USPS Homepage Skip NavigationUSPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
  DMM TOC > 100 Retail Letters, Cards, Flats, and Parcels > 130 First Class Mail

133 Rates and Eligibility

1.0 First-Class Mail Rates and Fees

1.1 First-Class Mail Single-Piece Rate Application

The single-piece rates for First-Class Mail are applied as follows:

a. The card rate applies to a card meeting the applicable standards in 101.6.3, Cards Claimed at Card Rates.

b. The letter rate applies to letter-size pieces that meet the standards in 101.1.1 and weigh 3.5 ounces or less, and that are not eligible for and claimed at the card rate.

c. The flat rate applies to flat-size pieces that meet the standards in 101.2.1.

d. The parcel rate applies to parcel-size pieces under 101.3.0 and to flat-size pieces that do not meet the standards in 101.2.0

1.2 Rate Computation for First-Class Mail

First-Class rates are charged per ounce or fraction thereof; any fraction of an ounce is considered a whole ounce. For example, if a piece weighs 1.2 ounces, the weight (postage) increment is 2 ounces. The minimum postage per addressed piece is that for a piece weighing 1 ounce.

1.3 Determining Single-Piece Weight

To determine single-piece weight in any mailing of nonidentical-weight pieces, weigh each piece individually. To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of identical-weight pieces, weigh a sample group of at least 10 randomly selected pieces and divide the total sample weight by the number of pieces in the sample. Express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds rounded off to four decimal places.

1.4 Rates for Letters and Cards

Weight
Not Over

(ounces)

Single-Piece1

1

$0.41

2

0.58

3

0.75

3.52

0.92

Card Rate3

0.26

  1. Letter-rate pieces that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics in DMM 101.1.2 are subject to the nonmachinable surcharge (see 133.1.10).
  2. For weights over 3.5 ounces, see flat-size rates.
  3. The card rate applies to each single or double postcard when originally mailed; reply half of double postcard must be designed for reply mail purposes only.

1.5 Rates for Flats

Weight
Not Over

(ounces)1

Single-Piece

1

$0.80

2

0.97

3

1.14

4

1.31

5

1.48

6

1.65

7

1.82

8

1.99

9

2.16

10

2.33

11

2.50

12

2.67

13

2.84

  1. Flat-size pieces with certain characteristics (see 101.2.0) are subject to parcel rates.

1.6 Rates for Parcels

Weight
Not Over

(ounces)1

Single-Piece

1

$1.13

2

1.30

3

1.47

4

1.64

5

1.81

6

1.98

7

2.15

8

2.32

9

2.49

10

2.66

11

2.83

12

3.00

13

3.17

  1. For keys and ID devices, add $0.70. If more than 13 ounces, see retail Priority Mail rates.

1.7 Keys and Identification Devices

Keys and identification devices (such as identification cards and uncovered identification tags) that weigh 13 ounces or less are returned at the applicable single-piece First-Class Mail parcel rate plus the fee. Keys and identification devices that weigh more than 13 ounces but not more than 1 pound are returned at the 1-pound Priority Mail rate plus the fee. Keys and identification devices weighing more than 1 pound but not more than 2 pounds are mailed at the 2-pound Priority Mail rate for zone 4 plus the fee. The key or identification device must bear, contain, or have securely attached the name and complete address of a person, organization, or concern, with instructions to return the key or identification device to that address and a statement guaranteeing payment of postage due on delivery.

1.8 Rates for Keys and Identification Devices

Weight Not Over (ounces)

Rate1

1

$1.83

2

2.00

3

2.17

4

2.34

5

2.51

6

2.68

7

2.86

8

3.02

9

3.19

10

3.36

11

3.53

12

3.70

13

3.87

1 pound

5.30

2 pounds

6.00

  1. Rates shown include $0.70 fee.

1.9 Nonmachinable Surcharge

Surcharge per piece at single-piece rate: $0.17.

1.10 Applicability of Nonmachinable Surcharge

The nonmachinable surcharge applies to letter-rate pieces that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics in 101.1.2. Pieces mailed at the card rate are not subject to the nonmachinable surcharge.

1.11 Computing Postage—First-Class Mail

Determine single-piece weight and weight (postage) increment for each addressed piece as prescribed in 1.2, Rate Computation for First-Class Mail, and 1.7, Keys and Identification Devices. For First-Class Mail, affix postage to each piece under 134.1.2, Affixing Postage—Single-Piece Rate Mailings, or, for permit imprint mailings, multiply the number of addressed pieces at each rate increment by the corresponding postage rate.

Back to Top

2.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for First-Class Mail

2.1 Description of Service

2.1.1 Service Objectives

First-Class Mail receives expeditious handling and transportation. Service objectives for delivery are 1 to 3 days; however, delivery time is not guaranteed.

2.1.2 Rate Options

First-Class Mail offers shape-based single-piece rates in 1.0.

2.2 Defining Characteristics

2.2.1 Inspection of Contents

First-Class Mail is closed against postal inspection. Federal law and USPS regulations restrict both opening and reviewing the contents of First-Class Mail by anyone other than the addressee.

2.2.2 Forwarding Service

The price of First-Class Mail includes forwarding service to a new address for up to 12 months.

2.2.3 Return Service

The price of First-Class Mail includes return service if the mailpiece is undeliverable.

2.2.4 Extra Services Exclusive to First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail (including Priority Mail) is the only class of mail eligible to receive the following extra services: Registered Mail service and Certified Mail service.

2.2.5 Additional Extra Services

Additional extra services available with First-Class Mail are certificate of mailing service, COD service, Delivery Confirmation service (parcels only), insured mail service (merchandise only), return receipt service, restricted delivery service, Signature Confirmation service (parcels only), and special handling. See information regarding extra services in 503.

Back to Top

3.0 Content Standards

3.1 General Eligibility

With the exception of restricted material as described in 601.8.0, any mailable item, including postcards, letters, flats, and small packages, may be mailed as First-Class Mail.

3.2 Bills and Statements of Account

Bills and statements of account must be mailed as First-Class Mail (or Express Mail) and are defined as follows:

a. Bills and statements of account assert a debt in a definite amount owed by the addressee to the sender or a third party. In addition, bills include a demand for payment; statements of account do not include a demand for payment. The debt does not have to be due immediately but may become due at a later time or on demand. The debt asserted need not be legally collectible or owed.

b. Bills and statements of account do not need to state the precise amount due if they contain information that would enable the debtor to determine that amount.

3.3 Personal Information

Mail containing personal information must be mailed as First-Class Mail (or Express Mail). Personal information is any information specific to the addressee.

3.4 Handwritten and Typewritten Material

Mail containing handwritten or typewritten material must be mailed as First-Class Mail or Express Mail.

3.5 Matter Marked Postcard or Double Postcard

Any matter marked "Postcard" or "Double Postcard" must be mailed as First-Class Mail or Express Mail.

3.6 Matter Not Required to be Mailed as First-Class Mail

Matter eligible for Standard Mail or Package Services rates or authorized as Periodicals is not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Express Mail.

3.7 Prohibited Air Transportation

All First Class Mail is subject to limitations for air transportation. Generally, all mailable matter may be transported by aircraft, unless restricted in 601.10.0, Hazardous Materials.

Back to Top