USPS: Mailers Show Success in Printing Intelligent Mail Barcode

Readability Threshold to Be Raised, As Planned

WASHINGTON — According to verifications performed by the U.S. Postal Service since January 2009, 95 percent of mailings with the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) are quality, readable barcodes, enabling the commercial mailers who print them to receive the benefits that Intelligent Mail Full Service has to offer: mail tracking and address correction information.

It’s this success in printing the Intelligent Mail barcode that has given the Postal Service the confidence to move ahead with previously published plans to raise the Intelligent Mail barcode readability threshold to 90 percent, according to Thomas G. Day, senior vice president, Intelligent Mail and Address Quality.

“The industry has consistently improved in its ability to print the Intelligent Mail barcode,” said Day. “The fact that more than 95 percent of the mailings being verified are passing the 90 percent threshold means that our customers are doing an even better job of printing the IMb as they are with printing the POSTNET barcode,” said Day. “The change in the threshold is consistent with the trends we have seen in overall mailer performance.”

This new threshold took effect March 15, the target date previously announced to the industry.

Mailings that meet the 90 percent barcode readability threshold are eligible for automation prices. The barcode readability threshold for IMb aligns with the barcode readability threshold for the POSTNET barcode.

In May 2009, the barcode readability threshold for mail using an Intelligent Mail barcode was established at 70 percent. At that time, the plan to raise the threshold in November 2009 to 80 percent and in March 2010 to 90 percent was communicated to the mailing industry. In November 2009, the Postal Service raised the threshold to 80 percent.

For more information about Intelligent Mail Full Service or barcode readability thresholds, visit