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Stamps.com Blog

Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

Understanding the Metered Mail $0.485 First Class Letter Rate

May 22nd, 2015 Comments off

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In January 2014, the USPS introduced a special Metered Mail category for First Class Mail letters with postage printed using Online Postage (such as Stamps.com) or a postage meter.  This category was introduced to encourage the use of metered mail by small businesses.  Metered Mail costs the USPS significantly less compared to letters with regular postage stamps.  Not only do these customers avoid going to the Post Office, but also these mail pieces are already bar coded and addresses pre-cleansed.

Changes to USPS Metered Mail Rate – Starts May 31, 2015

On May 31, 2015, the USPS will be increasing the Metered Mail rate by half a cent to $0.485 from $0.48.  The retail (or Post Office) rate will stay at $0.49, bringing the Metered Mail discount down from 2% in 2014 to 1% in 2015.  Additional ounces will now cost $0.22.

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No Action Needed For Stamps.com Customers

Stamps.com will automatically be updated with the new Metered Mail rate on Sunday, May 31, 2015.  When printing NetStamps, customers will have the option to automatically select the $0.485 metered mail rate or manually enter the stamp amount up to the third decimal place.

Three Digit Balances Will Now Appear in Stamps.com

Don’t worry if you start seeing a three digit postage balance or $0.485 printed on your envelope – This is to incorporate the new metered mail rate.  For a misprint refund, you will be refunded exactly what you printed, precisely up to the third decimal place.  However, if you decided to close your Stamps.com account and had a postage balance of $6.105 as an example, your balance would be rounded up to the nearest decimal and your refund would be $6.11.

How to Add Graphics to Your Envelopes and Shipping Labels

May 19th, 2015 Comments off

Personalizing your mail is a great way to create a strong first impression on your customers and Stamps.com’s powerful Graphics feature can make that happen for you!

With the Stamps.com software, you can add Return Address and Postage graphics to your Envelopes, and Return Address graphics to your Shipping Labels.

How to Add Graphics Using Stamps.com

  • Use Your Own Graphic File: Just look for the Graphic icon above the Return Address text field. If you want to include a graphic next to the postage in the top right corner of your postage label, just look for the Delivery Address text field.  Select the Include Graphic check box, and then click Browse to locate a graphic file.  You can select the graphic you want to use from your computer.

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  • Use A Pre-Existing Graphic File: If you don’t have your own graphic, Stamps.com has you covered!  Our software offers a wide variety of pre-existing graphics for business, personal and seasonal use, from Fragile and Happy Groundhog Day images, to graphics like Grad Hats, Air Mail, Babypins, and Scales of Justice.  Fun and clear images like Wedding Cakes, Sports Cars, and Handle With Care will give your letters and packages that extra personal touch.

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Need more graphics?  Stamps.com has some free plug-ins that you can install from here.

Tips for Adding Graphics

  • If you’re adding your own graphic, make sure that your image file is either a .bmp, a .png, or .jpg file type.
  • Keep your image clear and simple! Your graphic will appear within the confines of a very small space (about 1 cm x 1.5 cm), so the simpler and less detailed the image, the clearer it will look to your recipients.  Our software will auto-size it for you.  Our library of existing images will give you an idea of what sort of images look best.
  • Adding graphics for the first time? We recommend printing a zero-cost sample by clicking on the gray Print Sample button.  This will test your printer and give you an idea of what your actual live postage will look like.
  • Don’t see an option to add graphics? Make sure you are logging into the Stamps.com software via your desktop icon.
  • To stop printing a graphic, clear the Include Graphic check box.
  • Did you add your own image and now you want to get back to Stamps.com’s library of Graphics? No problem!  When you hit the Browse button, look for our graphics under Local Disk (C:) > Program Files > Stamps.com Internet Postage > Images.

New Postage Rates Start Sunday, May 31

May 15th, 2015 Comments off

blog_new-usps-rates_may31-2015After rejecting the U.S. Postal Service’s proposal to increase postage rates twice before, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has approved a rate increase for 2015. New postage rates will start on Sunday, May 31.

While rates are increasing in some mail classes, the U.S. Postal Service’s most popular products ARE NOT INCREASING. Rates for First Class Mail letters (one ounce), Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express will remain the same as in 2014.

Postage rates for “market domainant” classes were originally scheduled to go into effect on Sunday, April 26. But the USPS delayed the rate increase due to the PRC rejection of a rate proposal for two mail classes – Standard Mail and Periodicals. After the USPS made over 134 changes to the rate proposal for Standard Mail and Periodicals, the PRC approved the new rates on May 7.

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Other notable changes starting on May 31, 2015:

  • Priority Mail International will now include “zone pricing” for Canada, split up into 7 pricing zones.
  • Parcel Select prices are decreasing in Zones 1 to 4 for packages weighing between 5 lbs. to 24 lbs.  The rates for packages traveling to Zones 1 to 4, weighing between 25 lbs. to 70 lbs. are NOT INCREASING.
  • Media Mail will now include free package tracking

Get more info on the postage rate increase.

How to Ship Packages to the United Kingdom

April 23rd, 2015 Comments off

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Did a customer in Scotland just buy one of your products and you need to ship your merchandise over?  Do you need to send a gift to a relative in London?  Learn how to use Stamps.com to ship packages to the United Kingdom (U.K.)!

How to use Stamps.com for packages headed to the U.K.

Once you are ready to ship your package to the U.K., you will need to enter the mailing address details as well as choose the destination country from the drop down menu in Stamps.com.

Stamps.com offers many options; however, the easiest and most popular option is to choose United Kingdom (Great Britain) from the country drop down menu.  As long as you choose United Kingdom (Great Britain), your package should reach its destination anywhere within the country without any issues.

A few other options offered by Stamps.com are explained below:

  • If your package is headed to a constituent country of the U.K. (which consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), you can select the individual country names (e.g. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) or simply select United Kingdom (Great Britain).
  • Shipping a package to a crown dependency (examples include Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey etc.)?  These destinations fall under the general USPS descriptor of “Great Britain and Northern Island.”  In Stamps.com, these locations are listed individually (e.g. “Jersey”).  You can select these individual listings or just select “United Kingdom (Great Britain).”
  • Using the Stamps.com web version to print postage?  Choose Great Britain from the country drop down menu to ship your packages to the U.K.

Important Note:  Sometimes long country names, such as “Scotland (Great Britain and Northern Ireland)” may cause issues because your label has limited space.  In cases like these or if you are not sure what country to choose from the drop-down menu, always default to United Kingdom (Great Britain). 

Addressing and Shipping Tips for Your Packages

  • The postal code is an important element of the mailing address that is required to ensure smooth and timely delivery.  Make sure to include the accurate postal code for your package headed to the U.K.
  • Stamps.com is designed to include all the essential information on your international label, so if you receive a message about your address being too long, simply abbreviate the county (province) name – for example, Hampshire as “Hamps” or “Worcestershire” as “Worcs.”
  • Customs fees, duties, tariffs and taxes may be charged on your packages being shipped to the U.K.  These fees are based on the value you declare on the customs form and are typically paid by your buyer in the U.K.  However, you can anticipate these by checking the website for the British customs service.
  • Before you ship your package to the U.K., make sure the contents do not fall into the prohibited or restricted categories; otherwise your package could be forfeited or held up at customs.  Stamps.com customers can see real-time restrictions within the software or you can get more info here.

USPS Delays Rate Increase Scheduled for April 26, 2015

April 15th, 2015 Comments off

blog_usps-logo-delay-rate-increase2The U.S. Postal Service announced that it will delay the postage rate increase and service classification changes that were scheduled to start on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

The decision to delay the 2015 rate increase was motivated by the fact the Postal Regulatory Commission had not approved all of the proposed 2015 rates changes submitted by the USPS.  In particular, some “market-dominant” mail classes such as Standard Mail and Periodicals had not been approved.  To avoid a staggered implementation of the new rates, the USPS felt it was better to delay the entire rate increase and classification change to a later date.

No new date has been announced. The USPS said it will resubmit a new pricing proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission for approval.

Stamps.com will keep you updated with all the USPS postage rate increase changes once more info is available.