Direct Mail Glossary

CASS Certification
Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) improves delivery of your mail piece and maximizes postage savings by adding Zip+4 codes to your mailing list where possible. The CASS Certification process also helps determine certain address problems and standardizes addresses to Postal Service formatting. The correct Zip+4 allows us to apply postal barcodes to your mail pieces, qualifying your mail for Mail Class discounts. 

Zip+4
The standard ZIP Code is a system of 5 digit codes that identify the individual post office or area delivery station associated with the address. The additional 4 digits identify a specific range of delivery addresses. 

Barcodes
Barcodes are small vertical lines printed in the bottom right corner of the piece to be mailed - we call this area the clear space. Much like a grocery scanner, barcodes represent the numbers which make up the address and Zip+4 codes. These codes make it possible for the mail processing equipment to quickly process these pieces, lowering mail-processing and delivery costs. The savings are passed on to consumers through lower postage rates. 

Clear Space
Area in lower right of a mailing piece where the address and barcode is printed. This area must be blank or with less than 10% ink density, to ensure machine readability and therefore be eligible for your desired mail service class. Refer to our "U.S. Mail Layout Guides" for more information and help in preparing your layout. 

Ancillery Service Endorsements (such as Service Requests)
These are usually imprinted directions on a mail piece to tell the Post Office what to do with the piece if it becomes undeliverable, such as: Change Service Requested, Forwarding Service Requested, Return Service Requested and Address Service Requested. These are normally required on a First Class Presorted pieces. 

NCOA (National Change of Address)
Over 40 million Americans change their address every year. The National Change of Address (NCOA) system uses the USPS database to check for people and businesses that have filed a change of address with the USPS within the last 48 months. Performing this update on a list saves you money on printing and postage by updating a list. Studies have shown that this service can save users a significant cost of their mailings (in many cases up to 15% or more) plus help increase response rates. NOTE: The post office does not forward bulk mail to the new address - they just recycle it.