United States Postal Service IMpb FAQ

United States Postal Service IMpb FAQ

Category | IMpb Resources
Type | IMpb Resources

What is the IMpb?
The Intelligent Mail® package barcode is the Postal Service's next generation tracking barcode for parcels and Extra Services. A package with an IMpb allows the USPS® to provide end users with detailed tracking information. The barcode offers full visibility to package tracking on the delivery status of the parcel as it routes to its destination.

What items require a barcode?
Parcels, packages, and Priority Mail® Express or Priority Mail® pieces of any shape, size, or price category, including flat-rate boxes and envelopes require an IMpb (barcode). In addition, the following mail classes require an IMpb:

  • First-Class Mail Package Services
  • Parcel Select
  • Parcel Select Lightweight
  • Standard Mail
  • Library Mail
  • Media Mail
  • Bound Printed Matter

The following scenarios should help provide some guidance, however for more specific rules, please refer to the USPS Notice 123 – read the rules for First Class Mail (large envelopes/flats handling/ conversion to Priority Mail). http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/Notice123.htm

  • If you are sending out a First-Class mail piece in the manila envelope and it is less than 13 oz and does not have any Extra Services - then the answer is NO. An IMpb is not required.
  • If you are sending out a First-Class mail piece in the manila envelope and it is less than 13 oz and it DOES have an Extra Service applied to it, then the answer is YES – you do need an IMpb - because the requirement for IMpb effects Extra Services.
  • If you are sending out a manila envelope and the weight goes over 13 oz – then the answer is YES – because that item is now considered Priority Mail and Priority Mail requires an IMpb.

What are the IMpb full benefits?
Full IMpb benefits enhance the overall customer experience by:

  • Providing end-to-end tracking information
  • Offering status from every scan point – leading to better management of shipment expectations
  • Accessing the best prices for parcel shipments with Commercial Base Discounts
  • Automatically qualifying for Free Insurance on Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express
  • Items with a value up to $50 (Priority) / $100 (Priority Mail Express)
  • Delivering a neat and clean shipping label
  • Eliminating the need for multiple barcodes on a package
  • Keeping compliant for future USPS® features, products, and services
What is Commercial Base Pricing and how it impacted by the IMpb requirements?
Commercial Base Pricing (CBP) is a set of special discounted rates that are available to shippers who use scanable postage markings and send package data to the USPS systems electronically.

So what does that mean?
If you are using a mailing system that prints an IBI (information based indicia), you qualify for CBP since the marking that is being printed from the mailing system is scanned and that data is submitted to the USPS electronically. If you have a Quadient IS, IM or IN-Series mailing system, you currently benefit from Commercial Based Discounts.


With CBP there is no minimum shipping volume required to obtain the discounted rates and it applies to items with a weight up to 70 lbs. Also CBP can be applied to mail classes such as: Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, First-Class Package Services and First-Class International Packages, Media Mail, Library Mail, etc.

After January 26, 2015, only shipping labels that include an IMpb will qualify for Commercial Base Pricing. A pre-printed label with an IMpb will only qualify for Retail Rates. Examples of pre-printed labels with an IMpb barcode include a:
  • USPS Tracking Label (also known as the Label 400)
  • USPS Extra Services Label such as eSignature Confirmation

Why doesn't a pre-printed label qualify for Commercial Base Pricing?
Preprinted labels do not qualify for benefits such as Commercial Base Pricing because the label is missing data elements that are required in an IMpb barcode per the USPS. In order to qualify, you must be able to upload the following information to the USPS:

  • Shipping Address File
  • Destination Zip Code + 4
  • Mail Class

When using an online shipping software package, you enter the characteristics of the shipment - for example: (1) What address is the item being shipped to? (2) How is it being shipped? (3) What Extra Services are being added to the shipment? The Intelligent Mail Package Barcode itself is then generated based on the criteria that you have defined. As part of the software package, a shipping services file is then sent to the USPS.

This is not the case with a pre-printed label. With a pre-printed label, you are peeling and sticking the label on the package. No shipping services file is being uploaded to the USPS – unless you have an application such as E-Services or E-Services with Electronic Return Receipt. More importantly, you have not created the label based on the unique characteristics of the shipment – therefore the overall requirements have not been met. There is no address validation, correction, or zip + 4 upload. With that said, the item does not meet the full IMpb requirement and will only qualify for retail rates. The pre-printed label DOES meet the USPS minimum requirement that states every package must now include an IMpb barcode. In fact, the pre-printed label does include an IMpb barcode that will provide partial IMpb benefits including tracking information such as arrival and departure info, date and time of delivery and attempted delivery.

A pre-printed label does not qualify for full benefits because the mail class is not included. As a result, pre-printed labels do not receive:

  • Free insurance on Priority Mail / Priority Mail Express or
  • Commercial Based Rates

What is a Label 400?
The Label 400 is a pre-printed tracking label that is free from the USPS. Using a Label 400 will not qualify for Commercial Base Pricing but it does meet the USPS requirement for affixing a barcode to every package. The Label 400 can be ordered through the USPS:

  • 1-800-222-1811
  • Mobile USPS® App
  • Available at the retail counter

A pre-printed label does NOT qualify for full benefits because the mail class is not included.  As a result, pre-printed labels do not receive:

  • Free insurance on Priority Mail now Priority Express
  • Commercial Based Rates

What are the two options for presenting an Intelligent Mail Package Barcode on a package?
There are 2 ways you can ship a package via the USPS and meet the latest IMpb requirements.

Option 1 – Use a pre-printed label that includes an IMpb barcode: In the image below, the IMpb is part of a pre-printed label. With a pre-printed label, you just peel and stick it on your item. With a pre-printed label, the characteristics of the mailing are not uploaded to the USPS. Addresses can be hand-written and used in conjunction with a postage meter strip tape for parcel shipments. The mailer can track: arrival and departure info, date and time of delivery and attempted delivery. In this case, the mailer does not qualify for Commercial Base Pricing and will pay retail rates. Finally, the package will not qualify for free insurance if it is being sent via Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express

Option 2– Create a shipping label that includes an IMpb. In the image below, the formatted IMpb is part of a shipping label. To create the shipping label, you need to first define the characteristics of the shipment. This is accomplished through online shipping software. You will enter in data such as: Delivery Address, Return Address, Class of Service, Extra Services, zip + 4. The shipping label will also include a unique mailer ID. These characteristic create the barcode. By creating an IMpb shipping label, a package qualifies for full benefits including use of Commercial Base Discounted Rates and automatic qualification of free insurance on Priority Mail® & Priority Mail® Express Items (up to $50 and $100 respectively).

What about Processing Envelopes and Packages with Extra Services?
In 2015, Extra Services will require an IMpb barcode to meet the latest USPS mandate. If you are currently using a Quadient USA eDelivery Confirmation™, eSignature Confirmation ™, or Certified label for parcels, flat rate boxes and envelope for First-Class letters (certified label). 

What are Quadient's IMpb solutions and where can I get more details?
Depending on the number of packages that you are shipping or the options you are looking for, Quadient offers two IMpb compliant online shipping solutions. One is NeoShip which is designed for low-mid volume shipments. The second is Enhanced Mailing & Shipping (EMS) designed for high volume shippers.

NeoShip is our latest online shipping solution. It works in conjunction with your IS/IM/IN Series mailing systems. People often ask "does the mailing system print the IMpb shipping label?" and the answer is NO. With NeoShip, you are using the scale from the mailing system to weigh the items, but will need the following components to create and ship IMpb-compliant labels.

  • A computer with internet
  • Inkjet / laserjet printer or thermal label printer
  • A registered MyQuadient account
  • NeoFunds®/TotalFunds® account

Technical specifications are as follows:

  • OS: Microsoft Windows® XP - SP3, 32-bit
  • Microsoft Windows® 7, 8, 10 - SP1, 32/64-bit
  • Browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer® (IE) - v. 9, 10, 11
  • Mozilla Firefox®
  • Java® required
  • Windows® recognized inkjet, laserjet or thermal label printer with a minimum quality of 203 dpi (USPS® requirement)
  • Note: NeoShip runs on PC's - not supported on MAC

The mailing system is still used to process letters, postcards and items that are less than 13 ounces.

With NeoShip, you can create an IMpb-compliant shipping label in four easy steps, and pay for it directly out of your existing NeoFunds account. Shipping packages has never been so easy.

Enhanced Mailing & Shipping (EMS)
EMS is for mailers looking for a full multi-carrier shipping and accounting solution. Like NeoShip, EMS allows you to create and print an IMpb-compliant shipping label. With EMS you will also receive full IMpb benefits. A key feature of EMS is Rate Shopping, which provides a graphical calendar snapshot of:

  • Each carrier
  • Available shipping dates
  • Associated delivery charges

Is NeoShip currently available?
NeoShip is currently available on all NEW placements of IS/IM280, IN-360, IN-600HF, IN-600AF, IN-700, and IN-750 systems. If you are ordering a new mailing system, NeoShip can be added at time of sale.

I already have a Quadient IS/IM/IN Series mailing system. I want to add NeoShip? Can I add it today?
NeoShip will be available on existing placements of IS/IM/IN Series mailing systems.

The following terms are protected trademarks of the United States Postal Service: United States Postal Service®, U.S. Postal Service®, USPS®, Postal Service™, Post Office™, U.S. Mail™, First-Class™, First-Class Mail®, First-Class Mail International™, Standard Mail®, Parcel Post®, Parcel Select®, Certified Mail™, Delivery Confirmation™, Signature Confirmation™, Registered Mail™, Priority Mail® , Priority Mail Express® , Commercial Base®, Commercial Plus®, CASS™, CASS Certified™, Confirm®, DMM®, Intelligent Mail®, IM™, IMb™, IMpb™, Click-N-Ship®, usps.com®, ZIP Code™ and ZIP+4®. United Parcel Service® and UPS® are protected trademarks of the United Parcel Services of America, Inc. FedEx® is a protected trademark of the FedEx Corporation.

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