Intelligent Mail® Barcode
On May 11, 2009, new Intelligent
Mail® barcode rules went into effect. Mailers will be encouraged to
switch from the current POSTNET™ and PLANET® barcode options to the
new, more powerful Intelligent Mail barcode format. Mailers will be
given two options in implementing this new barcode – Full, or Basic
Service, options, and the USPS is rolling out financial and service
incentives to those mailers who make the switch now. By May 2011,
however the old barcode formats will no longer be valid, and all
mailers will be required to use the IM® barcode to receive a postal
What is the
Intelligent Mail barcode?
The Intelligent Mail barcode is a
Postal Service barcode used to sort and track letters and flats. The
Postal Service is promoting the use of the Intelligent Mail barcode
because it expands the ability to track individual mail pieces and
provides customers with greater visibility into the mailstream. It
combines the data of the existing POSTNET™ and the PLANET Code®
barcodes, as well as other data, into a single barcode.
The barcode itself is a type of
height-modulated barcode, that uses four distinct vertical bar types
(Full, Tracker, Ascender and Descender).
A typical Intelligent Mail barcode may look like this:
How Does It
The Intelligent Mail barcode is the
result of the Postal Service’s efforts to develop more robust
barcodes that can hold more information, while minimizing the space
used on the mail piece. The Intelligent Mail barcode:
· Has a greater overall data
capacity than existing barcodes.
· Provides mailers with more
digits to use, allowing unique identification of up to a billion
mail pieces per mailing.
· Provides more detailed
information about mailings, to enable better decision making.
mail piece “real
estate” by eliminating the need for multiple barcodes.
· Allows for participation in
multiple USPS service programs with a single barcode.
© 2009 DATATECH SMARTSOFT, INC