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.

Video & Top Questions: 2014 Postage Rate Increase Webinar

February 7th, 2014 Comments off

Stamps.com recently held a webinar on the 2014 USPS postage rate increase that occurred on February 4, 2014. If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below.

Here are the top questions and answers from the webinar:

METERED MAIL RATE $0.48 QUESTIONS:
QUESTION:  How does the new “Metered Mail” rate discount work?
ANSWER:  The new “Metered Mail” discount is a one cent discount for First Class Mail letters (1 ounce).  The USPS is offering this to both PC Postage (online postage vendors such as Stamps.com) and Postage Meter vendors.  The USPS is providing this discount regardless of the number of mail pieces you send.  Stamps.com will automatically print $0.48 postage on all 1 oz. First Class letters as of Sunday, January 27, 2014.

QUESTION: Can you use a $0.46 Stamps.com stamp (NetStamp) and a USPS $0.02 stamp?
ANSWER:  Yes, NetStamps are like regular postage and are valued at the denomination that is printed on the NetStamp.  But since you are using a regular postal stamp along with the NetStamp (online postage from Stamps.com), your letter WOULD NOT be eligible for the “Metered Mail” discount.  So you would need to include three additional cents for a total of $0.49 cents.  If you used NetStamps for the additional postage, you would qualify for the “Metered Mail” rate and would only need to add two cents additionally (total of $0.48).

QUESTION: If you are adding regular postage to a $0.46 cent NetStamp, do you add a 2 cent or 3 cent stamp?
ANSWER: If you are printing the additional postage using Stamps.com, you would add only 2 cents.  If you are using a combination of NetStamps and regular postage stamps, you’ll need to add three cents for a total of $0.49.

QUESTION: For stamps.com customers, does the 1 cent discount apply to postage printed directly onto an envelope or does it only apply to stamps printed onto stamps.com NetStamp postage labels?
ANSWER: Yes, the new Metered Mail discount applies to both postage printed directly onto an envelope as well as on NetStamps.

LETTER MAILING:
QUESTION:  At what weight does an envelope go from First Class to Priority Mail? Also, if a letter becomes Priority Mail, do I then need to take to these letters to Post Office to weigh or can I do this through Stamps.com?
ANSWER:  First Class Mail letters can weigh up to 3.5 ounces.  After 3.5 ounces, you would need to use the Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, which includes tracking and can hold up to 70 lbs.

QUESTION: Do you need the Stamps.com pre-printed NetStamp labels to print stamps?   If so, do you have to print a full sheet of postage or can you do print one a time?
ANSWER: Using NetStamps, you can print one stamp for any denomination.  You can also print a full sheet of stamps if you want.  But there are other options – you can also print postage onto Avery 5160/8160 address labels.   You can print on Avery labels from the “Envelopes” tab, choosing  “Label – Avery – 1 x 2 5/8″ – 30 per page” on the “Printing On” field.


FIRST CLASS MAIL LARGE ENVELOPES/FLATS:
QUESTION: How come the price for First Class large envelope mail show $0.98?  Shouldn’t it say $0.97 since we get a penny discount?
ANSWER:  First Class Large Envelopes (aka Flats) are NOT ELIGIBLE for the “Metered Mail” rate and the one cent discount.  The current rate for a First Class Large Envelope is $0.98.

QUESTION: When printing stamps, does the 49 cents show on the stamp and the discount automatically computed into the price using Stamps.com?
ANSWER:  Yes, when you print postage online using Stamps.com, the $0.48 cent automatically will appear in the Stamps.com interface.   The rate shown on the NetStamp is $0.48.

QUESTION: What is the cost for a 8.5″ x 11″ First Class postcard?
ANSWER: First Class letters have a maximum size of 6 1/8″ x 11 1/12″, so an 8.5″ x 11″ postcard is bigger than that maximum size and would be considered a “Flat/Large Envelope.”   The price for a First Class Flat/Large Envelope is $0.98, up from $0.92 in 2013.


SHIPPING QUESTIONS:
QUESTION: Regarding the Priority Mail Regional Rate service, do you need to use special boxes or can I use regular boxes similar to regular Priority Mail (non-flat rate)?
ANSWER: In order to access the Priority Mail Regional Rate box rate, you must use a specific Regional Rate Box – either A, B or C.  There are two types of Box A and B – a top loading and a side loading.  Get more info about Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes.

QUESTION: Can anyone use Regional Rate boxes or are they only for large quantity shippers?
ANSWER: Anyone can ship using Regional Rate Boxes, regardless of how many packages you ship.  If you purchase postage for a Regional Rate Box at the Post Office, you will have to pay an additional $…

QUESTION: With the 2014 rate increase, I noticed that Priority Mail is cheaper than Parcel Select in some cases. what is the benefit of using Parcel Select?
ANSWER:  For Zones 1-4, Priority Mail is cheaper than Parcel Select for all packages weighing 1 to 70 pounds in 2014.  Since Priority Mail has faster delivery, we would suggest everyone use Priority Mail instead of Parcel Select for Zones 1 to 4, for all packages.

QUESTION: what’s the minimum number of packages required to qualify for Commercial Plus Pricing for Priority Mail? ANSWER:  For 2014, the USPS has reduced the minimum package quantity to 50,000 to qualify for Commercial Plus Pricing.

QUESTION: Is there a way to request a package pickup using Stamps.com in our office building as we do with UPS today?ANSWER:  As long as you are using either Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express (domestic or international), the USPS provides free package pickup at your home or business. They also will collect any other mail class or letter that you are sending out.  Also, if you are have a limited quantity of packages being shipped, you can always hand them directly to your daily mail carrier.

QUESTION: Regarding the Priority Mail Express delivery using the new 10:30 am delivery time – If postman picks up the package at our office – is it guaranteed it will be at the destination by 10:30 am the next day?  Or do we need to take the package to the post office.?
ANSWER: In order to make the Priority Mail Express 10:30 am delivery option, you will need to either drop the package off at a specified location or contact the USPS for package pick-up.  You can get more info at: http://postcalc.usps.com/ServiceCommitments.aspx

QUESTION: What is the maximum weight that can be picked up and shipped using USPS?
ANSWER:  Maximum weight is based on the mail class used.  Maximum weight for First Class Package Service is 13 ounces.  For Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Media Mail, the maximum weight is 70 lbs.  For Parcel Select, the maximum weight is 50 lbs.

QUESTION: If we occasionally ship to a U.S. territory (new Zone 9), would you recommend we download the new version 11.1 of Stamps.com? If so, do we need to create new shipping profiles in the Batch section when we install the new software version?  Or does it use our current profiles ?
ANSWER:  In order to use the new Zone 9 feature, you will need to download Stamps.com Version 11.1 at www.stamps.com/download/.   The good news is your batch profiles will carry over into the new version, and you will not need to recreate the batch profiles.

GENERAL QUESTIONS:
QUESTION: What is the URL for Stamps.com Postage Rate Increase Guide?
ANSWER:  You can download all of our whitepapers, including the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide at:  http://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/

QUESTION: Where do I find a chart listing the State/territories included in each Zone for USPS?
ANSWER:  You can find shipping zones based on your zip code at:  http://postcalc.usps.gov/ZoneCharts/

Free Guide: Understanding the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase

January 23rd, 2014 Comments off

The USPS is introducing new rates and services this Sunday, January 26, 2014.  To ensure a smooth transition for you and your business, Stamps.com has created the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide.

A free, downloadable PDF designed to help you understand all the USPS changes, the Guide contains detailed rate information for each USPS mail class – both domestic and international – and includes tips and recommendations to help small businesses lower their postage costs.  The guide also contains a comprehensive Q&A section to help with commonly asked questions around the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase.

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The guide is free and can be downloaded at: http://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/2014-usps-postage-rate-increase-guide.pdf

 

USPS Announces New Postage Rates for 2014

November 18th, 2013 Comments off

The U.S. Postal Service has submitted their 2014 mailing and shipping rates to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).  If approved by the PRC, the new postage rates will start on Sunday, January 26, 2014.

New USPS Products for 2014:

  • The USPS has proposed a new First Class letter rate for the “Metered Mail” category, including postage meters and online postage. This new rate would be $0.48 — $0.01 below the proposed price of $0.49 for Stamped letter mail.
  • Priority Mail Express will now be offering a new 10:30 a.m. delivery time option for a $5.00 fee.
  • A new “Zone 9″ delivery zone is being introduced to represent U.S. territories and freely associated states (Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau) for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.
  • A fee of $0.20 per package will be assessed on any package that does not have an Intelligent Mail Package Barcode on the shipping label. Note: All shipping labels printed from Stamps.com automatically include the Intelligent Mail Package Barcode if you include USPS Tracking.
  • Priority Mail International: The maximum weight for Rate Group 2 (Mexico) has been increased to 70 lbs. from 44 lbs.
  • Commercial Plus Pricing: The minimum annual package volume threshold for cubic pricing and other Commercial Plus offerings will be lowered to 50,000 packages.

First Class Letters & Postcards
For First Class letters and postcards, the USPS has requested a special “exigent” rate increase for 2014.  This “exigent” request is seeking a postage rate increase above the Consumer Price Index (CPI). By law, the USPS is not allowed to increase postage rates above the CPI for the “Market Dominant” mail classes (letters, postcards, Media Mail, etc.).  Also new for 2014, the USPS has proposed a new discounted rate for letters and postcards where the postage is printed from a Postage Meter or Online Postage service such as Stamps.com.

2014 First Class Letter Postage Rates

Priority Mail Express
USPS pricing for Priority Mail Express will increase an average of 3.0% in 2014.

2014 Priority Mail Express Rates

 

Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
For Priority Mail Express Flat Rate, Flat Rate Envelope prices will not be increasing for 2014.  Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes will be increasing by $5.00 in 2014.

2014 Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Postage Prices

Priority Mail
The USPS has not announced the average overall increase for 2014 Priority Mail rates yet.  However, in some weight ranges and zones, the prices will be reduced compared to 2013.

2014 Priority Mail Postage Rates

Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes
The USPS has not announced the average overall increase for Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes yet.  However, in some weight ranges and zones for Regional Rate Box B, the prices will be reduced compared to 2013.

2014 Priority Mail Regional Rate Box Rates

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
For Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes, rates will not be increasing for 2014 except for the Small Flat Rate Box and the Large Flat Rate Box (regular and APO/FPO).

2014 Priority Mail Flat Rate Postage Prices

Parcel Select
Prices for Parcel Select, the U.S. Postal Service’s bulk ground shipping product, will increase an average of 5.9% in 2014. Note: In 2, 3 and 4 lbs, rates in some shipping zones are being reduced in 2014 compared to 2013.

2014 USPS Parcel Select Rates

First Class Package Service
First Class Package Service will see an average increase of 5.0% in 2014.

2014 First Class Package Service Rates

Media Mail
Media Mail rates will see an average increase of 6.3% in 2014.

2014 Media Mail Rates

International Mail

  • The overall increase for First Class Package International Service will be 0.8%. Note: Commercial Base (online postage) prices WILL NOT be increasing in 2014.
  • The overall increase for Priority Mail International will be 1.1%.
  • The overall increase for Priority Mail Express International will be 1.3%.
  • The overall increase for Global Express Guaranteed will be 3.0%.

Stamps.com Will Automatically Include New Rates on January 26, 2014
Stamps.com makes it easy to prepare for the postal rate change by automatically applying these new prices starting on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Additionally, Stamps.com customers will continue to receive Commercial Base pricing discounts to help lower your shipping costs in 2014.

Top Questions & Video: 2013 Postage Rate Increase Webinar

February 12th, 2013 Comments off

Stamps.com recently held a webinar on the 2013 USPS postage rate increase that occurred on January 27, 2013. If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below.

Here are the top questions and answers from the webinar:

GENERAL POSTAGE RATE INCREASE

Question from Cyndi: Are the Forever Stamps still valid to use today even if purchased last week?
Yes, if you purchased Forever Stamps from the Post Office (or another location), you can still use them today to mail a one-ounce first class letter.

Question from JoAnn: I have a supply of stamps printed with $0.45 from Stamps.com.  Can I use those or do I need to add $0.01 stamps to the letters?
Since the USPS now charges $0.46 to send a one-ounce first class letter, you will need to add a $0.01 stamp to your letter in order for it to be delivered by the USPS.

Question from Sonia: I see Delivery Confirmation now costs $0.20 I thought online it was free. Can you please let us now if it does cost or is free?
DC is free for First Class Package Service, Parcel Select, Priority Mail and Express Mail shipments. For all other mail classes it’s only 20 cents.

Question from Leslie: If we download the latest version of Stamps.com software, will our settings/address book still be available?
Yes, when you download the latest version of Stamps.com software (Version 10.0), all of your address books, batch profiles and settings will remain the same.

Question from Linda: How do we get the Commercial Base discounts for printing postage online?
If you print shipping labels using Stamps.com (or any online postage vendor), you automatically qualify to receive Commercial Base pricing.  These rates should be automatically calculated when you print postage.

Question from Sandy: Where can I find the qualifications to apply for Commercial Plus Pricing from the USPS?
Stamps.com supports Commercial Plus pricing if you qualify.  Please contact Stamps.com at 1-888-434-0055 or your local USPS sales representative to determine if you qualify for Commercial Plus pricing. Generally, you need to send at least 5,000 letter-size  and flat-size Priority Mail pieces (including Flat Rate Envelopes, but not the Padded Flat Rate Envelope) or 75,000 total Priority Mail pieces in the previous calendar year.

Question from Paula: Did the price of Certified Mail increase?
Yes, Certified Mail increased on January 27, 2013 to $3.10 from $2.95

Question from Jolene: Can I get the link to the 2013 USPS Postage Rate Increase that Stamps.com gave out?
Download the free 2013 USPS Postage Rate Increase guide (15-page PDF) at: http://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/2013-usps-postage-rate-increase-guide.pdf


PRIORITY MAIL

Question from Yana: Is there a price difference between Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes and Priority Mail Mailing Boxes (not flat rate)?
Yes, there are three types of Priority Mail and all three have different pricing structures.  Regional Rate Boxes have a different price than both Priority Mail Flat Rate and regular Priority Mail.   Get more info at:  http://www.stamps.com/usps/postage-rate-increase/

Question from Mike: Are Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes the same as Priority Mail Flat Rate in appearance?
Regional Rate boxes are similar in size, but have different actual dimensions compared to Priority Mail Flat Rate options.  As an example, Regional Rate Box A is sized at 10″ 1/8 x 7 ” 1/8 x 5″ (top loading).  That is just a little smaller than the Priority Mail Flat Rate Medium Box.  Get more info on Regional Rate Box sizes.

Question from Glen: Does Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes include Padded Envelopes?
Yes, there are three types of Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and padded envelopes are included.  The other two are the regular Flat Rate envelope and the Legal Flat Rate envelope.  Cost to send all three for Priority Mail International is $19.95.


INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

Question from Bob: Will I need to throw away my Customs Declaration CN22 forms (start with “LC”) if I ship First Class Package International Service to Canada and want the new free Delivery Confirmation?
Yes, if you want to see Delivery Confirmation for your First Class Package International Service packages going to Canada, you will need to use a new Customs Form.  Stamps.com will automatically print the updated Customs Form for you when you print First class Package International Service to Canada.

Question from Brien: Will the tracking for Canada you showed for First Class International be available at no cost for Priority Mail as well?
Delivery Confirmation for packages traveling to Canada will be included on First Class Package International Service as well as Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes and Priority Mail Flat Rate Small Boxes as well.  Other types of Priority Mail International have already included some form of tracking.

Question from Steve: When will the tracking numbers for Canadian shipments be able to track deliveries to the house?
As of January 27, 2013, any First Class Package International Service (or Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope or small box) going to a Canada address will include Delivery Confirmation.  It’s important to note that CanadaPost is only scanning the package one time — at the delivery or attempted delivery.

Question from Laurie: so before the increase Stamps.com did not offer any discount for First Class Mail International but now they do?
Yes, the USPS has moved the First Class Package International Service mail class into the “competitive services” category.  This allows the USPS to offer up to 10% off Post Office rates if you print postage from an online vendor such as Stamps.com.


PARCEL POST, STANDARD POST & PARCEL SELECT

Question from Randall: What are the domestic delivery times for the new Parcel Select service?
Parcel Select delivery is very similar to the former Parcel Post with delivery occurring in 2 to 9 days.

Question from Dave: I’m still seeing Parcel Post as an option in my Stamps.com software.  Where do I download the new version?
In order to stop seeing Parcel Post as a mailing option in your Stamps.com software, you will need to download the new version 10.0.  Download it today for free at http://www.stamps.com/download/

Question from Jennie: Can we still process Parcel Post through the Stamps.com?
No, you will no longer be able to print Parcel Post using Stamps.com.  The USPS has replaced the Parcel Post with Parcel Select for all online postage vendors.  Once the Parcel Select label is printed, you can hand your package to the mail carrier — no Post Office trip is required.

Question from Trish: Does Parcel Select ship by ground?
Yes, Parcel Select is a ground transportation by the USPS.  It is comparable service to FedEx Ground and UPS Ground.

Question from Antoinette: So there is no way to use Parcel Post or Standard Post with Stamps.com?
Correct. Parcel Post is no longer available from the USPS.  If you print postage online, you will need to use Parcel Select.  And if you go to the Post Office, you will need to use Standard Post.  Both services offer delivery in 2 to 9 days.

The only difference is where the USPS allows you to purchase the two different mail classes.  Parcel Select is only available online or through an approved USPS vendor.   Standard Post is only available at the Post Office.  Both services include free Delivery Confirmation and both provide delivery in 2 to 9 days.