Postal rate adjustments aren’t uncommon, and on January 27, 2019, there was another. While some postage rates actually decreased along with this change, most of the primary means of sending mail saw a slight increase. When it comes to how many stamps you need to use to mail a letter or package, you’ll generally be paying just a bit more in 2019 than you were last year.
First Class Mail
The first class letter rate increased by five cents. It was $0.50 and has now gone up $0.55. This also affects the cost of forever stamps. Forever stamps that were purchased before the increase can still be used, but new purchases will now be at the $0.55 rate. For every additional ounce in a first class letter, there will be a cost of an extra $0.15. This is actually a decrease from the previous year. In 2018, it was $0.21 for any extra ounces. The first class mail flat and large envelope rates did not increase and remained at $1.00 for one ounce. Each additional ounce has a cost of $0.15.
Postcard rates did not increase and will still cost $0.35. For consumers who print postage online using websites such as stamps.com, the metered mail rate will not have a discount compared to the post office price. The rates are now $0.50 instead of $0.47. The discount rate of five cents for online postage will represent a savings of about 9% for small business owners and customers.
First Class Package Service
Rates for first class package service are increasing by 11.9%. Zone based pricing is now begin added to this service. Packages that are going across the country see the biggest rate increase.
Priority mail packages have increased 5.9%. An example is a one pound package that is going to Zone 8 will now cost $8.25 instead of $7.76. Heavier weighted packages are now seeing a rate decrease. Packages that weigh between 11 and 70 pounds that are being shipped to all zones see a lower rate. Medium weight packages that are between four and 10 pounds and that are traveling to Zone 5 or higher also have a decrease in rates. Priority mail parcels in all shipping zones are now getting DIM pricing for packages that are over one cubic foot. The proposed zone changes don’t go into effect until June 2019.
Priority Mail Express
Shipping with priority mail express sees a cost increase of 3.9%. A package that weighs one pound and will be going to Zone 8 using this shipping method now costs $26.52 instead of the previous rate of $25.04. Commercial plus pricing is now eliminated.
Priority Mail Express Flat Rate
Flat rate envelopes also see an increase, and the increase ranges from $0.70 to $0.72 depending on the envelope that is being used. For example, the padded flat rate envelope was $22.46 and now it is $23.18, which is an increase of $0.72.
Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes
The cost for medium and large flat rate boxes are decreasing. However, the priority mail padded flat rate envelope, which is a popular choice for e-commerce sellers, has increased by $0.45.
Parcel Select Ground
These rates are decreasing on average by 1.3%. Parcels that weigh between three and 18 pounds and are traveling to further zones see a rate decrease.
Media mail rates have increased by 2.95%.
Overall, these changes affected different shipping methods in different ways. The reason for the changes was because the Postal Service lost about $3.9 million in 2018. The losses could be attributed to the drops in mail volume. There are also the costs of the health care and pensions of the workers.
2018 was the 12th year in a row that there was a loss, despite the growth in package shipping. The USPS doesn’t run on any tax money and instead relies on the sales of its e-services and products. The CEO and postmaster general of the Postal Service has stated they will take actions within their control in order to ensure that they work with the primary mission to provide efficient and reliable service to Americans.