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USPS IMpb Barcode Requirements

Box with USPS IMpb As a result of recent developments, the United States Postal Service issued a mandate that all metered parcels must use an Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb.) The new barcode provides end-to-end tracking, accurate delivery estimates and free $50 insurance with Priority Mail or $100 with Priority Express Mail.

Services that Require USPS IMpb

Since flats and letters use their own barcode, they don’t need an IMpb. The following services do require IMpb:

  • Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express
  • Flat Rate Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express Boxes and Flats
  • Parcel Select and Parcel Select Lightweight
  • Package Services: Standard Mail, Library Mail, Bound Printed Matter

Any flat or letter that weighs more than 13 ounces must use an IMpb label. Furthermore, those opting for Signature Confirmation on delivery must use IMpb labels regardless of the service they use.

Mandatory IMpb Label Components

Compliant labels may be ordered or purchased from USPS, but consequently eliminate Commercial Base discounts. You can easily print 4×6 inch metered labels that meet standards if you’re using USPS-certified software. While less simple, you can use your own software. If so, follow these rules:

  • You must complete the USPS IMpb Certification process. To qualify, you will need a business account and (MID) number.
  • Labels need a complete destination delivery address and/or an 11-digit DPV zip code in their SSF or other approved electronic document.
  • You may not reuse the barcode for at least 45 days from the Postage Statement Mailing Date.
  • Print resolution more than 203 dots per inch, X-dimension between 0.013″ and 0.021″, height more than 0.75 inch and a clear zone of .25 inches. USPS banner and ID bar centered above the barcode.

Quality Control Checks

Postal One! performs additional quality control checks on:

  • (AQ) Address Quality
  • (BQ) Barcode Quality
  • (MQ) Manifest Quality

Costs of IMpb Non-Compliance

In addition to a warning, all labels that exceed the quality threshold will receive a $0.20 surcharge per package. Rather than a set percentage, the threshold is adjusted each month. Full compliance will probably begin in June of 2017.

The threshold is currently 98%. As a result of late file submission and missing and/or incomplete addresses, penalties may be issued. Audits are available from your Postal One! Portal. You can search by both tracking number and date range.

USPS IMpb assessment

Is your 3pl aligned with changing USPS IMpb rules and the impact on your business? If you want to partner with a compliant provider, National Fulfillment Services offers a full range of turn-key and cost effective distribution services. Request a quote now!


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