Mail.dat By/For Demystified
With the Federal Register for Full-Service, USPS® clarified the by/for requirement in electronic documentation. So, what is by/for?
In your eDoc (Mail.dat, Mail.XML or Postal Wizard), you’ll need to identify who the mailing is by (you, the mail preparer) and who the mailing is for (when preparing mail for a customer). Generally, unless you are preparing mailings for departments in your own organization, you will need both of these sections filled out in eDoc.
You identify the by/for information with Mailer IDs (MIDs) and Customer Registration IDs (CRIDs). A Mailer ID is used in the Intelligent Mail® barcode to link your mail pieces to your electronic documentation. CRIDs identify each location that you, or your customer, do business. You can have many MIDs and many CRIDs, and they may or may not be linked in the PostalOne! system. In some cases, you can use a third party’s MID on your mail pieces.
Generally, it’s best to use a CRID when specifying your by/for information. They are the most precise, and the easiest to acquire. MIDs are part of what makes Intelligent Mail barcodes unique. You’ll want to make sure that your customer isn’t using the same MID on mail pieces with another mail preparer.
Because of the Full-Service requirement, mail preparers will need to get CRIDs for most of their customers. The only exception is for mailings under 5,000 pieces.
There are four ways to get your customers’ CRIDs:
- If your customer already has a MID and CRID, you can ask them for this information. You may already have this data on file. MIDs are either 6 or 9 digits. 9-digit MIDs always start with the number “9″. CRIDs are 7-12 digits.
- For mail owners already in the system, you can look up the CRID from the Postal Wizard in the Business Customer Gateway.
- For large lists of customers, you can send an Excel spreadsheet of your customers’ information to USPS, and the list will be returned to you with MID and CRID information. It’s important to note that you’ll need written permission from your customers to request these IDs on their behalf. Also, this method has a maximum of 500 customers per request, and can take up to a few days to be processed.
- For a more automated process, you can use Mail.XML for both batch and one-off requests. This method involves some development work, but can be very streamlined and responsive. You can request up to 20 CRIDs at a time, but will get a response within seconds.
Collecting this data now will save time and trouble as you transition to Full-Service.