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New postage rates now in effect
WASHINGTON (1/24/12)--Just about everybody--including credit unions--will pay more this year for mailing letters and packages through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). New postage rates for mailing items took effect Sunday, with a single ounce letter increasing one cent to 45 cents, the first increase in this category since May 2009.

Overall, the average rate increase for all market-dominant services, including First Class Mail and Periodical rates, is 2.133%, an increase tied to the price of inflation.  Standard Class Mail rose 2.04% and rates for market-dominant Package Services rose 2.115%.

Regulators approved the price hikes in November. However, although the price hikes fall under USPS's annual inflation-linked price cap,  USPS continues to seek regulators' approval  to increase rates even higher  to help compensate for the recession years, said Post & Parcel (Jan. 23).

The changes include:

  • Letters (one ounce)--one cent increase to 45 cents;
  • Letters additional ounces--unchanged at 20 cents;
  • Postcards--three-cent hike to 32 cents;
  • Letters to Canada or Mexico (one ounce)--five-cent increase to 85 cents;
  • Letters to other international destinations--seven-cent increase to $1.05.
Price increases for single-piece mail are greater than for presorted mail. In First Class Mail, single-piece letters and card rates rose by 2.468%, while presort letters and card rates rose 1.58%.

In Standard Mail, letters increased 1.867% while parcels rose 2.86% and high density flats and parcels rose 2.87%.

The largest rate hikes occurred for First Class Mail Parcels, which rose 10.8% and reflected the transfer of much of that category to Commercial Plus and Commercial Base parcels. Also. international First Class Mail rates increased by 4.68%.

The postal service is also implementing an incentive by expanding its lightest weight step for presorted First Class Mail from one to two ounces, meaning the second ounce is sent for free. USPS said it hopes the incentive will encourage mailers to stay with First Class Mail as a communication channel, allowing extra pages with their mailings for no extra charge.

All new pricing is available at the USPS link.
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