USPS Postage Rates
November 17, 2022
The United States Postal Service has delivered a total of 128.9 billion mail in 2021 alone. It is an incredible feat that keeps on growing as people use the postal service more than ever.
Planning to send letters or packages via USPS but do not know the current rates? How much should you pay for USPS services, and what kind of mail service should you use?
This article aims to give you an overview of the USPS postage system, standard rates, and mail and package classification. You will also get tips on calculating the postage cost, which also determines shipping costs.
If you plan on using USPS as your main mail or package delivery service, visit our website at FindPostOffice.org.
We are an extensive search engine for millions of post offices addresses in the United States. You can conveniently locate any post office among the 161.4 million addresses and 31,330 retail offices that USPS manages all over the country.
What Is USPS Postage Rate?
The U.S. Postal Service regularly provides shipping rate changes to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) throughout the year. Price changes may affect metered mail rates, package delivery rates, specialty mail services, and even postage or stamp prices.
The following information shows the current price rates for postages in U.S. Post offices.
Listed below are the domestic prices for USPS postage rates. Note that figures are based on the latest price increase on July 10, 2022.
First-Class Mail service is a common way to send letters and lightweight parcels. Here are some of the items that you can send through first-class mail.
- Handwritten or typewritten letters
- Bills and invoices
- Credit cards
- Personal correspondence
- Personalized business correspondence
- Any item sealed against inspection, as long as it fits the prescribed weight and size: letters should not weigh more than 3.5 ounces and parcels less than 13 ounces
Features and Pricing
First-Class mail features the following services:
- Mail is delivered in one to five business days
- Small packages are delivered in two to five business days
- First-Class Mail is the best-priced service for items up to 13 oz in weight
- The service offers insurance for damage or loss, up to $5,000 for merchandise only
- First-Class Mail is eligible for delivery confirmation services such as Certified Mail of the USPS
- There is only one price for up to 3.5 ounces for commercially priced letters and cards
- Prices are based on shape and weight
The USPS defines a letter as a message for a specific person or address. It also should be recorded in or on an object, not limited to paper. Letters may involve disks, magnetic tapes, or any storage device enclosed in an envelope fit for First-Class mail.
The following are the postage rates for letters sent via First-Class mail.
- Letters – 1 oz. (Stamped) $0.60
- Letters – 1 oz. (Metered) $0.57
- Letters – Additional Ounces (Stamped) $0.24
- Letters – Additional Ounces (Metered) $0.24
- Large Envelope (Flat) – 1 oz. $1.20
Not all single sheets of paper mail is qualified as a postcard unless they meet USPS’ definition of a postcard.
To qualify for mailing at the First-Class Mail service, a postcard must be:
- At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inches thick
- No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick
Here are the standard postage rates for postcards:
- Standard-sized, rectangular postcard stamps $0.44
- Oversized postcards (letter stamps required) $0.60
Large Envelopes or Small Packages:
A large envelope is a rectangular mail that is no thicker than 3/4 inch. Another name for this is “flats.”
On the other hand, a package is a parcel that does not meet the letter-sized or flat-sized mail category. It is typically enclosed in a carton or small box container.
USPS postage rates for large envelopes and small packages are as follows:
- Large envelopes (flats) start at $1.20
- Small packages start at $4.50
Weight, Size, and Shape Requirements
The maximum weight for First-Class Mail letters is 3.5 oz. On the other hand, the maximum weight for large First-Class Mail envelopes and parcels is 13 oz.
Also, remember that all postcards and flat rate envelopes must be rectangular. If not, an additional charge may apply. Furthermore, additional size restrictions may apply depending on the mail you send.
Additional Charges for Irregular Mailpieces, Envelopes, and Small Packages
There are cases where parcels or packages have shapes or dimensions that do not fit the standard requirements imposed by the USPS. For these cases, there are categories set by the Post office to cater to these irregular-shaped parcels.
These are unusually shaped mail such as square-shaped, vertical, or lumpy envelopes. Also, rigid envelopes, including mail with additional objects such as clasps, string, or buttons. These envelopes have added a nonmachinable surcharge even if they weigh less than an ounce.
Large Mailpieces, Envelopes, and Small Packages
Letters exceeding the First-Class mail standard envelope maximum length, height, or thickness have an added large envelope (flat) charge.
Suppose the large envelopes are not uniform in thickness, non-rectangular and rigid. In that case, they are not charged as envelopes but as packages. You will have to pay a nonstandard package fee for sending a nonstandard sized package.
The following are criteria for determining if your package is nonstandard and its prices.
- If between 22 and 30 inches long: Additional $4.00
- If more than 30 inches long: Additional $15.00
- If more than two cubic feet (3,456 cubic inches): Additional $15.00
Certified Mail is a USPS service that provides the sender with a mailing receipt and electronic verification informing the mailer that the mail was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made.
According to the new prices, a first-class letter sent as certified mail will cost $7.85. A breakdown of the cost are the following:
- Postage price: $0.60
- Certified Mail fee: $4.00
- Return Receipt Hard Copy: $3.25
Priority Mail is an affordable option for sending mail based on weight, dimension, or via Flat Rate envelopes or boxes. Priority mail delivery usually takes one to three days. Priority mail features are as follows:
- Delivery time of one to three business days
- Free pickup service at your residence or work place
- Includes USPS Tracking and up to $100 of insurance with most shipments (restrictions apply)
- No surcharges for fuel
- Available for resident or rural delivery
- Saturday delivery
- Priority Mail flat rate, regional, and prepaid pricing (retail only)
Due to COVID-19, delivery for other mail services may be affected, but Priority Mail are not.
First-Class Package Service
USPS First Class Package service allows you to ship small, lightweight packages weighing up to 15.999 oz.
A First-Class package’s maximum dimensions are a combined length and width of 108 inches. Packages can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. and its territories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The shipping schedule is one to three days. Prices for First-Class package services are as follows: Package rates may differ depending on the weight.
- 1-4 oz: $4.50 and up
- 5-8 oz: $5.10 and up
- 9-12 oz: $5.80 and up
- 13 oz: $6.55 and up
Priority Mail Flat Mail Rate
USPS Priority Flat Rate is a U.S. Postal Service delivery service that allows one- to three-day shipping for a single flat rate.
Flat rate service eliminates the need to weigh your packages to calculate costs. It is convenient for shippers as long as packages weigh under 70 lbs.
As per current USPS rates, here are the flat mail prices for priority mail or packages:
- Regular flat rate envelopes $8.95 per envelope
- Legal flat rate envelopes $9.25 per envelope
- Padded flat rate envelopes $9.65 per envelope
- Small flat rate boxes $9.45 per envelope
- Regular flat rate boxes $16.10 per box
- Medium flat rate boxes $16.10 per box
- Large flat rate boxes $21.50 per box
- Army Post Office (APO)/Fleet Post Office (FPO)/Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) Large flat rate boxes $20.22 per box
Priority Mail Express Flat Rate
Priority Mail Express Flat Rate is an overnight delivery service of the USPS that features one flat rate for packages or envelopes. Deliveries are available to all U.S. addresses.
- Flat Rate Envelope $26.95
- Legal Flat Rate Envelope $27.10
- Padded Flat Rate Envelope $27.50
USPS Parcel Select Ground Rates
USPS Parcel Select Ground is a low-cost delivery service for large or heavy packages. Shipments for this service can weigh up to 70 lbs and may take two to eight days to deliver.
Rates vary depending on distance, weight, and package dimensions. You can opt to use the USPS retail postage price calculator to determine the price for your package.
The USPS Postage Rate Increase
According to USPS and PRC, price changes would take effect on July 10, 2022. The said increase would affect USPS mail services’ postal rates and service rates. The new prices also include a two-cent increase in the First-Class Mail Forever stamp.
USPS governors approved the price increase in response to inflation, which resulted in increased operating costs. The adjustments would help improve the postal service infrastructure by implementing the Delivering for America plan, which involves a $40 billion investment.
Summary of the Postage Rate Increase
- First-Class stamp price increases to $0.60
- The Metered mail rate increases to $0.57
- First-Class Flats and domestic postcards rate increase
- The additional ounce rate for Letters and Flats increases to $0.24
With USPS cubic pricing, customers get cheap shipping rates for small yet heavy packages.
Packages must weigh 20 pounds or less to be considered for this rate. They should also be no more than 0.5 cubic feet and have sides that are significantly less than 18 inches.
Customers using cubic pricing only pay for the dimensions of the package and shipping distance, making it an excellent option for volume shippers.
Priority Mail Commercial Cubic Rates
Cubic rates are calculated by dimensions and how far the destination is. To calculate your package’s cubit feet:
- Measure its length, width, and height
- Round down each measurement to the nearest quarter inch (if applicable and already under 18 inches)
- Multiply the three measurements (length, width, and height) and divide by 1,728
If your package’s cubit feet size is less than 0.5, it passes for USPS cubic rates. You will now check your destination and check the appropriate rates.
The destination is divided into postal zones, which is how far the destination is from the USPS fulfillment center. ZIP codes calculate postal zones.
The following is a chart of zones and their radius.
- Zone 1: 50-mile radius
- Zone 2: 51 – 150 mile radius
- Zone 3: 151 – 300 mile radius
- Zone 4: 301 – 600 mile radius
- Zone 5: 601 – 1,000 mile radius
- Zone 6: 1,001 – 1,400 mile radius
- Zone 7: 1,401 – 1,800 mile radius
- Zone 8: 1,801+ mile radius
Listed below are the price rates for international mailing and shipping.
Global Express Guaranteed
- From $67.80 at the Post Office
- From $64.41 for Commercial Base
- From $64.41 for Commercial Plus
Priority Mail Express International
- From $47.95 at the Post Office
- From $44.95 for Commercial Base
- From $44.95 for Commercial Plus
Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate
- From $47.95 at the Post Office
Priority Mail International
- From $40.45 at the Post Office
- From $37.47 for Commercial Base
- From $37.47 for Commercial Plus
- Priority Mail International Flat Rate
Priority Mail International Flat Rate
- From $29.60 at Post Office
- From $28.13 for Commercial Base
- From $28.13 for Commercial Plus
Small Flat Rate Boxes
- From $30.70 at Post Office
- From $29.17 for Commercial Base
- From $29.17 for Commercial Plus
Medium Flat Rate Boxes
- From $56.80 at Post Office
- From $53.94 for Commercial Base
- From $53.94 for Commercial Plus
Large Flat Rate Boxes
- From $73.80 at Post Office
- From $70.13 for Commercial Base
- From $70.13 for Commercial Plus
First-Class Mail International
- Letters and postcards from $1.40 for all countries
- Large Envelopes (Flats) from $2.75 for all countries
First-Class Package International Service
- From $14.85 at the Post Office
- From $14.11 for Commercial Base
- From $14.11 for Commercial Plus
- From $52.80
International Business Reply Service
- From $1.90 per piece
Cost of First-Class Stamps
Listed below are the prices for First-Class stamps as provided by the USPS website.
- Standard-sized, rectangular envelopes – from $0.60
- Square, oversized, or unusual envelopes – from $0.99
- Standard-sized, rectangular postcards – From $0.44
Global Forever (International)
- Standard-sized, rectangular envelopes – from $1.40
USPS Postage Rates That Are Not Changing
Because of the experienced inflation rates that increase operation costs, USPS and the PRC have approved an increase in price rates for different mail services.
How Do I Calculate Postage Costs?
Determining the postage cost can help you calculate the total shipping cost. For example, you can compute how much it will cost you to ship items to customers in the United States.
To calculate your postage cost:
- Weigh your item and round up the figures. USPS rounds up the figures to the next pound or next ounce.
- Select the appropriate mail class.
- Measure the package. Multiply the length, width, and height of the package. The dimensions will help determine the appropriate mail class. Choosing the wrong mail class will result in paying a dimension noncompliance fee.
- Check the postal zone. The distance of travel will also affect the cost of your postage.
- How many stamps do I need for a 3 oz letter?
A 3-ounce letter requires one Forever stamp and two additional ounce stamps if applicable. Larger envelopes weighing three ounces require one Forever stamp and one 3-ounce stamp. A small package weighing three ounces requires eight Forever stamps.
- How many stamps should I put on a 9×12 envelope?
You will need two postage stamps for an envelope weighing one ounce or less. Additional stamps (and costs) may be needed if the weight increases.
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