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Quick Service Guide 240c

Commercial Letters and Postcards

Standard Mail Automation Letters

June 7, 2010
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Related QSG

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703, Standard Mail Nonprofit Eligibility

Physical Standards (201)

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Maximum weight: 3.5 ounces.

Heavy letter mail weighing more than 3 ounces must have a barcode in the address block and be prepared in a sealed envelope under 201.3.6.

For an overview of the physical standards for commercial letters and cards, see Quick Service Guide 201.

Prices and Fees (243.1.0)

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For a complete listing of commercial Standard Mail prices, see Notice 123-Price List.

Letters that weigh more than 3.3 ounces but not more than 3.5 ounces pay piece/pound postage but receive a discount (see 243.7.7).

There are no Standard Mail card prices; cards may be mailed at letter prices.

Destination discounts apply to mail prepared as prescribed by USPS and addressed for delivery within service area of destination NDC/ASF or SCF (246.2.0).

Annual presort mailing fee applies.

Content (243.2.0)

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Letters containing mailable items not required to be sent using First-Class Mail can be sent using Standard Mail. Standard Mail is typically used for advertisements and flyers. Additional content restrictions must be met for authorized nonprofit mailers (703.1.0).

Eligibility Standards (243.7.0)

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Mailings of 200 or more addressed pieces must be 100% delivery point POSTNET, or Intelligent Mail barcoded (708.4.0), sorted, and marked as described below. All pieces must be automation compatible (201.3.0). Pieces are eligible if not required to be mailed at First-Class Mail prices or not eligible for Periodicals prices. Nonprofit prices require specific authorization (703.1.0).

Each piece must also include a complete delivery address with correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code.

For address standards, see 243.7.5; for barcode quality standards, see 708.4.0 and CASS/MASS standards in 708.3.0.

Addresses matched using CASS/MASS-certified process within 180 days before mailing date.

All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (Business Reply Mail, Courtesy Reply Mail, and metered reply mail) provided as enclosures must meet the standards in 201.3.17.

Mailers can apply Repositionable Notes for an additional charge. See 705.21.0.

Addresses on all pieces must be updated within 95 days before mailing through a USPS-approved address update method (e.g., ACS, NCOALink, FASTforward, or the appropriate ancillary service endorsement (except Forwarding Service Requested) under 507.1.5.3). For an overview of the Move Update standards, see Quick Service Guide 230a.

Postage Payment and Documentation (244)

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Precanceled stamp (604.3.0), meter (604.4.0), or permit imprint (604.5.0).

Additional standards apply to mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces.


  • Postage statement:
  • Regular: PS Form 3602-R, or approved facsimile.
  • Nonprofit: PS Form 3602-N, or approved facsimile.
  • PS Form 3553 must be retained for 1 year (708.3.5.2).
  • Supporting documentation: required unless correct price is affixed to each piece or unless each piece is of identical weight and separated by price when presented for acceptance; documentation generated by PAVE-certified software (or printed in standardized format).

Mail Preparation (245.7.0)

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Marking on each piece in the postage area (202.3.0):

  • Regular: "Presorted Standard" or "PRSRT STD," "Standard" or "STD."
  • Nonprofit: "Nonprofit Organization" or "NONPROFIT ORG." or "NONPROFIT."

Pieces with a delivery point POSTNET or Intelligent Mail barcode printed in the barcode clear zone must also bear an "AUTO" marking. For price markings applied by a MLOCR, see 202.3.5. Pieces not claimed at an automation price must not bear an "AUTO" marking unless First-Class Mail single-piece postage is affixed or a corrective single-piece price marking is applied.

When preparing full trays, mailers must fill all possible 2-foot trays first; if there is mail remaining for the presort destination, mailers must use a combination of 1-foot and 2-foot trays that result in the fewest total number of trays for that presort level.

Barcoded tray labels required (245.4.9).

Trays on pallets (705.8.5) are permitted and preferred.

Trays must be sleeved and strapped (246.3.4). See 245.3.5 for exceptions to strapping for mailings that originate and destinate in delivery area of same SCF. Strapping not required on trays placed on 5-digit, 3-digit, and SCF pallets that are secured with stretchwrap.


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Traying Sequence (245.7.5)
Trays: Optional, but 5-digit/scheme trays required for price. 150-piece minimum to same
5-digit/scheme destination; only one overflow tray permitted per destination.2
Barcoded Labels: For Line 1: For 5-digit scheme trays, use destination in City State Product. For 5-digit trays, use city, state, and 5-digit ZIP Code on mail.
Price: 5-Digit
Trays: Optional, but required for 3-digit price; at least 150 pieces to same 3-digit/scheme destination; only one overflow tray permitted per destination.2
Optional: One less-than-full tray may be prepared for any remaining pieces for each
3-digit/scheme of SCF serving post office where mail is verified.
Barcoded Labels: For Line 1, use L002, Column B, for destination facility.
Price: 3-Digit or AADC3
Trays: Optional, but required for AADC price; at least 150 pieces to same AADC (see L801); group pieces by 3-digit/scheme when overflow pieces from 3-digit trays are placed in AADC trays; only one overflow tray permitted per destination.2
Barcoded Labels: For Line 1, use L801, Column B, for destination facility.
Price: AADC
Mixed AADC
Trays: Required for all remaining pieces placed in mixed AADC trays; group pieces by AADC when overflow pieces from AADC trays are placed in mixed AADC trays; only one less-than-full tray permitted per mailing.
Barcoded Labels: For Line 1, L011, Column B (for NDC/ASF entry, use L010, Column B).
Price: Mixed AADC

This graphic shows the traying sequence for Standard Mail Automation Letters as described in the text.

Bundling not permitted except for mailings of card-size pieces and for pieces in overflow and less-than-full trays. The maximum thickness for a bundle is 6 inches.
1For the 5-digit price, all possible 5-digit scheme trays must be prepared, then all possible 5-digit trays.
2Instead of preparing overflow trays with fewer than 150 pieces, mailers may include pieces in the next tray level if it results in at least 150 pieces in that tray. The price is based on the overflow tray that would have been made (i.e., pieces placed in a 3-digit tray in lieu of 5-digit overflow trays are eligible for the 5-digit price). Pieces placed in the next tray level must be grouped by destination and placed in the front or back of the tray. This option may be used selectively for 3-digit/scheme and AADC ZIP Codes. The overflow option does not apply to origin/entry 3-digit trays.
3AADC price for any 3-digit/scheme tray for the origin SCF area containing fewer than 150 pieces.
4. Use "5D BC" on 5-digit trays; use "BC 5D SCHEME" on 5-digit scheme trays.
5. Use "3D BC" on 3-digit trays; use "BC 3D SCHEME" on 3-digit scheme trays and, if applicable, as shown in L002, Column B, followed by the letter "A," "B," or "C."


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