Postage rates increase

The new postage rates went into effect for several different classes of mail Monday, Jan. 26.

Those affected include First Class Package Service, Priority Mail® and Priority Mail Express® along with many special services.

According to Acting Postmaster Wendy Porter, the biggest thing that will be noticed by local customers is the increase of First Class postage from 46 cents to 49 cents for the first ounce. Each additional ounce now costs 21 cents, up from 20 cents.

First Class Metered Mail now is a separate category at 48 cents, one cent less than regular First Class. This includes online postage providers and postage meters.

International First Class one ounce letters have increased from $1.10 to $1.15.

"One thing that our customers should know is that the Forever Stamps are good through the increase," said Porter.

A summary of the 2014 USPS postage rate increase:

• First Class Letters (1 oz.) will increase by three cents to $0.49 from $0.46. Each additional ounce will cost an extra $0.21 (up one cent from 2013).

• NEW! The USPS has introduced a new First Class letter rate for the "Metered Mail" category, which includes online postage providers and postage meters. This new rate would be $0.48, one cent below the retail rate of $0.49 for First Class Letters.

• First Class Flats (1 oz.) will increase by six cents to $0.98 from $0.92. Each additional ounce will cost an extra $0.21 (up one cent from 2013).

• Postcard rates will increase by one cent to $0.34 from $0.33.

• Priority Mail Commercial Base (online postage) rates will continue to start at $5.05 and in some weight ranges and zones, the prices will be reduced compared to 2013.

• Priority Mail Express Commercial Base (online postage) rates will increase by an average of 3% and will start at $16.95 (previously at $13.09).

• First Class Package Service will see an average increase of 5% in 2014.

• NEW! A new "Zone 9" delivery zone has been introduced to represent U.S. territories and freely associated states (Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau) for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.

• NEW! A new morning delivery service option will become available for Priority Mail Express. For an extra $5.00 fee, Priority Mail Express packages can be delivered to their destinations by 10:30am.

• NEW! Priority Mail International: The maximum weight for Rate Group 2 (Mexico) has been increased to 70 lbs. from 44 lbs.

• NEW! Commercial Plus Pricing: The minimum annual package volume threshold for cubic pricing and other Commercial Plus offerings will be lowered to 50,000 packages.

• NEW! The following countries are now also eligible for USPS Tracking™: Estonia, Finland, Gibraltar, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Portugal, and Singapore.

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