USPS: Postnet Barcode Discontinued – Use IMB!

USPS Discontinues POSTNET barcode effective January 2013

On May 3rd, the final rule on the discontinuation of the POSTNET barcode was posted on the Federal Register website. Beginning January 28th, 2013 mail prepared using the POSTNET barcode will no longer be eligible to receive automation discount postage rates. These pieces will mail at the non-automation rate.

For the past several years, both the USPS and the mailing industry have used the IMb to gain information about letters and flats as they moved through processing to delivery. Strahm Automation transitioned to provide Full Service Intelligent Mail barcode to our customers in January 2010.

Advancing technologies, feedback from the mailing industry and the Postal Services’ continued efforts to increase efficiencies have driven this mandate. Converting to IMb is the first step to realizing full service automation. This allows for free address correction for mailers as well as better mailpiece visibility. Better mailpiece visibility benefits mailers directly and allows the Postal Service to improve their processes.

What does this mean for you?

  • If you do not transition to using the IMb, you will lose your automated postage rates beginning January 28, 2013.
  • Includes all letters and flats as well as Business Reply Mail using a permit account
  • IMb provides capability for end-to-end mailpiece tracking
  • Provides mailers with timely feedback about their mail
  • Helps the USPS increase operational efficiencies

 What can you do to prepare?

  • Choose a local presort vendor offering Full Service Intelligent Mail barcoding (such as Strahm Automation!)
  • Review your Business Reply devices carefully – order new envelopes with IMb in place of the old POSTNET barcode
  • You can create new Business Reply Mail artwork online through the USPS Business Customer Gateway at You will need a Mailer ID to login and then go to Design and Prepare, Automated Business Reply Mail

If you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us directly. One of our Customer Service Representatives will be glad to assist you.


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  1. #1 by Ellise Click on May 21, 2012 - 5:21 am

    Hi You are doing good job writing this blog. I am reading Your posts for some time and i can’t wait for next. Your blog represents Your opinions, that’s what i like .

    • #2 by strahmautomation on May 21, 2012 - 8:42 am

      Thank you, Ellise. I’m glad you are enjoying our posts and I hope you will continue to come back to us!


  2. #3 by Jamie Olein on May 23, 2012 - 9:40 am

    It’s exhausting to find knowledgeable individuals on this matter, but you sound like you know what you’re speaking about! Thanks
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    • #4 by strahmautomation on May 23, 2012 - 10:14 am

      Hi Jamie;

      Thanks for the kind words and taking time to comment!



  3. #5 by diaper bags on June 13, 2012 - 12:22 pm

    You have observed very interesting points! ps decent site.

    • #6 by strahmautomation on June 14, 2012 - 9:22 am

      We have received a lot of interest in knowing more about the retirement of the POSTNET barcode and compliance with the Intelligent Mail Barcode. Remember, this is coming up January 28, 2013 so start getting prepared now!

      As another reminder, Strahm Automation has been providing full service IMb since January 2010. If you have questions, we are a reliable resource.



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