The Cost of Postcard Postage

Or

What Do You Get for 35 Cents?

[Update 05/31/2015]   The cost of US First Class postcard postage recently went up to $.35  .

There was, of course, the standard outrage about the “pain that we all feel”, how postcard writing has become unaffordable,  and my favorite, “I remember when you could mail a postcard for a penny.”

So, having been a fan of the postcard for quite some time, I thought it was a good opportunity for us to take a deep breath and look at the value of this wonderful little postage class.

For (just) 35 cents, we get:

[1]  delivery of our card from most any US address – to most any US address.
This could be down the street or 3000 miles across the country.

“Any US address,” by the way,  includes plenty of locations beyond the Fifty states which have been assigned a Zip Code.   The trip from New York (10010) to Guam (96910) , for example, is 7959 miles.

[2]  Delivery of most First Class mail is between 1- 5 working days.  And the typical item is delivered in 1- 3 days.  (OK, not sure if this includes Guam…)

Did We Mention Free Pick Up?

[3]  Pick-up of you postcard is pretty flexible.  You can drop it in your own mailbox, a blue collection box nearby, or bring it to one of over 36,000 post offices throughout the USA.  Who else offers free pickup?

[4] Does your postcard become undeliverable if you’re missing a character in the the address?  Probably not.  The post office accepts plenty of mail, with all sorts of hand writing, mis-spellings, missing Zip Codes, and even wrong addresses.

Let’s look a bit more at addresses:

[5]  When somebody changes addresses in the US, they can have their mail forwarded to any other US address (yes, for free) for up to one year.

So technically, the same postcard postage that gets the card mailed from NY to Guam, also gets the postcard forwarded to Miami, for instance.  That’s a 16,000 mile trip, by the way.

But wait, there’s more!

As if you haven’t already received a hundred times your postcard postage value, consider the Post Office’s free return service:

[6]  if your recipient just can’t be found, or their forwarding instructions are past their prime, is your postcard mail discarded? No.  First Class mail will be returned to you if a return address is provided, and often with an explanation for the return.  This benefit may seem bittersweet, yet there’s a lot of value in knowing if your card found its target.

So when we’re done whining about the rising US postage for postcards, think of how reasonable it really is for one of our favorite ways to communicate.

Oh, and if you remember postcard postage was a penny, you’re definitely revealing your age.  Postcard postage was 1 cent when the postcard rate was first established in 1898.  And it remained that way for over fifty years, until January 1952 when it was doubled.

Now that must have been an outrage.

—-

OK,  with all that said, I need to mention that our Postcard Magnets are not mailed using US First Class postcard postage.  Instead we mail most using rates based on bulk mail.  For more info about direct mail campaigns with magnet mailers, check us out at magnetbyMail.com  .  Or drop us a postcard!

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About postcardmagnets the USPS Postcard Blog

We print and mail Postcard Magnets. That's a large, laminated postcard and a magnet attached. They're used in mailing campaigns to promote a message or website. They're useful for businesses, non-profits, government groups, alumni associations and for political advertising. Our website is at magnetbyMail.com (please be sure to visit...) [Sorry, we're not an official USPS website -- better to check with them on any updated rates and rules...] View all posts by postcardmagnets the USPS Postcard Blog

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