USPS Intelligent Mail

1D Symbologies

Symbology USPS Intelligent Mail

The USPS Intelligent Mail® barcode is a one-dimensional barcode used by the US postal service. It contains all the information required to sort and track letters and flat packages.

The term “Intelligent Mail barcode” (or IMb) was created by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It combines the data of its predecessors – the POSTNET and PLANET symbologies and additional data – into a single barcode.

A USPS barcode is height modulated and can encode up to 31 decimal digits of mail-piece data into 65 vertical bars. This allows a large amount of information to be encoded into a single barcode, such as destination, zip code, delivery route, as well as other details such as mail option and applicable discounts.

A USPS barcode is height modulated and can encode up to 31 decimal digits of mail-piece data into 65 vertical bars. This allows a large amount of information to be encoded into a single barcode, such as destination, zip code, delivery route, as well as other details such as mail option and applicable discounts.

Characteristics of a USPS code

  • Used to sort and track mail deliveries, containing routing and tracking information.
  • Provides multiple postal services with a single barcode.
  • Combines and improves the functionalities of POSTNET and PLANET Code barcodes.
  • Has also been referred to as a One Code Solution and a 4-State Customer Barcode (abbreviated as 4CB, 4-CB or USPS4CB).
  • Must contain a valid Mailer Identifier (MID), required for an IMb tracking code – both provided by USPS.
  • Uses an eleven-bit cyclic redundancy check to detect but not correct errors.

Application areas

The USPS barcode is only used by the US Postal Service to sort and track mail in the US. It enhances the ability of the mailer to track individual mail-pieces and provides greater mail stream visibility.

Marketers also use USPS barcodes as part of mailing and tracking the delivery of campaign items.

Compatibility

USPS Intelligent Mail barcodes can be read by automated parcel processing equipment and scanning devices, including the built-in camera of smart devices with a specialist app. You can try reading a USPS code by downloading the free Scandit demo app.

Scandit’s barcode scanning software integrated into apps supports all major barcode types, including USPS codes.

USPS INTELLIGENT BARCODE SCANNER

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USPS Intelligent Mail barcode FAQs

What is the barcode on USPS mail?

The USPS Intelligent Mail® barcode is used on USPS mail including letters, cards and flat packages. The information contained in the 65-bar barcode includes delivery address, ZIP code, type of mail being sent and carrier route information.

USPS barcodes can only be printed in designated areas of mail items, meaning they can’t be used for all types of and sizes of mail. For example, they can’t be used on letters exceeding 6.125” in length or 11.5” in breadth.

What does an Intelligent Mail barcode do?

The US Postal Service uses automated equipment that reads Intelligent Mail barcodes to process and sort mail. The USPS barcode encodes a 20-digit tracking code (Barcode Identifier, Service Type Identifier, Mailer Identifier, and Serial Number) and a Routing Code (Zip code) field of up to 11 digits.

The barcode is read and converted into a 65-character string. A decoder then converts it into 20-digit tracking and a routing code of up to 11 digits.

How do I read my USPS Intelligent Mail barcode?

You can read USPS Intelligent Mail barcodes using the free Scandit demo app, following these easy steps:

  • Go to the Scandit Demo App on the Scandit website.
  • Scan to download using the QR code.
  • Once you’ve opened the app select 1D Industrial.
  • Go to settings and select USPS Intelligent Mail under “Additional Uncommon Industrial codes”.
  • Try it for yourself by scanning a USPS Intelligent Mail barcode.

You can also build your own app to read USPS codes using Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK.