The USPS recently filed a rate case with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for changes to rates and mailing regulations set to go into effect January 22, 2017, and we’re hearing that the commission is close to accepting these proposals as submitted. So, to help you with your budget planning, here’s a recap of the proposal.
The proposed overall rate increase is just under 1%, based on the final Consumer Price Index (CPI). First Class mail increases by an average of 0.8%, Standard Mail 0.9%, Periodicals 0.8%, Packages by 1% and Special Services by 2.5%. Here’s some good news- while some products within each class will see a price increase, other products will actually experience a price decrease!
First Class Mail
The proposal includes a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class stamp to 49-cents. For the second year in a row, metered mail would decrease, this time from 46.5-cents to 46-cents.
There would be a single price for First-Class Mail presorted letters weighing up to 3.5 oz. – an increase over the current 2 oz. cap. This encourages First-Class presort mailers to include more in their mail. The Mixed and MDC rates will increase by 1%, while the 5-digit rate will decrease by 0.8%. The 3-digit automation rate would be eliminated and consolidated into the mixed rates.
First-Class flat rates will increase by an average of 1.9%. The single-piece 1 oz. retail flat will increase from $0.94 to $0.98, or 4.3%. A basic postcard remains at 34-cents. Presort postcards will increase by an average of 1%. Parcels up to 4 oz. will pay a uniform price with an increase of 1.9%, with an incremental 18-cent increase for each additional ounce.
Standard Class Mail to “USPS Marketing Mail”
It starts with a name change of the “Standard Mail” class to “USPS Marketing Mail”. Mailers will need to change their indicia imprint by july, 2018. The proposal increases the weight limit of Standard Mail automation letters from 3.3 to 3.5 oz., and non-automation letters and flats to 4.0 oz. before piece/pound rates apply. Some good news here: Automated Standard Mail letters decrease at the Mixed and AADC levels by 1 o/o, while the 5-digit rate decreases by 1.6%. The 3-digit rate level is being consolidated into a single rate at the MDC level.
Prices for Standard flats will increase an average of 2.5% inclusive of non-automated mail; however, some heavy weight flats will see decreases of up to 7%. In addition, the USPS is reducing the structure of NDC, SCF and DDU entry discounts.
The rate case proposal is encouraging for non-profit letter mailers, but not flats mailers. For letters, the 5-digit letter rates decline 2.9% and High Density/Saturation rates decline 7.5%. For flats, the 5-digit rate increases 3%, and High Density/Saturation rates increase 3.8%.
Each year, at least once per year, the U.S. Postal Service changes rates across various mail classes and extra services. This year, USPS price change takes place on May 31, 2015.
Rate Update Highlights
- Metered First Class 1oz letter increases from $0.48 to $0.485
- First Class letter additional ounce increases from $0.21 to $0.22.
- Postcard increases from $0.34 to $0.35.
- First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) will remain the same at $0.49 when purchased at the Post Office. Each additional ounce will cost $0.22 (up one cent from 2014).
- The discounted “Metered Mail” category for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will increase from $0.48 to $0.485 in 2015.
- First Class Flats (1 oz.) will stay the same at $0.98 in 2015. Each additional ounce will cost $0.22 (up one cent from 2014).
- Postcard rates will increase by one cent to $0.35 from $0.34.
- Media Mail will see an increase of 6.2% in 2015. Rates will start at $2.72 (1 lb.), up $0.03 compared to 2014.
- Parcel Select (non-presort) will see an increase of 9.8% in 2015. Rates for a 1 lb. package will begin at $5.70.
- Parcel Select rates are decreasing for heavier packages. Packages weighing 6 lbs. to 24 lbs. that are being shipped to Zones 1 – 4 will see a decrease of up to $9.35 per package (15 lb., Zone 4) in 2015.
- First Class Package Service will see an increase of 5.1% in 2015. Commercial Base (online postage) rates will start at $2.04 (1 oz.), up $0.11 compared to 2014.
- Priority Mail rates are NOT INCREASING in 2015. Commercial Base (online postage) rates will continue to start at $5.05.
- Priority Mail Express rates are NOT INCREASING in 2015. Commercial Base (online postage) rates will continue to start at $13.09.
- USPS Tracking when purchased online will cost $0.36 in 2015, compared to $0.23 in 2014.
- Postage for First Class Mail International Letters (1 oz.) and postcards will increase by five cents from $1.15 to $1.20.
- First Class Package International Service will see an increase of 7.2% in 2015. Commercial Base (online postage) rates will start at $6.39 (1 oz.), up $0.23 compared to 2014.
- Priority Mail International will see an increase of 5.5% in 2015. Commercial Base (online postage) rates (for all countries except Canada) will start at $32.63 (1 lb.), up $0.70 compared to 2014.
- For Priority Mail International packages being shipped to Canada, zoned prices based on origin ZIP Code have been introduced. Commercial Base (online postage) rates for a 1 lb. package will begin at $26.75.
- Priority Mail Express International will see an increase of 6.7% in 2015. Commercial Base (online postage) rates will start at $35.53 (0.5 lbs.), up $2.29 compared to 2014.
Domestic Rate Changes At-a-Glance
|MAIL CLASS||ABSOLUTE CHANGE||PERCENT CHANGE|
|Retail First-Class Letter (1 oz)||Remains 49¢||No change|
|Metered First-Class Letter (1 oz)||From 48¢ to 48.5¢||1.0%|
|First-Class Postcard||From 34¢ to 35¢||2.9%|
|Priority Mail||Varies||No changes|
|MAIL CLASS||BEFORE MAY 31||AFTER MAY 31|
|First class letter stamp||$0.49||$0.49|
|First class letter metered||$0.48||$0.485|
|Additional ounces for first-class letters||$0.21||$0.22|
|First class postcard||$0.34||$0.35|
|Int’l. first class letter stamp||$1.15||$1.20|
|Int’l first-class postcard||$1.15||$1.20|
|Domestic Priority Mail||Varies||No changes|
|International Priority Mail||Varies||Avg. 5.5% increase|
|First class flat (up to 1oz)||$0.98||$0.98|
|Additional ounces for first-class flats||$0.21||$0.22|
|First class package||Varies||Avg. 5.1% increase|
|SERVICE||BEFORE MAY 31||AFTER MAY 31|
|Tracking (except Std. Mail)||Varies||$0.00 (free with IMB and IMPB USPS Tracking)|
|Standard Mail Tracking||$0.23||$0.36|
|Electronic Certified Mail||$1.30||$1.35|
|Electronic Return Receipt||$1.35||$1.40|
|Retail Return Receipt||$2.70||$2.80|
|Electronic Signature Confirmation for packages||$2.90||$3.00|
|Retail Signature Confirmation for packages||$2.35||$2.45|
The United States Postal Service announced proposed price changes, including an increase in the price of a First-Class Mail single-piece letter from 46 cents to 49 cents. The proposed changes, which would go into effect in January 2014, are intended to generate $2 billion in incremental annual revenue for the Postal Service.
Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 26, 2014 include:
- Letters (1 oz.) — 3-cent increase to 49 cents
- Letters additional ounces — 1-cent increase to 21 cents
- Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15
- Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents
Stamp prices have stayed consistent with the average annual rate of inflation of 4.2 percent since the Postal Service was formed in 1971.
Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services also will be adjusted as part of a filing to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) scheduled to take place Sept. 26.
The Governors of the Postal Service voted Sept. 24 to seek price increases above the typical annual increases associated with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
In a letter disseminated to customers today, Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett described the “precarious financial condition” of the Postal Service and the “uncertain path toward enactment of postal reform legislation” as primary reasons for seeking price changes above the CPI increase. He also indicated that the price adjustment above the CPI increase is necessary in order to ensure that the Postal Service will be able to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the type and quality which America needs.
“Of the options currently available to the Postal Service to align costs and revenues, increasing postage prices is a last resort that reflects extreme financial challenges,” said Barnett in the letter. “However, if these financial challenges were alleviated by the timely enactment of laws that close a $20 billion budget gap, the Postal Service would reconsider its pricing strategy. We are encouraged by the recent introduction of comprehensive postal reform legislation in Congress, and despite an uncertain legislative process, we are hopeful that legislation can be enacted this year.”
Except in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, postage price increases are capped at the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI-U. The Postal Service is filing a price increase above CPI-U due to extraordinary and exceptional circumstances which have contributed to continued financial losses. The Postal Service recorded a $15.9 billion net loss last fiscal year and expects to record a loss of roughly $6 billion in the current fiscal year, and has an intolerably low level of available liquidity even after defaulting on its obligation to make prefunding payments for retiree health benefits.
The PRC will review the prices before they become effective Jan. 26, 2014, and must agree the prices are consistent with applicable law. The new price proposals are scheduled to be filed Sept. 26 and will be available on the PRC website at www.prc.gov and also will be available at http://pe.usps.com.
First, the definition of a self-mailer: It’s a folded piece that is letter-sized, isn’t mailed in an envelope and doesn’t have a binding. If it has staples in the fold, it is a defined as a booklet, not a self-mailer, and booklets aren’t affected by these changes.
Now, the new regulations document is long and complicated. But, the majority of you only need to know the following:
1) Final folds on the top will no longer be allowed.
2) Self-mailers that now only need one tab on the top will need two.
3) Quarter-fold self-mailers will need to be at least 70# book (=28# bond).
4) No tabs will be allowed on the bottom. Read more →
Beginning early next year, the Postal Service will introduce a First-Class Mail Global Forever Stamp. The new stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10, and is among new mailing and shipping services filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission today.
The price for First-Class Mail single-piece letters will increase by just a penny when prices change in Jan. The new 46 cent Forever stamps will allow customers to mail letters to any location in the United States. Forever stamps are always good for mailing a one-ounce letter anytime in the future regardless of price changes.
Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 27, 2013 include:
- Letters (1oz.) – 1-cent increase to 46 cents
- Letters additional ounces – unchanged at 20 cents
- Letters to all international destinations (1oz.) – $1.10
- Postcards – 1-cent increase to 33 cents
Prices for all products (Mailing and Shipping services) will increase by 4-percent, but prices for Mailing Services, such as regular letters and advertising matter, will increase only 2.6-percent. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will review the prices before they become effective Jan. 27, 2013. Today’s Shipping and Mailing price filings will be available on the PRC website at www.prc.gov and the new Mailing Service prices will also be available at http://pe.usps.com.
Several new Shipping Services products will be available in January. Free tracking will be offered to all competitive packages, including retail Priority Mail and Parcel Post (recently renamed Standard Post).
Also new, customers shipping Critical Mail letters and flats will now have the option of receiving a signature upon delivery as part of the service offering.
A large variety of flat-rate boxes and envelopes for Express Mail and Priority Mail, including the padded and legal-sized flat rate envelopes will continue to be offered by the Postal Service.
New domestic retail pricing for Priority Mail Flat Rate products include:
- Small box – $5.80
- Medium box – $12.35
- Large box – $16.85
- Large APO/FPO box – $14.85
- Regular envelope – $5.60• Legal envelope – $5.75
- Padded envelope – $5.95
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Background and Program Description
The 2011 Mobile Barcode Promotion was so successful because it utilized emerging technologies and the prevalence of smartphones to integrate direct mail with modern devices. Customers and businesses alike benefited from the ease of use and the postal savings affiliated with this promotion.
The following information describes the proposed 2012 incarnation of the promotion:
The 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion provides mailers with an upfront postage discount on qualifying Standard Mail® and First-Class Mail® letters, flats, and cards that contain a mobile barcode or similar print technology that can be read or scanned by a mobile device. The technology must lead the recipient to either:
1. A webpage that allows the recipient to purchase a product or service on a mobile device.
2. A personalized URL, which leads to a web page that is unique to an individual recipient.
In a decision this week, the Postal Regulatory Commission granted the USPS’ request that it provide credit lines to direct mailers that enter into a negotiated service agreement with it, giving them the ability to pay postage via Automated Clearing House (online) methods. Currently, direct mailers pay upfront into an account for anticipated postage.
The Direct Marketing Association praised the decision. In a statement, DMA said, “By allowing credit billing rather than prepayment of postage, USPS enters the ‘real world of commerce.’ ” DMA has urged the PRC to expand the ruling to all direct mailers, not just large mailers with negotiated service agreements.
On September 8th, new U.S. Postal Service regulations will take effect creating a new Booklet class of self-mailers. The regulations include new specifications for booklet size, paper weight and sealing options for machinable, automation letter-size booklets.
Failure to meet the new placement requirements can result in disallowing all automation and presort discounts, which means single piece first class rates, based on weight, will apply.
Read the detailed requirements below: