The U.S. Postal Service is helping arm business mailers with all they need to know to design, prepare and enter business mail efficiently. Even experienced mailers can benefit from the wealth of information and updates now available on the new USPS MERLIN Web site.


On November 30, 2004, the USPS launched a new updated version of the MERLIN page on MERLIN is the acronym for Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup Instrument, an acceptance tool used by the business mail entry unit (BMEU). The new site has been well received by mailer groups. The updated MERLIN site is easy to use and contains valuable information to help you with your mailings.


Features of the updated MERLIN site include:



  • Details of the MERLIN appeal process how and where to file.


  • Resources and tools to use, such as how to find a mailpiece design analyst (MDA) or locate a BMEU.


  • Explanation of the MERLIN reports how to read them and what the data means.


  • Comprehensive "Get Help with MERLIN" section that includes "Frequently Asked Questions" and the ability to look up your Business Services Network (BSN), Bulk Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) or Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA).


  • A future release of the USPS.COM, MERLIN site will enable users to electronically submit questions or comments on MERLIN to one or more subject matter experts.


    The Postal Service is striving to ensure the quality of the customer experience at the BMEU. There are also things you can do to save money and speed your business mail, periodicals and packages to their destinations.


    The following tips will save time and trouble for you and your BMEU staff and will help ensure that you get the most value and service for your business mail: mail early in the day; arrive with a postage statement that is complete, signed and legible; check your account balance ahead of time. If your account balance will not cover the mailing, have a check or money order to cover the balance; and check that all your fees are paid. 


    To make calling in for your account balance easy, call your local BMEU and get a Permit Account Balance Inquiry System (PABIS) pin number. PABIS is an automated phone system that provides the postage amount of your last mailing and your current account balance.


    Take advantage of what your USPS District office has to offer:


                1. The District Mail Piece Design Analyst (MDA) can help you avoid costly mistakes before you print your mailpiece. When your mail reads well on postal automation equipment, it is routed quickly and correctly through the mail stream. The MDA can also give you recommendations on design elements that will positively impact the final cost per piece for your mail.

                2. Your District Business Mail Entry Analyst can help with questions about preparation, mailing requirements and postage payment systems (manifesting, optional procedure and combined mailings).

                3. Don't hesitate to ask your Mail Entry Manager whether you are getting the best rate.

                4. Customer workshops are offered in most districts. These are a must for new business mailers and experienced mailers can benefit from a periodic "checkup."

                5. Let your mail shop know that you want the best possible rate for your mail. Your mail shop may have suggestions for preparing your mail for a better rate.


    Take advantage of online resources:



    Postal Explorer


    Shoshana Grove works with the USPS Package Services and has 27 years of community service as a letter carrier as well as also a Postmaster. Contact her at

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