A Crash Course on the USPS® Intelligent Mail® Package Barcode, Part Three: Compliance Concerns

The U.S. Postal Service’s® Intelligent Mail® package barcode (IMpb) benefits businesses in a variety of ways. The first two posts in this series covered which parcels do or don’t require the barcode, and how to apply it correctly. The final piece of the puzzle is compliance.

Mon May 15 08:58:20 EDT 2017
,

The U.S. Postal Service’s® Intelligent Mail® package barcode (IMpb) benefits businesses in a variety of ways. The first two posts in this series covered which parcels do or don’t require the barcode, and how to apply it correctly. The final piece of the puzzle is compliance. This last installment of our series covers everything you need to know about compliance, including how to avoid non-compliance fees and navigate compliance thresholds.

How To Make Sure You’re Compliant

Non-compliance comes with a hefty $0.20 surcharge per parcel, so be sure to follow the three IMpb requirements, detailed in the previous post in this series. A quick refresher: Always remember that each parcel needs a unique IMpb barcode, the correct destination delivery address and 11-digit ZIP code and a completed, version 1.6 (or higher) Shipping Services File record transmitted to the USPS at tiem of shipping. 

Partnering with a shipping solutions expert can take away much of the headache involved in ensuring compliance. The USPS has tested a number of vendors’ software, certifying that they will ensure you meet the IMpb requirements. In general, shipping software used by commercial mailers is capable of producing shipping labels with compliant IMpb barcodes and transmitting the required piece-level information to the USPS electronically.

If you are a metered customer who does not meet all IMpb requirements, however, you will not qualify for Commercial Base or Commercial Plus pricing. Instead, you can pay retail prices, as long as you have the proper USPS barcode (USPS Label 400 is accepted and provided by the USPS).

Non-Compliance Threshold and Surcharge

You may be wondering, what if I have a large stack of compliant parcels but just a few of them fail to meet the IMpb requirements? All is not lost: the USPS offers exemptions based on compliance thresholds. There are three different thresholds, depending on which requirement is lacking (IMpb barcode, ZIP+4 Code or electronic file). 

If you’re missing a Unique Trackable Barcode, the compliance threshold is 99 percent. So, as long as 99 percent of parcels contain this barcode, you will not be charged a non-compliance fee for the 1 percent of items without it. If more than 1 percent fail to meet the requirement, however, the non-compliance fee will be assessed for the number of items needed to reach the 99 percent threshold, which is $0.20 per parcel.

The same system applies if you’re missing the ZIP+4 code or electronic file, but with a different threshold. The compliance threshold for address and/or 11-digit DPV Zip Code is 98 percent, and 97 percent for having an up-to-date Shipping Services File. 

Making sure you’re using the IMpb correctly and getting the most out of it can be complicated. That’s where shipping solutions experts can help. Read more about Pitney Bowes SendSuite Live solution to learn how it can help you maximize savings on shipping and mailing operations, with minimal difficulty.