit bundle: * * * * AUTO**3-DIGIT 750).
7.1.7 OEL With LOT Information
At the mailer’s option, line-of-travel (LOT) information for carrier route Periodicals and Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail may be included in the OEL using the applicable format in 7.1.1. All other OEL requirements apply. If there is insufficient space within the OEL to include any other information required (e.g., ACS participant code), this OEL format may not be used.
7.1.8 Required OEL Use in Combined Mailings of Standard Mail and Periodicals Flats
Mailers authorized to combine Standard Mail flats and Periodicals flats, under 705.15.0, must apply an OEL identifying the presort level of the bundle and other applicable information as specified in 7.1 to each mailpiece. The following additional standards also apply:
a. Each OEL must contain the format elements described in 7.2 and must include a “MIX COMAIL” human-readable text, as its most right-justified element.
b. Mailpieces may include LOT information, in accordance with 7.1.7, only when there is sufficient space for the human-readable text in item a and all other required information.
c. When combined mailings of Standard Mail and Periodicals flats are prepared to FSS zones under 705.15.1.11, each mailpiece must bear a “SCH 5-Digit FSS MIX COMAIL” human-readable text, including the correct ZIP code listed in Column B of L006, as described in Exhibit 7.1.1.
7.2 OEL Format
7.2.1 Presort Identification
Except when an address block barcode is placed above the optional endorsement line (OEL), the appropriate presort identification must be the first line at the top of the address block or label. A mailer receiving address corrections through Address Change Service (ACS) may use the first eight positions on the left side of the OEL for an ACS human-readable participant code.
7.2.2 Style and Size of Type
c. Font size and line spacing must be no less than the size and line spacing of the largest letters or characters in the address block or any part of the address label, except as provided under 7.2.2d.
d. At the mailer's option, characters are a minimum of 8 point font size on mailpieces that do not bear a traditional ACS printed participant code (see 507.4.0). Under this option, characters may not overlap and must be evenly spaced.
7.2.3 ACS Code in OEL
If an ACS human-readable participant code (see 507.4.2) is used in an OEL on a label or in an address block, the delimiter symbol (#) must be in the first position at the left margin of the OEL, followed by the seven-character USPS-assigned ACS participant code, then one blank space. The remaining blank spaces between the left-justified delimiter and ACS participant code and the first character of the right-justified mail sortation information of the OEL must be filled with asterisks.
7.2.4 No ACS Code in OEL
If an ACS human-readable participant code is not placed in the OEL as permitted by 507.4.2.4, the OEL must be filled with asterisks from the left margin of the label or address block up to the first character in the OEL. A keyline prepared under 7.1.3 is required on valid ACS mailpieces if an ACS participant wants to receive notification of nondelivery information under 507.1.4.1 in addition to address correction service.
7.2.5 ZIP Code Information
[1-17-16] Except for carrier route bundles, the OEL must include the ZIP Code information (5-digit ZIP Code or 3-digit ZIP Code prefix) determined by the sortation level and, when applicable, by the labeling list designated in Exhibit 7.2.5 for ADC, mixed ADC, AADC, or mixed AADC sortation levels. Carrier route OELs must show carrier route information as specified in 8.2.
Exhibit 7.2.5 OEL Labeling Lists
Mailers must prepare bundles of all mailpieces mailed at carrier route prices with optional endorsement lines under 7.0, carrier route information lines under 8.2, or facing slips (see 203.3.0). Carrier route information lines may be on all pieces in a mailing, regardless of presort level. Mailers must use optional endorsement lines or carrier route information lines on all pieces in mailings of Standard Mail letters prepared under 245.9.7, except for pieces in full carrier route trays.
8.2.1 Route Information
Carrier route information consisting of a descriptive prefix (or its abbreviation), plus a route number or numeric code, must be on the top line of the address, either alone or with other information (e.g., addressee, account data). Alternatively, when permitted by standard, the carrier route information may appear with the applicable carrier route endorsement on the line above or two lines above the address if the carrier route price marking is in the address area (see Exhibit 8.2.1).
Exhibit 8.2.1 Address Format With Carrier Route Information
8.2.2 Descriptive Prefix
The authorized descriptive prefixes and their abbreviations are “Carrier Route” (“C”), “Rural Route” (“R”), “Highway Contract Route” (“H”), “Post Office Box Section” (“B”), and “General Delivery Unit” (“G”).
8.2.3 Route Code
b. On Periodicals and Standard Mail pieces bearing a simplified address that does not include a ZIP Code, the descriptive prefix in 8.2.2 must be followed by the last two digits of the 5-digit ZIP Code and the 3-digit route number or Post Office box section number.
c. The route code required for simplified address mailings in 8.2.3b may also be used on mailings of any class that contain a ZIP Code in the address.
8.2.4 Other Elements
b. At least 10 spaces must be reserved for the carrier route code if other information is included on the top line.
c. The carrier route information line may also contain the basic markings required by standard for the class of mail and price claimed, prepared under 202 for letters, 202 for flats, and 202 for parcels.
d. The carrier route information line may also include information to identify bundles of Periodicals matter mailed at:
1. carrier route saturation prices (“SATURATION WALK-SEQUENCED CARRIER ROUTE MAIL” or the abbreviation “CAR-RT WSS”),
2. high density walk-sequenced prices (“HIGH DENSITY WALK-
3. basic carrier route prices (“CARRIER ROUTE LINE-OF-TRAVEL” or the abbreviation “CAR-RT LOT”).
8.2.5 Firm Bundle
On a firm bundle of carrier route presorted Periodicals, “FIRM” may precede “CAR-RT LOT” or “CAR-RT WSH” or “CAR-RT WSS,” as applicable, in the carrier route information line.
9.1 Using FIMs
The facing identification mark (FIM) serves to orient and separate certain types of First-Class Mail during the facing-canceling process. Mailers must use the appropriate FIM as follows:
c. Letter-size courtesy reply mail (CRM) and meter reply mail (MRM) provided as enclosures in automation-price mailings under 201.3.0.
d. Letter-size mail with IBI printed with nonfluorescent ink directly onto the envelope by an IBI meter or a PC postage system must use FIM D.
f. A FIM must not be used on other types of mail, except that a FIM may be used on a letter-size envelope with a permit imprint indicia when that envelope is designed for use as a reusable mailpiece under 601.6.0. A FIM used for this purpose must be the appropriate FIM for the postage payment method on the returned envelope (see 9.2).
The FIM pattern is a nine-bit binary code represented by vertical bars (with corresponding space element). A printed bar is considered binary 1; a nonprinted bar (placeholder), binary 0. The required FIM pattern as shown in Exhibit 9.2 below depends on the type of mail and the presence of a POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode as follows:
b. FIM B is used for BRM without a preprinted BRM ZIP+4 barcode. (FIM B binary code is 101101101.)
c. FIM C is used for BRM with a preprinted BRM ZIP+4 barcode and for PRM with a preprinted delivery-point barcode. (FIM C binary code is 110101011.)
d. FIM D is used for letter-size First-Class Mail with IBI printed with nonfluorescent ink directly on the envelope. (FIM D binary code is 111010111.)
e. FIM E is used for postcard-size and letter-size First-Class Mail with customized services. (FIM E binary code is 101000101.)
Exhibit 9.2 FIM Patterns
a. A FIM clear zone to the upper right of the address side of the mailpiece must be maintained and must contain no printing other than the FIM. Exhibit 9.3 shows the FIM position and the FIM clear zone as defined by these boundaries:
1. Left: 3 inches from the right edge of the piece.
2. Right: 1-3/4 inches from the right edge of the piece.
4. Bottom: 5/8 inch from the top edge of the piece.
b. The FIM bars must be 5/8 inch (±1/8 inch) high and 1/32 inch (±0.008 inch) wide and positioned as follows:
1. The right edge of the rightmost bar of the FIM must be 2 inches (±1/8 inch) from the right edge of the piece.
2. The tops of the FIM bars must be no lower than 1/8 inch from the top edge of the piece. The tops of the bars may extend over the top edge of the piece to the back (flap) of the piece if at least a 1/2-inch bar height is maintained on the address side.
3. The bottoms of the FIM bars must touch the bottom boundary of the FIM clear zone or be no more than 1/8 inch above or below this boundary.
Exhibit 9.3 Position of FIM
Extraneous ink must not cause a FIM bar to exceed the specifications in 9.3. The combined effects of positional skew (slant of the entire FIM) and rotational skew (slant of the individual FIM bars) must be limited to ±5 degrees from the perpendicular edge of the printed FIM to the top edge of the mailpiece. Mail required to bear a FIM is considered nonmailable when the FIM has insufficient ink coverage, improper measurement, or ink in the space between the bars or when the FIM is enlarged or reduced. Camera-ready positives of FIMs, which must not be enlarged or reduced, are available at no charge from the USPS.
There must be at least a 30% print reflectance difference between the ink used for printing the FIM and the background material on which the FIM is printed in the red and green portions of the optical spectrum when measured with a USPS or USPS-licensed envelope reflectance meter.
10.0 Postal Zones
Postal prices for certain subclasses of mail are based on the weight of the individual piece and the distance that the piece travels from origin to destination (i.e., the number of postal zones crossed). For the administration of these postal zones, the earth is divided into units of area 30 minutes square, identical with a quarter of the area formed by the intersecting parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude. Postal zones are based on the distance between these units of area. The distance is measured from the center of the unit of area containing the SCF serving the origin Post Office to the SCF serving the destination Post Office. The SCFs serving the origin and destination Post Offices are determined by using L005, Column B.
Zones are used to compute postage on zoned mail sent between USPS facilities, including military Post Offices (MPOs), as follows:
a. For the purposes of computing postal zone information, except for items 10.2b. and 10.2c., the following table applies to MPOs not listed in L005.
b. The postage prices for zoned mail transported between the United States, the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, or U.S. territories or possessions, including the Trust Territory of the Pacific on the one hand, and MPOs on the other, or, among the MPOs, are the applicable zone prices for mail between the place of mailing or delivery and the city of the postmaster serving the MPO concerned.
c. The postage price for zoned mail mailed at or addressed to an MPO and transported directly to or from MPOs at Department of Defense expense, without transiting any of the 48 contiguous states (including the District of Columbia), is the applicable local zone price. If such mail transits any area served by the USPS at USPS expense and the distance from the place of mailing to the embarkation point or from the debarkation point to the place of delivery is more than the local zone for such mail, postage is assessed by the distance from the place of mailing to the embarkation point or from the debarkation point to the place of delivery of such mail, as the case may be. The word transiting does not include en route transfers at coastal gateway cities necessary to transport military mail directly between MPOs. For example, a parcel mailed at Honolulu, HI, for direct dispatch by the Department of Defense from Honolulu to an MPO in the Pacific is subject to the local zone price. A parcel mailed at Hilo, HI, and transported at USPS expense to Honolulu, HI, for direct dispatch at Department of Defense expense from Honolulu to an MPO in Japan is subject to zone 2 prices.
10.3 Zone Charts
The USPS Official National Zone Chart Data Program is administered from the National Customer Support Center (NCSC) in Memphis, TN. Single-page zone charts for originating mail are available at no cost from local Post Offices or online at pe.usps.com. Zone chart data for the entire nation can be purchased in print and CD-ROM formats. For more information or to purchase zone charts, call the Zone Chart program administrator at 800-238-3150 or write to the NCSC (see 608.8.0 for address).
10.4 Specific Zones
10.4.1 Local Zone
The local zone applies to mail deposited at any Post Office for delivery to addresses within the delivery area of that Post Office. For various types of Post Offices, the local zone applies to all mail that both originates and destinates within:
b. Any of the 5-digit ZIP Codes that are part of any unique 3-digit ZIP Code prefix(es) or other separate 5-digit ZIP Code(s), as applicable, assigned to the same Post Office.
10.4.2 Nonlocal Zone
a. The zone 1 price applies to pieces not eligible for the local zone in 10.4.1 that are mailed between two Post Offices with the same 3-digit ZIP Code prefix identified in L005, Column A. Zone 1 includes all units of area outside the local zone lying in whole or in part within a radius of about 50 miles from the center of the area.
b. Zone 2 includes all units of area outside zone 1 lying in whole or in part within a radius of about 150 miles from the center of a given unit of area.
c. Zone 3 includes all units of area outside zone 2 lying in whole or in part within a radius of about 300 miles from the center of a given unit of area.
d. Zone 4 includes all units of area outside zone 3 lying in whole or in part within a radius of about 600 miles from the center of a given unit of area.
e. Zone 5 includes all units of area outside zone 4 lying in whole or in part within a radius of about 1,000 miles from the center of a given unit of area.
f. Zone 6 includes all units of area outside zone 5 lying in whole or in part within a radius of about 1,400 miles from the center of a given unit of area.
g. Zone 7 includes all units of area outside zone 6 lying in whole or in part within a radius of about 1,800 miles from the center of a given unit of area.
10.4.3 Delivery Unit (Office)
The delivery unit price applies to mail destinating within the delivery area of the delivery unit at which it is deposited by the mailer.