What the Latest USPS Price Hike Means for Your Mail
Changes are scheduled to take effect this summer, pending approval.
Last week, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced that Americans will once again be shelling out more for mailing services, starting this summer. The agency confirmed that it had filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to up First-Class Mail prices by 5.4 percent, which will raise the cost of the Forever Stamp from 63 cents to 66 cents. Now, many Americans are voicing their opinions on the impending changes—and wondering how it will affect their mail in general. Read on to find out more about the latest USPS price hike.
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Here's exactly what's changing.
On April 10, the USPS issued a new press release outlining price increases, which apply to five different services. The price to send 1-ounce metered mail will rise from 60 cents to 63 cents; domestic postcards will rise from 48 cents to 51 cents; and postcards and 1-ounce letters sent internationally will rise from $1.45 to $1.50.
Changes are scheduled to take effect on July 9, if favorably reviewed by the PRC.
The price hike is related to inflation.
The USPS noted that the proposed changes are intended to "offset the rise in inflation."
"As operating expenses fueled by inflation continue to rise and the effects of a previously defective pricing model are still being felt, these price adjustments are needed to provide the Postal Service with much needed revenue to achieve the financial stability sought by its Delivering for America 10-year plan," the USPS wrote in the press release.
The Delivering for America (DFA) initiative was first introduced in 2021, and aimed at helping the USPS achieve financial stability. The first price hike went into effect in Aug. 2021, with prices rising again in July 2022 and once more in January this year.
These price adjustments aren't slowing down either, according to the Postal Service. Throughout the 10-year plan, Americans can expect USPS price hikes to occur twice annually, once in January and again in July.
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Responses have been mixed.
As with many things—and especially money—people aren't exactly fond of change. Axios surveyed Americans about the new stamp prices, asking how they feel about the upcoming increase.
Some said they avoided using the mail anyway, opting to do what they can online.
"Using the U.S. Post Office to post mail is like writing a check, it's usually not necessary and better to be avoided," one respondent told the outlet, while another added, "I have reduced sending Christmas cards and other cards and use email or Facebook, which doesn't cost anything and is easier to do."
Some respondents proposed that the USPS make larger increases rather than incremental ones. "Wish they would raise the price to $1 and be done with it," one respondent said.
On Twitter, some were unfazed. "Is 3 cents even money!?" one user joked.
Another quipped, "Oh no, 3 extra cents. How will I manage?"
Other mail updates are on the docket this summer.
In addition to price hikes, the USPS has a few more changes on the horizon, including new standards for mailing currency. Come April 30, you'll be required to use the agency's Registered Mail Service for any commercial cash deposits over $500.
"The Postal Service believes this revision will provide customers with a safe and secure service for their mailing needs," a new postal bulletin explains. According to the USPS, Registered Mail is the "most secure" shipping service.
Mailing standards are also getting a makeover on July 9, as the USPS will no longer offer mailers and publishers the option to request and submit hard-copy forms to correct addresses when mail is undeliverable.
Retail Ground, Parcel Select Ground, and First-Class Package Service are also being incorporated into a new singular shipping offering called USPS Advantage, which will "feature two-to five day service standards for packages up to 70 pounds."
However, some things are staying the same.
While you may be spending a bit more this summer, rest assured that some policies will remain the same.
The single-piece letter and flat additional-ounce price won't be changed, remaining at 24 cents, the USPS noted in the April 10 release. In addition, the new 66-cent stamp price is still a flat rate and doesn't change depending on how far your letter needs to go.
For example, you'll pay the same price to send a letter to a friend who lives one mile away and a family member who lives on the other side of the country.
In the April 10 press release, the USPS stressed that prices are still among the most affordable globally—a point that was also highlighted in an opinion piece for The Washington Post. Citing 2022 data from the Deutsche Post, the German postal company that reports prices in Europe, the outlet reported that almost every other European country charges more than the USPS to mail a first-class letter.
Denmark leads the pack, charging a whopping $4.25, followed by Finland ($3.76), Italy ($3.05), and Greece ($2.07). The U.S. trails behind at 66 cents, with only Bulgaria (61 cents), Hungary (61 cents), Lithuania (60 cents), Cyprus (45 cents), and Malta (33 cents) offering cheaper rates.
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0410-usps-files-notice-with-prc-for-new-mailing-services-pricing.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/statements/091521-new-market-dominant-price-adjustment-schedule.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2023/pb22621/html/updt_001.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0210-usps-ground-advantage-product-and-pricing-simplicity.htm