Field Information Kit: January 22, 2012, Domestic and International Mailing Services Price Change

On October 18, 2011, the Postal Service™ announced new prices and product features for the following domestic and international mailing services:

n First-Class Mail®.

n First-Class Mail International®.

n Periodicals.

n Standard Mail®.

n Package Services:

n Bound Printed Matter.

n Media Mail®/Library Mail.

n Parcel Post®.

n Extra Services and Fees.

The new prices take effect January 22, 2012.

According to the Postal Accountability and Enhance­ment Act of 2006, on average, Mailing Services prices can increase no more than the rate of inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Mailing Services prices will increase by an average of 2.1 percent across each class of mail. Individual prices within a mail class may have an increase that is higher or lower than 2.1 percent.

Highlights of Changes

Single-piece, 1-ounce First-Class Mail letters will increase $0.01, to $0.45 (additional ounces remain at $0.20). The price for mailing a First-Class Mail postcard will increase $0.03 to $0.32, and the cost of stamped post­cards will increase $0.03 to $0.35.

New mailing standards consisting of classification changes to support the price changes will be implemented. Prices for other mailing services will also change, with price increases in the following categories:

Percentage Changes by Product Category



Percent Change

First-Class Mail — overall


Single-piece letters and cards






Presort letters and cards


International (includes letters, cards, flats, and extra services)


Standard Mail — overall






Carrier route letters, flats, and parcels


High density/saturation letters


High density/saturation flats and parcels


Periodicals — overall


Outside county


Inside county


Package Services — overall


Parcel Post


Bound Printed Matter (BPM) flats


BPM Parcels


Media Mail/Library Mail


Extra Services — overall


Certified Mail®


Registered Mail™




Return Receipt


Collect on Delivery (COD)


PO Box™


Additional Information

The Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Ser­vice, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Man­ual (IMM®) will be updated on the Postal Explorer® website at on January 22, 2012. Also see the DMM Revision and IMM Revision articles in this issue of the Postal Bulletin and also in the December 15 issue.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. When are Postal Service Mailing Services prices changing?

A. January 22, 2012. This includes new prices for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Ser­vices (Single-Piece Parcel Post, Bound Printed Mat­ter, and Media Mail/Library Mail), First-Class Mail International, and Extra Services — a broad category including many products such as Money Orders and Return Receipts and services such as insurance, Certified Mail, and Collect on Delivery (COD).

Q. Where are the new Mailing Services prices listed?

A. The January 2012 new prices are available on Postal Explorer at

Q. How much are Postal Service prices changing?

A. Postal Service Mailing Services prices will increase by 2.1 percent, on average, across each class of mail.

Q. How did the Postal Service come up with 2.1 percent for the Mailing Services price change?

A. By law, Mailing Services prices can increase by no more than the rate of inflation, based on the Consum­er Price Index (CPI).

Q. Are Shipping Services prices also changing in January?

A. Yes, new Shipping Services prices will also take ef­fect on January 22, 2012.

Q. Why is the Postal Service raising Mailing Services prices in January?

A. We are implementing this price change in January to address the urgency of our current financial challeng­es and to coincide with the price changes for Ship­ping Services.

First-Class Mail

Q. Are First-Class Mail prices changing in January 2012?

A. Yes.

Q. What will be the new price for a First-Class Mail stamp for letters?

A. The price of a single-piece, 1-ounce, First-Class Mail stamp will increase $0.01, to $0.45, the first increase in this price since May 2009.

Q. Will Forever stamps still be available?

A. Yes. Forever® stamps don’t have a denomination and will be valid whenever they are used. After the Janu­ary 22, 2012, price change, the price of a Forever stamp will be $0.45. All new First-Class Mail com­memorative stamps will be Forever stamps.

Q. Will there be an increase to the price for additional ounces?

A. No. The additional ounce price for single First-Class Mail letters remains $0.20.

Q. Is the nonmachinable surcharge increasing?

A. No, the nonmachinable surcharge (typically paid by customers who mail square or rigid letter-size pieces) will not change; it remains $0.20.

Q. Will the price for postcards increase?

A. Yes, the price for mailing a single-piece First-Class Mail postcard is going up $0.03, to $0.32. Stamped postcards will increase to $0.35.

Q. Is the price for single-piece large envelopes (flats) changing?

A. Yes, the price for single-piece large envelopes (flats) will increase by $0.02 to $0.90, maintaining a 2-to-1 ratio with single-piece letters and preserving the con­venience to consumers of using two letter-price stamps as postage.

Q. How are prices changing for First-Class Mail presort letters?

A. For First-Class Mail presort letters and cards, most prices increase within the range of $0.006 to $0.014. Presorted and automation letters weighing up to 2 ounces will be charged the same ounce price. There is no change to the additional ounce price for letters weighing more than 2 ounces, which remains $0.125. For pieces weighing more than 2 ounces, the addi­tional-ounce price applies to all additional ounces, including the second ounce. Prices have been ad­justed so that AADC and 3-digit First-Class Mail au­tomation prices are the same.

Q. Is there a savings for using the full-service Intelligent Mail barcode option?

A. Yes, mailers may subtract $0.003 for each First-Class Mail automation letter, automation postcard, or auto­mation flat that complies with the requirements for the full-service Intelligent Mail® barcode option.

Q. How are the prices changing on First-Class Mail parcels?

A. First-Class Mail commercial parcels have been trans­ferred from Mailing Services to Shipping Services and are now priced under First-Class Package Ser­vice. First-Class Mail retail parcels remain in Mailing Services and increase an average of 10.9 percent.

First-Class Mail International

Q. Are the First-Class Mail International prices changing?

A. Yes, this includes First-Class Mail International let­ters, flats, and packages. There is one price for 1-ounce letters and postcards to Canada and Mexico ($0.85) and one price for the rest of the world ($1.05).

Q. Can Forever stamps be used for international mail?

A. Customers can use Forever stamps for international mail, but since all international prices are higher than domestic prices, customers will need to attach addi­tional postage. The value of the Forever stamp is the domestic First-Class Mail 1-ounce letter price in ef­fect on the day of use.

Q. How are the prices changing for international mail?

A. The prices for single-piece First-Class Mail Interna­tional letters increase approximately 6.6 percent, and postcards increase approximately 7 percent. The ex­tra services that are part of Mailing Services increase approximately 2.2 percent.

Standard Mail

Q. Are there any changes to Standard Mail parcels?

A. Yes. For Standard Mail regular parcels, there will only be Marketing parcels. Parcels that do not qualify as regular Standard Mail Marketing parcels may be mailable as Parcel Select Lightweight™ parcels. Par­cel Select Lightweight parcels are being transferred to Shipping Services, and their prices will change along with other Shipping Services prices, planned for January 22, 2012. For Standard Mail Nonprofit parcels, there will be machinable and irregular par­cels and Marketing parcels.

Q. What about Not Flat Machinables (NFMs)?

A. We are proposing to end the NFM category as of January 2012. Pieces that would have been mailed as NFMs should qualify as either Standard Mail Mar­keting parcels or Parcel Select Lightweight parcels.

Q. Will Marketing Parcels (formerly NFMs) have the same standards?

A. Marketing parcels will have new dimensions, in­creased to a maximum size of 12 inches by 9 inches by 2 inches. Additionally, Marketing parcels will be required to bear an alternate form of addressing, such as including “Or Current Resident” along with the mailpiece’s address.


Q. Are there any classification or price eligibility chang­es?

A. Yes, the Postal Service is introducing Mixed ADC pal­let prices for Periodicals, which was requested by mailers and aligns with efforts to optimize the Postal Service’s operational network.

Package Services

Q. Are Package Services prices changing?

A. Yes, there is a 2.1 percent overall average increase.

Q. Why is the barcode discount being discontinued?

A. The Postal Service currently gives customers a 3-cent barcode discount on Parcel Select® and Pack­age Services parcels (Library Mail, Media Mail, and Bound Printed Matter parcels). Since all parcel mail will be required to have a barcode in the near future, the 3-cent barcode discount is being discontinued for these products.

Extra Services

Q. What are some of the Extra Services?

A. Extra Services contains many products, services, and fees such as Money Orders, Delivery Confirma­tion™, insurance, Registered Mail, Business Reply Mail®, Bulk Parcel Return Service, and presort annu­al mailing fees.

Q. Are there any changes in Post Office Boxes?

A. Yes. This year Post Office Box™ prices will increase an average of 2.1 percent. We are moving additional Post Office Box locations to the competitive catego­ry. We also introduce a 3-month payment option that allows customers to obtain PO Boxes online or at re­tail for a 3-month period with auto-renewal on a cred­it card, as opposed to the current 6-month minimum rental period. (Caller services are excluded.)

Q. Are Return Receipt fees changing?

A. The price for the basic hardcopy Return Receipt (showing to whom delivered, signature, date of deliv­ery, and addressee’s address) requested at the time of mailing and received by mail is increasing by $0.05, to $2.35. The price for a Return Receipt re­quested at the time of mailing and received electron­ically is not increasing; the price for a Return Receipt requested after mailing and received by fax, by mail, or electronically is increasing $0.05 to $4.75.