Resources > Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Address Correction Requested (ACR): An endorsement which, when printed below the return address on a mailing piece, authorizes the USPS, for a fee, to provide the new address (when known) of a person no longer at the address of the mailing piece. Also, undeliverable and unforwardable mail is returned to the sender, for an additional fee.
Automation Discount: Postage discount to mailers who barcode their mailpieces and meet addressing, readability and other requirements for processing on automated equipment.
Automation-Compatible Mail: Mail that can be scanned and processed by automated mail processing equipment such as a barcode sorter.
Bleed: When the printing on a piece goes all the way to the edge of the paper. This is accomplished by printing beyond the margins of the piece, then trimming to the margin.
BRC: Business reply card.
BRE: Business reply envelope.
Business Reply Mail: A card or envelope with the indicia of the company receiving the order or inquiry allows inquirer or buyer to mail the card or envelope back postage-free. User must obtain a permit from the post office to utilize business reply. Bound Printed Matter (BPM): Catalogs, magazines, and other bound printed materials.
Bulk mail: See Standard Mail.
Bulk mail center (BMC): One of 29 postal processing facilities that distribute third class mail. Automation-Compatible Mail: Mail that can be scanned and processed by automated mail processing equipment such as a barcode sorter.
Carrier Route: All the addresses that a postal carrier delivers to.
Carrier Route Presort Mail: Mail sorted by carrier route to qualify for postage discounts.
CASS: Coding Accuracy Support System, a USPS service that checks the accuracy of zip codes, zip+4 codes, delivery point codes, and carrier route codes.
Dedupe: Eliminates duplicate addresses in a mail list either by name and/or by address.
Delivery Confirmation: USPS service that provides the date and time of delivery or, if delivery was not successful, the date and time of the delivery attempt.
Destination Bulk Mail Center (DBMC) Rate: A discounted postal rate received when a mailing is delivered by the mailer to the appropriate BMC.
Destination Delivery Unit (DDU): The final postal facility at which a mailpiece arrives prior to being delivered to the addressee; local post offices are DDUs.
Destination Delivery Unit (DDU) Rate: A discounted postal rate for third class mail and periodicals that are delivered by the mailer to the appropriate DDU.
Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF) Rate: A discounted postal rate for standard mail, Parcel Post, and Bound Printed Matter that is delivered by the mailer to the sectional center.
Direct Mail: The use of the postal service to send a common message to persons selected by a list, zip code or other means.
DSF: Delivery Sequence File, mail that the cataloger arranges in delivery order for a particular carrier route. Mailers can use DSF to identify questionable addresses.
FASTforward: USPS-licensed automated system that updates addresses by matching names and addresses with change-of-address orders on file.
Flats: Mail that exceeds the Postal Service's dimensions for letters (11-1/2 inches long, 6-1/8 inches high, 1/4 inch thick) but does not exceed the maximum dimension for the mail processing category (15 inches long, 12 inches high, 3/4 inch thick); dimensions for automation rate flats vary.
First Class: Mail with First Class Postage is delivered in three to five business days.
First Class Presort: Less expensive because it is sorted by zip code.
Fulfillment: Processing, servicing, and shipping the orders received via direct response marketing.
Indicia: A printed sign on an item of mail showing the method of postage paid.
Ink Jet Printing: A computer generated method of applying variable data by sprays of dots of ink which create full characters.
Inserter: Receives previously processed material and assembles the direct mail package using a series of adjustable hoppers. Once the package is assembled, the components are inserted into the outer envelope and prepared for mailing.
Inserting: Placing one or more components (letter, brochure, BRE) into a carrier envelope, either by machine or by hand.
Known Office of Publication: The business office of a Periodicals publication that is in the city where the original entry for Periodicals mailing privileges is authorized.
Machinable Mail: Mail that meets certain weight, size, and material criteria so that it can be put through the Postal Service's automated mail processing system.
Mail House: Also lettershop. The firm that handles labeling order cards/envelopes, insertion and mailing of direct mail solicitations, imprinting, trim and burst.
Mail Sorting: Arranging the pieces in a bulk mailing by zip code before delivering it into the postal stream.
Mail Merge: Inserting a personalized letter that must match address on the envelope.
Merge/purge: Combining multiple lists and running them through software to single out duplicate records.
National Change of Address (NCOA) system: A list hygiene system from USPS that enables mailers to check the addresses on their list against the addresses of movers who filed a change-of-address form with the postal service.
Nixie: A piece of mail which does not reach its destination due to faulty address or name. Returned by Post Office.
Nonmachinable Surcharge: A surcharge applied to mailpieces that cannot be sorted on mail processing equipment because of size, shape, content, or address legibility. Such mail must be processed manually.
Nth Name: A selection process whereby the user selects only a fraction of the names on a list, randomly, by taking every tenth name, twentieth name, or whatever.
Non-Profit Mail: Lowest rate also takes 7-10 business days for delivery.
Permit Imprint: Printed indicia, instead of an adhesive postage stamp or meter stamp, that shows postage prepayment by an authorized mailer.
Piggyback Label: A removable label for the purpose of revealing something beneath it or moving the label to a return portion of the mailing.
Postal Endorsement: A service run by the USPS in which, for a fee, a carrier will fill out a form notifying the mailer of any address that is found to be undeliverable.
Postal Qualification: Places the mail list in zip order and automates which allows mail to be sorted for the cheapest postage rate.
PMS Colors: Standard, numbered shades and colors which are available to printers pre-mixed. May be selected when a specific background or accent color is desired.
Presorted First: Class Mailing - A non-automation rate category for a mailing that consists of at least 500 addressed mail pieces and is sorted and prepared according to USPS standards. This mail does not bear a barcode.
Presorted Mail: A form of mail preparation, required to bypass certain postal operations, in which the mailer groups pieces in a mailing by ZIP Code or by carrier route or carrier walk sequence (or other USPS recommended separation).
Presorted Rates: A discounted postage rate. In exchange for this lower postage rate, mailers must sort their mail into containers based on the ZIP Code destinations on the mail.
Priority Mail: First Class mail that weighs more than 13 ounces and, at the mailer's option, any other mail matter weighing less than 13 ounces mailed at Priority Mail rates for expedited service.
Residual Shape Surcharge: A surcharge applied to Standard Mail pieces that are prepared as parcels or that are not letter size or flat size (e.g., mailing tubes).
Sectional Center Facility (SCF): A postal facility that serves as the processing and distribution center (P&DC) for post offices in a designated geographic area as defined by the first three digits of the ZIP Codes of those offices. Some SCFs serve more than one 3-digit ZIP Code range. Mail goes to an SCF after it's been sorted at a bulk mail center and before heading on to the destination delivery unit.
Self-Mailer: A one-iece direct-mail item (not a catalog) that is not mailed in an envelope. Sort: To separate mail by a scheme or ZIP Code range; to separate and place mail into a carrier case; to distribute mail by piece, package, bundle, sack, or pouch. (Also see primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Sortation: The distribution or separation of mail to route it to its final delivery point. (Also see mail processing.) Standard Mail (formally called bulk or third class): Commercial and nonprofit mail that weighs less than 16 ounces a piece; subclasses are Regular Standard Mail, Nonprofit Standard Mail, Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail. Delivery is usually between 7-10 business days.
Wafer Seal: Tabs used to close a self-mailer. Number of tabs and placement of them depend on size and type of mail piece.
Weighted Fee: The fee charged the sender for Standard Mail pieces endorsed "Address Service Requested" or "Forwarding Service Requested" that are returned as undeliverable. The fee equals the single-piece First-Class Mail rate x a factor of 2.472, rounded to the next whole cent.
3602: Postal receipt used as verification of performance that shows dates of mailing and quantity mailed.

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