Free Guide: Understanding the 2015 USPS Postage Rate Increase

May 27th, 2015 Comments off

The USPS is implementing the 2015 Postage Rate Increase on Sunday, May 31st.  Check out Stamps.com’s 2015 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide to understand what the changes are and how your mailing and shipping processes may be impacted.

The FREE downloadable PDF Guide includes details on the USPS rate changes for each mail class – both domestic and international – and special USPS services.  Additionally, the 2015 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide provides tips and recommendations on when each mail class should be used along with a comprehensive Q&A to help with commonly asked questions around the 2015 USPS Postage Rate Increase.

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The guide is free and can be downloaded at: http://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/2015-usps-postage-rate-increase-guide.pdf.

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.

How the New IMpB Requirement Impacts NetStamps Users

February 23rd, 2015 Comments off

IMpB Requirements NetStamps

Effective January 25th, 2015, the USPS enforced a new IMpB requirement as a result of which Stamps.com customers need to make adjustments to the way they use NetStamps for their packages.  All USPS packages must now carry an IMpB tracking label.  Designed to function like stamps, NetStamps do not carry a barcode like shipping labels, which is why there are some limitations around their use going forward.

This change only impacts First Class, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.  First Class letter postage is not impacted, for which Stamps.com customers can continue to print NetStamps, envelopes and mailing labels at the discounted Commercial Base rates.

Using the Stamps.com software?
You can still print postage for First Class packages, as well as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages on NetStamps, but at retail rates only.  Additionally, these packages must be accompanied by the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label, which can be ordered at the Stamps.com Store.  To continue receiving the discounted Commercial Base rates, print shipping labels for these packages.

Using Stamps.com Online?
Stamps.com Online customers will no longer be able to print NetStamps postage for First Class packages, as well as for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.  Use shipping labels instead!  All shipping labels generated by Stamps.com already contain the IMpB-compliant tracking barcode and our customers will continue to receive discounted rates.

Printing PhotoStamps?
If you are creating PhotoStamps to use on your Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes (1 oz.), you will continue to be charged $5.60 for postage, but the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label will need to be included for these mailings.

IMpB required for all USPS Packages – Starts January 25th, 2015

January 27th, 2015 Comments off

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Effective Sunday, January 25th, 2015, the USPS requires that all First Class, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages be shipped with an Intelligent Mail Package Barcode (IMpB) tracking label. First Class letters, Large Envelopes and Postcards are not affected by this new USPS requirement.

Packages that do not include an IMpB may face delivery delays as well as increased postage charges. Moreover, if you print postage online with a service like Stamps.com, the IMpB is required in order to receive Commercial Base and Commercial Plus discounts.

Stamps.com shipping labels already include IMpB barcodes!
Stamps.com customers printing shipping labels need not worry. All shipping labels generated by Stamps.com already contain the IMpB-compliant tracking barcode and our customers will continue to receive discounted rates.

Printing NetStamps? Learn how this update impacts you.
Stamps.com customers printing NetStamps are impacted by this update. Since NetStamps are designed to function like regular stamps, they don’t carry a barcode like shipping labels. Within the Stamps.com software, customers can still print NetStamps postage for packages but at Retail Post Office Rates only. A Form 400 USPS Tracking Label must be included. If using NetStamps with First Class letters, Large Envelopes or Postcards, Stamps.com customers will still receive discounted rates and will not need to include the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label. The Form 400 USPS Tracking Label is available for order at the Stamps.com Store. Stamps.com Online customers will no longer be able to print NetStamps postage for First Class Packages, as well as for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.

Pay Retail Post Office Rates with a Postage Meter
Businesses that print shipping labels on a postage meter are also impacted by this USPS update. Since postage for a package using a meter is typically printed on “meter tape”, there is not enough space to print a barcode.  Therefore, as of January 25th, 2015, metered postage for packages is not eligible for discounted shipping rates.  Commercial Base rates are only available to shippers who have the ability to print their own unique IMpB tracking label.  All other shippers can continue to use their postage meters but will no longer receive the discounted rates.  Since costs can add up quickly without the commercial base discounts, high volume shippers may want to consider alternative shipping solutions.  Moreover, these shippers need to ensure that each mail piece includes a USPS Tracking label (Label 400) to comply with the new requirement.

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