Talk:Intelligent Mail barcode

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Just wondering if it would be possible to write a little bit of information about the use of IMBs outside of the US. I know it is used in the UK on offical mail (Such as letters from HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs). Thank (talk) 15:04, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

It is also used in Portugal - a shorter, 50 bar version, I think. I tagged it, in hope of getting a little more attention - Nabla (talk) 17:47, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
First comment sounds like generic barcodes. Barcodes are used on mail in many countries. IMB is a particular barcode. If it's not 65 bars, it is not IMB. The UK code is probably RM4SCC. Glrx (talk) 05:07, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Merge Discussion[edit]

Agree with Merge proposition, and call for redirect of OneCode to Intelligent Mail Barcode. Information is redundant as all of the information about OneCode is now available inside the article for Intelligent Mail Barcode.Deezil (talk) 17:09, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

--Done. Brownsteve (talk) 05:04, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

USPS does not call the new barcode "Onecode", it is referred to as the "IMB" Intelligent Mail Barcode and this will become effective January 2009.

Proposed Edits to Intelligent Mail Barcode[edit]

I have been working with Pitney Bowes to improve and expand this article. We would like to propose the following edits. Please read below for edits that will be added before the content currently found on this page.

The Intelligent Mail® barcode is a 65-bar code applied to mail in the United States, which provides information and benefits to both mailers and postal officials.

The Intelligent Mail initiative was announced by the US Postal Service in 2003, became available in 2006, was expanded upon and enhanced in 2007. This barcode will be required starting in May 2009 for companies looking to earn the maximum USPS automation discounts.

The Intelligent Mail barcode replaces the POSTNETTM and PLANET® barcodes and promises to raise the level of service the USPS provides to its customers. This mandate will help the USPS improve deliverability, provide new service and increase overall efficiency.

Over the years, the Intelligent Mail barcode has also been referred to as OneCodeTM, IMB and the 4-State Barcode.

The Intelligent Mail data payload

The Intelligent Mail barcode is a height-modulated barcode that encodes up to 31-digits of mailpiece data into 65 vertical bars.

The code is made up of four distinct symbols, which is why this barcode was once referred to as the 4-State Customer Barcode. These are the tracker, ascender, descender, and full bar (TADF). In total, the new barcode will carry a data payload of 31 digits including the following elements.

Service Type Identifier. A value that corresponds to a particular mail class with a particular combination of service(s).

Mailer ID. A number assigned by the USPS that identifies the specific mailer or subscriber.

Sequence Number: An ID specific to this mailpiece that must remain unique for each 45-day period.

Delivery Point ZIP Code: The same data used to generate the POSTNET barcode today.

Benefits of a Multi-Service Barcode

Maximum Postal Savings As of May 2009, mailers looking to earn the maximum postal discounts will be required to implement the Full-Service Intelligent Mail barcode.

Visibility into the Mailstream By allowing you to track each mail piece individually, the Intelligent Mail barcode provides companies with the precise status if mail and an opportunity to add a level of certainty in several important ways:

1. Low-cost Proof of Mailing Via the USPS® Confirm® service, the Intelligent Mail barcode allows you to access Destination Confirm service for mere pennies, giving you advance notice about when your high-value mail pieces will reach their destinations.

2. Payment Tracking Origin Confirm service lets you see when an individual customer’s check (or response) is on the way back to you, enabling you to manage collections efforts smarter and avoid unnecessary cancellations.

3. More Efficient Customer Care With the right interface, you can provide mailstream visibility to your customer care representatives, giving them the time-sensitive intelligence needed to reduce talk time, determine whether or not late fees should be waived and provide more responsive customer service.

4. More Effective Marketing Being able to forecast delivery of individual mail pieces makes it easier to forecast the number and timing of incoming phone calls. This helps marketers ensure phone centers are staffed accordingly while minimizing waste. Marketers can also target precise in-home delivery dates.

Free Address Change Service The USPS is looking to reduce Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail, so it’s not surprising that the new Intelligent Mail barcode makes it easy for mailers to make address corrections, as needed. In fact, on First-Class Mail®, electronic Address Change Service (ACSTM) is free when companies use the Full-Service Intelligent Mail® barcode.

Preparation Efficiency The USPS offers seamless acceptance for the induction of mailers’ prepared (presorted) mail. Whether preparing their own mail or using presort houses, mailers will benefit from reduced paperwork and greater visibility and transparency with the USPS.

External Links

White Papers and Other IMB Resources from Bowe Bell + Howell —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:00, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

News, White Papers and Other IMB Resources from Pitney Bowes

RIBBS Intelligent Mail® Barcode Resource Download Site

Intelligent Mail Barcode Implementation Guide by

Window Book Intelligent Mail® Barcode Resources

Pitney Bowes Software Intelligent Mail® Barcode Solutions Resource Section

Please take a look and let me know what you think. We'd like to implement these changes by May 30. Let me know your feedback! Vlbastekzeta (talk) 19:56, 21 May 2008 (UTC) on behalf of Pitney Bowes

  • It's okay. But it still reads like advertising copy. The Slimey 05:03, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Deletions to Intelligent Mail Barcode[edit]

I noticed that on 10/1, a user with the IP address made several edits to this page. I see that an entire section was deleted not only from the talk page but also from the main article regarding the various ways one can implement the IMB. Finally, the External Links to USPS and other company resources were removed and replaced with a link to Bowe Bell & Howell. As I understand it, it is typically not a Wikipedia best practice to remove large sections of content until this change has been discussed on the talk pages with other contributors. I believe the deleted information regarding the implementation of the IMB is important to keep the article educational and factual. I will be reversing these deletions by next Friday, 10/17/08, unless there is any further discussion on this page. If you could please communicate on this page why you feel the deletion is necessary, citing relevant third-party sources, I think that would be helpful as we work on making this article useful for readers. Thank you for your help in keeping Wikipedia's articles informative and useful. Vlbastekzeta (talk) 15:30, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

I've just hopped in to clean up the section on the data payload for the IM barcode - if I feel ambitious, I may try to synthesize the bulleted description of why you'd want to use Intelligent Mail into something that reads a bit more like a description of what it is, instead.

I've also added a diagram of what the four-state bars are in the barcode, since it's rather hard to explain without a visual example. I'm afraid my attempts to put it in the preferred SVG form resulted in a mangled mess, so I'd welcome someone correcting that file or replacing it with a better one. (The proportions in my file, however, do match the USPS standards for the barcode, as provided in the cited PDF, so keeping the proportions the same would be advised.) Orbus (talk) 02:27, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Low Quality Article[edit]

This is a poorly written, uninformative, yet excessively long, article. Compare it for instance with the article on POSTNET, which is short and to-the-point. Specifically:

  • The actual code, that is, the mapping between bars and decimal digits, is missing; it would seem that this is the single most important item a reader expects to find on this page.
  • Some of the text is written in such an unnatural way that it seems lifted literally from a USPS reference manual; paraphrasing this would much better explain the issue. (Example: the text in the subsection 'Barcode identifier'.)
  • The whole section on 'Implementation' should be removed. It is only barely related to, and provides no insights about, the Intelligent Mail Barcode. Why would it be of interest to a reader of this article that some organizations commingle their print streams? This section looks like a copy of a USPS advertising brochure (aimed at the mail departments of large companies).
Some of these are good points, but I like this information being here and want there to be a better coverage on wikipedia of bar code systems used to tag USA mail. Specifically, there's nothing at all in POSTNET or this about who invented the system and when, and when it was implemented and un-implemeneted.

I'm getting the feeling from look at these articles that the interested people that are mechanically inclined. Good articles should have history and the other humanities. Dwarfkingdom (talk) 00:42, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree with the OP here. Before reading this, I expected to be able to translate (with help) the codes into--well, something. After reading it, I can't. I don't even know what the four bars mean. I'm guessing they mean 00, 01, 10 and 11; but it's not clear from the picture which bar is which. I would assume left-to-right, but the USPS PDF (link at bottom) gives them in a different order. So I'm mysterified.
FWIW, I came here because I was trying to figure out why blocking out the human-readable address on an envelope, and writing "Return to Sender" didn't work. Figured it must be the bar code. But then looked at five pieces of mail, all sent to my address, and couldn't find any commonality in the bar codes. I'm no more enlightened after reading this... Mcswell (talk) 02:11, 29 November 2015 (UTC)


Is this the same encoding found in the Swedish mail service? Got a mail today, seems to have 42 bars. (talk) 09:59, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Article needs history section : When was Intelligent Mail barcode invented ?[edit]

When was this invented and by whom ? When was it adopted and disgarded ? The article reads like it was written by 5 year old. Dwarfkingdom (talk) 00:26, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

I'll second that. I'd like to know the background about why/how we ended up with a barcode style and format that only used by the U.S. postal service. I'm also wondering if the same 4-state barcodes are found in the nearly invisible Remote Video Encoding (RVE) mark spray-inked in florescent red on the back of a mailpiece and/or the IMB (or possibly POSTNET) spray-inked in florescent yellow (but also nearly invisible) on the front of the mailpiece in the lower-right corner.
The USPS also uses the Facing Identification Mark (FIM) code which indicates, among other things, if a POSTNET or Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) exists. The POSTNET format looks similar to IMB though is 2-state unlike IMB's 4-state code. The FIM's format is very different. What drove this change?
@Dwarfkingdom: I did not realize IMB had been discarded. Maybe you meant POSTNET and PLANET both of which IMB has replaced? POSTNET only has ZIP+4 data while IMB drills down to the delivery point which allows for machine-sorting of the material for the route a postal delivery person will use. I suspect that's one reason for the change. --Marc Kupper|talk 23:40, 6 March 2017 (UTC)