Mailpiece Requirements

Mail Suppliers

MSU suppliers prepare mailings that are 200 pieces or more—they are not processed in-house by Mail Services. Though suppliers are responsible for the activities listed below, you are encouraged to consult Mail Services prior to mailpiece design to ensure your piece is USPS compliant and will mail cost efficiently.

Folding and Inserting
Mail Services recommends consulting with the supplier at the beginning of your project to ensure it meets postal regulations necessary for automation discounts. 

A folded mail piece, with tabs applied, may be sent without an envelope (self-mailer). The USPS requires certain types of mailings to be tabbed in order to receive discounted rates.

Move Update
MSU mail suppliers will check your address list against the USPS database for customer moves in the last 18 months. Lists should be processed at least once every 185 days to keep mailing list up-to-date. Standard and Nonprofit mail will not be forwarded without an endorsement on the piece; if your list is not updated, mail pieces will not reach the intended recipients.

Ink-Jet Addressing
Addresses are printed directly on mail pieces, eliminating the cost and appearance of hand-applied labels. The direct impression is printed in presorted order and barcoded when possible, reducing postage cost and moving through the USPS system faster.

Move Update Enforcement
The United States Postal Service (USPS) increased compliance enforcement on move update standards. Stronger enforcement could result in delayed mail and increased fees. Move Update provides a way for mailers to reduce the number of pieces that require forwarding or return with customer-filed change-of-address orders. 

  • The minimum frequency of change-of-address processing is 95 days prior to the date of mailing. 
  • Move Update standards include all Standard Mail (letters, flats, parcels and Not Flat-Machinables), as well as automation-rate and presort-rate First-Class Mail.

Failure to prove compliance could subject your department to penalties by the USPS and loss of past and future discounts.

Here are some suggestions to help avoid potential penalties and maintain compliance.

  • For internal address databases: maintain documentation that you have changed the address database.
  • For externally purchased address databases: require the seller to certify that they are Move Update compliant.

National Change of Address (NCOA)
MSU suppliers can process your address list through NCOA and update for moves. The cost will depend on the size of the list. You may request an updated address file.

Ancillary Endorsements
If your department uses an ancillary endorsement (Address Service Requested, Return Service Requested or Change Service Requested) and your department updates its database with information, you are in compliance. You must be able to prove that the database was updated. The USPS has assigned field auditors to businesses to verify that they are maintaining compliance with the Move Update Compliance Process.

Marketing Mail bearing a simplified or alternative address format (i.e., "Joe Spartan or Current Resident", "Postal Customer", etc.) will not be subject to the Move Update requirement.

Addresses updated as part of a First-Class mailing can be used again for a Marketing Mailing (and vice-versa) without being updated again as long as the second mailing is within 95 days of the first Move Update process.

Requirements for Standard/Nonprofit Flats

  • Mailers must address each piece using a minimum of 8-point type. Each character must be at least 0.080 inch high.
  • If the mailpiece bears a POSTNET or Intelligent Mail barcode with a delivery point routing code, mailers may use 6-point type in all capital letters. Each character must be at least 0.065 inch high.
  • In all automation pieces, the characters in the address must not overlap, the address lines must not touch or overlap, and each address element may be separated by no more than five blank character spaces. (A blank character space can equal the width of the widest letter used in the type.)
  • Mailers must place the delivery address in the “top half” of the mailpiece as defined by the USPS.