As part of the Postal Service’s ongoing effort to improve service and efficiency, mailers are encouraged to adopt IMI FP-certified meter systems to improve their efficiency and service.
The USPS will decertify your IBI Postage Machine if it is not IMI-compliant up until December 31, 2024. By December 31, 2024, the USPS will mark the postage meter as inactive. Meters in stock, new leasing rate incentives, and improved mailing efficiency can all be gained by upgrading your FP Meter Mail Machine early.
You will hear the term “Indicia” throughout this article. Postage Meter Indicia are the markings that carry the necessary postage information. Branded Indicia costs less than a stamp, and saves time, as it eliminates trips to the post office.
Why does the USPS require IMI to replace IBIP?
Despite IBIP’s ability to calculate postage and track transaction data, it cannot provide refunds or ensure that the proper postage has been applied automatically. IMI-based mailing systems automatically apply postage rates. Compared to IBIP, they provide USPS with real-time transactional data while adhering to improved security standards.
IBIP vs. IMI meters: What’s the difference?
There are two types of mail meter technology in use:
- Information Based Indicia (IBIP) – will no longer be supported as of 2024.
Using 2D barcodes, IBI technology encodes postage amount, origin zip code, destination, class of mail, weight, confirmation/tracking numbers, and a cryptographic signature.
- Connect every 90 days to the servers via landlines.
- Can have incorrect postage rates/mail classes.
- Security is not up to today’s standards.
- Intelligent Mail Indicia (IMI)—the new standard.
As the standard required in 2025, IMI contains all the information you can find in IBI, plus additional data to help USPS manage mail more efficiently, automate mail processes, improve security, and reduce costs.
- Connect every 72 hours through a dedicated LAN System.
- Increased security with the FIPS 140-2 Security.
- Enhanced tracking system.
- Manually key in postage.
- Postal rates are always up to date with automatic downloads.
What does IBIP Mean?
IBI is short for Information Based Indicia. In the early days of digital postage management, the Information Based Indicia Program (IBIP) provided many services. However, with the advancement of technology, the design and function still need to provide the necessary benefits.
What does IMI Mean?
IMI is short for intelligent Mail Indicia. IMI systems are capable of capturing more data than their predecessor, and sync with the USPS data system every 72 hours instead of 90 days like the IBI. They are up to date with all the latest technology for security, and accurate postal rates, and offer additional analytics and tracking software.
What are the benefits of IMI (Intelligent Mail Indicia) Meters?
Businesses and the USPS can be much more efficient, accurate, and modern with the IMI meters. Additionally, the new system significantly enhances security.
According to the USPS the IMI-PC will:
- Providing mail transaction data for each piece.
- Automate the process of transferring funds, refunding customers, and detecting fraud.
- Keyed-in postage is restricted (supports proper mail classification).
- Providing information on end mailers to the Federal Government.
- Tracks and manages reprinted Indicia.
- Improved fraud detection, readability, and Indicia Management.
- Calculates paid and overpaid postage accurately.
- Enhance Rate tabs, log files, and data exchange.
Why should you upgrade your FP Postage system?
Even though the IBIP has served the postal system well, technology has rendered it outdated compared to (IMI), the latest data-based Indicia standard.
IMI-compliant meters do what IBIP meters did, but better. As a result, it increases security, reduces operational costs through automation, and provides a more detailed view of mail transactional data.
No current FP Mailing Solution?
The first step to finding the proper IMI-compliant meter is to analyze your mailing schedule.
- What is the average amount of mail you send out daily?
- Do they mainly consist of envelopes or parcels?
- Do you ship packages of the same size and weight, or are they mixed?
- Do any of them qualify as oversized?
- Which class of mail does you use?
Once you know your mail habits, you can start looking at the right-sized postage meter for your business. BDS can help whether you need to upgrade, or just get started with metered mail.