USPS Homepage Skip NavigationUSPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
  DMM TOC > 300 Commercial Flats > 340 Standard Mail

343 Prices and Eligibility

1.0 Prices and Fees for Standard Mail

1.1 Price Application

Postage is based on the price that applies to the weight (postage) increment of each addressed piece.

1.2 Standard Mail Price Application

Standard Mail prices are based on the weight of the pieces as follows:

a. The appropriate minimum per piece price applies to any Standard Mail piece that weighs 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound) or less.

b. A price determined by adding the per piece charge and the corresponding per pound charge applies to any Standard Mail piece that weighs more than 3.3 ounces.

1.3 Regular and Nonprofit Standard Mail—Presorted, Enhanced Carrier Route, and Automation Prices

For prices, see Notice 123–Price List.

1.4 Fees

1.4.1 Presort Mailing Fee

[1-22-12] A mailing fee must be paid each 12-month period for each permit used to mail Standard Mail and/or Parcel Select Lightweight pieces, except for qualifying full-service automation mailings under 3.4 and 705.24.0 (see Notice 123—Price List).

1.4.2 Weighted Fee

For return of pieces bearing the ancillary service markings “Address Service Requested” and “Forwarding Service Requested.” Weighted fee equals single-piece First-Class Mail or Priority Mail price multiplied by 2.472. See Notice 123—Price List.

1.5 Computing Postage — Standard Mail

1.5.1 Weight

To compute the total weight of the addressed pieces in a mailing or mailing segment for:

a. Identical-weight pieces, multiply the computed average weight of a single piece by the corresponding number of pieces; do not round the product.

b. Nonidentical-weight pieces, add the actual weight of the individual pieces or weigh the entire mailing in bulk; do not round either result.

1.5.2 Determining Single-Piece Weight

To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of identical-weight pieces, weigh a sample group of at least 10 randomly selected pieces and divide the total sample weight by the number of pieces in the sample. To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of nonidentical-weight pieces, weigh each piece individually. Express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds, rounded off to four decimal places.

1.5.3 Net Postage

Postage is computed at the applicable prices on the entire mailing to be mailed at one time. The net postage price is either the applicable minimum per piece price or the piece/pound price, as adjusted for any discounts and surcharges.

1.5.4 Per Piece and Per Pound Charges

The per piece charge is computed based on the total number of addressed pieces for each price category claimed. The minimum price may apply to each piece as detailed in 1.2, Standard Mail Price Application. Otherwise, the per piece charge must be added to the per pound charge to determine total postage. Where applicable, the per pound charge is computed based on the total weight of the addressed pieces for each price category claimed, and is added to the per piece charge to determine total postage. For example, a quantity of pieces weighing 100.25 pounds is charged 100.25 times the applicable price per pound, based on the price claimed, plus one unit of the applicable per piece charge for each addressed piece.

1.5.5 Computing Affixed Postage

To compute postage to be affixed to each piece, multiply the weight of the piece (in pounds) by the applicable price per pound; add the applicable per piece charge and any surcharge; and round the sum up to the next tenth of a cent. The applicable minimum per piece charge must be affixed if it is more than the total computed per piece postage.

1.5.6 Permit Imprint

In any permit imprint mailing:

a. For each price or price category, multiply the number of addressed pieces by the corresponding price per piece and (if applicable) multiply the unrounded total weight of the pieces by the corresponding price per pound; round off each product to four decimal places.

b. Add the per piece and per pound charges and round off the total postage to the nearest whole cent.

Back to Top

2.0 Content Standards for Standard Mail Flats

2.1 Definition and Weight

Standard Mail consists of mailable matter that is neither mailed or required to be mailed as First-Class Mail nor entered as Periodicals (unless permitted or required by standard) and that weighs less than 16 ounces. Standard Mail includes matter formerly classified as Standard Mail (A) and third-class mail.

2.2 Personal Information

Personal information may not be included in a Standard Mail mailpiece unless all of the following conditions are met:

a. The mailpiece contains explicit advertising for a product or service for sale or lease or an explicit solicitation for a donation.

b. All of the personal information is directly related to the advertising or solicitation.

c. The exclusive reason for inclusion of all of the personal information is to support the advertising or solicitation in the mailpiece.

2.3 Bills and Statements of Account

Mail containing bills or statements of account as defined in 333.2.2 may not be entered as Standard Mail except under the conditions described in 2.5.2.

2.4 Handwritten and Typewritten Matter

Mail containing handwritten or typewritten matter may not be entered as Standard Mail except under the conditions described in 2.6.

2.5 Attachments and Enclosures

2.5.1 Invoice

An invoice, whether it also serves as a bill, may be placed either inside a Standard Mail piece or in an envelope marked “Invoice Enclosed” and attached to the outside of the piece if the invoice relates solely to the matter with which it is mailed. The invoice may show this information:

a. Names and addresses of the sender and addressee.

b. Names and quantities of the articles enclosed, descriptions of each (e.g., price, tax, style, stock number, size, and quality, and, if defective, nature of defects).

c. Order or file number, date of order, date and manner of shipment, shipping weight, postage paid, and initials or name of packer or checker.

2.5.2 Incidental First-Class Mail Attachments and Enclosures

Incidental First-Class Mail matter may be enclosed in or attached to Standard Mail merchandise (including books but excluding merchandise samples) without payment of First-Class Mail postage. Incidental First-Class Mail matter may not be enclosed in or attached to matter mailed as Customized MarketMail under 705.1.0. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure must be matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class Mail postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, and is prepared not to encumber postal processing. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure may be a bill for the product or publication, a statement of account for past products or publications, or a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel. Postage at the Standard Mail or Package Services price for the host piece is based on the combined weight of the host piece and the incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure.

2.5.3 Nonincidental First-Class Mail Enclosures

Letters or other pieces of nonincidental First-Class Mail, subject to postage at First-Class Mail prices, may be enclosed with Standard Mail pieces (except matter mailed as Customized MarketMail under 705.1.0). Postage for the First-Class Mail enclosure must be placed on the outside of the piece. It may be affixed separately or added to the postage for the host piece. The endorsement “First-Class Mail Enclosed” must be placed on the piece, below the postage and above the address.

2.5.4 Nonincidental First-Class Mail Attachments

Letters or other pieces of nonincidental First-Class Mail may be placed in an envelope and securely attached to the address side of a Standard Mail piece (except matter mailed as Customized MarketMail under 705.1.0), or of the principal piece, as applicable. Combination envelopes or containers with separate parts for the two classes of mail may be used. The names and addresses of the sender and addressee must be placed on both the principal piece and the attachment. Alternatively, the sender’s name and address must be placed on one part and the addressee’s name and address on the other. If the piece is a combination container with inseparable parts or compartments, the names and addresses may appear on only one part. The applicable Standard Mail postage for the Standard Mail matter must be prepaid and placed in the upper right corner of the address space. Postage at the applicable First-Class Mail price must be paid for and affixed to the First-Class Mail attachment, unless other payment methods are permitted by standard.

2.5.5 Attachment of Other Standard Mail Matter

A Standard Mail flat may bear a label, a sticker, or a release card eligible as Standard Mail matter, when affixed under 2.5.5 and 2.5.6. Standard Mail flats may bear repositionable notes under 705.23.0. Standards Mail flats also may bear other attachments eligible as Standard Mail matter if these additional conditions are met:

a. The piece bearing the attachment is claimed as Customized MarketMail (CMM) under 705.1.0 or as Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail flats under 6.0, except as allowed under 2.5.6.

b. The face of the attachment may bear only the price markings and endorsements permitted for the price claimed for the host piece.

c. At the time of mailing, the piece shows only one complete delivery address. If the attachment is a reply card, the address for returning the piece is not visible.

d. Enhanced Carrier Route host pieces are larger than 6 by 11 inches. CMM host pieces are any size permitted under 705.1.1.3, Physical Standards.

e. The attachment is not larger than the host piece and does not extend beyond the host piece. An attachment affixed to a CMM piece may not be greater than 1/4 inch thick at its thickest point.

f. Each piece in the mailing bears the attachment, and the attachment is of identical size, weight, and positioning on the host piece. Different wording or designs may be used.

g. The attachment does not interfere with processing or delivery. Folded or multipage attachments must be secured to prevent opening during handling.

h. Standard Mail flats with attachments that have been approved in writing by the Pricing and Classification Service Center are eligible for mailing under the conditions specified in the approval letter.

2.5.6 Flat-Size Pieces with Labels, Stickers or Release Cards

Flats with an attached label, sticker, or release card eligible as Standard Mail matter must meet the standards in 301.1.8.4.

2.6 Written Additions

Markings that have the character of personal correspondence require, with certain exceptions, additional postage at the First-Class Mail prices. The following written additions and enclosures do not require additional First-Class Mail postage:

a. The sender’s and the addressee’s names, occupations, and addresses, preceded by “From” or “To,” and directions for handling.

b. Marks, numbers, names, or letters describing the contents.

c. Words or phrases such as “Do Not Open Until Christmas” and “Happy Birthday, Mother.”

d. Instructions and directions for the use of the item mailed.

e. A manuscript dedication or inscription not having the nature of personal correspondence.

f. Marks to call attention to words or passages in the text.

g. Corrections of typographical errors in printed matter.

h. Manuscripts accompanying related proof sheets and corrections of proof sheets including corrections of typographical and other errors, changes in the text, insertions of new text, marginal instructions to the printer, and corrective rewrites of parts.

i. Handstamped imprints, unless the added material is in itself personal or converts the original matter to a personal communication.

j. Matter mailable separately as Standard Mail printed on the wrapper, envelope, tag, or label.

Back to Top

3.0 Basic Standards for Standard Mail Flats

3.1 Description of Service

3.1.1 Service Objectives

Standard Mail may receive deferred handling. Service objectives for delivery are 2 to 9 days; however, delivery time is not guaranteed.

3.1.2 Minimum Quantity

Standard Mail provides economical prices for mailings of 200 or more pieces or 50 or more pounds of mail.

3.2 Defining Characteristics

3.2.1 Weight, Shape, Flexibility, and Uniform Thickness

[1-22-12] All Standard Mail pieces must weigh less than 16 ounces. Flat-size pieces that do not meet the standards in 301.1.3 through 301.1.4 must be prepared as parcels and pay parcel prices.

3.2.2 Preparation Requirements

Standard Mail is subject to specific volume, marking, and preparation requirements.

3.2.3 Inspection of Contents

Standard Mail is not sealed against postal inspection.

3.2.4 Forwarding Service

The price of Standard Mail typically does not include forwarding service. Forwarding service is available under 507.1.5.

3.2.5 Return Service

The price of Standard Mail does not include return service. Return service is available under 507.1.5 for an additional fee.

3.2.6 Extra Services

Extra services available with Standard Mail are insured mail service (bulk insurance only), certificate of mailing service (bulk certificate of mailing only), return receipt for merchandise service, and Delivery Confirmation service (parcels only). See information regarding extra services in 503.

3.2.7 Periodicals

Authorized Periodicals may not be entered as Standard Mail unless permitted by standard.

3.2.8 Identical Pieces

The contents of printed matter in a Standard Mail mailing must be identical to a piece sent to at least one other addressee. Standard Mail may include the addressee's name and address but may not transmit personal information except as permitted under 2.2.

3.3 Additional Basic Standards for Standard Mail

Each Standard Mail mailing is subject to these general standards:

a. All pieces in a mailing must be of the same processing category.

b. Each mailing must contain at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of pieces. See 3.6, Residual Volume Requirement, for volume requirement eligibility unique to Presorted Standard price mailings. Other volume standards also can apply, based on the price claimed.

c. All pieces in an automation mailing must be eligible for an automation price. Separate automation and Presorted price mailings of flats that are reported on the same postage statement must be cosacked under 705.9.0, Combining Bundles of Automation and Nonautomation Flats in Trays and Sacks. Separate automation, Presorted, and Enhanced Carrier Route mailings of flats may be co-containerized under 705.

d. All pieces in a mailing must be sorted together and marked under the standards for the price claimed.

e. Each mailpiece must bear the addressee's name and delivery address, including the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code, except as allowed when using alternative addressing formats under 602.3.0 or detached address labels under 602.4.0. Format and position the delivery address according to 302.2.0.

f. Postage must be paid under 344.1.0 through 344.3.0 in Postage Payment and Documentation with precanceled stamps, meter stamps, or permit imprint.

g. A postage statement, completed and signed by the mailer, using the correct USPS form or an approved facsimile, must be submitted with each mailing. In addition, mailings must be documented under 344.4.2 and the standards for the price claimed.

h. Each piece must meet the standards for any other price or discount claimed.

i. Any POSTNET barcode on a mailpiece must be correct for the delivery address and meet the standards in 302.5.0, Barcode Placement, 708.4.0, Standards for POSTNET and Intelligent Mail Barcodes, and 708.3.0, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS).

j. Mailings must be deposited at a business mail entry unit of the Post Office where the postage permit or license is held and the annual mailing fee paid, unless deposit elsewhere is permitted by standard.

3.4 Presort Mailing Fees

[1-22-12] An annual mailing fee must be paid once each 12-month period at each Post Office of mailing. Effective February 12, 2012, payment of this fee is waived for mailers who present only full-service automation mailings (under 705.24.0) containing 90% or more pieces qualifying for full-service prices. A mailer paying this fee may enter clients’ mail as well as the mailer’s own. The mailer whose permit imprint appears on pieces in a mailing paid with a permit imprint must show that permit number on the postage statement and must pay the annual mailing fee for that permit; this fee is in addition to the one-time fee for an application to use permit imprints. The fee may be paid in advance only for the next 12 months and only during the last 60 days of the current service period. The fee charged is that which is in effect on the date of payment.

3.5 Merging Similar Standard Mailings

Mailings are subject to the general definitions and conditions in 345.1.0, General Information for Mail Preparation. Generally, mailers may merge similar Standard Mail matter into a single mailing. Differences in text, address labels, and address lists or list key numbers do not prohibit the mailer from merging and sorting pieces together. Pieces with different methods of postage payment may be combined in the same mailing only if authorized by Business Mailer Support (BMS). Pieces of nonidentical weight, if merged in the same mailing, must bear the correct postage when mailed, unless otherwise authorized by BMS.

3.6 Residual Volume Requirement

Pieces in an Enhanced Carrier Route price mailing that has separately met a 200-piece or 50-pound minimum quantity requirement may be counted toward the minimum quantity requirement for a Presorted price mailing, provided that the Enhanced Carrier Route price mailing and the Presorted price mailing are part of the same mailing job. Likewise, pieces in an automation price mailing that has separately met a 200-piece or 50-pound minimum quantity requirement may be counted toward the minimum quantity requirement for a Presorted price mailing, provided that the automation price mailing and the Presorted mailing are part of the same mailing job. Pieces mailed at Presorted Standard Mail prices must not be counted toward the minimum volume requirements for an Enhanced Carrier Route price or an automation price mailing.

3.7 Residual Mail Subject to First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Prices

Pieces prepared as Standard Mail (i.e., that bear Standard Mail price markings, ACS codes, etc.) that do not qualify for Enhanced Carrier Route, automation, or Presorted Standard Mail prices are subject to the single-piece First-Class Mail or Priority Mail prices as applicable for the weight of the mailpiece. Metered pieces weighing over 13 ounces but less than 16 ounces that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices and any pieces that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices for which First-Class Mail or Priority Mail service is desired must be re-enveloped or otherwise prepared so that they do not bear Standard Mail markings, endorsements, and ACS codes and must bear the proper First-Class Mail or Priority Mail price markings and ACS codes. Mailers who have pieces (other than metered pieces weighing over 13 ounces but less than 16 ounces) that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices but that are prepared as Standard Mail and who do not desire to receive First-Class Mail or Priority Mail service for those pieces may enter their mailpieces “as is” (i.e., bearing the Standard Mail markings and endorsements), provided the requirements in 344.1.0, Basic Standards for Postage Payment, are met.

3.8 ZIP Code Accuracy

The ZIP Code accuracy standard is a means of ensuring that the 5-digit ZIP Code in the delivery address correctly matches the delivery address information. For the purposes of this standard, address means a specific address associated with a specific 5-digit ZIP Code. Each address in a mailing at Standard Mail flats prices must meet the ZIP Code accuracy requirements in 602.6.0.

3.9 Move Update Standard

3.9.1 Basic Standards

The Move Update standard requires the periodic matching of a mailer's address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders maintained by the USPS. For this standard, address is a specific address associated with a specific occupant name. Each address in a mailing at Standard Mail flats prices must meet the requirements in 602.5.0.

3.9.2 Basis for Move Update Assessment Charges

Mailings are subject to a Move Update assessment charge if more than 30 percent of addresses with a change-of-address (COA) are not updated, based on the error rate found in USPS sampling at acceptance during Performance-Based Verification. Specifically, mailings for which the sample contains greater than 30 percent failed COAs out of the total COAs in the sample are subject to additional postage charges as follows:

a. The percentage of the mailing paying the charge is based on the percentage of failed pieces above 30 percent.

b. Each of the assessed pieces is subject to the $0.07 per piece charge.

c. As an example, if 40% of COAs in the sample are not updated, then the charge is applied to 10% (=40% - 30%) of the total mailing.

d. Mailings for which the sample has five or fewer pieces that were not updated for a COA are not subject to the assessment, regardless of the failure percentage.

Back to Top

4.0 Price Eligibility for Standard Mail

4.1 General Information

All Standard Mail prices are presorted prices (including all nonprofit prices). These prices apply to mailings meeting the basic standards in 2.0 through 4.0 and the corresponding standards for Presorted prices under 3.0 and 5.0, Enhanced Carrier Route prices under 6.0, automation prices under 7.0, or Customized MarketMail prices under 705.1.0. Except for Customized MarketMail pieces, destination entry discount prices are available under 346.2.0 through 346.5.0. Nonprofit prices may be used only by organizations authorized by the USPS. Not all processing categories qualify for every price. Pieces are subject to either a single minimum per piece price or a combined piece/pound price, depending on the weight of the individual pieces in the mailing.

4.2 Minimum Per Piece Prices

[1-22-12] The minimum per piece prices (the minimum postage that must be paid for each piece) apply as follows:

a. Basic Requirement. Pieces mailed at Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route prices are subject to minimum per piece prices when they weigh no more than 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound).

b. In applying the minimum per piece prices, if the piece meets both the definition of a letter in 201.1.1.1 and the definition of an automation flat in 301.3.0, the piece may be prepared and entered at an automation flat price. Pieces mailed as Customized MarketMail (CMM) under 705.1.0 must pay CMM prices.

c. Individual prices. There are separate minimum per piece prices for each subclass (Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route) and within each subclass for the type of mailing and the level of presort within each mailing. Except for Customized MarketMail pieces, discounted per piece prices also may be claimed for destination entry mailings (destination network distribution center (DNDC), destination sectional center facility (DSCF), and destination delivery unit (DDU)) under 346. DDU prices are available only for mail entered at Enhanced Carrier Route or Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route prices. See 1.0 for individual per piece prices.

4.3 Piece/Pound Prices

Pieces that exceed 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound) are subject to a two-part piece/pound price that includes a fixed charge per piece and a variable pound charge based on weight. Pieces exceeding 3.3 ounces may not be mailed as Customized MarketMail. There are separate per piece prices for each subclass (Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route) and within each subclass for the type of mailing and the level of presort within each mailing. There are separate per pound prices for each subclass (Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route). Discounted per pound prices also may be claimed for destination entry mailings (destination network distribution center (DNDC), destination sectional center facility (DSCF), and destination delivery unit (DDU)) under 346.

4.4 Shape, Flexibility, and Uniform Thickness

[1-22-12] Flat-size pieces that do not meet the standards in 301.1.3 through 301.1.4 must be prepared as parcels and pay parcel prices.

Back to Top

5.0 Additional Eligibility Standards for Nonautomation  Standard Mail Flats

5.1 Basic Standards

All pieces in a Regular Standard Mail or Nonprofit Standard Mail Presorted price mailing must:

a. Meet the basic standards for Standard Mail in 2.0 through 4.0 in Prices and Eligibility.

b. Except as provided in 3.6, Residual Volume Requirement, be part of a single mailing of at least 200 addressed pieces or 50 pounds of pieces qualifying for Presorted Standard Mail. Regular and Nonprofit mailings must meet separate minimum volumes.

c. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The ZIP Code accuracy standard in 3.8.

2. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

d. Be marked, sorted, and documented as specified in 345, Mail Preparation, or 705, Advanced Preparation and Special Postage Payment Systems.

5.2 Price Application

Presorted prices for Regular and Nonprofit Standard Mail apply to flats that meet the eligibility standards in 2.0 through 4.0 and the preparation standards in 705, Advanced Preparation and Special Postage Payment Systems.

5.3 5-Digit Prices for Flats

The 5-digit price applies to flat-size pieces:

a. In a 5-digit/scheme bundle of 10 or more pieces, or 15 or more pieces, as applicable; properly placed in a 5-digit/scheme sack containing at least 125 pieces or 15 pounds of pieces.

b. When palletized under 705.8.0 and 705.10.0 through 705.13.0, in a 5-digit/scheme bundle of 10 or more pieces, or 15 or more pieces, as applicable.

c. In a 5-digit bundle of 10 or more pieces, or 15 or more pieces, as applicable; properly placed in a merged 5-digit/scheme or 5-digit sack under 705.10.0.

5.4 3-Digit Prices for Flats

The 3-digit price applies to flat-size pieces:

a. In a 5-digit/scheme bundle of 10 or more pieces, or 15 or more pieces, as applicable, or in a 3-digit/scheme bundle of 10 or more pieces; properly placed in a 3-digit sack of at least 125 pieces or 15 pounds of pieces.

b. When palletized under 705.8.0 and 705.10.0 through 705.13.0, in a 3-digit/scheme bundle of 10 or more pieces.

5.5 ADC Prices for Flats

ADC prices apply to flat-size pieces:

a. In a 5-digit/scheme, 3-digit/scheme, or ADC bundle of 10 or more pieces properly placed in an ADC sack of at least 125 pieces or 15 pounds of pieces.

b. In an optional 3-digit/scheme origin/entry sack.

c. When palletized under 705.8.0 and 705.10.0 through 705.13.0, in an ADC bundle of 10 or more pieces; properly placed on an ADC pallet.

5.6 Mixed ADC Prices for Flats

Mixed ADC prices apply to flat-size pieces in bundles that do not qualify for 5-digit, 3-digit, or ADC prices; placed in mixed ADC sacks or on ASF, NDC, or mixed NDC pallets under 705.8.0.

Back to Top

6.0 Additional Eligibility Standards for Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail Flats

6.1 General Enhanced Carrier Route Standards

6.1.1 Optional Preparation

Preparation to qualify for any Enhanced Carrier Route price is optional and need not be performed for all carrier routes in a 5-digit area. An Enhanced Carrier Route mailing may include pieces at basic, high density, and saturation Enhanced Carrier Route prices.

6.1.2 Basic Eligibility Standards

All pieces in an Enhanced Carrier Route or Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail mailing must:

a. Meet the basic standards for Standard Mail in 2.0 through 4.0 in Prices and Eligibility.

b. Be part of a single mailing of at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of pieces of Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail. Regular and Nonprofit mailings must meet separate minimum volumes.

c. Be sorted to carrier routes, marked, and documented under 345.6.0, or 705.8.0; or for barcoded flats, prepared under 705.14.0, Combining Bundles of Flats Within FSS Zones.

d. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code, ZIP+4 code, or numeric equivalent to the delivery point barcode (DPBC) and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The carrier route accuracy standard in 6.2.

2. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

3. If flat-size pieces are prepared with detached address labels, the additional standards in 602.4.0.

e. Meet the applicable sequencing requirements in 6.3 through 6.5 in Additional Eligibility Standards for Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail Flats and in 345.6.9, Delivery Sequence Standards, and 345.6.10, Delivery Sequence Documentation.

f. Meet the applicable documentation and postage payment standards in 344, Postage Payment and Documentation, and 1.5, Computing Postage — Standard Mail.

g. Enhanced Carrier Route price mail may not be more than 12 inches high, 15 inches long, or 3/4-inch thick. Exception: Merchandise samples with detached address labels (DALs) may exceed these dimensions if the labels meet the standards in 602.4.0.

6.1.3 Full-Service Intelligent Mail Eligibility Standards

In addition to other requirements in 6.0, flats eligible for the full-service Intelligent Mail option must:

a. Be flat-size under 301.1.0.

b. Be part of a basic carrier route or high-density carrier route mailing under 6.3 or 6.4.

c. Bear an accurate Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 302.4.0, and 708.4.0. Flats with Intelligent Mail barcodes entered under the full-service automation option also must be part of mailings that meet the standards in 705.24.0.

6.2 Carrier Route Code Accuracy

6.2.1 Basic Standards

The carrier route accuracy standard is a means of ensuring that the carrier route code correctly matches the delivery address information. For the purposes of this standard, address means a specific address associated with a specific carrier route code. Addresses used on pieces claiming certain prices under 6.2.1d that are subject to the carrier route accuracy standard must meet these requirements:

a. Each address and associated carrier route code used on the mailpieces in a mailing must be updated within 90 days before the mailing date with one of the USPS-approved methods in 6.2.2.

b. Each individual address in the mailing is subject to the carrier route accuracy standard.

c. If the carrier route code (and accuracy) of an address used on a mailpiece in a carrier route mailing at one class of mail and price is updated with an approved method, the same address may be used during the following 90 days to meet the carrier route accuracy standard required for mailing at any other class of mail and price.

d. Except for mail bearing a simplified address, addresses used on pieces claiming Standard Mail Enhanced Carrier Route prices, regardless of any required surcharge, must meet the carrier route accuracy standard.

6.2.2 USPS-Approved Methods

Carrier route coding must be performed using CASS-certified software and the current USPS Carrier Route Product or another Address Information System (AIS) product containing carrier route information subject to 509.1.0, Address Information System Services, and 708.3.0, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS). Printed Carrier Route Files (schemes) may be used for Standard Mail Enhanced Carrier Route flat-size mail at basic, high density, and saturation prices.

6.2.3 Mailer Certification

The mailer’s signature on the postage statement certifies that the carrier route accuracy standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.

6.3 Basic Price Enhanced Carrier Route Standards

6.3.1 Sequencing

All pieces mailed at basic prices must be prepared in walk sequence or in line-of-travel (LOT) sequence according to LOT schemes prescribed by the USPS (see 345.6.9, Delivery Sequence Standards, and 345.6.10, Delivery Sequence Documentation).

6.3.2 Basic Price Eligibility

Basic prices apply to each piece in a carrier route bundle of 10 or more pieces that is:

a. Palletized under 705.8.0, Preparing Pallets, 705.10.0, Merging Bundles of Flats in Sacks and Pallets Using the City State Product, 705.12.0, Merging Bundles of Flats on Pallets Using a 5% Threshold, or 705.13.0, Merging Bundles of Flats on Pallets Using the City State Product and a 5% Threshold.

b. Placed in a carrier route sack containing at least 125 pieces or 15 pounds of pieces.

c. Placed in a merged 5-digit scheme, 5-digit scheme carrier routes, merged 5-digit, or 5-digit carrier routes sack.

d. Entered at a destination delivery unit as unsacked bundles, according to preparation standards in 345.2.0 and entry standards in 346.5.0.

6.4 High Density Enhanced Carrier Route Standards

6.4.1 Basic Eligibility Standards for High Density Prices

All pieces mailed at high density prices must:

a. Be prepared in walk sequence according to schemes prescribed by the USPS (see 345.6.9).

b. Meet the density requirement of at least 125 pieces for each carrier route. Multiple pieces per delivery address can count toward this density standard.

6.4.2 High Density Prices for Flats

High density prices apply to each piece in a carrier route bundle of 10 or more pieces that is:

a. Palletized under 705.8.0, Preparing Pallets, 705.10.0, Merging Bundles of Flats in Sacks and Pallets Using the City State Product, 705.12.0, Merging Bundles of Flats on Pallets Using a 5% Threshold, or 705.13.0, Merging Bundles of Flats on Pallets Using the City State Product and a 5% Threshold.

b. Placed in a carrier route sack containing at least 125 pieces or 15 pounds of pieces.

c. Placed in a merged 5-digit scheme, 5-digit scheme carrier routes, merged 5-digit, or 5-digit carrier routes sack.

6.5 Saturation Enhanced Carrier Route Standards

6.5.1 Basic Eligibility Standards for Saturation Prices

All pieces mailed at saturation prices must:

a. Be prepared in walk sequence according to schemes prescribed by the USPS (see 345.6.9).

b. Meet the density requirement of at least 90% or more of the active residential addresses or 75% or more of the total number of active possible delivery addresses on each carrier route receiving this mail. Pieces bearing a simplified address must meet the coverage standards in 602.3.0, Use of Alternative Addressing. Multiple pieces per delivery address do not count toward this density standard.

6.5.2 Saturation Prices for Flats

Saturation prices apply to each piece in a carrier route bundle of 10 or more pieces that is:

a. Palletized under 705.8.0, Preparing Pallets, 705.10.0, Merging Bundles of Flats in Sacks and Pallets Using the City State Product, 705.12.0, Merging Bundles of Flats on Pallets Using a 5% Threshold, or 705.13.0, Merging Bundles of Flats on Pallets Using the City State Product and a 5% Threshold.

b. Placed in a carrier route sack containing at least 125 pieces or 15 pounds of pieces.

c. Placed in a merged 5-digit scheme, 5-digit scheme carrier routes, merged 5-digit, or 5-digit carrier routes sack.

Back to Top

7.0 Additional Eligibility Standards for Automation Standard Mail Flats

7.1 Basic Eligibility Standards for Automation Standard Mail

All pieces in a Regular Standard Mail or Nonprofit Standard Mail automation mailing must:

a. Meet the basic standards for Standard Mail in 2.0 through 4.0 in Prices and Eligibility.

b. Be part of a single mailing of at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of pieces of automation price Standard Mail (Regular and Nonprofit mailings must meet separate minimum volumes).

c. Be in the same processing category and meet the physical standards in 301.3.0.

d. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code, ZIP+4 code, or numeric equivalent to the delivery point barcode (DPBC) and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The address matching and coding standards in 7.4, Address Standards for Barcoded Pieces, and 708.3.0, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS).

2. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

e. Bear an accurate delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code, matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 302.4.0, and 708.4.0, either on the piece or on an insert showing through a barcode window.

f. Be marked, sorted and documented as specified in 345.7.0, and 705.8.0 through 705.13.0; or prepared under 705.14.0, Combining Bundles of Flats Within FSS Zones.

g. Meet the applicable documentation and postage payment standards in 344.

7.2 Eligibility Standards for Full-Service Automation Standard Mail Flats

All pieces entered under the full-service Intelligent Mail automation option must:

a. Bear a unique Intelligent Mail barcode.

b. Be part of a mailing that meets the standards in 705.24.0.

c. Be scheduled for an appointment through the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system when deposited as a DNDC or DSCF drop shipment.

7.3 Price Application

Automation prices apply to each piece properly sorted into qualifying groups:

a. The 5-digit price applies to flat-size pieces in a 5-digit/scheme bundle of 10 or more pieces, or 15 or more pieces, as applicable.

b. The 3-digit price applies to flat-size pieces in a 3-digit/scheme bundle of 10 or more pieces.

c. The ADC price applies to flat-size pieces in an ADC bundle of 10 or more pieces.

d. The mixed ADC price applies to flat-size pieces in mixed ADC bundles (no minimum).

7.4 Address Standards for Barcoded Pieces

7.4.1 Basic Address Standards for Barcodes

To qualify for automation prices, addresses must be sufficiently complete to enable matching to the current USPS ZIP+4 Product when used with current CASS-certified address matching software. Standardized address elements are not required. Any barcode that appears on a mailpiece claimed at an automation price must be the correct barcode for the corresponding delivery address on the piece.

7.4.2 Numeric ZIP+4

A numeric ZIP+4 code must consist of five digits, a hyphen, and four digits.

7.4.3 Numeric Delivery Point Barcode (DPBC)

A numeric equivalent of the delivery point barcode (DPBC) consists of five digits followed by a hyphen and seven digits as specified in 708.4.2. The numeric equivalent is formed by adding three digits directly after the ZIP+4 code.

7.4.4 Address Elements

Addresses must include the correct street number, predirectional, street name, suffix, and postdirectional that are input to obtain a match with the current USPS ZIP+4 Product.

7.4.5 Firm Name

An address must include a firm name when necessary to obtain a match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product. If an address contains a firm name assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product, the unique ZIP+4 code must be used. If the firm name is not one assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product and the apartment/suite number is included in the address, the ZIP+4 code for the range in which the apartment/suite number appears must be used in that address. If the firm name does not correspond to a firm name that has a unique ZIP+4 code assigned in the USPS ZIP+4 Product and the apartment/suite number is not included in the address, the ZIP+4 code for the building must be used.

7.4.6 Secondary Designator

If a secondary address designator (e.g., an apartment number) is shown in the address, the mailpiece must show the appropriate ZIP+4 code representing the range for that secondary address as contained in the current USPS ZIP+4 Product. If a secondary address designator is required to obtain an exact match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product but the information is not available, the alternative ZIP+4 code or ZIP+4 or delivery point barcode for the building must be used.

7.4.7 Rural and Highway Contract Routes

If a rural route or highway contract route box number is included in the address, the mailpiece must show the appropriate ZIP+4 code representing the range for that box number as contained in the current USPS ZIP+4 Product. If a rural route or highway contract route box number is required to obtain a match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code but is not available, the alternative ZIP+4 code or ZIP+4 or delivery point barcode for the rural route or highway contract route must be used. If used, the rural route or highway contract route box number must be placed on the line immediately above the city/state/ZIP Code line.

7.4.8 Post Office Box

A Post Office box address must contain a Post Office box number that can be exactly matched with the USPS ZIP+4 Product in effect.

7.5 Enclosed Reply Cards and Envelopes

All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (business reply, courtesy reply, and meter reply mail) provided as enclosures in automation Regular or Nonprofit Standard Mail, and addressed for return to a domestic delivery address, must meet the standards in 201.3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards, for enclosed reply cards and envelopes. The mailer’s signature on the postage statement certifies that this standard has been met when the corresponding mail is presented to the USPS.

Back to Top

8.0 Incentive Programs for Standard Mail Flats

8.1 General Description

Incentive programs for Standard Mail flats are designed to encourage mail volume growth and retention.

8.2 Saturation and High Density Incentive Program

8.2.1 Program Description

The Saturation and High Density Incentive Program provides postage credits for qualified mail owners of Standard Mail, or Nonprofit Standard Mail, letters and flats (complete mailpieces) mailed at saturation and high density carrier route prices that can document mail volumes exceeding their individual USPS-recorded threshold level, during the 2011 program period, from January 2, 2011 through December 31, 2011. Participating mail owners documenting volumes above their threshold level receive a credit, for each piece exceeding their threshold level, to a single designated permit imprint advance deposit account or Centralized Account Payment System (CAPS) account after the end of the program period. Applicants are required to review and certify the accuracy of the data used by the USPS to calculate their threshold level(s); and, upon request, may be required to provide documentation of their mailing activity in the 2010 calendar year, the 2009-2010 eligibility period and during the program period.

8.2.2 Eligibility Standards

Mail service providers are not eligible to participate in this program. Mail owners are eligible for the program as follows:

a. Mailers must be the owner of a permit imprint advance deposit account, precanceled stamp permit, or postage meter permit at a USPS facility having PostalOne! capability; or the owner of qualifying mailpiece volume entered through the account(s) of a mail service provider at a USPS facility having PostalOne! capability, when adequate documentation demonstrates that the applicant is the owner of the mailpieces.

b. Applicants must electronically submit postage statements and mailing documentation to the PostalOne! system. Applicants participating within a defined market area(s) must electronically submit postage statements and mailing documentation using Mail.dat or Mail.XML. All other applicants may optionally submit postage statements via Postal Wizard.

c. Only the volume of the mail owner, defined as the entity paying for the postage, is eligible within the program period.

d. Mail service providers and customers supplying inserts, enclosures or other components included in the mailings of another mailer are not eligible to participate in this program.

e. For either the saturation or high density incentives, applicants must demonstrate a combined minimum of six saturation or high density mailings of Standard Mail letters and/or flats within the qualification period of October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010.

f. Applicants meeting the eligibility criteria in 8.2.2a through 8.2.2d may participate within both the saturation and high density price categories simultaneously.

g. Applicants who participate only within defined market areas must meet the eligibility criteria independently for each selected SCF service area or selected metropolitan target market.

h. Mailers participating in the 2011 Saturation and High Density Incentive Program are not eligible for concurrent participation in any other USPS-sponsored volume incentive program that includes Standard Mail pieces in the saturation or high density price categories.

8.2.3 Program Threshold Level

Threshold level figures are calculated independently for each applicant as follows:

a. Thresholds are set at 5 percent (5%) above (or 105% of) the volume, within the participant-selected growth area and price category, of Standard Mail or Nonprofit Standard Mail saturation and high density letters and flats recorded in the 2010 calendar year.

b. Applicants participating in both the saturation and high density price categories must exceed the combined thresholds of both categories before qualifying for an incentive payment in either category.

8.2.4 Application

Mail owners identified by the Postal Service as being eligible to participate in the program will be sent an invitation letter after November 1, 2010. Mail owners may apply for the program as follows:

a. The invitation letter directs mail owners to apply for the program online at www.usps.com/SaturationHD no later than January 31, 2011.

b. Applicants participating with Standard Mail saturation and/or high density mail volume destinating only within defined market areas must select the sectional center facility (SCF) service areas for participation in the program, up to a maximum of 20 individual SCF areas or up to five metropolitan target markets (consisting of multiple contiguous SCFs). The USPS must approve all applicant-selected market areas prior to acceptance into the program.

c. Mail owners completing the online application process receive an electronic response from the USPS that includes:

1. An individual volume threshold report, with the applicant's recorded saturation and/or high density volume for the 2010 calendar year.

2. A certification letter.

3. A threshold inquiry form.

d. Applicants agreeing with their threshold volume(s) can sign the certification letter and return a copy via email to: SaturationHDIncentive@usps.gov or mail hardcopy to Saturation Incentive Program Office, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 5500, Washington, DC 20260-5500, to be registered for the program.

e. Applicants not agreeing with any portion of their USPS-calculated threshold(s) must complete the threshold inquiry form and return it along with supporting evidence, via email, or mail hardcopy to Saturation Incentive Program Office, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 5500, Washington, DC 20260-5500, no later than March 15, 2011.

f. Mail owners wishing to participate in the program, but who were not notified by letter, may request a review of their eligibility by contacting the USPS at SaturationHDIncentive@usps.gov or submitting an online application at www.usps.com/SaturationHD no later than January 31, 2011.

8.2.5 Program Participation

Mail owners may participate in the program with qualifying letters and flats mailpieces mailed at saturation or high density prices as follows:

a. Standard Mail, or Nonprofit Standard Mail, mailpieces mailed by the participant through the participant's own permit imprint advance account, precanceled stamp permit(s), or postage meter permit(s);

b. Standard Mail, or Nonprofit Standard Mail, mailpieces prepared by a mail service provider, when entered through a permit owned by the participant;

c. Standard Mail, or Nonprofit Standard Mail, mailpieces mailed through a mail service provider's permit, only when the pieces can be identified as being prepared for the participant and when the applicant's prior mailing activity through the mail service provider's permit can be validated.

d. Fluctuations in mailing activity resulting from the merger or acquisition of one or more program participants, prior or subsequent to the beginning of the program period, are subject to review and approval by the USPS for inclusion in reported volume.

8.2.6 Incentive Program Credits

Approved participants demonstrating an increase in Standard Mail, or Nonprofit Standard Mail, saturation and high density letters and flats volume above their threshold level qualify for a credit to a single designated permit imprint advance deposit account or CAPS account as follows:

a. The total postage paid for Standard Mail, or Nonprofit Standard Mail, letters and flats mailed at saturation and high density prices, recorded during the program is identified for each participant.

b. The total postage paid during the program period is divided by the total number of recorded mailpieces to determine the average price per piece for the program period.

c. Participants receive a credit, based on the percentages of the average price per piece, for the number of mailpieces of incremental volume above their threshold level, recorded during the program period, as follows:

1. Saturation letters and flats: 22 percent for Standard Mail, 8 percent for Nonprofit Standard Mail pieces.

2. High density letters and flats: 13 percent for Standard Mail, 8 percent for Nonprofit Standard Mail pieces.