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Postage Rates 2024: Changes by USPS for Postcards, Flats & Letter Size

Explore the USPS postage rate shifts for postcards, flats, and letter sizes in 2024, and optimize your mailing strategies accordingly to save costs.

Starting January 21, 2024, USPS postage rates for mailing services have increased due to rising operational expenses caused by inflation. These inflated rates were approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). In addition, USPS is set to introduce IMI technology to replace outdated IBI standards, promising enhanced transaction data.   

USPS also discontinued its domestic first-class package service in July 2023. However, first-class package international service continues. Moreover, the Parcel Select Lightweight (PSLW) classification was eliminated in January 2024 whereas the pricing for lightweight parcels (under 16 oz.) was merged into Parcel Select. 

Understanding these changes is vital for managing mailing expenses for businesses and individuals. These changes can impact invoices, marketing, and personal correspondence. Further, you can make informed decisions and make efficient use of postal services. Rest assured, Compu-Mail provides the best USPS rates, backed by our staff’s expertise in various USPS certifications, ensuring optimal cost-saving strategies for our clients’ mailings.

Postage Rates Changes 2024 by USPS

Understanding USPS Postage Rates

Understanding USPS postage rates is crucial for smooth mailing operations. These rates are determined by factors like weight, size, shape, and the type of mail you’re sending, such as letters, packages, or media items. Each mail class, like First-Class Mail or Priority Mail, has its own pricing structure tailored to its specific delivery needs. USPS also offers different pricing options, including standard retail rates and discounted rates for buying postage online. By understanding these rates, businesses and individuals can accurately predict mailing costs, choose the most economical mailing options, and manage postage expenses efficiently for both local and international mailings. This information helps mailers make informed choices, simplify their mailing processes, and ensure timely delivery while keeping postage costs within their budget range.

Factors Influencing Postage Rates

Factors influencing postage rates include various aspects that affect the cost of sending mail through postal services. These factors can vary depending on the postal service provider and the type of mail being sent. Some common factors influencing postage rates are as follows:

  1. Weight and Size: Heavier or larger mail pieces typically incur higher postage rates due to increased handling and transportation costs.
  2. Distance: The distance between the sender and recipient can influence postage rates, typically leading to higher rates for longer distances.
  3. Delivery Speed: Expedited or priority mail services usually come with higher postage rates compared to standard or economy options.
  4. Type of Mail: Different types of mail, such as postcards, letters, flats, and packages, may have varying postage rates based on their size and weight.
  5. Additional Services: Optional services like tracking, insurance, and signature confirmation may incur additional fees on top of the base postage rate.

USPS Mail Classes

The USPS offers six distinct mail classes, each with its own delivery schedules, pricing structures, and criteria. Businesses that understand when and how to utilize these USPS mail classes enjoy advantages such as lower postage costs and increased returns on their marketing investments.

Below is the list of mail classes in USPS:


  1. Priority Mail Express

    Minimum Weight: none

    Maximum Weight: 70 pounds

    Priority Mail Express, USPS’s quickest service, offers expedited delivery in 1 or 2 days, guaranteed by 3 p.m., for any mailable item, with $100 insurance coverage. This service operates 365 days a year in many areas.

    Additional services like early deliveries or a public holiday delivery can be added for extra charges if available at the destination. Free Priority Mail Express packaging supplies are available at local Post Offices. It’s the optimal choice for urgent deliveries. Prices are based on weight and distance, except for USPS-provided Priority Mail Express Flat Rate packaging. Commercial discounts are available for eligible items with an Intelligent Mail barcode. When using USPS packaging, postage is determined by the printed mail class.

    Calculate postage for Priority Mail Express

  2. Priority Mail

    Minimum Weight: None

    Maximum Weight: 70 pounds

    Required Marking: ‘Priority Mail’

    All items eligible for air transportation can be sent via Priority Mail. Certain items are required to be sent via Priority Mail, including:

    • handwritten or typewritten material,
    • bills, statements, invoices, credit cards,
    • personal correspondence (e.g., letters to Grandma), personalized business correspondence (e.g., handwritten letters to customers),
    • and any matter sealed or closed against inspection.
    • For those seeking fast mail delivery, Priority Mail offers a budget-friendly choice. It includes forwarding and return services, with options for added security like USPS Tracking and Registered Mail, available both in-store and online for a fee. Postage depends on distance, measured by zones ranging from local to distant. Parcels over 1 cubic foot pay postage based on actual or dimensional weight. Special prices for flat-rate envelopes or boxes are available, with free packaging at local post offices or online. Discounts are offered for specific payment methods and volume requirements.
    • Business Calculator – Compute prices for all commercial mail
  1. First-Class Mail

    Minimum Weight: none

    Maximum Weight: 13 ounces (over 13 ounces, the piece must mail at parcel rates)

    Letter Maximum Weight: 3.5 ounces

    Minimum Quantity to Mail at Commercial Prices: 500 pieces

    If your First-Class Mail letter is square, stiff, or has any non-standard features, you’ll incur an extra fee for nonmachinable characteristics. Similarly, flat-size pieces that are rigid, differently shaped, or have irregular thickness will be charged at parcel rates.

    First-Class Mail includes:

    • With First-Class Mail postage, you get forwarding and return services included. You can further improve the reliability, security, and convenience of First-Class Mail by opting for additional services like Registered Mail and Certified Mail, available for a nominal fee.
      Those who are new to mailing prefer First-Class Mail for postcards and letters. Just stick a stamp on it and drop it in the collection box—it’s as simple and quick as that.
  1. Periodicals

    Minimum Weight: none

    Maximum Weight: 70 pounds

    The Periodicals mail class is tailored for newspapers, magazines, and similar publications focused on sharing information with a set list of subscribers or requesters. These publications need to be issued regularly, at least four times annually, from a well-known publishing office, and printed on sheets of paper. Specific criteria include circulation standards, record-keeping requirements, and limits on advertising. Nonprofit, Science-of-Agriculture, and Classroom Periodicals qualify for special discounted postage rates.

    Periodicals postage prices – See Price List

  1. USPS Marketing Mail

    Minimum Weight: None

    Maximum Weight: 3.5 oz. (letters) / less than 16 oz. (flats)

    Mailers use USPS Marketing Mail to send:

    • Printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising
    • Newsletters, bulletins, and catalogs
    • Small parcels
    • Prices vary for letters, flats/large envelopes, and parcels. Additional services like electronic USPS Tracking, bulk insurance, and return receipts for merchandise are available for certain parcels. For new mailers, the low postage rates of USPS Marketing Mail often make it the preferred option.
  1. Packed Services

    Minimum Weight: None

    Maximum Weight: 15 pounds for Bound Printed Matter & 70 pounds for USPS Retail Ground, Media Mail, and Library Mail

    Package Services encompass three classes of mail: Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail, each suitable for specific items. These services do not offer expedited delivery or free forwarding/return, but ancillary service endorsements can be used. Adding extra services like insurance and USPS Tracking enhances convenience and is available for a fee. Bulk quantities meeting additional standards may qualify for lower postage rates.

    USPS Retail Ground is suitable for individual mailings of any mailable item not requiring First-Class Mail, with free USPS Tracking. Commonly used for gifts and merchandise, its prices are based on distance and weight, without bulk discounts, and available at USPS retail counters.

    USPS Package Services/ Parcel Select is only applicable to packages. It has further sub-classes of mail, each providing an affordable ground shipping option, as explained below

    1. Bound Printed Matter:
      Bound Printed Matter must be paid via permit imprint and comprise advertising, promotional, directory, or editorial content, securely bound with permanent fastenings. It should primarily consist of imprinted sheets and not be personal correspondence or stationery. Bulk quantities qualify for commercial, carrier route, or destination entry discounts, with different pricing for parcels and flats, including a barcoded discount for flats. The minimum quantity for bulk orders is 300 pieces.
    2. Media Mail:
      Media Mail is commonly utilized for books (minimum of eight pages), films, printed music, and other educational materials. It also accommodates medical information binders and computer-readable media. Bulk quantities can benefit from presorted pricing, subject to a minimum of 300 pieces, though advertising restrictions apply.
    3. Library Mail:
      Library Mail is utilized by eligible institutions such as libraries, universities, and research facilities to send educational and research materials. Bulk quantities of Library Mail qualify for presorted prices, with a minimum requirement of 300 pieces.
    Prices vary for letters, flats/large envelopes, and parcels. Additional services like electronic USPS Tracking, bulk insurance, and return receipts for merchandise are available for certain parcels. For new mailers, the low postage rates of USPS Marketing Mail often make it the preferred option.

USPS First-Class Mailing Rates: Postcards, Letter Size, Flat Size

USPS first-class mailing rates vary depending on the type and size of mail being sent, including postcards, letter size, and flat size items. Postcards typically have lower postage rates compared to larger letters and flat size items. Letter size mail, such as standard letters and bills, falls within specific size and weight specifications, with corresponding postage rates. Flat size mail includes larger envelopes, magazines, and catalogs, with rates based on both weight and dimensions. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for accurately determining postage costs and selecting the appropriate mailing options.





Postcards – Retail    Min  Max  $0.53 
Length  5”  6” 
Height  3-½”  4-¼” 
Thickness  0.007”  0.016” 
Postcards – Commercial    Min  Max  $0.357 to $0.390   
Length  5”  9” 
Height  3-½”  6” 
Thickness  0.007”  0.016” 
Letters – Retail        Min  Max  Wt. not Over(oz.)  Stamped  Metered 
Length  5”    11-½”  1  $0.68  $0.64 
Height  3-½”  6-1/8”  2  0.92  0.88 
Thickness  0.007  ¼”  3  1.16  1.12 
Large Envelopes – Retail (Flats)    Min*  Max    Wt. not Over(oz.)  Price 
Length  11-½”  15”  1  $1.39 
Height  6-1/8”  12”  2  1.63 
Thickness  ¼”  ¾”  3  1.87 
  4  2.11 
5  2.35 
6  2.59 
7  2.83 
8  3.07 
9  3.31 
10  3.55 
11  3.79 
12  4.03 
13  4.27 
Parcels  Length + girth combined cannot exceed 108 inches. (USPS Retail Ground Advantage – Retail cannot exceed 130 inches.) length: the longest side of the parcel girth: measurement around the thickest part (perpendicular to the length) 
Click here to get the full-price list. USPS postage rates vary depending on the weight and size of the mail. Understanding these factors is crucial for businesses to optimize their postage costs. Compu-Mail’s experienced staff holds USPS Mail Design Professional Certification, ensuring that businesses always receive the most effective rates for their mailings. With their expertise, businesses can navigate the complexities of USPS postage rates confidently, maximizing cost savings while maintaining efficient mail delivery. This certification underscores Compu-Mail’s commitment to providing clients with tailored solutions that meet their specific mailing needs and budget constraints, helping them achieve optimal results with their mail campaigns.

Key Changes in USPS Postage Rates for 2024

The key changes in USPS postage rates for 2024 are as follows:

  1. General Retail Rate Adjustments

    The USPS typically adjusts postage rates annually to account for factors like inflation, operational costs, and market conditions. In 2024, these adjustments resulted in a general increase in postage rates across multiple classes and services. The percentage increase varies depending on the specific postage class. Businesses and individuals need to review these changes carefully to understand the implications for their mailing expenses.
    Key USPS Retail Increases (Effective January 21, 2024)

  2. Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express

    USPS postage rates for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express have two different pricing structures, as mentioned below:


    Priority Mail Retail Price 

    Flat Rate Envelope $9.85 
    Small Flat Rate Box $10.40 
    Medium Flat Rate Box $18.40 
    1lb Package to Zone 1 $9.25 
    2lb Package to Zone 1 $10.35 
    2lb Package to Zone 4 $12.50 



    Priority Mail Express Retail Price 

    Flat Rate Envelope $30.45 
    Legal Flat Rate Envelope $30.65 
    Padded Flat Rate Envelope $31.20 
    1lb Package to Zone 1 $30.95 
  3. First Mail Class

    The First-class mail price adjustments effective January 21, 2024, are:


    2023 Rates 

    2024 Rates 

    FCM Letters (1 oz.) $0.66 $0.68 
    FCM Letters (metered 1 oz.) $0.63 $0.64 
    Domestic FCM Postcards $0.51 $0.53 
    Single piece FCM Letter and Flat, additional ounce $0.24 No change 
    FCM International Postcards $1.50 $1.55 
    FCM International Letters (1 oz.) $1.50 $1.55 

USPS Postage International Shipping Rates ​

USPS international shipping rates impacted the cost structure of sending packages abroad, prompting businesses to reassess their international shipping strategies. With varying rates depending on destination and package weight, businesses must calculate shipping costs to maintain competitiveness while ensuring customer satisfaction.

Below is a comparison of international mail services:


Fastest Delivery Speed 

Affordable Options 

Best Documents or Printed Materials Only 


Global Express Guaranteed 


Priority Mail Express International Priority Mail International First-Class Package International Service First-Class Mail International Airmail M-Bags 
Price From $74.95 From $59.50 From $30.90 From $17.00 From $3.00 From $57.97 
Delivery Speed 1-3 business days 3-5 business days 6-10 business days Varies by destination Varies by destination Varies by destination 

Click here to get the full-price list for international shipping.

Additionally, navigating international shipping poses challenges such as customs regulations, language barriers, and delivery logistics. However, these challenges also present opportunities for businesses to expand their reach, tap into new markets, and enhance customer experiences through efficient shipping solutions and international partnerships. Adapting to these changes and addressing associated challenges can help businesses capitalize on the opportunities presented by international shipping and establish a strong global presence.

USPS Postage Rate Trends and Predictions

USPS postage rates have seen consistent trends and predictions over the years. Historically, rates have tended to increase periodically, often in response to factors like inflation, operating expenses, and changes in mail volume. Looking ahead, projections suggest that this pattern will continue, with rates expected to rise regularly until at least 2026. These increases are typically scheduled for January and July of each year.

Understanding these trends is vital for businesses relying on USPS services for their mailing needs. By staying informed about rate changes and predictions, businesses can better plan their budgets and adjust their mailing strategies accordingly. Additionally, partnering with mailing service providers like Compu-Mail can offer businesses valuable insights and solutions to navigate these fluctuations effectively, ensuring continued cost-efficiency and reliability in their postal operations.

Some of the primary factors contributing to the USPS rate increase in 2024 are as follows:

  1. Inflation pressure: The prices of goods and services necessary for the Postal Service’s operations have gone up because of inflation.
  2. Operating expenses: The Postal Service is updating prices for Special Services like Post Office Box rentals, money orders, and insurance costs for mailing items.
  3. Revenue generation: To sustain its services and meet customer needs, the USPS requires additional income.
  4. Declining mail volume: As more people use electronic communication, traditional mail sent through the USPS has been declining steadily.
  5. Investment in infrastructure & technology: The USPS is investing in new technologies like automated sorting machines and package delivery drones to enhance efficiency and service quality.

Maximizing Efficiency with Compu-Mail in 2024 USPS Postage Rates

Navigating USPS postage rates in 2024 with Compu-Mail offers businesses a strategic advantage in managing their mailing needs. With the predicted increases in rates scheduled until 2026, it becomes imperative to partner with a reliable mailing service provider like Compu-Mail. Our expertise, backed by USPS Mail Design Professional Certification, ensures that businesses always receive the most cost-effective rates for their mailings.

Utilizing Compu-Mail’s capability to provide the USPS Seamless Acceptance™ process enables businesses to not just reduce their postage expenses but also accelerate the delivery of their mail. Furthermore, our commitment to staying up-to-date with the prevalent USPS rate changes empowers businesses to adapt their mailing strategies effectively and helps maximize their budget while maintaining efficient communication channels with their audience. With Compu-Mail as a trusted partner, businesses can navigate the complexities of USPS postage rates with confidence, ultimately achieving optimal results from their mail campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is the USPS increasing postage rates?

A: The USPS periodically adjusts postage rates to account for various factors such as inflation, operational costs, and changes in demand for postal services. The recent increase is aimed at ensuring the continued sustainability of USPS operations and maintaining the quality and reliability of mail delivery services.

Q: How will the postage rate increase affect businesses and marketers?

A: The postage rate increase may impact businesses and marketers that rely on mail as a primary channel for communication and marketing. It could lead to higher mailing costs, affecting budget allocations and potentially influencing marketing strategies. Understanding the new rates and exploring cost-saving measures or alternative mailing options can help mitigate the impact on businesses.

Q: What steps can businesses take to navigate the USPS postage rate increase effectively?

A: To navigate the USPS postage rate increase effectively, businesses can consider several strategies, including:
  1. Reviewing and optimizing mailing lists to ensure targeted and relevant communication.
  2. Exploring alternative mailing options such as bulk mailing, presorting, or utilizing USPS promotions and discounts.
  3. Leveraging technology and automation tools to streamline the mailing process and reduce costs.
  4. Working with a trusted mailing partner like Compu-Mail, LLC, to stay informed about postage rate changes and develop cost-effective mailing strategies tailored to their specific needs and objectives.