Commercial Mail Verification and Acceptance

Over the past several years, mail verification and acceptance have evolved from manual to largely automated functions. Standard processes are now established and deployed at all acceptance units. This transformation has been possible primarily because of mailers’ increased adoption of electronic mailing documentation (eDoc) and conversion to Intelligent Mail barcodes. Throughout this change, the Postal Service continues to provide extensive support through webinars, publications, helpdesks, and a range of tools. New processes in place include performance-based verification, Move Update validation at MERLIN sites, and use of the Intelligent Mail Device handheld scanner.

The Postal Service streamlined the processing of postage statements in March to encourage mailers to electronically submit postage statements, view their mailing activities, and retrieve finalized postage statements. This change speeds service and reduces paper records generated and stored by mailers and the Postal Service.


New requirements developed with the mailing industry now standardize address placement on flat mail. Delivery addresses must now be positioned at the top of presorted and automation-priced flats.


The Postal Service tested and added more configurations for machinable letter-size booklets to give mailers additional production and creative design possibilities. Mailing standards issued last year ensure that letter-size booklets could be processed on high-speed automation equipment. The specifications prescribe the size, thickness, paper stock, and tabbing required. Letter-size booklets allow mailers to redesign larger flat-size pieces such as catalogs to benefit from lower letter prices.


Seamless acceptance is the Postal Service’s term for its vision to streamline all aspects of mail acceptance, verification, payment, and induction. An important part of this vision is automated verification of commercial mailings during the processing of mail rather than before processing can begin. This requires customers to submit mailing documentation electronically and to use IM barcodes on mail and containers. With implementation of Full-Service IM in November 2009, part of the vision became reality. Information from Full-Service mailings in-process helps determine address accuracy, verify mail preparation quality, and validate correct postage.

Several basic components of seamless acceptance were implemented in previous releases. With PostalOne! (Release 24), mailers began receiving Full-Service Mail Quality reports in March. More detailed and defined requirements are under development for future releases to enable true seamless acceptance.

The Business Customer Gateway is the new landing page for customers who want to conduct business with the Postal Service electronically. Customers can schedule appointments to deposit mail through the FAST system and order barcoded tray and sack labels through the Customer Label Distribution System. They can also use PostalOne! to access their mailing records and retrieve information about their Full-Service mailings, including change-of-address data as well as start-the-clock, and container visibility induction scan information.

Electronic Documentation (eDoc), an Internet-based component of PostalOne!, gives mailers a secure electronic means to submit postage statements and simplifies calculating postage, checking balances, and viewing reports and histories. The Postal Service has provided continued support for customer migration from hard copy to electronic methods. As the number of eDoc users increases, hard copy submissions continue to decrease.


Migration from Hardcopy to eDoc





Permits using eDoc




Permits using hardcopy




eDoc pieces (billions)




eDoc revenue ($ billions)




Hardcopy mailpieces (billions)




Hardcopy revenue ($ billions)




The Postal Service continues to encourage customers to use the Centralized Account Processing System (CAPS). CAPS lets mailers fund multiple mailing accounts through a single payment process, and links PostalOne! with the retail system used at postal retail counters. A total of $22.7 billion was processed through CAPS in 2010.


The Electronic Verification System (eVS) allows shippers to submit documentation and pay postage by transmitting electronic manifest files to the eVS database. eVS is part of the PostalOne! system. Since it integrates with other systems for data collection and performance measurement, eVS makes it easy for shippers to induct parcel mailings. It monitors postage and preparation accuracy by sampling mailings after parcels are deposited. Each month sampling data is reconciled against manifests received. Shippers can monitor sampling results and the quality of their mailings online via the eVS Web site.

The Postal Service has 56 eVS and Parcel Return Service shippers, including 16 new ones. In total, these customers submitted 151,884 postage statements (0.6 percent increase) accounting for nearly 452 million packages (41.3 percent increase). The slight increase in postage statements is attributable to some eVS shippers using products such as First-Class Mail and Priority Mail for certain shipments, while relying on eVS-authorized consolidators for their remaining Parcel Select and Package Services volumes.