Frequently Asked Questions
Postal regulations change on a regular basis. Each year, postage rates are reviewed for changes. At the same time, other standards and requirements are reviewed. For businesses that mail, these should be reviewed and understood periodically. The list below highlights some of the most common answers to commonly asked questions. However, these may change, so be sure to refer to the USPS guidelines.
Letter-size mail is:
- Not less than 5 inches long, 3-1/2 inches high, and 0.007-inch thick.
- 0.007 inch thick if no more than 4-1/4 inches high and 6 inches long; or
- 0.009 inch thick if more than 4-1/4 inches high or 6 inches long, or both.
- Not more than 11-1/2 inches long, or more than 6-1/8 inches high or greater than 1/4-inch thick.
- Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Letter-size, card-type mail pieces made of cardstock may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch).
- Within an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive.
- Subject to additional dimensional restrictions, depending on mail piece design.
Mail Piece Size:
Once a piece of mail exceeds the maximum length, height, or thickness of one shape, it automatically gets classified as the next largest shape.
- Minimum size for Postcards and Letters:
5″ long x 3-1/2″ high
- Maximum size for Postcards:
6″ long x 4-1/4″ high
- Maximum size for Letters:
11-1/2″ long x 6-1/8″ high
- Maximum thickness for Letters:
- Maximum thickness for Large Envelopes:
Barcode Clear Zone
Each letter-size piece in an automation price or an Enhanced Carrier Route price mailing must have a barcode clear zone unless the piece bears a POSTNET or an Intelligent Mail barcode with a delivery point routing code in the address block. The barcode clear zone and all printing and material in the clear zone must meet the reflectance standards. The barcode clear zone is a rectangular area in the lower right corner of the address side of cards and letter-size pieces defined by these boundaries:
- Left: 4-3/4 inches from the right edge of the piece.
- Right: right edge of the piece.
- Top: 5/8 inch from the bottom edge of the piece.
- Bottom: bottom edge of the piece.
When the barcode is included as part of the address block:
- The barcode must be placed in one of these positions:
- Above the address line containing the recipient’s name.
- Below the city, state, and zip code line.
- Above or below the keyline information.
- Above or below the optional endorsement line.
- The printing of the barcode is prohibited anywhere between the address line containing the recipient’s name and the city, state, and zip code line.
- The minimum clearance between the barcode and any information line above or below it within the address block must be at least 0.040 (1/25) inch for POSTNET barcodes or 0.028 inch for Intelligent Mail barcodes. The separation between the barcode and top line or bottom line of the address block must not exceed 0.625 (5/8) inch. The clearance between the leftmost and rightmost bars and any adjacent printing must be at least 0.125 (1/8) inch.
- If a window envelope is used, the clearance between the leftmost and rightmost bars and any printing or window edge must be at least 0.125 (1/8) inch. The clearance between the barcode and the top and bottom window edges must be at least 0.040 (1/25) inch for POSTNET barcodes or 0.028 inch for Intelligent Mail barcodes. These clearances must be maintained during the insert’s range of movement in the envelope. Address block windows on heavy letter mail must be covered; such windows may be covered on other mail.
- If an address label is used, a clear space of at least 0.125 (1/8) inch must be left between the barcode and the left and right edges of the address label. The clearance between the barcode and the top and bottom edges of the address label must be at least 0.040 inch for POSTNET barcodes or 0.028 inch for Intelligent Mail barcodes.
- The rightmost bar must be at least 1/2 inch from the right edge of the mail piece, and the leftmost bar must be less than 10-1/2 inches from the right edge of the mail piece and at least 1/2 inch from the left edge of the mail piece; the top of each bar must be less than 4 inches from the bottom edge of the mail piece; and the bottom line of the address block, including the barcode, must be at least 5/8 inch from the bottom of the mail piece.
Physical Standards for Endorsements
The endorsement or, if combined, endorsements must meet these physical standards:
- The type size of the endorsement must be at least 8 points.
- The read direction of the endorsement and return address must be the same as the read direction of the delivery address.
- The color contrast between the endorsement and the mail piece background must be kept at a reasonable degree. A brilliant colored background or reverse printing is not permitted.
- A clear space of at least 1/4 inch around (above, below, and both sides) the total area containing the endorsement(s) is required. This 1/4-inch clear space is not required for an endorsement that is applied with a multiline optical character reader (MLOCR) inkjet and placed in the location directly below the postage area and any price marking if the endorsement is clear and legible.
- Postage is based on saturation per zip code. It is cheaper to mail 1000 pieces to one zip code than it is to mail 1000 pieces to 1000 zip codes.
- After we receive the lists and the mail piece, you will be emailed a postage statement for the exact postage amount. We require postage money on or before the drop date. We will need a check made out to “Postmaster” for the postage.
- We rent millions of names a year for our customers. We can target any demographic that may be beneficial to a campaign.
- List counts are free of charge.
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