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.

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.

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.

USPS Announces Postage Rate Increase – Starts April 26, 2015

March 4th, 2015 Comments off

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IMPORTANT UPDATE!  On March 27, the USPS announced they will delay the implementation of the 2015 rate increase and classification changes scheduled to start on Sunday, April 26, 2015. USPS rates WILL NOT be changing on April 26, 2015.  

The U.S. Postal Service has announced a postage rate increase for select mail classes and services for 2015. The new postage rates will start on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

First Class Letters & Postcards
The cost to send a one ounce First Class Letter will NOT BE INCREASING and will remain $0.49. Additional ounces will cost $0.22, a one cent increase from 2014. Postcard rates will increase by one cent to $0.35, from $0.34 in 2014.

If you print postage online or use a postage meter, the “Metered Mail” rate for a one ounce First Class Letter will be increasing by $0.005 to $0.485 from $0.48. The Metered Mail rate is a discount provided to users who print postage online and through a postage meter.

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Priority Mail Express

For Priority Mail Express packages, rates will NOT BE INCREASING in 2015.

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Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
For Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes and the Flat Rate Box, rates will NOT BE INCREASING in 2015.

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Priority Mail
For Priority Mail packages, rates will NOT BE INCREASING in 2015. As a reminder, Priority Mail rates were reduced in September 2014. With 2 day delivery to over 90% of U.S. addresses and improved tracking, Priority Mail is a great shipping option for e-commerce sellers.

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Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
For Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes, rates will NOT BE INCREASING for 2015.

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Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes
For Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes, rates will NOT BE INCREASING for 2015. Regional Rate Boxes provide shippers a low cost option for packages traveling shorter distances.

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First Class Package Service
First Class Package Service will see an average increase of 5.1% in 2015. For packages that weigh 13 ounces or less, First Class Package Service remains the lowest cost option to ship a package to a U.S. address.

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Parcel Select (nonpresort)
Prices for Parcel Select (nonpresort), the U.S. Postal Service’s ground shipping product, will increase an average of 9.8% in 2015. While the average rate is increasing, the USPS did lower Parcel Select prices in some shipping zones.  In Zones 1 to 4 for packages weighing between 6 lbs. through 24 lbs, rates are decreasing by as much as $9.35 per package (15 lb., Zone 4). There are no price increases for Zones 1 to 4 for packages weighing 25 lbs. through 70 lbs.

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Media Mail
Media Mail rates will see an average increase of 6.2% in 2015. For books, videos and other products that qualify, Media Mail remains a great low cost shipping option.

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First Class Letters & Postcards – International
The cost to send a one ounce First Class Letter to an international destination will increase five cents, to $1.20 from $1.15. Postcard rates will increase by five cents, to $1.20 from $1.15 in 2014.

First Class Package International Service
The overall increase for First Class Package International Service will be 7.2% in 2015.  The average price increases by pound are:

  • Up to 1 lb. – Average increase of $0.66
  • Up to 2 lbs. – Average increase of $1.29
  • Up to  3 lbs. – Average increase of $1.65
  • Up to 4 lbs. – Average increase of $2.01

First Class Package International Service remains the cheapest option among all carriers to ship internationally. It also includes tracking for the most popular countries including the U.K., Australia and Canada.

Priority Mail International
The overall increase for Priority Mail International will be 5.5% in 2015. Additionally, the USPS is introducing Zone-based pricing for Priority Mail International packages traveling to Canada. Canada will be split into 7 zones with rates ranging from $30.75 to $37.50 for a 1 lb. package.

Priority Mail Express International
The overall increase for Priority Mail Express International will be 6.7% in 2015.

Global Express Guaranteed
The overall increase for Global Express Guaranteed will be 7.2% in 2015.

Stamps.com Will Automatically Update to the New USPS Rates on April 26, 2015
Stamps.com will automatically update all USPS rates inside the software and web-based version (Stamps.com Online) on Sunday, April 26, 2015. If you are a Stamps.com customer, no additional actions are needed and you will see the new USPS rates automatically.

No Increase to USPS Postage Rates in January 2015

December 16th, 2014 Comments off

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USPS Will Not Increase Postage Rates in January 2015
Great news mailers and shippers! The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recently announced there will be no changes to mailing and shipping rates in January 2015. This means the cost to send a one ounce First Class Letter will remain $0.49 ($0.48 if you print postage online and receive the metered mail rate) in January 2015. And there will be no increase in prices for shipping services which includes Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, First Class Package Service, Media Mail and Parcel Select.

For e-commerce shippers, no annual rate increase coupled with the recent shipping rate reductions that occurred in September 2014 make Priority Mail the perfect shipping product to lower costs in 2015.

UPS and FedEx to Increase Rates by Average of 4.9% in 2015
In October, UPS announced they were increasing rates by 4.9% on average (effective December 29, 2014). And FedEx announced they were increase rates by an average of 4.9% on standard list rates effective January 5, 2015. Both UPS Ground and FedEx Ground/Home Delivery will also be incorporating DIM pricing in 2015, which is expected to increase rates.

USPS Rates Could Be Adjusted Later in 2015
While USPS postage rates are not increasing in January 2015, there could still be an increase – or even a decrease – sometime later in 2015. In January 2014, the USPS applied for an “Exigent Price Increase” due to significant USPS losses that occurred during The Great Recession. This Exigent Price Increase allowed the USPS to increase rates higher than rate of inflation in order to recover the approximate $2.8 billion lost. Once the exigent/higher rates recovers the $2.8 billion total, expected to be in early fall of 2015, the USPS could then make additional rate adjustments.

Stay up to date on the USPS postage rate increase here.