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.

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