Beginning Sunday, Jan. 22, it will cost a penny more to mail letters to any location in the United States. It will be the first price change for First-Class mail stamps in more than two and one-half years; however, patrons can continue to mail letters at today’s prices by purchasing “forever” stamps before Sunday.
“That’s why Forever stamps were created, to help consumers ease the transition during price changes,” said Hebron Postmaster Michael Prellwitz.
The new single-piece first-class mail pricing for letters up to one ounce will be 45 cents; additional ounces will still be 20 cents. Postage for postcards will see a three cent increase to 32 cents. One ounce letters to Canada or Mexico will go up one nickel to 85 cents and letters to other international destinations will increase by seven cents to $1.05.
Prices will also change for other mailing services including Standard mail, periodicals which include newspapers, package services and extra services. While actual percentage price increases for various products and services varies, the overall average price increase across all mailing services is capped by law at 2.1 percent, the rate of inflation calculated based on the consumer price index.
New for all customers is a three month pricing option to rent post office boxes. “The overall price increase is small and is needed to help address our current financial crisis,” Prellwitz said.
The price of shipping services will also change on Jan. 22 by 4.6 percent. Priority mail prices will increase an average 3.1 percent and Express Mail prices will increase an average 3.4 percent.
The Postal Service will introduce a new express mail flat rate box. Customers can ship the box for overnight delivery anywhere in the country for one price up to 70 pounds.
Priority mail pricing will offer an average 6.8 percent discount for customers using online and other authorized postage payment methods. And for commercial and online customers, a new, larger regional rate box C (12 x 12 x 15) will be added to the existing two sizes.
Also new for 2012 is Package Intercept for commercial mailers, available through a customer interface on Business Customer Gateway. For a fee, customers can request mail be intercepted before final delivery is attempted to the initial delivery address. The shipment can be returned to the sender, held for pick up at a post office, or redirected to an alternate address. Intercepted packages are shipped using priority mail.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.