Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb)

Postal Notice: IMb™ barcode required starting January 28th, 2013 on all bulk mail.

The USPS has introduced a new barcode format for mailings called the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb™ ), which replaces the POSTNET® barcode.

Beginning January 28, 2013 you will be charged a postage penalty for bulk mail that that doesn’t have the new IMb™ .

Five Maples already uses the IMb™ on all bulk mailings we send, so when using Five Maples you will not incur a penalty, unless a Business Reply Envelope or Business Reply Card is enclosed that doesn’t have the IMb™ .

Courtesy Reply Mail (CRE envelopes and CRC cards) are no longer required to have bar codes, although the USPS and Five Maples recommend that you include them.

Here’s what the old POSTNET barcode looks like:



Here’s what the new IMb looks like.



Changing your Reply Mail to the IMb™ is a three-step process.

  • STEP 1: Register.Go to and create a business customer account (New User Registration)
  • STEP 2: Get a Mailer ID number.This ID number will become part of the IMb™ on your reply mail. Log back on to the Business Customer Gateway if you are not already there. Under Design & Prepare click on Mailer ID, which takes you to the application screen. Choose a 9-digit MID type. You only need one Mailer ID; you can use it for several locations. On the next screen choose Full/Basic Service; scroll down to the bottom and hit Continue to finish the process. You may need to log back on and click on Mailer ID to see your newly assigned Mailer ID number.
  • STEP 3: Get a Redesign. Here are several ways to do so:
  1. The USPS Mailpiece Design Analyst will redesign reply mail pieces at no charge. Send your Mailer ID number, your current design file or size specifications, and the return address on your current reply mail pieces (or scan items and send) to: David Girard, Mailpiece Design Analyst for the Northeast Area,, phone 401-276-5023, fax 651-456-6822. However, David will usually point you to the self-service design tool on the USPS web site.
  2. The self-service tool is available after you log in to your business account on the USPS web site. It can be confusing to use, so feel free to contact David for help. To use the tool for a CRE/CRC you will need your return address, your Mailer ID number, and the dimensions. For the BRE/BRC you will also need your business reply permit number, which you can find on the face of your current BRE/BRC.
  3. Or, you may contact the national Mail Piece Design Support Center by dialing 855-593-6093, or by sending a request via email to
  4. Or, send your Mailer ID number to us, and we will create a CRE or CRC with IMb™ for you for a charge of $50. BRE or BRC should be created by the USPS.

NOTE: The USPS Mailpiece Analyst can take several days, depending on their workload or whether they are on vacation.


Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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