Posts Tagged Standard Mail

Standard Mail Affected by USPS Load Leveling

Standard Mail Affected by USPS Load Leveling

uspsstandardmailOn April 10th, the USPS implemented their Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Load Leveling Plan. The plan will allow workload equalization of mail volumes throughout the week.

Implementation of this plan means that Standard Mail, when accepted on Fridays and Saturdays, will change from the standard delivery expectation of 3 days to 4 days. In other words, it will take longer for Standard Mail to arrive at its destination.

The change will level the disproportionate amount of mail now delivered on Mondays to other days of the week. The benefits of this are improved return times, improved processing efficiency, reduced operating costs and a more consistent delivery of mail for customers.

This change does not affect current service standards for First-Class Mail or Periodicals.

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USPS | Picture Permit Promotion

Picture Permit Promotion

August 1 – September 30, 2013

0612_PicturePermit_storyAdd value to your mailpiece in a creative way using the new Picture Permit Imprint Indicia.  Incorporate a company logo, brand image or trademark to the area where a stamp, meter imprint of permit imprint would appear.

Boosting your brand recognition, logos, products and promotions could improve the overall effectiveness of your mailing.

Picture Permit mail is available for presorted First Class mail and Standard letters. Full Service Intelligent Mail barcode is a requirement.

There is an extra fee per piece – for First Class letters and cards the additional fee is $0.01, for Standard letters the fee is $0.02 per piece.

The USPS will begin a promotion of Picture Permit mail beginning August 1, 2013 and running through September 30, 2013.  Registration for the promotion begins June 1.

This promotion will eliminate the per piece fees for both First Class and Standard letters and cards.  There is a 4 step application process which must be approved by the USPS Program Office prior to promotion registration.

Picture Permit Requirements:

  • Logos, brand images or trademarks
  • Color images only
  • Mailpiece must include Intelligent Mail barcode
  • Application, design approval and sampling prior to mailing


  • Boost mailpiece visibility, value and potential open rate
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Promote company products and services

How would you use Picture Permit Imprint Indicia to benefit your company? We would love to hear your ideas and successes!

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USPS | Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion

2013 Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion

PromotionSignThe USPS announced the 2013 Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion in November 2012. The program period is April 1 through June 30, 2013. Registration opened January 15 and closes March 31, 2013.

The Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion is intended to slow the decline of First Class mail, Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM).

A rebate credit is earned on BRM or CRM scanned by Intelligent Mail Visibility on pieces properly registered and encoded with Mailer ID and Intelligent Mail barcode. The rebate amount is $0.02 per scanned mailpiece.

The BRM or CRM mailpiece can be used in any outgoing mailing; any class, category or shape of mail. The barcode must include the registered MID, service type ID and correct ZIP+4 routing code.

Rebate credit is earned on BRM and CRM scanned between April 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013. No credit will be given for any mailpieces scanned after the closing date, even if the outbound mailpiece was sent prior to that date.

Participants in the program can use rebate credits for postage on future mailings of First Class Mail Presort and Automation cards, letters, flats and Standard Mail letters and flats paid from the permit account where the Earned Value credit was applied. There is no expiration on these credits.

You can find a helpful FAQ here:

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USPS Reminder | Rate Increase – Sunday, January 27, 2013

Have You Stocked Up On Forever Stamps Yet?

Just a reminder that postage rates will increase this Sunday, January 27th.  A summary of a few of the changes are detailed in the tables below – a more comprehensive listing can be found with the USPS at Business mailing rates will be changing as well during this time. If you work with a business mail provider then they will be able to tell you your new rates and any applicable changes.


Forever stamps are a great way to help combat the rising cost of postage. The USPS has released a handful of new forever stamps in 2013 – a few of the new designs can be seen below. Plan ahead and don’t be caught off guard on Monday!


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USPS Update | Move Update Requirements

On January 27, 2013 ,

FASTforward Service Will No Longer Satisfy USPS Move Update Requirements.

Many presort service providers use FASTforward for their customer’s mail in order to meet mandates. The FASTforward system uses Multiline Optical Character Readers (MLOCRs) to update and spray change of address (COA) information on mailpieces prior to submission to the USPS. 

Move Update requirements help mailers claiming presort or automation prices for First Class Mail or Standard Mail to reduce the number of mailpieces requiring forwarding or return by matching their address records with COA listings maintained by the Postal Service. 

New services using MLOCR include NCOALink  Mail Processing Equipment. This solution allows mailers to process mailpieces against the Postal Service COA database, providing current address information for customers who have filed a COA order. There are approximately 160 million permanent USPS COA records. Licensees (such as your presort service provider) receive a weekly update for all address changes over the last 18 months. 

Make sure to check in with your service provider to ensure a smooth transition. It may mean signing a new Process Acknowledgement Form (PAF) for whatever new system your provider chooses after January 27th.

A Process Acknowledgement Form (PAF) is required by the Privacy Act of 1974. The USPS requires that each mail service provider using an NCOA product for their customers must have a completed NCOA PAF for each customer. These agreements should be updated annually. 

What steps should you take?

  1. Speak with your presort service provider. If you are currently using FASTforward to meet Move Update requirements, what method will they use moving forward
  2. Ask if you need to complete a new PAF for your service providers files.

If you have any question about these changes, please feel free to contact one of our Customer Service Representatives at (816)756-2733.

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Is Bulk Mail Right For You?

Have you considered Bulk Mail?

“Bulk mail” is considered large quantities of mail that qualify for reduced postage rates. Oftentimes, “bulk mail” is referred to as “presorted mail”.

Bulk mail can be used for First Class Mail, Standard Mail and other classes of mail as well.

When you put a stamp on a piece of mail and drop it into your local mailbox, that is “single piece” mail and you are paying full price postage.  If you meet minimum qualifications (or choose to utilize a presort mail vendor), you can take advantage of bulk mail rates and save money.

The deciding factor for choosing bulk mail is postage savings.

The USPS offers discounted postage rates for presorting the mail before it comes to them.  You are doing a portion of the work for them (such as sorting by ZIP Code), so savings from the Postal Service are passed along to you, the mailer.

Bulk mail may not be the best choice for every mailer.

If you prepare only one or two mailings annually, then it may be best to outsource to a presort vendor.  If you mail on a regular basis, but do not meet minimums or elect not to make the time investment in learning to sort and prepare your mail, and a capital investment in permits, mailing fees and possibly software or other equipment, outsourcing to a presort vendor is an ideal solution

Presort vendors are in the business of preparing mail according to USPS rules and regulations.  Some vendors will take your mailing from start to finish – design, printing, presorting and USPS presentation.

Should you choose to prepare your own bulk mailing, here are the minimum number of mail pieces that must be met to qualify.

500 pieces for First Class Mail

200 pieces (or 50 pounds of mail) for Standard Mail

50 pieces for Parcel Select

300 pieces for Presorted or Carrier Route Bound Printed Matter

300 pieces for Library Mail

300 pieces for Media Mail

You can learn more about what it takes to prepare your mail and whether or not a presort vendor would be a good alternative for you here:

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Benefits Of Using An Indicia!

What’s an Indicia?

If you’ve ever done any sort of bulk business mailing, you’ve probably been asked for or asked if you wanted an indicia. If you’re new to direct mail you’re probably wondering what the heck is an indicia? An indicia (also known as a permit imprint) is a small marking similar in size and shape of a stamp and includes such information as a permit number, post office drop location, and service type. The placement of an indicia on a mail piece must be similar to that of a stamp as well – located in the upper right corner and to the right of the address. The indicia is usually created during the graphic design phase of the outer envelope layout – and because it’s added before the envelope is created it saves time and money by not having an additional fee for metering or applying stamps.

There are many different variations of an indicia – with different verbiage and varying placement of required information. The most common types of indicia formats include first class mail, standard mail, and nonprofit standard mail. Examples of these can be seen below:

Other formats include Parcel Post, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail.

Using an indicia does require a permit number, which acts as an account number where postage funds are withdrawn from when the mailing goes to the post office. Funds to pay the total postage must be deposited prior to submitting a mailing. If you’re using a mail service provider, they should have a permit number that you can use. You can obtain your own permit by submitting Form 3615 and the application fee to the post office where your mailings will be submitted. It is important to note that once you obtain a permit number that you are only authorized to use your permit at the post office for which you applied through.

  1.  Other higher minimum quantities may apply, depending on the price claimed.
  2.  An occasional First-Class Mail mailing may contain fewer than 200 pieces if from a mailer whose total daily mailings are not much more than 200 pieces but who, to cooperate with the Post Office, presents a part of that mail early in the day.
  3. A mailing may contain fewer than 200 pieces if it is the completion of a large mailing extending over 2 or more consecutive days and the mailer includes an explanation on the accompanying postage statement.
  4. Single-piece price mailings submitted under the terms of an approved manifest mailing system agreement with a minimum volume reduction provision.
  5. Bound Printed Matter non-presorted, non-discounted mailings.

Each piece included in the mailing must bear the same indicia, stating that postage has been paid. An indicia most commonly will be printed directly on the mail piece but can also be printed on labels permanently affixed to the mail piece, on a mail piece wrapper, or envelope.

The USPS has begun testing a new concept for indicias – the Picture Permit Imprint Indicia. This indicia will allow mailers to include a picture within the indicia. This new concept provides immediate recognition of a logo, product, or promotion on the outside of the mail piece. The idea behind this innovation is that the image will double the piece’s visual impact to the recipient. While the new picture permit imprint indicia is not yet available to all mailers – a sample of a beta test from Chrysler Automotive Group can be seen here.

There are many different options for applying postage to your mail piece – an indicia being the most frequently used for large business mailings. Next time you’re designing an envelope for a mail campaign consider the benefits of using an indicia!

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