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The Intelligent Mail barcode is the USPS implementation of the 4-state customer barcode in use by several other countries for automating their postal mailstream. The IM barcode will improve mail service by expanding mail tracking capabilities and improving the delivery of add-on services that benefit direct mailers.
What is the Intelligent Mail barcode?
The code is made up of four distinct bars (states)—the Full bar, the Ascender, the Tracker, and the Descender. The USPS implementation allows for the Intelligent Mail barcode to encode 31 characters of mail piece data into 65 bars in one of 4 states. This is only 3 bars wider that the standard POSTNET™ barcode which means that you most likely will not have to change the window envelopes you currently use. The 4-State barcode technology allows for more information to be handled in roughly the same space. This will allow the USPS to replace both the PLANET® and POSTNET Barcodes with this one barcode. There are 31 digits available for encoding. The data sequence is defined in the following format:
What your piece may look like with the Intelligent Mail barcode
The Post Office™ requires the Intelligent Mail barcode for automation discounts. Here is an example of how the new barcode simplifies the look of your mail piece and clear up some real estate for you to enhance your message being sent: