Primary Reasons for Lost Presort Postage Discounts


  • Handwritten mail – Since presorting is performed on machines that use optical character recognition (OCR) software, mail that is handwritten is not as easily processed as mail with machine print.


  • Poor machine print – Rejected for the same reason as handwritten mail in those cases where machine print is too light, smudged, splattered or where letters are not spaced properly. As a rule, do not use fonts defined as bold, extended, or condensed. Also, do not use italic, highly stylized, or script-like fonts. Print should be black on a white background. The recommended type size is 10 to 12 points. Do not use any point size less than 8 or more than 18. Ensure that machine print is not skewed and is in the area (address block location) of the envelope that is 5/8” and 2 ¾” from the bottom of the envelope.  Also, keep the address block location clear of any characters, logos, return addresses, etc. that is not part of the mail recipient’s address.


  • Barcode Clear Zone – Ensure that the area that is 5/8” from the bottom of the envelope by 4 ¾” long (from the right edge of the mail piece) is completely clear of any print, handwriting, logos, etc.


  • Envelope Color – To ensure readability of addresses by the OCR machines, envelopes should be white in color.  Light colors or pastels may be acceptable.


  • Addressing – The OCR software reads addresses from the bottom up, so addresses should be written as:
    • Name
    • Suite or Apt #
    • Street
    • City, State, Zip Code.

Eliminate punctuation where possible and use street designators (for example, BLVD or DR) and directionals (for example, NE or SW).  Always use a hyphen                                                                                        if using a ZIP+4 code format (for example, 98765-4321).

  • Window Envelopes – When using window envelopes, ensure that the address can be fully seen inside the window, even if tapped to one side or on top or bottom.


  • Undeliverable as Addressed Mail – Mail that does not contain a complete address or an address that does not exist in the US Postal Service database is unable to be processed by OCR presorting machines and must be mailed at the full postage rates.

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