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Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

Understanding Package Weight Limits for International Shipping

May 18th, 2016 Comments off

UnderstandingInternationalWeightLimits

You have a Priority Mail International® Small Flat Rate Priced Box ready to be shipped to the country of Antigua and Barbuda. It weighs 5 pounds, but you’re not seeing an option for Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes in the Stamps.com drop-down mailpiece menu. What’s going on? The answer: the maximum weight for a Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Box is 4 pounds, so your mailpiece weighs too much for this flat rate box.

When preparing international shipments, it’s important to remember that there are weight limits depending on which mail class and packaging you’re using.

For example, the maximum weight for a Priority Mail Express International® Flat Rate Envelope or Small Flat Rate Priced Box is 4 pounds, and 20 pounds for Medium and Large Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

First-Class Mail International® Letters are capped at 3.5 ounces while First-Class Mail International Large Envelopes/Flats, these cannot exceed 4 pounds.

Variations by Country: Availability of Services 
An important aspect to shipping internationally is knowing that services vary by country.

For example, if you’re using Priority Mail International to mail something to Bolivia, Cuba, the Falkland Islands or Ascension Island, you would only be able to use Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

Want to ship using Priority Mail Express International Service? Do your homework, as this service is not available for more than 20 countries and dependencies, including Afghanistan, Iran, Greenland, Tuvalu, East Timor (Timor-Leste), and Suriname.

Variations by Country: Weight Limits for Non-Flat-Rate Mailpieces
The absolute maximum weight of all international packages is 70 pounds, but not all countries will accept this maximum weight. For example, 33 pounds is the maximum weight for a package going Priority Mail Express International to Taiwan, but it is 69 pounds for Nepal. Knowing that varying thresholds exist is an important step towards becoming a successful global shipper, and will help you determine what kinds of products you can ship to certain overseas markets.

These thresholds can also vary by mail class for the same country. For example, Bulgaria’s weight limit for Priority Mail Express International packages is 66 pounds, but 70 pounds for Priority Mail International packages.

Looking for a complete chart? You can find one here: http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immpg.htm or look at individual country listings at: http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/ab_001.htm.

Understanding USPS International Shipping Zones

May 10th, 2016 Comments off

Not sure what price group to use for a flat rate envelope to Switzerland?  Check out the table below to determine shipping zones for your shipments for each country.

International-Zones-Chart-For-Blog-1

Changes to USPS International Flat Rate Products
As of January 17th, 2016, all Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate products moved from a two-price system (one price for Canada and one price for every other country) to a multi-tiered pricing structure.  This restructuring means that your shipments will be priced based on their destination rather than their weight.  Keep in mind that the price group for the same country may change depending on the mail piece, so, for example, Antigua and Barbuda is in Price Group 9 for Priority Mail International but Price Group 8 for the Priority Mail International Large Flat Rate Boxes.

How To Find USPS International Zones
It is always a good practice to give your customers quotes and price estimates.  So how do you find out beforehand under which price group your destination falls under?  Check out USPS’ Country Max Limits and Price Groups Finder.  This calculator will allow you to determine maximum weights for each mail piece as well as average transit times.

Media Mail: Summary of April 2016 USPS Rate Decrease

April 21st, 2016 Comments off

What is Media Mail?
Media Mail is a cost-effective way to send media materials through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). You can send books, videotapes, DVDs, CDs, printed music and other sound recordings through Media Mail as long as they weigh less than 70 pounds.

What is the Estimated Delivery Time for Media Mail?
It can take between 2 to 10 days for your Media Mail package to be delivered to its destination.

Changes to Media Mail in 2016
On Sunday, April 10, 2016, the USPS implemented a postage rate decrease, as a result of which it will now cost less to ship a Media Mail package.  Prior to the change, it would cost $2.72 to ship a 1 lb. Media Mail package which will now only cost $2.61.  The table below lists the decrease in Media Mail rates for packages weighing up to 25 lbs.

266057_Image for Media Mail Blog Post

Save with Media Mail
If delivery on your shipment is not time sensitive, Media Mail can help save you a lot!  If you’re a Stamps.com customer sending a 1-pound package, it will cost $5.75 and up with Priority Mail (using the Stamps.com discount) and only $2.61 with Media Mail.  Using Media Mail in this situation will save you around 53% in postage costs.

FAQs on the April 2016 Postage Rate Decrease

April 12th, 2016 Comments off

FAQs Image

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions on the April 2016 USPS Postage Rate Decrease:

When did the lower postage rates go into effect?
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) implemented the new postage rates on Sunday, April 10, 2016.

What mail classes are being impacted by this rate change?
The table below provides a quick summary of the main changes that were implemented on Sunday, April 10, 2016:

Rates Table

Will this decrease impact Priority Mail?
No, the USPS Postage Rate Decrease will only impact mailing products and services.  The rates for USPS shipping services were already adjusted on Sunday, January 17, 2016.

Why is the USPS implementing a postage rate decrease?
The 4.3% exigent surcharge that was granted to the USPS by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in January 2014 is being lifted.  This temporary postage rate increase was granted to help the USPS recoup the losses it encountered during the recession.  Since these losses are estimated to have been recouped by April, the USPS is implementing a postage rate decrease.

Has Stamps.com been updated with the new rates?
Yes, Stamps.com’s postage rates are updated in real-time and all postage printed will reflect the new April 2016 USPS rates.

Special Note:  In order to get the discounted metered mail rate of $0.465 for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) and the lower $2.45 Post Office rate for First Class Mail – Parcels weighing 1-3 ounces, Stamps.com customers must upgrade to Version 13.3.

Will this decrease impact both mailing and shipping services?
No, the USPS Postage Rate Decrease will only impact mailing products and services.  The rates for USPS shipping services were already adjusted on Sunday, January 17, 2016.

Are the rates for First Class Mail Letters decreasing?
Yes, the good news about the April 2016 USPS Postage Rate Decrease is that the rate for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) will decrease from $0.49 to $0.47 when purchased at the Post Office.  Stamps.com customers get the discounted “Metered Mail” rate, which is also decreasing from $0.485 to $0.465.

What happens if I already printed my letter with the old rate?
The valid postage rate for letters for PC Postage users was $0.485 until April 10, 2016.  Any mail printed with this amount can still be used and will be delivered.  At this time, Stamps.com will not be accepting misprint or unused postage refund requests for the old rate, but the good news is that your mail should still be delivered as normal.

I am seeing a $2.45 rate for packages weighing between 1 and 3 ounces for First Class Package Service – isn’t the Commercial Base rate $2.60?
While online rates are typically cheaper than the Post Office rates, prices at the Post Office were not increased during the January 2016 postage rate increase. This created an unique situation where the Post Office rate for First Class Package Service parcels weighing between 1 and 3 ounces is cheaper than the online rate (Commercial Base pricing). Stamps.com has incorporated this cheaper 2016 Post Office rate into its program! To get this discount, you MUST download Stamps.com Version 13.3.

I am seeing a “No Updates Available” message in the Stamps.com Software when I click on the “Check for Updates” link.  Why is that happening?
In order to receive the lower First Class Package Service rate for parcels weighing between 1 oz. and 3 oz., you would need to download the latest version of Stamps.com, Version 13.3.  To update to Version 13.3, please visit www.stamps.com/download.  If you go to Help -> Check for Updates, it will say that “No updates are available to Stamps.com software at this time” but there actually is an update available at the special download page.  This is required if you want to receive the $2.45 rate.

Please make sure to download Stamps.com Version Version 13.3.

What is changing with Media Mail?
Media Mail rates are decreasing and will now start at $2.61 for a 1 lb. package, compared to $2.72 previously. This mail class continues to be a great cost-effective option to ship books and DVDs as long as quick delivery is not required.

Are there any changes for Special Services?
Yes, the rates for Special Services have been decreased as well.  Certified Mail, Registered Mail, Signature Confirmation and other services are now available for a lower price.  These rates are already updated in Stamps.com.  Get more details on the decreased rates for Special Services.

USPS Announces Postage Rate Decrease – Starts April 10, 2016

April 1st, 2016 Comments off

262456_Postage-Rate-Decrease_blogFor the second time in 2016, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will be changing its rates on April 10th, 2016.  The good news is that this time rates are decreasing for USPS Mailing Services products. 

What Are The Changes?
Here is a summary of the April 2016 postage rate updates:

– First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) rates will decrease from $0.49 to $0.47 when purchased at the Post Office. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.

– The discounted “Metered Mail” category for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will decrease from $0.485 to $0.465. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.

– First Class Mail Flats (1 oz.) will decrease from $0.98 to $0.94. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.

– Postcard rates will decrease from $0.35 to $0.34.

letters and postcards

– First Class Mail – Parcels available at the Post Office will also see a decrease and rates will start at $2.45 (previously $2.54) for a 1 oz. package.

first class mail parcels

Important:  While the Commercial Base rate for First Class Package Service for mailpieces weighing between 1 and 3 ounces is $2.60, Stamps.com has incorporated the lower Post Office pricing into its program!  So, instead of paying $2.60 for a 1 ounce package, Stamps.com customers will only need to pay $2.45.  To get this discount, Stamps.com customers must download Version 13.3.

– Media Mail rates will start at $2.61 instead of $2.72 for a 1 lb. package.

media mail

Why Are USPS Rates Decreasing? 
The 4.3% exigent surcharge that was granted to the USPS by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in January 2014 is being lifted.  This temporary postage rate increase was granted to help the USPS recoup the losses it encountered during the recession.  Since these losses are estimated to have been recouped by April, the USPS is implementing a postage rate decrease. 

No Action Needed For Stamps.com Customers
Stamps.com will automatically update all USPS rates inside the software and web-based version (Stamps.com Online) on Sunday, April 10, 2016.  If you are a Stamps.com customer, no additional actions are needed and you will see the new reduced USPS rates automatically.

Special Note:  If you want the discounted metered mail rate of $0.465 for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) and lower $2.45 Post Office rate for First Class Mail – Parcels weighing 1-3 ounces, make sure to upgrade to Stamps.com Version 13.3.

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