July 22, 2017

U.S. Postal Service REDUCES Postage Rates for Regular Mail


On April 10, 2016, the U.S. Postal Service will reduce postage rates for regular mail — for the first time in 97 years.

Small businesses have become conditioned to hearing about postage rates going up. But, in a move called “historic” certain postage rates are being reduced.

The biggest news is that First-class mail will go down by two cents. The postage rate reductions affect letters, large envelopes or flats, and postcards. The reductions amount to more than four percent and are a result of removing the 2014 Exigent Surcharge.

How Much Will a Postage Stamp Cost?

Postage rate reductions include:

  • First-class stamps —  47 cents  (old rate, 49 cents)
  • Each additional ounce for letters —  21 cents (old rate, 22 cents)
  • First-class metered mail (first ounce) — 46.5 cents (old rate, 48.5 cents)
  • Postcards – 34 cents (old rate, 35 cents)
  • Certified mail — $3.30 (old rate, $3.45)
  • Media mail (1-pound piece) — $2.61 (old rate, $2.72)

For more detail about the postage rate reductions, including other categories of postage rates being reduced, see the USPS Excel spreadsheet.  Pitney Bowes also has created a concise rate chart you can view at a glance.



Implications of the Postage Rate Reduction

For small businesses that send direct mail pieces, invoices and other mail in large quantities, the postage rate reduction can add up to significant savings.

Of course, if you thought to save money by investing in “Forever Stamps,” the stamps that the Post Office has been selling since 2007,  you just lost out.  Still, in this world of spiraling prices, any postage rate reduction is welcome.

Despite the growth of cloud communications, USPS mail continues to be an important marketing channel as well as a delivery channel for small businesses.

“In this omni-channel world, mail remains a critical channel for businesses to reach existing customers and to engage prospects,” said Patrick Brand, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global SMB Products and Business Strategy, Pitney Bowes.

Brand went on to point out the importance of small business people educating themselves on new technologies that are “reinventing mail.”

“Businesses can now enhance physical mail pieces with digital experiences, create more interactive and targeted direct mail, and sequence communications across multiple channels to boost impact. Businesses of all sizes should take advantage of the savings by investing in new technology and services that optimize their mailing and shipping operations,” said Brand.

Brand added that businesses doing volume mailing can shave off even more savings by using a postage meter. Metered mail gets the advantage of a half-cent lower price.

Priority Mail Users – No Relief for You

Unfortunately, shipping rates for packages and Priority Mail are not being reduced at this time.

Many shipping rates were increased back in January 2016, sparking outrage from small business owners.  Some of the comments received on our earlier article about shipping rate increases are quite outspoken about the negative impact on small businesses.  One business owner, “Monica”, said in a comment on our earlier article, “International bubble mailer that cost 6.39 now costs 13.75! This will most likely kill our overseas customers buying from us.”

Postal Truck Photo via Shutterstock

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Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

11 Reactions

  1. I’m not worried if some of my forever stamps are $0.02 undervalued. If people think it’s a big concern they can hold on to them for a couple years until the rate rises again. I think it’s a solid move from the postal service and I’m happy to see any cost reduction for businesses.

  2. VERY SMART! Readjust revenue to show yet more long term loss= furloughing all top heavy management levels = more financially appealing overall purchase product for Fed-Ex!! Wishful thinking of course….. but ya’ never know!! ;^ )

  3. What’s good for the consumers is always bad for our government. If they are so concerned about what the forecasted revenue hit will do, I suggest they get their spending under control. Stopping Saturday delivery would be a good first step. But don’t expect me to feel sorry for a bloated governmental agency because they are not gonna get a much money as they think they need.

    • Martin Lindeskog

      Do you still have Saturday delivery in the U.S? It is has be gone for a lont time in Scandinavia. I wish they would start with it again (with private market players), now when we could order stuff online 24/7… 😉

    • I am sorry , you think stopping Saturday delivery would save money .. you are wrong . it would just make Mondays too over loaded with mail .. forcing the mail carriers to work even longer hours , resulting in much more overtime Mondays and into Tuesdays , maybe even Wednesdays .. causing mail delays for businesses counting on regular deliveries . if you really want to save money .. try charging non-profits more .. right now , they pay less than it costs to delivery their mail .. also make china shippers pay fair shipping costs … you can buy items on ebay with free shipping for $.79 or less .. try mailing same item across the street for less than that … it will cost you much more .. post office gives Chinese shippers rates below cost

      • Even David Cameron’s own MPs appear to be finding their leader’s jokes unfunny, after his latest gag was met with a rather dissatisfied response during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

        After answering a question on education spending, Cameron decided to use recent claims that fast food restaurant McDonalds had been banned from Labour’s autumn conference to his advantage.

        “When I read that they were going to ban McDonnell from their party conference I thought it was the first sensible decision they’ve made,” the Prime Minister started.

  4. Bears running for cover! And there is none.

    From Asia, Europe right up to America, there is no place for bears to hide. Everywhere bulls are in full control. Markets are in all shades of green, but green all the same.

    Oil is up by 0.5% – and surprisingly enough Gold is also up. Bulls are running amok and have inadvertently stepped into gold bastion. But once there by default, they are piling up bullion. Someone please explain more rationally!!

    Yesterday Dow recovered form day low of 17848 and closed at 18004, after making a high of 18010. This means that Dow swung a neat 62 points from day low to reach its high. All this was done in gloomy and uncertain situation of oil plunge. Very creditable!

  5. It is good to hear that postage rates have been lowered for the first time in many years. Like Monica pointed out, increased shipping rates are making it tough to send larger packages for low prices. At least we can save a couple cents if we only need to send a letter or a postcard. Now would be a great time for businesses to take advantage of the savings by sending out direct mailers.

  6. As a direct mail house we can attest that this postage decrease has had a large effect on the direct mail industry. This rate change decreased postage about 4.2% across standard and first class postage rates which has resulted in thousands of dollars in savings for our clients. Many clients have increased the sizes of their mailing campaigns, as the postage decreased has allowed them to get more out of their budget.

    Josh Lazarus

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