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Quick Service Guide 507b
Additional Services
Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM)

January 2006
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Related QSGs

507a, Business Reply Mail (BRM)
507c, Meter Reply Mail (MRM)



Courtesy reply mail (CRM) consists of preaddressed postcards or envelopes provided by the mailer to customers both to expedite their responses and to provide more accurate delivery. It differs from business reply mail (BRM) in that no fees are required and the respondent is responsible for applying the correct postage before mailing back the card or envelope. CRM can come back faster because it is prepared with the correct address and barcode to take advantage of automated USPS processing. It is also good to use when you wish to direct replies (payments) to an address that is different from your usual mailing address. CRM templates are available on the Postal Explorer Web site at by selecting "mailpiece design" in the left frame.

The USPS provides free of charge the facing identification mark (FIM) and the appropriate barcode to print on CRM pieces. The guidelines on the reverse will help optimize the use of this format.

Market research shows that providing barcoded envelopes makes good business sense:

  • Barcoded reply envelopes can be processed and delivered faster by the post office.
  • Customers save the time required to find an envelope, look up an address, and then write or type the address.
  • Customers with correctly addressed return envelopes do not make addressing errors that can delay your returns.
  • Customers and donors return payments and pledges significantly faster when supplied with a return envelope.
  • Providers of return envelopes get remittance faster for optimum cash flow.
  • Customers who are "thanked" by the back copy on the envelope flap are more likely to repeat the performance of mailing remittances or donations.
  • Automated processing of properly prepared barcoded reply mail provides accurate sorting and eliminates mail delay.
  • Customers have positive attitudes about creditors, marketers, and fund raisers who show thoughtfulness in providing reply envelopes.
  • Providers of reply mail envelopes get orders faster, reducing inventories and their investment in them.
  • Providers of reply envelopes receive and fulfill orders sooner, which improves customer relations.
  • Providers using barcoded reply envelopes see faster initial response, giving them an earlier projection of future activity.


Barcodes (202.5)

Barcodes may be placed either in the address block or in the lower right barcode clear zone. The correct barcode could be a delivery point barcode, a ZIP+4 barcode (if the address is assigned an individual (unique) ZIP+4 code), or, in some cases, a 5-digit barcode (if the address is assigned a firm (unique) 5-digit ZIP Code).

All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (business reply, courtesy reply, and meter reply mail) provided as enclosures in automation First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Standard Mail must meet the standards in 201.3.14.


Courtesy Reply Mail Layout Guidelines

This graphic describes Courtesy Reply Mail standards as described in the text.


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