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Benefits of Intelligent Mail Barcodes

Written by Midwest Direct

What is an Intelligent Mail Barcode?

In early 2014, the IMb™ replaced earlier USPS barcodes including the POSTNET™, ACS™, and PLANET™ barcodes.  The USPS's vision behind the IMb is focused on offering mailers maximum visibility, and access to real-time data, for their mail pieces in the mail stream.

Why do I care?

The IMb is an absolutely great evolution in mail, from the standpoint of mail owners. This new barcode is “smarter,” because it contains more data than earlier barcodes - while taking up a relatively small space on a mail piece. The cluttered info that used to be stamped all over mail pieces now lives in one tidy spot. This equals a much cleaner mail piece, allowing mail owners and direct marketers to focus on mail design and their key messages.

An IMb contains the barcode ID, service type and mailing class, the mailer ID, serial number and routing code.

Can I just mail without an IMb?

Sure.  But The Intelligent Mail barcode is required in order to participate in automation discounts.  And, you'd lose out on all these additional features and benefits:

  • Accurate addressing
  • Unique piece identification, allowing tracing through the mail stream
  • Postage discounts: The USPS rewards those who make things easy with postage discounts
  • Address correction
  • Streamlining of mail permits

The IMb can also help you answer these questions:

  • When did the USPS first handle my mail piece?
  • When is delivery expected?
  • How long did delivery take?
  • Was the address correct?
  • How many mail pieces are being returned due to wrong addresses?

The USPS offers step-by-step instructions on creating your own IMb; however, we recommend partnering with a presort mail service who applies these barcodes as part of the mail sortation process. 

IMbs... it's a good thing for mail owners like you! If you're still unsure how you can benefit from an IMb or would like more information on what Midwest Direct can do for you, contact us. 

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