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Mailing Industry News

mail.Dat Information

SAVE $50 when you purchase mail.dat with us your first time!

**Implementing Mail.dat and January 2012 Postal Changes **

Effective January 22, 2012 - there is a change in the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) Mail.dat® file specification. The new version has changed to 12-1 to accommodate the new rate and regulation changes that took place on January 22, 2012.

To prepare for these changes, software companies have coded the necessary software modifications to accommodate all the changes.

Mail.dat version changes

The following is a schedule of upcoming changes and associated dates for Mail.dat® versions so businesses can plan better for this transition. The chart below (provided by the USPS) details the various mailing scenarios based on mailing date, and shows the applicable Mail.dat® version(s) that apply. Mailers should use this as a guide to planning their mailings and their mailing software updates.

Mailing software impacts

Mailing software products have been updated to support the new 12-1 Mail.dat version and the new January 2012 postal changes. All software is designed so when there is a change to the postal rates and/or regulations, the changes are based in the date of mailing. For example, postage statements generated in Mail.dat® with a mailing date of January 19, 2012 resulted in postage calculations using the old postage rates. If the date of mailing is input into the software as January 23, 2012 and beyond, then the postage statements will generate using the postage calculations for the new rates. From this perspective, managing the rate changes in the software is fairly transparent to the user. However, the added complexity of the Mail.dat® version change does require the user to pay attention to the version that applies based on the mailing date if you are using Mail.dat® files.

What it means for mailers

So what does all this mean for mailers? Mailers need to make plans to coordinate their mailing software updates and the mail processing steps to accommodate all these changes. In addition, there are some services that have been discontinued by the USPS, new products and services added, and some existing services modified and re-named. That, along with the pricing changes, should prompt mailers to evaluate their future mailing plans as there may be alternative products/services that might better serve your needs. Please feel free to call or email us: 540-949-7266 (Phone), 888-970-9944 (Toll-free).

Mail.dat Information

  • Mail.dat is necessary to submit presort paperwork to the USPS electronically and will be mandatory in order to be considered a Full Service Intelligent Mail Barcode participant.

  • Mail.dat is a data formatting standard for communicating information about a specific mailing, including data at the segment, pallet, sack or tray, and package levels. It can be used for logistics planning, mail assembly, production and postal payment acceptance.

  • Send and receive statistical information about mailings without translating the proprietary formatting specifications of various software vendors.

  • ASCII fixed-format ("flat") files, a perfect medium for communicating complete information describing a complex mailing which can easily be imported into any relational database management system or used as-is by in-house software.

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