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Article of interest

The Facing Identification Mark, or FIM, is used by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for the automation of mail processing. Basically, the FIM is a set of vertical bars that are printed on the upper edge of an envelop or postcard, slightly to the left of the stamp. It’s a nine digit barcode that consists of vertical bars and zeros, which are represented by the blank spaces.

The FIM’s primary function is to ensure that all mail is facing the proper way, to identify how the postage was paid (business reply, etc.) and whether or not the business reply mail has a POSTNET barcode. Should there be a POSTNET barcode, the mail can then be sent directly to the barcode sorter.

There are four different types of FIM barcodes, A, B, C and D.

As far as standards are concerned, the FIM has to meet very specific guidelines: