First-Class Mail Fact Sheet
What is First-Class Mail Shape-Based Pricing?
First-Class Mail shape-based pricing aligns the shape of mail with the relative processing costs for each mail shape.
The major changes made to First-Class Mail (retail) in May 2007 are detailed here to help you understand what changed and discuss the changes with customers.
- The single-piece 1-ounce letter rate is $0.41, the additional ounce price is $0.17, and the single-piece postcard rate is $0.26.
- The maximum size for letters did not change: 11-1/2″ x 6-1/8″ x 1/4″ thick.
- When a piece of First-Class Mail exceeds any one of the maximum measurements of a letter, it is classified and priced as a large envelope (flat).
- The maximum weight for letter-size pieces is 3.5 ounces.
- The $0.17 nonmachinable surcharge applies to all First-Class Mail letters weighing up to the maximum weight of 3.5 ounces, with one or more nonmachinable characteristics.
- Common nonmachinable characteristics include the following:
- The aspect ratio (length divided by height) is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.
- The mailpiece is rigid or contains odd-shaped items.
- The delivery address is parallel to the shorter dimension of the mailpiece.
- The mailpiece measures more than 6″ long or 4-1/4″ high, if the thickness is less than 0.009″.
Large Envelopes (Flats)
- The single-piece 1-ounce rate for large envelopes (flats) is $0.80.
- The maximum size for large envelopes is 15″ x 12″ x 3/4″ thick.
- The maximum weight for large envelopes is 13 ounces. A large envelope exceeding 13 ounces is classified as a Priority Mail item.
- When a First-Class Mail item exceeds any one of the maximum measurements of a large envelope, it is classified and priced as a package (parcel).
- When a flat-size piece of mail is a box or has contents that make the mailpiece rigid, it is classified and priced as a package.
- All large envelopes (flats) must be rectangular. “Rectangular” includes square-shaped pieces.
- The single-piece 1-ounce rate for packages is $1.13.
- The maximum weight for First-Class Mail packages is 13 ounces. A package exceeding 13 ounces is classified as a Priority Mail item.
The decrease in price to $0.17 for each additional ounce for all mail shapes results in lower prices for letters weighing over 1 ounce and for large envelopes weighing over 6 ounces.
Customers may save $0.39 on the first ounce by folding the contents of a flat-size mailpiece (large envelope) into a letter-size mailpiece. Also, some items prepared as a package may be reconfigured and placed in a large envelope, saving $0.33 on the first ounce.
First-Class Mail Quick Tips
- Square greeting cards that are letter-size are mailable at letter rates and are subject to the $0.17 nonmachinable surcharge in addition to the applicable First-Class Mail letter postage. (See DMM 101.1.2 for nonmachinable criteria.)
- If a mailpiece measures11-1/2″ or 6-1/8″ or less and is 1/4″ thick or less (letter-size), does not weigh more than 3.5 ounces, and is rigid, it is classified and priced as a nonmachinable letter. The applicable First-Class Mail letter postage and $0.17 nonmachinable surcharge applies.
- The nonmachinable surcharge applies only to First-Class Mail letters. It does not apply to postcards eligible for the card rate, large envelopes, or packages.
- When greeting cards exceed any one of the letter-size measurements (e.g., 6-1/8″ height), they are classified and priced as flats (large envelopes). Do not price these cards as parcels.
- When a piece of First-Class Mail exceeds any one of the maximum measurements (length, height, or thickness) of one mail shape, it is classified and priced as the next larger shape.
- A mailpiece must be flat-size or larger, if rigid, or over 3/4″ thick to be classified and priced as a package (parcel).
- For padded bags (e.g., ReadyPost® “cushion mailer”), when the thickness is 3/4″ or less and the item is flat-size and somewhat flexible, the item should be classified and priced as a large envelope.
- The minimum mailable size for pieces 1/4″ thick or less is 5″ long x 3-1/2″ high x 0.007″ thick.
- Use Notice 3-S, First-Class Mail Shape-Based Pricing Template, to measure mail thickness. (See page 32 in this issue of the Postal Bulletin for ordering instructions.)