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Volume Savings

Understanding postage pricing


The United States Postal Service® is among the most efficient postal services in the world, with some of the lowest prices of any industrialized country. Dollar for dollar, you get a lot of value from mail.

The Postal Service™ offers commercial prices when companies do some of the work that otherwise would have to be done by USPS®.

In general, the more up-front work you do, the lower the postage you’ll pay. The Postal Service’s costs are reduced, and you pay less.

See all price listings ›

Download pricing files in XLS or CSV formats ›

What Type of Mail Is It?

The Postal Service divides mail into different services. Each service has different features, service levels, postage prices, and sorting requirements.

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For most of your mailings, the content of the material and postage will determine the service you select. Look at the matrix below to determine what best matches your priorities.

Service Speed Cost Free Forwarding & Return Extra Services Volume Incentives
Priority Mail Express™ Letters, merchandise
Overnight* $$$ Yes Yes Yes
Priority Mail® Letters, documents 1, 2, or 3 days $$ Yes Yes Yes
First-Class Mail® Personal correspondence, bills, invoices, merchandise. Under 13 oz. 2-3 days $ Yes Yes Yes
Standard Mail® Advertisements, circulars, merchandise. Under 16 oz. 2-9 days $ No Only for parcels Yes
1-7 days $$ Forwarding only No Yes
Standard Post,
Media Mail®,
Bound Printed Matter,
Library Mail

2-8 days $ No Yes Yes
Parcel Select®
  $ No Yes Yes

* to most locations.

How Heavy and Big Is It?

The weight and size of your mailpiece are important factors in determining the postage price you pay. In general, the heavier, larger, or bulkier the mailpiece, the more it costs to mail.

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Priority Mail Express™

Priority Mail Express is priced by weight and distance except for items mailed in Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes. Lower prices are available when postage is paid online, through authorized PC Postage® vendors, through USPS Corporate Accounts™, or through Federal Agency Accounts.

See Priority Mail Express details ›

Priority Mail®
Priority Mail is priced by weight, size, and distance. Priority Mail pieces weighing less than 20 lbs and measuring more than 84", but 108" or less, in combined length and girth will be charged the 20-lb price. This is commonly referred to as a “balloon price.” The balloon price applies to pieces addressed for local delivery and to zones 1-4.

Priority Mail pieces that exceed 1 cubic foot, and are addressed to zones 5-8, are subject to "dimensional weight pricing". In general, if a piece is large and relatively light for its size, it’s subject to dimensional weight pricing. Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes provided by USPS are charged the same Flat Rate up to 70 lbs. Commercial prices are available for postage paid online, and through authorized PC Postage vendors.

See Priority Mail® details ›

First-Class Mail®
First-Class Mail is priced by size and weight. Postcards cost less than letters. Letter-size mail costs less than large envelopes. And parcels pay the highest price due to the cost of processing and delivery.

See First-Class Mail details ›

Standard Mail®
Standard Mail is priced by weight. All mail that weighs 3.3 oz and under is charged the same price. For pieces over 3.3 oz, the heavier your piece, the higher your postage.

There is no postcard price. Letters cost less than large envelopes. Standard Mail parcels (including tubes) are charged a higher price due to processing costs.

See Standard Mail® details ›

Parcel Select, Standard Post and Package Services
For Parcel Select®, Standard Post™, and Bound Printed Matter, weight and distance determine the price.

See Standard Post details ›
See Bound Printed Matter details ›

For Library Mail and Media Mail®, the price is determined only by weight, regardless of how far the mailpiece travels.

See Library Mail details ›
See Media Mail® details ›

How Far Is It Going?

For certain classes of mail, the price is determined by how far the mailpiece travels to get to its destination. The farther it travels the more the postage costs. The pricing is determined by zones that are measured by the distance from point of origin to the point of delivery. Zones range from Zone 1 (0-150 miles from the point of origin) to Zone 8 (1,800 or more miles from the point of origin).

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Flat Rates
With the Priority Mail Flat Rate and Priority Mail Express™ Flat Rate services, the Postal Service™ offers a special deal. Mailpieces that are mailed in Flat Rate envelopes or boxes are not zoned, so you pay the same price no matter how far your mailpiece travels. All other Priority Mail Express™ and Priority Mail prices are zoned.

See Priority Mail Flat Rate details ›
See Priority Mail Express Flat Rate details ›

Unzoned Mail
First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, Library Mail, and Media Mail® are not zoned. That means you pay the same price no matter where your mail is going.

See First-Class Mail details ›
See Standard Mail details ›
See Library Mail details ›
See Media Mail details ›

Zoned Mail
Priority Mail Express™, Priority Mail®, Standard Post™, and Bound Printed Matter are all zoned. Therefore, the further your mailpiece travels (i.e., the more zones your mail crosses), the more you pay in postage.

See Priority Mail Express details ›
See Priority Mail details ›
See Standard Post details ›

See Bound Printed Matter details ›

How Many Pieces Do You Have?

All commercial postage categories have minimum quantities of mail that must be met. Beyond that, your level of sort and number of pieces may qualify your mail for even lower prices.

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First-Class Mail®
Stamped or metered single-piece (full price): no minimum.

Permit imprint single-piece (full-price): 200 pieces or 50 lbs

Presorted and automation First-Class Mail: 500 pieces

See First-Class Mail details ›

Standard Mail®
200 pieces or 50 lbs

See Standard Mail details ›

Standard Post™ and Package Services
Single-piece (full price) Standard Post, Library Mail, and Media Mail: no minimum

Destination entry Parcel Select®: 50-piece minimum per mailing.

Single-piece Bound Printed Matter: no minimum.

Presorted and carrier route sorted Bound Printed Matter: 300 pieces.

Commercial Library Mail: 300 pieces.

Commercial Media Mail: 300 pieces.

See Parcel Select details ›
See Standard Post details ›
See Media Mail details ›
See Bound Printed Matter details ›
See Library Mail details ›

Within each mail service, there are minimum quantities to qualify for a particular price, depending on how narrowly sorted your mail is. For example, if 1,000 pieces were all addressed for delivery to one ZIP Code, they would get a better price than 1,000 addressed for delivery nationwide.

Do You Qualify for Nonprofit Prices?

To mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail® prices, organizations must be authorized by the Postal Service™. Then, they must make sure the material being mailed complies with strict requirements for nonprofit prices.

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Nonprofit postage prices are available only for domestic mail, not for international mail.

Organizations that typically are eligible for Postal Service nonprofit privileges include:

Some political committees

Individuals are NOT eligible for nonprofit prices. Also, not every organization is eligible, even though you may think it qualifies based on the list above. For example, business leagues, chambers of commerce, certain political organizations, and social and hobby clubs usually are not eligible.

Your organization may apply for and receive nonprofit authorization, but you're not quite finished—there are restrictions as to what may be mailed at those prices. For instance, there are restrictions on the amount and kind of advertising. It’s always best to check with your local business mail entry staff before creating a mailpiece.

Learn more about nonprofit eligibility ›
Learn how to apply for nonprofit prices ›

How Is Your Mail Entering the Mailstream?

Get lower prices on Standard Mail®, Periodicals, Parcel Select® or Bound Printed Matter by bringing it to certain kinds of postal facilities. Generally, the closer mail is to its final destination, the greater the savings.

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Network Distribution Center (NDC)
Standard Mail®, Parcel Select®, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter mailings can qualify for entry at a BMC. Mailpieces must be addressed for delivery within the service area for that particular NDC.

Sectional Center Facility (SCF]
Because SCFs are closer to the final destination, this entry point has greater savings on Standard Mail, Parcel Select, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter mailings. Mailpieces must be addressed for delivery within the service area for that particular SCF.

Destination Delivery Unit (DDU)
DDUs are local Post Offices™, meaning mail is the closest it can be to its final destination, and therefore qualifies for the greatest savings available. This entry point is only available for Carrier Route Standard Mail, Parcel Select, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter. Mailpieces must be addressed for delivery within the service area for that particular delivery unit.

See Standard Mail details ›
See Parcel Select details ›
See Periodicals details ›
See Bound Printed Matter details ›

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