As a certified eDocumentation software vendor, we’d like to help make the process of becoming a Full-Service Mailer as straightforward as possible, and have put together the following reference guide to working with Full Service Intelligent Mail.
Steps to Become A Full Service Mailer:
Step 1 – Access the USPS Business Customer Gateway, to set up your business account and mailing profile.
Step 2 – Get a Mailer ID (MID) and Customer Registration ID (CRID) which will be used for the Intelligent Mail barcodes that you will need to use on your mailpieces and any container labels such as sack tags, tray tags and pallet flags.
Step 3 – Subscribe to a certified eDoc product that allows you to submit postal statements electronically to PostalOne!, the web-based portal for submission of your postal documentation. The Mail.dat module for SmartAddresser 5 does just that.
If you will be mailing fewer than 10,000 pieces in each mailing however, you have the option of using the Postal Wizard instead to provide your electronic documentation to USPS. The Postal Wizard is a tool in PostalOne! that requires manual input of your mailing information to submit a postage statement online. Below is a quick comparison of the two tools:
Step 4 – We highly recommend taking the time to submit test eDocumentation through the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM).
We have seen that most reasons why test mailing submissions fail are due to human errors, as opposed to software issues, so we strongly encourage you to use TEM for practicing electronic postage submission.
Step 5 – Once you have successfully completed the TEM process, you can now start submitting your mailing information through PostalOne!
THE INTELLIGENT MAIL® BARCODE
The Intelligent Mail barcode is a Postal Service barcode used to sort and track letters and flats. It can be used with our USPS Certified Postal Software.
The Postal Service is promoting the use of the Intelligent Mail barcode because it expands the ability to track individual mailpieces 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 Benefit Mailers?
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 mailpiece.
The Intelligent Mail barcode:
• Has a greater overall data capacity than existing barcodes.
• Provides mailers with more digits for their use, allowing for unique identification of up to a billion mailpieces per mailing.
• Provides more detailed information about mailings, to enable better decision making.
• Increases mailpiece “real estate” by eliminating the need for multiple barcodes.
• Allows for participation in multiple USPS service programs with a single barcode.
Full Service VS Basic Service Options
The USPS currently offers two options for using Intelligent Mail barcodes.
Under the Basic Service option, mailers will use the Intelligent Mail barcode on their letter and flat mailpieces. The basic Intelligent Mail barcode contains routing information for the delivery address but does not need to uniquely identify the mailpiece. Under the Full-Service option mailers must:
• Use unique Intelligent Mail barcodes on mailpieces;
• Use Intelligent Mail tray barcodes and Intelligent Mail container barcodes, and
• Submit postage statements and mailing documentation electronically.
All First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, or Bound Printed Matter (BPM) letters and flats requiring a barcode will be eligible for the full-service option if the pieces bear Intelligent Mail barcodes and meet all other full-service option requirements.
The USPS is offering customers who qualify for the full-service Intelligent Mail option the following benefits:
• Start-the-clock information at no additional charge to notify mailers when USPS takes possession of mailings, and
• Address correction information at no charge for qualified letters and flats that do not have the most current address or that are undeliverable for other reasons, when those pieces are endorsed as specified for OneCode ACS.