How-to Guides

Postal Terms Glossary and USPS Acronyms

FSSI logo FSSI on March 7, 2019

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As a trusted expert in high-volume print and mail outsourcing, FSSI has developed a deep understanding of the complex USPS and mailing terminology over our nearly 45 years of industry experience. We have compiled a comprehensive glossary to help organizations navigate the intricate world of postal services and ensure efficient, compliant management of their sensitive documents and communications. This glossary covers a wide range of USPS and mailing-related terms, from addressing and barcoding requirements to postage rates and postal automation standards. By providing clear definitions and explanations of these industry-specific terms, FSSI empowers our clients with the knowledge and tools needed to optimize mailing processes, minimize costs, and maintain compliance with the latest USPS regulations.


2DAD (2D document assembly)Instructs inserter on how the document is assembled, ie: how many pages, where one document ends and a new one begins. Mail pieces are scanned by front insert by a camera to define the number and sequence of pages and which specific inserts are to be used. (Alternative to Optical Machine Recognition – OMR)


Address Service Requested (ASR) – Mail is forwarded if possible or returned if forwarding is not possible. A separate notice with new address information is provided for forwarded pieces and the address-correction fee is charged.

Months 1 – 12: the mailpiece is forwarded; no charge; separate notice of the new address is provided.

Months 13 – 18: the mailpiece is returned with the new address attached.

After month 18 or if undeliverable: the mailpiece is returned with the reason for non-delivery attached.

Automated Area Distribution Center (AADC) – AADC is a presort level in which all pieces in the bundle are addressed for delivery in the service area of the same automated distribution area. An area distribution center (ADC) uses multi-line optical character readers (MLOCRs), barcode sorters (BCSs), and other equipment designed for processing automation-compatible mail.

Address Change Service (ACS) – An automated address correction process that provides to participating mailers a data file containing change-of-address and undeliverable-as-addressed information. ACS is used in conjunction with Ancillary Service endorsements Change Service Requested and Address Service Requested. There are 3 types: traditional ACS where the mailer modifies an address block to include an ACS participation code or OneCode ACS in which the mailer requests ACS using an intelligent mail barcode, and lastly full-service ACS in which the mailer uses the Intelligent Mail Barcode and also mail that qualifies for full-service discounts. Electronic Service Requested is an endorsement for use on ACS mail pieces only.

Address Correction Service – A system of Ancillary Service endorsements that enables a mailer to obtain an addressee’s new (forwarding) address if it is actively on file with USPS or the reason for non-delivery for an undeliverable-as-addressed mail piece. This service is available alone using the Change Service Requested endorsement or as part of other Ancillary Service endorsements such as Address Service Requested in which the mail is forwarded and a separate notice of the new address is provided to the sender

Address Management – Address management is the creation and maintenance of address lists. It provides policies and systems for the national address database, mailing list services, address correction services, forwarding, and other related services.

AEC II Services – An enhancement to Address Element Correction that identifies and corrects nonmatching addresses using the computer program Delivery Force Knowledge™. The addresses are submitted, via AEC II, to delivery units to resolve address elements or determine the existence of the addresses.

Ancillary Service Endorsements – Ancillary Endorsements provide the USPS instructions on how to handle forwarded and undeliverable-as-addressed pieces. They are the same for all classes of mail, but the treatment and cost differ by mail class. Use of an ancillary endorsement on a mail piece obligates you to pay USPS any applicable charges for forwarding, return, and separate address notification charges.

ANK-Link – An enhancement to NCOALink software that allows authorized licenses to acquire 30 months of limited change-of-address data beyond the 18 months of complete data available through NCOALink software. Although ANKLink software does not return the new address as done by NCOALink software, it indicates customer moves for addresses that have occurred in months 19 to 48, along with the move effective date. Although never written out, the initials ANK represent “Address Not Known.

Aspect Ratio – The dimension of a mailpiece is expressed as a ratio of length (the direction parallel to the address) divided by height.

Attention Line – A separate address line that is the name of a person or a department placed above the recipient line, which is usually the name of a company or organization

Automated Business Mail Processing System (ABMPS) ­– A system that translates the address on a customer’s Business Reply Mail piece into a barcode consisting of a series of small vertical bars printed in the lower right corner of the mailpiece. The system enables identification and sorting by high-speed automated equipment.

Application – A system developed for a specific client to process client data for print, mail and/or electronic delivery.

Application Process Questionnaire (APQ) – An online form that is to define requirements for a new application in Workfront.

Application Programming Interface (API) – A hosted web service used to find and retrieve PDF images located in a secure and searchable database.

American Standard Code for Information Exchange (ASCII) – A data format that is used for PCs (except for UNIX) and networks.



Bad and Foreign Address (BAFN/BFN) – Mail that either does not meet CASS standards (cannot be CASS certified), has an incomplete or incorrect address or is going to a foreign country.

BIT – The smallest possible unit of information that can be transmitted using the binary numbers of 0 or 1, commonly called ones and zeroes or two-state signals.

Buck Slip – This is a paper about the size of a dollar bill that can be placed into a mail piece or can be used as a routing slip for internal business communication.

Bulk Business Mail – This is mail that qualifies for reduced postage rates. It must meet standards for volume and preparation before it enters the USPS facilities.

Bulk Mail – This is a class of mail that is sent at a reduced postage rate, but each item must be identical. Also referred to as advertising mail.

Bull’s Eye – A postmark placed squarely in the middle of a postage stamp that shows the mailing date and location.

Business Reply Mail (BRM) – This is a pre-addressed reply postcard, envelope, or carton that can be mailed free by the recipient. The recipient pays the standard mailing charges for each piece of mail delivered. The sender only pays postage for the mail pieces returned.

Byte – 8 bits.



CD – A Compact Disc (CD) is a means of archiving, or storing, data for our customers.

CPI – Characters Per Inch.

Certified Mail – A special USPS mailing service that provides the sender with a mailing receipt and upon request, an electronic verification letting the sender know if the piece was delivered or a delivery attempt was made.

Change Service Requested (CSR) – This is an Ancillary Service endorsement printed on mail by the sender that directs the USPS to handle undeliverable-as-addressed mail according to the option selected by the sender. Ex: the mail is discarded, or the mail is forwarded if a change-of-address order is on file.

COBOL – Common Business Oriented Language, this is the standard computer language in which our application programs are written in.

Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) – A program by the USPS that evaluates the accuracy of address-matching software programs using specific criteria that will standardize the address for postal discounts.

Classes of Mail – There are several classes of USPS mail including First-class, Priority, USPS Marketing Mail, Media Mail, EDDM, Package Services,

Customized MarketingMail Pieces (CMM) – This is an abbreviation used on mail labels that identify the piece as a MarketingMail piece.

Co-Bundling – This is an alternative mail preparation method for First-Class mail that allows the combining of flat-size automation and Presorted price pieces within the same bundle under the single minimum bundle size requirement.

Co-mingle – Mail that is presorted at a third-party vendor (Pitney Bowes Presort Services PBPS)

Computer Operations (CO) – Where a client’s incoming data files are processed into a usable output for printing and mailing or for internet/archival.

Count – The number of images/pages/mailpieces in a job. Counts from customers and counts within each department must match.

CPU – Central Processing Unit – the actual computer processor of a PC.

Corrective Action Report (CAR) – A web-based, detailed report accessible in QSO. Client Services and the production department usually initiate it due to an error or issue that includes the error/issue description, cause of the error/issue and process improvement/corrective action.

Customer Code – The unique code consisting of three initials, established by the Accounting Department for each customer. This code is used for processing printing and mailing all jobs, and for establishing inventory codes.

Coding Accuracy Support Systems (CASS) – A certification process offered to mailers, service bureaus, and software vendors that standardizes addresses in address lists and improves the accuracy of matching each standardized address to the proper delivery point code, ZIP+4 code, 5-digit ZIP Code, and carrier route code.

Coil/Coil Stamp – A coil is a roll of postage stamps that are one stamp wide. Usually in quantities of 50, 100, 3,000, or 10,000. They are produced in a long single row with a straight edge on parallel sides and perforations on the two other sides. This format allows the mechanical application of sticking stamps to high-volume mailings and quickly dispensing stamps from vending machines.

COD (Collect on Delivery) – This is a special service for mailers that need to mail articles where they have not received payment. The amount due is collected by either cash or by a personal check. The USPS returns the amount due to the mailer. This is an additional fee for mailers.

Color Letter Scan Camera – This is a device on the Advanced Facer Canceler System (AFCS 200) used for image lift, indicia detection, facing, barcode reading (Intelligent Mail barcode, POSTNET barcode) as well as pre-ID tag detection.

Combined Mailing – A mailing in which individually addressed mail pieces of the same mail class and generally of the same price category are merged and sorted together, usually using two or more postage payment methods. A combined mailing can also consist of nonidentical-weight permit imprint mail pieces or pieces with different prices of postage affixed and used mostly with periodicals mailed in bundles.

Commercial Base Price – A price lower than the retail price that requires purchase through a channel other than retail. Specifically, a discounted price schedule for First-Class Mail parcels, Priority Mail Express service, and Priority Mail service that is lower than retail prices for customers using a specified means to pay postage such as Click-N-Ship service, PC Postage, and Information-Based Indicia postage meters.

Commercial Mail – This is a special term for the types of mailing products used by business mailers that require pre-handling of mail pieces such as barcoding, and pre-sorting to qualify for lower postage rates.

Commercial Mail Plus Price (CPP) – A discounted pricing schedule for First-Class Mail parcels, Priority Mail Express service, and Priority Mail service that is lower than retail prices and Commercial Base prices for customers shipping a required annual minimum number of pieces and using a specified means to pay postage such as Click-N-Ship service, PC Postage, and Information-Based Indicia postage meters.

Cutoff Time – This is the latest time of day that mail can be accepted for processing, it is the last time a carrier makes the final withdrawal of mail from the distribution center before leaving for a route.



Dead Mail – Dead mail has to meet 3 criteria, it is undeliverable as addressed, there is no forwarding address, and it cannot be returned to the sender (usually because there is no return address on the piece or the classification of the mail does not entitle it to return service.

Delivery Confirmation – An add-on mailing service that provides information about the date and time an article was delivered or, if delivery was attempted but not successful, the date and time of the delivery attempt. USPS Tracking is included in all Priority Mail and Standard Post) service is available only at the time of mailing. Electronic notifications are available too.

Delivery Point Barcode (DPBC) – A general term for a POSTNET barcode that contains the nine digits of the ZIP+4 code plus two digits, which are generally the last two digits of the primary street address number. The DPBC allows automated sorting of letter mail to the carrier. *Not used for an Intelligent Mail Barcode containing a delivery point code.

Delivery Point Code – In mail processing and address management, the finest depth of code to which a mail piece can be sorted by its address. It is usually the 11–digit numeric code formed from the ZIP+4 code and the last two digits of the primary street address number (or Post Office Box, etc.) and represented by the delivery point barcode. The DPC can also be a firm (unique) 5-digit ZIP Code or an individual (unique) ZIP+4 code.

Delivery Point Sequence – The arrangement of mail into delivery order by using the delivery point code and other data elements. An automated process of sorting mail by carrier routes into delivery order, eliminating the need for carriers to sort the mail manually in the delivery unit before their departure to the routes.

Descender – In Intelligent Mail barcode terminology, it is the bar that covers two of the three possible regions (from bottom to top): the descending (bottom) region and tracking (middle) region. It does not cover the ascending (top) region.

Destination Network Distribution Center (DNDC) – The network distribution center (NDC) or other postal facility designated as an NDC such as an auxiliary service facility (ASF) where a mailer enters mail directly.

Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) – The sectional center facility (SCF) or other postal facility designated as an SCF where a mailer enters mail directly. DSCF is pre-sorted letters mailed for local delivery at a Post Office that has neither city delivery nor collection and delivery by a rural carrier or highway contract route carrier. Letters are picked up by the addressees.

Digital Mailing Checklist – An electronic checklist in QSO that provides the mailing instructions for each mail piece, such as the envelope, inserts, mail disposition, etc.

Digital Print Services (DPS) – This is the department where all documents are printed.

Direct Mail – This is another name for direct response advertising mail sent to targeted markets. Direct mail can be any mail class or product but is usually prepared as Standard Mail pieces. Direct mail can be the primary advertising channel for a business, or it can supplement and enhance other forms of advertising and sales activities.

Double Card – A stamped card or postcard that consists of two attached cards mailed out as a single unit of which one card is designed to be detached by the recipient and returned by mail as a single card.

Drop Letter – A letter mailed for local delivery at a Post Office that has neither city delivery nor collection and delivery by a rural carrier or highway contract route carrier. Letters are picked up by the addressees.

DJDE – Dynamic Job Descriptor Entries – print control characters embedded in formatted data for printing.

DNSDNS stands for Domain Name Server.

DPData Processing.

DPIDots Per Inch.

DSNData Set Name.



Electronic Address Sequencing (EAS) – This is a USPS mailing option that allows mailers to submit address lists in electronic format rather than on address cards. The USPS then arranges the submitted addresses into a carrier’s route, with additional services such as inserting missing addresses, or new addresses. The submitted address lists must contain at least 90 percent, but not more than 110 percent of the total possible deliveries in a 5-digit ZIP Code.

Electronic Mail Improvement Reporting (Emir) – An online tool designed for reporting irregularities in the mail that is prepared and presented to the USPS (ex: unreadable barcodes and bundles that fall apart). Mailers benefit from online access to report information, ready access to digital images of problem mail pieces, and feedback to improve the quality of future mailings.

Electronic Postmark (EPM) – An EPM is an auditable time-and-date stamp service that is offered by authorized service providers under license by the USPS. The EPM can verify the authenticity of a document or file sent electronically, adding trusted proof of content and a specific point of time.

Electronic Service Option – One of the two service options available for USPS Tracking service and Signature Confirmation service in which the mailer applies identifying barcodes to each piece, submits an electronic file and retrieves delivery status information electronically.

Electronic Service Requested – A printed Ancillary Service endorsement available for mailers participating in Address Change Service (ACS) directs USPS to handle undeliverable-as-addressed mail as defined in the mailer’s profile or Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). Endorsed mail pieces must be capable of Postal Automated Redirection System (PARS) or Computerized Forwarding System (CFS) processing.

Endorsement – An endorsement is an authorized marking on a piece of mail that shows its delivery instructions, it also can indicate a special service, or requests an addressed correction service such as forwarding or return

Every-Door-Direct-Mail – A simplified service designed for local businesses like auto dealers, banks, hardware stores, restaurants, real estate, and grocery stores to send geographically targeted advertising mail to every household or business on a postal delivery route. It uses a simplified address such as “Postal Customer” in place of a complete delivery address.

Extra Service (Certified Mail, COD, Confirmation, Tracking, FAST) – A designation for an Ancillary Service that generally provides a specific additional service when applied to a mail class or product. Extra Services include Certified Mail, Collect on Delivery (COD), Confirm, USPS Tracking, Insured Mail, Registered Mail, Restricted Delivery, Return Receipt, Return Receipt for Merchandise, Signature Confirmation, and Special Handling. Not all Ancillary Services, which are part of the broader designation, Special Services, are considered Extra Services.



Facing Slip – This is a paper label attached to the top of a bundle that shows where the mail is to be distributed, the class and type of mail and for international and overseas mail, the country or military Post Office.

FASTforward – A Move Update option by which pre-sorting houses identify changes of address and print them and the new IMB on the envelope while sorting the mail.  This is not a USPS-sanctioned Move Update option.

File Segments – Output files based on the number of pages per envelope, bad addresses and/or foreign addresses, and mailing disposition (ie: FedEx).

First Class Mail – This is a mail class that includes all pieces involved with writing, personal correspondence, bills, statements, account notices, and all other pieces sealed or legally cannot be opened and inspected for privacy reasons. It covers size products: single-piece letters or postcards, pre-sorted letters, and postcards, flats (single-piece pre-sorted and automation prices, parcels and outbound single-piece international.

Flats – This is a flat-size mail piece. The modifier “flats” is preferred to “flat” to distinguish the use of an item intended for flat-size mail from the physical attribute of horizontal evenness or smoothness of an item (e.g., flats case (a case for sorting flat-size mail) vs. flat case (a case that is level or compact).

Folded Self Mailer – This is a mail piece without an envelope made from a single sheet, no matter how many times it is folded down to letter-size, or from multiple sheets combined and not formed together to form a spine.

Font – The style and type of characters printed.

Forwarding Service Requested – An ancillary service endorsement printed on mail by the sender that directs USPS to forward undeliverable-as-addressed mail. If no change-of-delivery address order is on file or the period for forwarding has expired, the piece is returned to the sender with the reason for the non-delivery attached. Fees vary by the class of mail.

Full-Service Intelligent Mail – One of two Intelligent Mail offerings that require a maximum 31-digit Intelligent Mail barcode comprising five fields including the Barcode ID, Service Type Identifier, Mailer ID, Serial Number, and Routing Code. This option requires unique mailpiece barcodes, the use of Intelligent Mail barcodes on tray labels or container placards, electronic documentation, and the use of Facility Access and Shipment Tracking to schedule appointments for the entry of mailings.



GUI – GUI stands for Graphical User Interface; it relates to how you interact with a computer.



HTML – HyperText Markup Language.  It is the standard markup language for creating web pages and web applications.

HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.

Hybrid Mail – Hybrid mail is mail created from digital data that is electronically transmitted to distributed print sites, then transformed into physical form, then entered at a postal facility for delivery.



Identification Code Sorting (ICS) – A system that records and tracks the florescent ID tags applied by mail processing equipment on automation-compatible letter mail. Data components of this tag provide information, including the location where the mail piece was introduced into the automated flow and the address assigned to the mail piece through address directory lookup.

Image – Print applied to one side of a sheet by printers.

Indicia – An imprint on a mail piece that signifies the postage has been prepaid. A postal Indicia takes the place of a stamp or postage meter imprint and is generally printed directly on the piece to be mailed.

Input Data – The data received from the customer, which runs through a client application into the correct format for printing.

Inkjet Printing – High-speed printing on plain roll-fed white paper.

Inkjetting – Applying text directly to an envelope, such as a return address, a tagline or a variable mailing address on a closed-face envelope.

Insert – Any separate piece of material that is inserted into an envelope with the address-bearing document.

Institutional Costs – Postal costs that cannot be directly or indirectly assigned to any mail class or product. They can be considered common costs or overhead costs needed for overall operations.

Integrated Barcode – A standard parcel barcode (symbology GS1–128) that combines two or more services into one barcode, eliminating the need to print separate barcodes for each service requested.

Intelligent Mail (Barcode) – Using the intelligent mail system, mailers and USPS gain end-to-end visibility into the mailstream through the suite of Intelligent Mail barcodes and by submitting electronic documentation, which creates actionable information about mail for marketing, financial, and operational environments. A 31-character, four-state USPS-developed barcode consisting of 65 vertical bars that are used to sort and track letters, cards, and flats on automated equipment. The 65 bars represent one of four possible states: full bar, ascender, tracker, and descender. These 65 bars encode a string of 31 digits, divided into two parts: a 20–digit tracking code and an 11-digit routing code (when required). The 11-digit routing code may contain a ZIP Code, a ZIP+4 code, or a delivery point code unless required to contain a certain level of code in specific applications.

Internal Piece Tracking (IPT) – An internal tracking and reporting system for every mail piece processed for a client.



Joint Mailing – Joint mailing is a mailing that combines two or more complete mail pieces from two or more companies. This includes outer envelopes, into a common envelope, as a way to share postage and lists rental costs. The use of complete mail pieces inside a common envelope tends to make joint mailing more expensive than cooperative mailing.




LAN – Local Area Network – It is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line or wireless link to a server within a building or office.

LACS Link – An Address Management Service that provides mailers with an automated method of obtaining new addresses when rural-style addresses are converted to street-style addresses.

Lockbox – A service by which a bank processes a company’s payments from a post office box and deposits them directly into the company’s bank account.

Lockbox Address – The address on the remittance stub where customers send a payment for a bill.



Mailer Identification (MID) – A unique number assigned to a client and is used to track mail throughout the mailing process. Included in the IMB.

Mailing List Service – A general term for certain Address Management Services offered for a fee to correct name and address lists; correct occupant lists; and sort mailing lists by 5-digit ZIP Code (available only for multi-ZIP Code Post Offices). The services are available for mailing lists submitted by members of Congress; federal agencies; departments of state government; municipalities; religious, fraternal, and recognized charitable organizations; and concerns or persons soliciting business by mail.

Mailer Scorecard – The Mailer Scored features a dashboard at-a-glance view of the results of a mailer’s letter, a flat mailing activity over a month. This data is available to both the mailer that submitted the electronic documentation, and also the mail owner and preparer.

Mailstream Plus – Software that presorts mail to optimize postal rate qualifications.

Manifest MailingThe automated system used for mail pieces with the same dimensional size, with variable weight and an indicia. The software is used to create a detailed manifest of each piece of mail based on the envelope, the paperweight and inserts.  The mail is pre-sorted into one of two levels – 5 zip or mixed AADC.  Each envelope is tagged with a key line that defines its sortation level, class, weight and postage.  Manifest mail is delivered directly to the USPS.

Media Mail – Media mail is a package service offered by USPS that includes books, sheet music, printed educational material, film, sound recordings, and other media like CDs, tapes, etc. Media mail prices are based on the weight of the piece without any regard to its shipping zone.

MeteredPrepaid postage applied to a mail piece.

Metered Mail – Any mail class or product (except Periodicals and Bound Printed Matter) with postage printed with a USPS-approved postage meter or PC Postage product/system. This mail is entitled to all privileges and is subject to all conditions that apply to the various mail classes and products.

MICRMagnetic Ink Character Recognition – A technology used to verify the legitimacy or originality of paper documents, especially checks. Special ink, which is sensitive to magnetic fields.

Micro Number – Small, tracking number printed on each statement above the address block used to verify and complete printing and inserting of all files.

Move Update National Change of Address (NCOA) – A postal software program that contains the change-of-address (COA) records filed with the USPS for the previous 48 months, aiding mailers to identify address changes before mail is sent.  To run NCOA on a client, the file must have a minimum of 100 records.

Move Update – A standard used as a means of reducing the number of mail pieces requiring forwarding or return by matching the client’s address records with Change of Address (COA) orders received and maintained by the USPS. It is a requirement for presorted First-Class Mail service and for all Standard Mail services that helps reduce the number of mailpieces in a mailing that might require forwarding or return because of outdated or inaccurate addresses. The mailer periodically matches address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders received and maintained by USPS. By performing these address matches, mailers can avoid mailing to customers at old addresses. Approved methods of meeting this requirement include Address Change Service, National Change of Address Linkage System, FASTforward service, and Ancillary Service endorsements except for Forwarding Service Requested.



National Change of Address Linkage (NCOA Link) – A secure dataset containing millions of permanent change-of-address (COA) records consisting of the names and addresses of individuals, families, and businesses who have filed a COA. The product enables mailers who have purchased a license to process mailing lists and update them with the new addresses before using the lists for a mailing. The official product name is NCOALink.

NDC Presort – A presort discount level in which all pieces in the bundle or container are addressed for delivery within the service area of the same network distribution center (NDC) or auxiliary service facility (ASF). Pieces are sorted to NDCs if machinable or to NDCs or ASFs if nonmachinable and entered at a facility (other than an NDC or ASF) that accepts bulk mail.

Negotiated Services Agreement (NSA) – This is a special agreement between the USPS and a mailer. It provides customized prices and special classifications and must meet and maintain certain volumes and other terms and conditions laid out in a signed agreement.

NOOP – Non-Printable Image.  It contains the instructions used for DPS to set up a job.  Sometimes the instructions may appear in red on the PDF sample, but they do not print.



One Code ACS – An Address Change Service (ACS) that combines into a single Intelligent Mail barcode all elements separately printed on mail that are necessary under the Traditional ACS program. Participants using OneCode ACS receive electronic or automated address corrections.

Optical Machine Recognition Barcodes (OMR) – Lines on a document that instructs inserting machines to determine how mail piece(s) are to be put together, including collation, page sequence, set sequence, and selective inserts.



PDF Archive (PDFA) – A PDF version of printed or print-suppressed images available over the web or offline in compressed, encrypted, password-protected CD-ROM and DVD formats

PDF E-Statement (PDFE) – An electronic PDF statement hosted for the client.

PDF Transfer (PDFT) – When a PDF is transmitted back to the client and archived. 

Performance-Based Verification – A process that uses experience-based mailer profiles to determine the frequency and sample size for verifying the preparation and eligibility of a mailer’s mailing.

Permit Imprint – Printed indicia, instead of an adhesive postage stamp or meter stamp, that shows postage prepayment by an authorized mailer.

Polystyrene – A smooth semi-transparent film used in the window of an envelope.

Postal Alpha Numeric Encoding Technique (PLANET) – An 11- or 13-digit barcode used in combination with the POSTNET barcode to identify mail pieces uniquely. Like the POSTNET barcode, it is a type of height-modulated two-state barcode, consisting of tall and short bars. The PLANET Code digit symbology is the inverse of the POSTNET Code digit symbology. The PLANET Code uses a combination of two short bars and three tall bars to define a digit, whereas the POSTNET Code uses three short bars and two tall bars. The PLANET Code identifies mail piece class and shape, Confirm Subscriber ID, and additional information is chosen by the Confirm subscriber. The Intelligent Mail barcode is replacing the PLANET Code and POSTNET Code barcodes.

Post Mark – A postal imprint made on letters, flats, and parcels that shows the name of the Post Office that accepts custody of the mail, along with the two-letter state abbreviation and ZIP Code of the Post Office, and for some types of mail the date of mailing, and the time abbreviation a.m. or p.m. The postmark is generally applied, either by machine or hand, with cancellation or killer bars to indicate that the postage cannot be reused.

Presort Discounts – The process by which a mailer prepares mail so that it is sorted to the finest extent required by the standards for the price claimed. Generally, presort is performed sequentially, from the lowest (finest) level (e.g., 5-digit) to the highest level (e.g., mixed ADC), to those destinations specified by standard mail, and is generally completed at each level before the next level is prepared. Not all presort levels apply to all mailings. For some automation price categories, all levels may be optional. (2) To prepare mail by presorting levels to qualify for specific prices. A price-specific marking that is combined with the required basic class or product marking and, in some cases, with another price-specific marking to indicate eligibility for a presorted category. The marking can also be abbreviated PRSRT.

Project Coordinator (PC) – The person assigned to be the liaison between the developers and the AR to assist with any development or programming issues.

Priority Mail – Expedited service for shipping any mailable matter, subject to certain standards such as size and weight limits. Unless Priority Mail Express service is used, Priority Mail prices are required for a mail piece that weighs more than 13 ounces when the mailpiece contains matter that must be mailed at First-Class Mail prices. Priority Mail service is closed against postal inspection. Except for Flat Rate Envelopes, Flat Rate Boxes, Critical Mail, and Commercial Plus Cubic, Priority Mail postage is charged for each addressed piece according to weight (up to 70 pounds), zone, and, in some cases, dimensions.

Promotion – When an application is ready to go into the production environment (CO, DPS, Mailing/CI, Archival Services, eStatement Services).  There are two types of Promotions:

*Development Promotion – when the job is promoted by the development team

*Production Promotion Testing – When a project is ready to test via a test work order created by the AR before putting the job into live production

Proof of Mail (POM) – Provides evidence that mail has been presented to USPS for mailing.

Pull(s) – Any document(s) that cannot be mailed because of a client request, a BAFN file segment, or an entire output file; and requires special disposition.




Reprint – A document that was torn or destroyed during the printing or mailing production process or damaged and returned by PBPS/USPS, that is reprinted by QA and mailed.

Registered Mail –A Special Service by which, through a system of receipts, USPS monitors the movement of the mail piece from the point of acceptance to delivery. The sender receives a receipt at the time of mailing, and a delivery record is kept at the Post Office of address. This service also provides indemnity in case of loss or damage. Registered Mail is the most secure service offered by USPS. Registered Mail is also available on international service.

Remittance Mail – Remittance mail is a segment of First-Class Mail containing payments typically enclosed in pre-barcoded automation-compatible courtesy reply envelopes that are mailed back to the mailers who originally sent the bill, invoice or statement.

Reply Mail – Any type of mail product designed for the recipient to send back to the sender using a pre-addressed envelope or pre-addressed label. The return piece could be merchandise, a remittance, a questionnaire, or other communication. Some reply mail, such as Business Reply Mail service, is paid for by the sender.

Return Receipt – This is an additional service added to a mail piece that provides the sender with evidence of delivery, including the recipient’s signature, name, and address. It can be physical or digital.



Service Level Agreement (SLA) – An agreement between a service provider and the client that defines the parameters of a job, including the quality and delivery by specifications.

Service Type Indicator (STID) – 3 digits that identify the class of mail, the Address Change Service (ACS) desired and whether or not confirm service is requested and is embedded in the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB).

Signature Confirmation – A Special Service that provides information about the date and time an article was delivered or, if delivery was attempted but not successful, the date and time of the delivery attempt. A delivery record, including the recipient’s signature, is maintained by USPS and is available (via fax or mail) upon request.

Single-Sign-On (SSO) – For client’s customers to authenticate on their website, then link to a third-party hosted interface, which retrieves and presents images of their requested documents from a searchable database.

Standard Mail – A mail class consisting of mailings that are not required to be mailed using First-Class Mail or Periodicals service. A Standard Mail piece must weigh less than 16 ounces. Standard mail has six categories:



Parcels and not flat-machinables (NFMs)

High-density and saturation letters

High-density and saturation flats and parcels

Carrier route letters, flats, and parcels.

Standard Mail matter includes circulars, printed matter, pamphlets, catalogs, newsletters, direct mail, and merchandise. Standard Mail letters may be sent at presorted prices and automation prices. Standard Mail service is a market-dominant product.

Statement Of Work (SOW) – A formal document that defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline an outsourcing company must execute in the performance of specified work for each client.  Signed by the president and client.

Stock Order Detail (SOD) – A form that details what stock is required for an application with set minimums to be stored and when a reorder needs to be placed.

Surface Mail – A general term to describe international mail that is transported by any mode other than air (that is, sea, rail, or highway).



Tabber – A machine that applies paper or plastic tabs to seal the ends of open-ended mail pieces such as booklets or folded self-mailers (pieces that are not in envelopes).



Undeliverable-As-Addressed – Mail that cannot be delivered as addressed and must be forwarded to the addressee, returned to the sender or treated as waste. UAA mail can occur for several reasons such as an incomplete or incorrect address, or the addressee is not at that address because the addressee has moved or is deceased. Mail can also become UAA because of address adjustments such as the renumbering of houses, renaming of streets, or conversion from a rural route and box number-style addresses to city-style street addresses.

Undeliverable Mail – Mail that cannot be delivered for various reasons. It includes not only undeliverable-as-addressed mail but also mail without postage; mail with an incomplete, illegible, or incorrect address; unclaimed or refused mail; mail not meeting minimum mailability criteria; mail exceeding maximum dimensions or weights; or mail not conforming to USPS address adjustments and conversions.

Unique Piece Tracking (UPT) – A service enhancement that tracks and reports specific product information on every mail piece processed, viewable by a client.



Value-Added Refund – The postage returned by USPS to an authorized mailer or service provider who prepares metered First-Class Mail or Standard Mail pieces received from customers and adds value to the mail by sorting it to a finer level or moving it to an automation category. The mailer or service provider receives a refund for postage affixed to the mail in excess of the price applicable to the value-added category.



Work Order – Generated when a file is processed under an application and associated with a job from start to finish.





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