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Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb)

The USPS retired the POSTNET barcode January 28, 2013. All mailings now require Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb).


Phone: 540-949-7266
Toll-free: 888-970-9944

The Intelligent Mail barcode is the result of the USPS effort to provide more robust codes capable of encoding more information, while minimizing the space used on the mailpiece. The Intelligent Mail barcode offers:

  • Utilization of lowest postal rates
  • Better customer intelligence
  • Free Address Change Service
  • Visibility into the mail stream/Tracking
  • More effective returned mail processing
  • Better scan rates and improved deliverability
  • Better looking mail pieces (fewer barcodes)
  • Delivery Confirmation
  • Access to new services

The Intelligent Mail service is built upon a suite of Intelligent Mail barcodes for mailpieces, handling units (trays and sacks) and containers (pallets, et al.). Intelligent Mail barcodes are information-rich. For example, the POSTNET barcode only includes delivery point routing information. In contrast, the Intelligent Mail barcode for mailpieces holds significantly more data
and includes additional fields that can allow mailers to uniquely identify each mailpiece in a mailing.

Intelligent Mail barcodes facilitate feedback about the mailpiece, handling units and containers, and allows for USPS service performance measurement, making it possible to use the mail in a much smarter, more efficient manner.

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We beat the price of any authorized seller on recommended software


Ready for Purchase or Renewal of IMb compatible software - FTI offers the best price guarantee.

Top Nationwide Sales in the following products:

A-Qua Mailer
A-Qua Desktop
BCC Mail Manager
BCC Mail Manager LE
BCC Mail Manager Full Service
Melissa Data Mailers+4 Standard
Melissa Data Mailers+4 Professional
Satori Bulk Mailer Standard
Satori Bulk Mailer Professional
Satori Bulk Mailer Business
Satori MailRoom Toolkit Office
Satori MailRoom Toolkit Architect
SmartSoft SmartAddresser 5
SmartAddressor 5 LT


540-949-7266 (Phone)
888-970-9944 (Toll-free)

What are the real concerns facing Mailers?

Price. In today's market, the biggest concern is how much this will cost or save. The savings can add up if you mail in quantity. Early compliance for the Intelligent Mail barcode discount offers:

  • $1.00 per 1000 pieces of Standard Mail
  • $3.00 per 1000 pieces of First Class Mail

For smaller mailers, there are other incentives. Indirect savings through a more efficient mailing system also save everyone money and peace of mind. As you consider how to implement Intelligent Mail in your company, you should recognize that every approach offers unique solutions:

  • Saving space on the envelope means less product waste
  • Less undeliverable mail means higher ROI

Why should mailers care about the IMb?

The extra data and tracking capabilities available through IMb. Even basic IMb can track mail and predict delivery dates. Those using Full-Service IMb will receive mail feedback about address quality and get automated address correction information.

new Download the new IMb Font Here

USPS IMb Compact for end users if you don't already have the font on your system:

USPS IMb Compact


  • To obtain the lowest automation prices on Letters and Flats, mailers must use the 65-bar Intelligent Mail® barcode on each mail piece, encoding the delivery point information plus four new fields including an assigned Mailer ID, the class of mail, an optional endorsement line, plus a mail piece sequence number that must remain unique for 45 days.
  • New 24-digit tray barcodes and 21-digit container barcodes.
  • Electronic documentation using Mail.dat,®Wizard Web Services or Postage Statement Wizard® will be required for the full-service option.
  • Must acquire Mailer ID number(s) from the Postal Service, encode all data into the barcode components and then graphically render this barcode on every mail piece, tray and container.

Program optimization means that you must:

  • Create mechanisms to capture data provided by the USPS
  • Link USPS data back to your source data
  • Leverage this data to improve your business

The USPS will provide mailers with two options: Full-Service and Basic

Under the Basic option:

  • Mailers migrate from the POSTNET barcode to the Intelligent Mail barcode for mailpieces
  • The use of IMb tray labels or container placards is not required. Use of these formats is
  • The Basic option, which provides mailers with less intelligence, does not require electronic documentation or the nesting of tray and container barcodes.

For more information, please reference Overview to Intelligent Mail Basic Service

Under the Full-Service option:

in addition to using Intelligent Mail barcodes on mailpieces, mailers need to use the Intelligent Mail tray labels on their handling units (trays, sacks), and the Intelligent Mail container labels on their container placards.

  • The Intelligent Mail barcodes affixed on the mailpieces, handling units and containers need
    to be unique for a period of 45 days
  • Mailers are required to submit their mailing information, such as postage statements and
    qualification reports, electronically
  • Mailers will receive additional benefits with the Full-Service option to include a discounted
    price, Start-the-Clock information indicating when their Full-Service mailings were inducted
    into the Postal mailstream, and address correction information at no charge

The Table below: Key differences between the Basic and Full-Service options

  Basic Full-Service
Barcode on Mailpiece 31-digit IMb – uniqueness not required 31-digit IMb – Uniqueness
Handling Unit 24-digit IMTB or Legacy 10-
digit Tray and Sack Label –
uniqueness not required
24-digit IMtb – Uniqueness
Container Placards 21-digit IMcb, not required 21-digit IMcb - uniqueness
required where containers
are required
Mailing Information (e.g. Postage Statements, Qualification Report) Hardcopy, Mail.dat®, Mail.XML®, or Postal Wizard Mail.dat®, Mail.XML®, or
Postal Wizard
Start-the-Clock NA Available
Full-Service ACS (address
NA Available

FTI Q&A Breakdown of questions from the DMM News Source:

For the latest information on the Intelligent Mail barcode, including the full dimension specification, visit the Rapid Information Bulletin Board System (RIBBS) website at:

What is IMB?


540-949-7266 (Phone)

888-970-9944 (Toll-free)

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