||Perhaps the most important things to know about First-Class
Mail are (a) internal standards for FCM delivery are
higher than those for "lower" service mail classes such
as Marketing Mail, Parcel mail, Non-Profit Org qualifying
mail, etc. Except for Prioriity Express Mail, it's the
USPS®'s fastest delivery service classification . Both
First-Class Mail and Priority Mail have internal delivery
standards of 1 - 3 days delivery.
||Facing Identification Mark
||There are five types of FIMs used, but the most common FIM
is the "FIM A" which is used for Courtesy Reply Envelopes.
In the case of the FIM A, these five lines (technically
a binary code) at the top, center right of the envelope
or return postcard give the USPS® a head's up that the
mailpiece is automation-compatible but that sender will
be paying the postage (probably a stamp). Also, it's
a USPS® requirement that if you are claiming automation
discounts for the "outside" addresses mail, any items
on the "inside" also must be designed in consideration
for eventual automation handling. The second most common
FIM is a "FIM C" which is absolutely necessary for BRM
(Business Reply Mail). A FIM C gives the destination
post office that the handling of these return cards will
be different than other First-Class returned mail, and
that there will be additional charges paid by the recipient
(and not the sender).
||The Postal Service® uses the word "flats" generally to refer
to large envelopes, newsletters, and magazines. For a
mailpiece to qualify as a "flat", it must be at least
ONE of these things: taller than 6 1/8 ", or, longer
than 11" 1/2, or, thicker than 1/4". You can view
flats postage rates
||highway contract route
||HCRs are similar to RRs (Rural Routes). They are typically
a rural area "route of travel" served by a postal contractor
to carry mail over highways between designated points.
Formerly called "Star Route", an archaic rural delivery
term no longer in use.
||Intelligent Mail® barcode
||The IMb™ replaces the DP (Delivery Point Barcode), sometimes
referred to as the "picket fence" barcode. The IMb™ is
important because it has self-contained representation
for the USPS® mailer (i.e. Mailer ID), mail class (e.g.
First-Class or Bulk Mail), a mailpiece ID number ("serial
number") and the mailpiece (routing) destination. If
you want to know more, visit
||International Mail Manual
||Most people use the IMM for correct use of foreign country
names. There are also some useful notes in the IMM about
what-you-can-mail to each country.
||Intelligent Mail® package barcode
||(a) it's a requirement for all parcels shipped within the
USPS®, making everything trackable within the USPS® and
(b) it can deliver back to the USPS® advanced data quality
information rendering penalties against a mailer for
missing automation quality thresholds.
||postal permit mark or box
||For large volume mail, we typically use a pre-printed postal
permit box at the upper right hand corner of an envelope,
flat, etc. to show the USPS® (a) the class of mail and
(b) that postage has been pre-paid for the mailing. The
alternative for using an indicia would be to use First-Class
Mail stamps, precancelled stamps or a meter mark. If
you are designing a mailpiece, you must have the indicia
positioned at a right angle trajectory from the address
block (be it a Simplified Address or "real" address).
||The class of mail referred to as "Letters" means mailpieces
that are between 3 1/2" and 6 1/8" tall, 5" and 11 1/2"
long, and between .007" and 1/8" thick. Examples of Letter-rate
mail are #10, #9 or #6 3/4 size business envelopes, and
the "A" size envelopes (A8, A7, A6, A2, etc.).
||National Change of Address
||The NCOA service, by connecting with the USPS® NCOALink database
of approx. 160 million change-of-address names/addresses,
provides detail on the movement of people and busineses
around the United States and its territories who requested
to have such updates on record. Consequently, the NCOALink
database gets updated constantly. Mailers at the consumer
level often have confusion here because they think that
the USPS® is tracking everyone that moves through the
National Change of Address program.
|NDC Presort price
||Network Distribution Center Presort price
||The only thing you need to know about NDCs is that there
is a unique presort discount rate available to mailers
who wish to present their mailings directly to a USPS®
NDC. It could be that your closest postal center IS an
NDC although there are only 22 of them presently in the
US and they tend to be in metropolitan areas. You may
listing for all NDCs
||Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation
||Essentially, this term refers to the process that the USPS®
uses with private industry to assess mailing software
for address handling quality. Software developers and
providers must prove to the USPS® that their code is top
notch, and therefore worthy of PAVE certification.
||Pricing and Classification Service Center
||Located in New York City, the PCSC is the Postal Service®'s
decision bureau for evaluating (and ruling upon) many
USPS® domestic and foreign pricing as well as extending
privileges such as not-for-profit eligibility and periodicals
||Post Office™ Box
||Two things to know here: first, PO Boxes are different than
"Boxes". If you don't use PO Box with a number (and sometimes
the legacy letter), then the "Box" might not mean a Post
Office box. There are private boxes and the distiction
is important. Second, some towns, in whole or in part,
use PO Boxes in lieu of getting mail at a street address.
Therefore, having the street address might not be very
helpful for mailing -- having a PO Box in any circumstance
is the best most reliable way to ensure deliverability.
||Presort is the process by which a mailer prepares mail so
that it is sorted to at least the finest extent required
by the standards for the price claimed. Generally, presort
is performed sequentially, from the lowest (finest) level
to the highest level, to those destinations specified
by standard and is completed at each level before the
next level is prepared. Not all presort levels are applicable
in all situations.
||Presorted Standard Mail
||This is another way of saying "Bulk Mail". It has also been
called Third Class Mail, Advertising Mail, Standard Mail,
Standard "A" mail. As of 2017, it's now "Marketing Mail".
This is a discounted class of mail under which non-profit
(not-for-profit) mail also falls.
for more information.
||A postage statement is what you fill out when you want to
present mail (letters, parcels or flats) at discounted
postage rates. Here is the USPS® link to
all postage statements
Notice how they all start with "PS Form". If you wish to do a regular bulk mailing, and have the correct permit(s) in place,
then you would probably be using a
||Rural Routes are needed when preparing mail for post offices
that have rural route delivery. Even Westchester County
NY, a largely metropolitan area with many City Routes,
has Rural Routes in the northern part of the county.
If you are preparing a saturation mailing to a ZIP Code
with rural routes, you will need to know the RR number
and the number of deliverable addresses on the route.
link to get such counts
if you are preparing your own mail. Less often, you may
see occasionally see an address that looks like this:
"RR [#] BOX [###]". Many states have retired this type
or rural addressing simply because emergency services
organizations can't send an ambulance or fire truck to
||You will see this handwritten by a postal carrier as "RTS"
on returned mail, mostly for First-Class Mail. The carrier
is supposed to put down why the mailpiece is being returned,
but we find this is rarely done, or at least rarely done
legibly. Common RTS reasons are NFA (No Forwarding Address),
NSA (No Such Address), NMR (No Mail Receptical, such
as a mailbox) or simply "Refused" or "Deceased".