USPS Homepage Skip NavigationUSPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
  DMM TOC > 200 Commercial Letters and Cards > 240 Standard Mail

243 Prices and Eligibility

1.0 Prices and Fees for Standard Mail

1.1 Price Application

Postage is based on the price that applies to the weight (postage) increment of each addressed piece.

1.2 Standard Mail Price Application

Standard Mail prices are based on the weight of the pieces as follows:

a. The appropriate minimum per piece price applies to any Standard Mail piece that weighs 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound) or less.

b. A price determined by adding the per piece charge and the corresponding per pound charge applies to any Standard Mail piece that weighs more than 3.3 ounces.

1.3 Regular Standard Mail—ECR, Automation, and Nonautomation Prices

[5-11-09] For prices see Notice 123-Price List.

1.4 Nonprofit Standard Mail—ECR, Automation, and Nonautomation Prices

[5-11-09] For prices see Notice 123-Price List.

1.5 Fees

1.5.1 Presort Mailing Fee

[5-11-09] Mailing fee, per 12-month period: $185.00.

1.5.2 Weighted Fee

[5-11-09] For return of pieces bearing the ancillary service markings "Address Service Requested" and "Forwarding Service Requested."

weighted fee

Single Piece
Weight Not Over (ounces)

Weighted Fee per Piece1

Card Price

$0.70

1

1.09

2

1.51

3

1.93

3.5

2.35

  1. Weighted fee equals single-piece First-Class Mail or Priority Mail price (plus the nonmachinable surcharge, if applicable) multiplied by 2.472.

1.6 Computing Postage for Standard Mail

1.6.1 Weight

To compute the total weight of the addressed pieces in a mailing or mailing segment for:

a. Identical-weight pieces, multiply the computed average weight of a single piece by the corresponding number of pieces; do not round the product.

b. Nonidentical-weight pieces, add the actual weight of the individual pieces or weigh the entire mailing in bulk; do not round either result.

1.6.2 Determining Single-Piece Weight

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. To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of nonidentical-weight pieces, weigh each piece individually. Express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds, rounded off to four decimal places.

1.6.3 Net Postage

Postage is computed at the applicable prices on the entire mailing to be mailed at one time. The net postage price is either the applicable minimum per piece price or the piece/pound price, as adjusted for any discounts and surcharges.

1.6.4 Per Piece and Per Pound Charges

The per piece charge is computed based on the total number of addressed pieces for each price category claimed. The minimum price may apply to each piece as detailed in 1.2, Standard Mail Price Application. Otherwise, the per piece charge must be added to the per pound charge to determine total postage. Where applicable, the per pound charge is computed based on the total weight of the addressed pieces for each price category claimed, and is added to the per piece charge to determine total postage. For example, a quantity of pieces weighing 100.25 pounds is charged 100.25 times the applicable price per pound, based on the price claimed, plus one unit of the applicable per piece charge for each addressed piece.

1.6.5 Computing Affixed Postage

To compute postage to be affixed to each piece, multiply the weight of the piece (in pounds) by the applicable price per pound; add the applicable per piece charge and any surcharge; and round the sum up to the next tenth of a cent. The applicable minimum per piece charge must be affixed if it is more than the total computed per piece postage.

1.6.6 Computing Affixed Postage—Heavy Letters

To compute postage to be affixed to each piece, multiply the weight of the piece (in pounds) by the applicable price per pound; add the applicable per piece charge, subtract the heavy letter discount (see 1.6.8 through 1.6.9); and round the sum up to the next tenth of a cent.

1.6.7 Permit Imprint

In any permit imprint mailing:

a. For each price or price category, multiply the number of addressed pieces by the corresponding price per piece and (if applicable) multiply the unrounded total weight of the pieces by the corresponding price per pound; round off each product to four decimal places.

b. Add the per piece and per pound charges and round off the total postage to the nearest whole cent.

1.6.8 Discount for Heavy Automation Letters

Automation letters that weigh more than 3.3 ounces but not more than 3.5 ounces are charged postage equal to the automation piece/pound price for that piece and receive a discount equal to the corresponding automation flat-size piece price (3.3 ounces or less) minus the corresponding automation letter-size piece price (3.3 ounces or less). If a destination entry price is claimed, the discount is calculated using the corresponding prices.

1.6.9 Discount for Heavy ECR Letters

Pieces that otherwise qualify for the high density or saturation letter price and weigh more than 3.3 ounces but not more than 3.5 ounces pay postage equal to the piece/pound price and receive a discount equal to the flat-size piece price (3.3 ounces or less) minus the letter-size piece price (3.3 ounces or less). If a destination entry price is claimed, the discount is calculated using the corresponding prices.

1.7 Saturation Mail Volume Incentive Program

1.7.1 Basic Program Eligibility

[5-11-09] Mailers of Regular and Nonprofit Standard Mail saturation letters under 243.6.5 that demonstrate a verified increase in mailing volume from the prior year (May 11, 2008 to May 10, 2009), qualify for a per-piece credit to postage paid on the incremental volume, recorded during the established program period, under the following conditions:

a. Qualifying mailers may request a credit to the postage paid on the incremental saturation mailing volume under either of the following conditions:

1. Based on an overall increase in the mailer's total saturation mailing volume.

2. Based on an increase in the volume of saturation mailpieces destinating to ZIP Codes within a specific sectional center facility (SCF) (or group of SCFs) identified by the mailer.

b. Mailers must be able to demonstrate saturation mail volume in both the 2007 and 2008 calendar years. Mailers applying for a credit to the postage paid on saturation mailpieces within a specific SCF must be able to demonstrate saturation mail volume to ZIP Codes within the specified SCF in both the 2007 and 2008 calendar years.

c. Mailers must be able to demonstrate a minimum of six saturation mailings (or six saturation mailings to a specified SCF) in the 2008 calendar year.

d. Mailers must pay saturation postage through a permit imprint advance deposit account at the time of application and must have a functioning Centralized Account Payment System (CAPS) account prior to the close of the program period.

e. Each permit imprint advance deposit account used for the payment of postage for saturation mailings must be established at a Postal facility having PostalOne! capability.

f. Letter-size mailpieces that are not automation-compatible or not barcoded and are mailed at flat-size saturation prices are not eligible for the saturation mail volume incentive program.

1.7.2 Application

[5-11-09] Mailers wishing to participate in the saturation mail volume incentive program must submit a letter requesting participation to their district Manager, Business Mail Entry (see the postal locator link on Postal Explorer at http://pe.usps.com for contact information).

a. Mailers must specify their intent to apply for consideration for an overall volume increase under 1.7.1a1, or for a volume increase to a specific SCF (or group of SCFs) under 1.7.1a2.

b. Applications must include historical mailing activity demonstrating eligibility for the program as specified under 1.7.1.

c. Applications must specify the mailer's Permit Imprint advance deposit account(s) and Centralized Account Payment System (CAPS) account(s) number(s). Mailers applying for CAPS accounts within the program period must provide their CAPS account number to their district Manager, Business Mail Entry before the end of program period.

d. Applications may be submitted after February 11, 2009, and must be received by the district Manager, Business Mail Entry no later than June 11, 2009.

e. Applications must be completed and submitted by an official of the business or nonprofit entity that owns the mail. For the purposes of participation in this program, an entity that owns the mail is defined as the parent organization. Franchisees that are not separate business entities may not apply for the incentive independently of the parent organization. Printers and mailing agents may not apply for external entities for which they prepare the mail.

1.7.3 Additional Eligibility Standards

[5-11-09] Mailers requesting eligibility for a volume increase to a specific SCF (or group of SCFs) under 1.7.1a2 must submit mailing documentation electronically to the Postal Service using an approved method (e.g. Mail.dat) at the time of application and for the duration of their participation in the program.

1.7.4 Saturation Mail Volume Incentive Credits

[5-11-09] Approved program participants demonstrating an increase in saturation mail volume under 1.7 qualify for a per-piece credit to the postage paid on the incremental volume, recorded during the established program period as follows:

a. Standard Mail saturation letters: $ 0.037 per piece.

b. Nonprofit Standard Mail saturation letters: $ 0.022 per piece.

1.7.5 Incentive Program Period

[5-11-09] The program period is annual and begins May 11, 2009. Approved participants demonstrating an increase in saturation mail volume in accordance with 1.7 and otherwise in compliance with the terms of this program, receive a credit to their specified CAPS account after the close of the annual program period.

Back to Top

2.0 Content Standards for Standard Mail Letters

2.1 Definition and Weight

Standard Mail consists of mailable matter that is neither mailed or required to be mailed as First-Class Mail nor entered as Periodicals (unless permitted or required by standard) and that weighs less than 16 ounces. Standard Mail includes matter formerly classified as Standard Mail (A) and third-class mail.

2.2 Personal Information

Personal information may not be included in a Standard Mail mailpiece unless all of the following conditions are met:

a. The mailpiece contains explicit advertising for a product or service for sale or lease or an explicit solicitation for a donation.

b. All of the personal information is directly related to the advertising or solicitation.

c. The exclusive reason for inclusion of all of the personal information is to support the advertising or solicitation in the mailpiece.

2.3 Bills and Statements of Account

Mail containing bills or statements of account as defined in 233.2.2 may not be entered as Standard Mail except under the conditions described in 2.5.2.

2.4 Handwritten and Typewritten Matter

Mail containing handwritten or typewritten matter may not be entered as Standard Mail except under the conditions described in 2.6.

2.5 Attachments and Enclosures

2.5.1 Invoice

An invoice, whether it also serves as a bill, may be placed either inside a Standard Mail piece or in an envelope marked "Invoice Enclosed" and attached to the outside of the piece if the invoice relates solely to the matter with which it is mailed. The invoice may show this information:

a. Names and addresses of the sender and addressee.

b. Names and quantities of the articles enclosed, descriptions of each (e.g., price, tax, style, stock number, size, and quality, and, if defective, nature of defects).

c. Order or file number, date of order, date and manner of shipment, shipping weight, postage paid, and initials or name of packer or checker.

2.5.2 Incidental First-Class Mail Attachments and Enclosures

Incidental First-Class Mail matter may be enclosed in or attached to Standard Mail merchandise (including books but excluding merchandise samples) without payment of First-Class Mail postage. Incidental First-Class Mail matter may not be enclosed in or attached to matter mailed as Customized MarketMail under 705.1.0. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure must be matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class Mail postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, and is prepared not to encumber postal processing. An incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure may be a bill for the product or publication, a statement of account for past products or publications, or a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel. Postage at the Standard Mail or Package Services price for the host piece is based on the combined weight of the host piece and the incidental First-Class Mail attachment or enclosure.

2.5.3 Nonincidental First-Class Mail Enclosures

Letters or other pieces of nonincidental First-Class Mail, subject to postage at First-Class Mail prices, may be enclosed with Standard Mail pieces (except matter mailed as Customized MarketMail under 705.1.0). Postage for the First-Class Mail enclosure must be placed on the outside of the piece. It may be affixed separately or added to the postage for the host piece. The endorsement "First-Class Mail Enclosed" must be placed on the piece, below the postage and above the address.

2.5.4 Nonincidental First-Class Mail Attachments

Letters or other pieces of nonincidental First-Class Mail may be placed in an envelope and securely attached to the address side of a Standard Mail piece (except matter mailed as Customized MarketMail under 705.1.0), or of the principal piece, as applicable. Combination envelopes or containers with separate parts for the two classes of mail may be used. The names and addresses of the sender and addressee must be placed on both the principal piece and the attachment. Alternatively, the sender's name and address must be placed on one part and the addressee's name and address on the other. If the piece is a combination container with inseparable parts or compartments, the names and addresses may appear on only one part. The applicable Standard Mail postage for the Standard Mail matter must be prepaid and placed in the upper right corner of the address space. Postage at the applicable First-Class Mail price must be paid for and affixed to the First-Class Mail attachment, unless other payment methods are permitted by standard.

2.5.5 Attachment of Other Standard Mail Matter

Standard Mail pieces may bear an attachment that is eligible as Standard Mail matter if these additional conditions are met:

a. The piece bearing the attachment is claimed as Customized MarketMail (CMM) under 705.1.0 or as Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail under 6.0.

b. The face of the attachment may bear only the price markings and endorsements permitted for the price claimed for the host piece.

c. At the time of mailing, the piece shows only one complete delivery address. If the attachment is a reply card, the address for returning the piece is not visible.

d. Enhanced Carrier Route host pieces are larger than 6 by 11 inches. CMM host pieces are any size permitted under 705.1.1.3, Physical Standards.

e. The attachment is not larger than the host piece and does not extend beyond the host piece. An attachment affixed to a CMM piece may not be greater than 1/4 inch thick at its thickest point.

f. Each piece in the mailing bears the attachment, and the attachment is of identical size, weight, and positioning on the host piece. Different wording or designs may be used.

g. The attachment does not interfere with processing or delivery. Folded or multipage attachments must be secured to prevent opening during handling.

2.6 Written Additions

Markings that have the character of personal correspondence require, with certain exceptions, additional postage at the First-Class Mail prices. The following written additions and enclosures do not require additional First-Class Mail postage:

a. The sender's and the addressee's names, occupations, and addresses, preceded by "From" or "To," and directions for handling.

b. Marks, numbers, names, or letters describing the contents.

c. Words or phrases such as "Do Not Open Until Christmas" and "Happy Birthday, Mother."

d. Instructions and directions for the use of the item mailed.

e. A manuscript dedication or inscription not having the nature of personal correspondence.

f. Marks to call attention to words or passages in the text.

g. Corrections of typographical errors in printed matter.

h. Manuscripts accompanying related proof sheets and corrections of proof sheets including corrections of typographical and other errors, changes in the text, insertions of new text, marginal instructions to the printer, and corrective rewrites of parts.

i. Handstamped imprints, unless the added material is in itself personal or converts the original matter to a personal communication.

j. Matter mailable separately as Standard Mail printed on the wrapper, envelope, tag, or label.

Back to Top

3.0 Basic Standards for Standard Mail Letters

3.1 Description of Service

3.1.1 Service Objectives

Standard Mail may receive deferred handling. Service objectives for delivery are 2 to 9 days; however, delivery time is not guaranteed.

3.1.2 Minimum Quantity

Standard Mail provides economical prices for mailings of 200 or more pieces or 50 or more pounds of mail.

3.2 Defining Characteristics

3.2.1 Mailpiece Weight

All Standard Mail pieces must weigh less than 16 ounces. The following weight limits also apply to pieces mailed at Standard Mail letter prices:

a. Pieces mailed at machinable and nonmachinable letter prices may weigh up to 3.3 ounces. Letter-size pieces weighing more than 3.3 ounces and prepared as nonmachinable letters are mailable at Not Flat-Machinable prices (see 443) and must be marked "Not Flat-Machinable" or "NFM" according to 402.2.0, unless they are barcoded and eligible to be mailed as automation flats under 301.3.0.

b. Pieces mailed at automation letter prices or Enhanced Carrier Route prices may weigh up to 3.5 ounces.

3.2.2 Preparation Requirements

Standard Mail is subject to specific volume, marking, and preparation requirements.

3.2.3 Inspection of Contents

Standard Mail is not sealed against postal inspection.

3.2.4 Forwarding Service

The price of Standard Mail typically does not include forwarding service. Forwarding service is available under 507.1.5.

3.2.5 Return Service

The price of Standard Mail does not include return service. Return service is available under 507.1.5 for an additional fee.

3.2.6 Extra Services

Extra services available with Standard Mail are insured mail service (bulk insurance only), certificate of mailing service (bulk certificate of mailing only), return receipt for merchandise service, and Delivery Confirmation service (parcels only). See information regarding extra services in 503.

3.2.7 Periodicals

Authorized Periodicals may not be entered as Standard Mail unless permitted by standard.

3.2.8 Identical Pieces

The contents of printed matter in a Standard Mail mailing must be identical to a piece sent to at least one other addressee. Standard Mail may include the addressee's name and address but may not transmit personal information except as permitted under 2.2.

3.3 Additional Basic Standards for Standard Mail

Each Standard Mail mailing is subject to these general standards:

a. All pieces in a mailing must be of the same processing category.

b. Each mailing must contain at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of pieces. See 3.6, Residual Volume Requirement, for volume requirement eligibility unique to Presorted Standard price mailings. Other volume standards also can apply, based on the price claimed.

c. All pieces in an automation mailing must be eligible for an automation price.

d. All pieces in a mailing must be sorted together and marked under the standards for the price claimed.

e. Each piece must bear the addressee's name and delivery address, including the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code (see 3.8.1), unless an alternative addressing format is used subject to 602.3.0. Detached address labels may be used subject to 602.4.0.

f. Postage must be paid under 244.1.0 through 244.3.0 with precanceled stamps, meter stamps, or permit imprint.

g. A postage statement, completed and signed by the mailer, using the correct USPS form or an approved facsimile, must be submitted with each mailing. In addition, mailings must be documented under 244.4.2, Basic Documentation Standards, and the standards for the price claimed.

h. Each piece must meet the standards for any other price or discount claimed.

i. Any POSTNET barcode on a mailpiece must be correct for the delivery address and meet the standards in 202.5.0, Barcode Placement, 708.3.0, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS), and 708.4.0, Standards for POSTNET and Intelligent Mail Barcodes.

j. Mailings must be deposited at a business mail entry unit of the Post Office where the postage permit or license is held and the annual mailing fee paid, unless deposit elsewhere is permitted by standard.

3.4 Presort Mailing Fees

An annual mailing fee must be paid once each 12-month period at each Post Office of mailing. A mailer paying this fee may enter clients' mail as well as the mailer's own. The mailer whose permit imprint appears on pieces in a mailing paid with a permit imprint must show that permit number on the postage statement and must pay the annual mailing fee for that permit; this fee is in addition to the one-time fee for an application to use permit imprints. The fee may be paid in advance only for the next 12 months and only during the last 60 days of the current service period. The fee charged is that which is in effect on the date of payment.

3.5 Merging Similar Standard Mailings

Mailings are subject to the general definitions and conditions in 245.1.0, General Information for Mail Preparation. Generally, mailers may merge similar Standard Mail matter into a single mailing. Differences in text, address labels, and address lists or list key numbers do not prohibit the mailer from merging and sorting pieces together. Pieces with different methods of postage payment may be combined in the same mailing only if authorized by Business Mailer Support (BMS). Pieces of nonidentical weight, if merged in the same mailing, must bear the correct postage when mailed, unless otherwise authorized by BMS.

3.6 Residual Volume Requirement

Pieces in an Enhanced Carrier Route mailing that has separately met a 200-piece or 50-pound minimum quantity requirement may be counted toward the minimum quantity requirement for a Presorted mailing, provided that the Enhanced Carrier Route mailing and the Presorted mailing are part of the same mailing job. Likewise, pieces in an automation mailing that has separately met a 200-piece or 50-pound minimum quantity requirement may be counted toward the minimum quantity requirement for a Presorted mailing, provided that the automation mailing and the Presorted mailing are part of the same mailing job. Pieces mailed at Presorted Standard Mail prices must not be counted toward the minimum volume requirements for an Enhanced Carrier Route or an automation mailing.

3.7 Residual Mail Subject to First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Prices

Pieces prepared as Standard Mail (i.e., that bear Standard Mail markings, ACS codes, etc.) that do not qualify for Enhanced Carrier Route, automation, or Presorted Standard Mail prices are subject to the single-piece First-Class Mail or Priority Mail prices as applicable for the weight of the mailpiece. Metered pieces weighing over 13 ounces but less than 16 ounces that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices and any pieces that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices for which First-Class Mail or Priority Mail service is desired must be re-enveloped or otherwise prepared so that they do not bear Standard Mail markings, endorsements, and ACS codes and must bear the proper First-Class Mail or Priority Mail markings and ACS codes. Mailers who have pieces (other than metered pieces weighing over 13 ounces but less than 16 ounces) that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices but that are prepared as Standard Mail and who do not desire to receive First-Class Mail or Priority Mail service for those pieces may enter their mailpieces "as is" (i.e., bearing the Standard Mail markings and endorsements), provided the requirements in 244.5.1, Residual Standard Mail Subject to First-Class Mail Prices, and 244.5.2, Residual Standard Mail Subject to Priority Mail Prices, are met.

3.8 ZIP Code Accuracy

3.8.1 Basic Standards

The ZIP Code accuracy standard is a means of ensuring that the 5-digit ZIP Code in the delivery address correctly matches the delivery address information. For the purposes of this standard, address means a specific address associated with a specific 5-digit ZIP Code. Addresses used on pieces claiming certain prices under 3.8.1d that are subject to the ZIP Code accuracy standard must meet these requirements:

a. Each address and associated 5-digit ZIP Code used on the mailpieces in a mailing must be verified and corrected within 12 months before the mailing date with one of the USPS-approved methods in 3.8.2.

b. Each individual address in the mailing is subject to the ZIP Code accuracy standard.

c. If an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at one class of mail and price is verified and corrected with an approved method, the same address may be used during the following 12 months to meet the ZIP Code accuracy standard required for mailing at any other class of mail and price.

d. Except for mail bearing a simplified address, addresses used on pieces claiming Standard Mail prices, regardless of any required surcharges, must meet the ZIP Code accuracy standard.

3.8.2 USPS-Approved Methods

The following methods are authorized for meeting the ZIP Code accuracy standard:

a. For computerized lists, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)-certified address matching software and current USPS City State Product, within a mailer's computer systems or through an authorized service provider.

b. For manually maintained lists or small computerized lists, options include the following:

1. Surveys of addressees on mailer's address list inquiring about the accuracy of ZIP Code information.

2. Any mailing list service in 507.7.0.

3. An authorized service provider.

4. CASS-certified matching software.

5. USPS Web site www.usps.com.

3.8.3 Mailer Certification

The mailer's signature on the postage statement certifies that the ZIP Code accuracy standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.

3.9 Move Update Standard

3.9.1 Basic Standards

[5-11-09] [12-4-08] The Move Update standard is a means of reducing the number of mailpieces in a mailing that require forwarding, return, or discard by the periodic matching of a mailer's address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders received and maintained by the USPS. For the purposes of this standard, address means a specific address associated with a specific occupant name. Except for mail bearing an alternative address format, addresses used on pieces claiming Standard Mail prices must meet the Move Update standard. Addresses subject to the Move Update standard must meet these requirements:

a. Each address and associated occupant name used on the mailpieces in a mailing must be updated within 95 days before the mailing date, with one of the USPS-approved methods in 3.9.2.

b. Each individual address in the mailing is subject to the Move Update standard.

c. The Move Update standard is met when an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at any class of mail is updated with an approved method in 3.9.2, and the same address is used in a Standard Mail mailing within 95 days after the address has been updated.

d. Effective January 4, 2010, when a mailing is determined by the USPS to not be in compliance with the Move Update standard, each piece in the mailing will be subject to a postage adjustment charge of $0.07 per piece.

3.9.2 USPS-Approved Methods

The following methods are authorized for meeting the Move Update standard:

a. Address Change Service (ACS).

b. National Change of Address Linkage System (NCOALink).

c. FASTforward MLOCR processes if used each time before mail entry (for letter mail only). If a mailpiece that initially uses FASTforward MLOCR processing is rejected and then entered into a Direct View Encoding Desk (DVED) operation (or similar system), the piece does not meet the Move Update standard. The name and address information on the piece must then be processed through a FASTforward RVE system to meet the Move Update standard. FASTforward RVE processes also meet the Move Update standard if used each time before mail entry.

d. Ancillary service endorsements under 507.1.5.3, Standard Mail, except "Forwarding Service Requested."

3.9.3 Mailer Certification

The mailer's signature on the postage statement certifies that the Move Update standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.

Back to Top

4.0 Price Eligibility for Standard Mail

4.1 General Information

All Standard Mail prices are presorted prices (including all nonprofit prices). These prices apply to mailings meeting the basic standards in 2.0 through 4.0 and the corresponding standards for Presorted prices under 3.0 and 5.0, Enhanced Carrier Route prices under 6.0, automation prices under 7.0, or Customized MarketMail prices under 705.1.0. Except for Customized MarketMail pieces, destination entry discount prices are available under 246.2.0 through 246.5.0. Nonprofit prices may be used only by organizations authorized by the USPS. Not all processing categories qualify for every price. Pieces are subject to either a single minimum per piece price or a combined piece/pound price, depending on the weight of the individual pieces in the mailing.

4.2 Minimum Per Piece Prices

The minimum per piece prices (the minimum postage that must be paid for each piece) apply as follows:

a. Basic Requirement. Pieces mailed at Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route prices are subject to minimum per piece prices when they weigh no more than 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound).

b. In applying the minimum per piece prices, a mailpiece is categorized as either a letter or a nonletter, based on whether the piece meets the letter-size standard in 201.1.1.1, Dimensional Standards for Letters, without regard to placement of the address on the piece, except under these conditions:

1. If the piece meets both the definition of a letter in 201.1.1.1 and the definition of an automation flat in 301.3.0, the piece may be prepared and entered at an automation flat price.

2. If the piece is prepared for automation letter prices, address placement is used to determine the length when applying the size standards and aspect ratio requirements to qualify for automation letter prices under 201.3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards. For this purpose, the length is considered to be the dimension parallel to the address.

3. Pieces mailed as Customized MarketMail under 705.1.0 must pay the prices in 705.1.2 and must not exceed 3.3 ounces.

c. Individual Prices. There are separate minimum per piece prices for each subclass (Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route) and within each subclass for the type of mailing and the level of presort within each mailing.

4.3 Piece/Pound Prices

Pieces that exceed 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound) are subject to a two-part piece/pound price that includes a fixed charge per piece and a variable pound charge based on weight. Pieces exceeding 3.3 ounces may not be mailed as Customized MarketMail. There are separate per piece prices for each subclass (Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route) and within each subclass for the type of mailing and the level of presort within each mailing under 3.0 through 7.0. There are separate per pound prices for each subclass (Regular, Enhanced Carrier Route, Nonprofit, and Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route) under 3.0 through 7.0. Discounted per pound prices also may be claimed for destination entry mailings (destination bulk mail center (DBMC) and destination sectional center facility (DSCF)) under 246.

Back to Top

5.0 Additional Eligibility Standards for Nonautomation Standard Mail Letters

5.1 Basic Standards

All pieces in a Regular Standard Mail or Nonprofit Standard Mail nonautomation price mailing must:

a. Meet the basic standards for Standard Mail in 2.0 through 4.0 in Prices and Eligibility.

b. Except as provided in 3.6, Residual Volume Requirement, be part of a single mailing of at least 200 addressed pieces or 50 pounds of pieces qualifying for nonautomation Standard Mail. Regular and Nonprofit mailings must meet separate minimum volumes.

c. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The ZIP Code accuracy standard in 3.8.

2. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

d. Be marked, sorted, and documented as specified in 245, Mail Preparation, or 705.8.0, Preparing Pallets.

5.2 Weight Standards for Machinable Pieces

Maximum weight limit for machinable nonautomation Standard mail is 3.3 ounces (0.2063 pound).

5.3 Price Application

Nonautomation prices for Regular and Nonprofit Standard Mail apply to letters that meet the eligibility standards in 2.0, Content Standards for Standard Mail Letters, and the preparation standards in 245, Mail Preparation, or 705.8.0, Preparing Pallets.

5.4 Machinable Price Application

Machinable letters are subject only to AADC and mixed AADC prices.

5.4.1 AADC Price

The AADC price applies to qualifying letter-size machinable pieces (see 201.1.0, Physical Standards for Machinable Letters and Cards) placed in origin/entry 3-digit trays, to quantities of 150 or more pieces prepared in AADC trays for a single AADC, and to pieces placed in mixed AADC trays in lieu of overflow AADC trays.

5.4.2 Mixed AADC Price

The mixed AADC price applies to qualifying letter-size machinable pieces that the mailer prepares in mixed AADC trays, except for pieces placed in mixed AADC trays in lieu of overflow AADC trays (see 245.5.3.2).

5.5 Nonmachinable Price Application

Nonmachinable prices in 1.0 apply only to Standard Mail letter-size pieces (including card-size pieces) weighing 3.3 ounces or less that have one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics in 201.2.1. Except for Enhanced Carrier Route letter-size pieces, nonmachinable letter-size pieces weighing more than 3.3 ounces are subject to Not Flat-Machinable prices (see 443), unless they are barcoded and eligible to be mailed as automation flats under 301.3.0. Nonmachinable Enhanced Carrier Route letter-size pieces over 3.3 ounces are subject to the Enhanced Carrier Route flats prices.

5.5.1 5-Digit Price

The 5-digit price applies to letter-size pieces subject to the nonmachinable prices (see 5.5) prepared in quantities of 150 or more pieces for a 5-digit ZIP Code and presented in 5-digit trays under 245.5.0.

5.5.2 3-Digit Price

The 3-digit price applies to letter-size pieces subject to the nonmachinable prices (see 5.5) prepared in quantities of 150 or more pieces for a 3-digit ZIP Code and presented in 3-digit trays under 245.5.0.

5.5.3 ADC Price

The ADC price applies to letter-size pieces subject to the nonmachinable prices (see 5.5) placed in 3-digit origin/entry trays and to pieces prepared in quantities of 150 or more for an ADC and presented in ADC trays under 245.5.0.

5.5.4 Mixed ADC Price

The mixed ADC price applies to letter-size pieces that are subject to the nonmachinable prices and prepared in mixed ADC trays.

Back to Top

6.0 Additional Eligibility Standards for Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail Letters

6.1 General Enhanced Carrier Route Standards

6.1.1 Optional Preparation

Preparation to qualify for any Enhanced Carrier Route price is optional and need not be performed for all carrier routes in a 5-digit area. An Enhanced Carrier Route mailing may include pieces at basic, high density, and saturation (simplified address and other addressing) Enhanced Carrier Route prices.

6.1.2 Basic Eligibility Standards

[5-11-09] All pieces in an Enhanced Carrier Route or Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail mailing must:

a. Meet the basic standards for Standard Mail in 2.0 through 4.0 in Prices and Eligibility.

b. Be part of a single mailing of at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of pieces of Enhanced Carrier Route Standard Mail. ECR and Nonprofit ECR mailings must meet separate minimum volumes.

c. Be sorted to carrier routes, marked, and documented under 245.6.0, Preparing Enhanced Carrier Route Letters, or 705.8.0, Preparing Pallets.

d. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code, ZIP+4 code, or numeric equivalent to the delivery point barcode (DPBC) and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The carrier route accuracy standard in 6.2.

2. The address matching and coding standards in 7.5, Address Standards for Barcoded Pieces, and 708.3.0, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS).

3. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

e. Meet the applicable sequencing requirements in 6.3 through 6.5 and 245.6.8.

f. Meet the applicable documentation and postage payment standards in 244, Postage Payment and Documentation, and 1.6, Computing Postage for Standard Mail.

g. Meet the requirements for automation compatibility in 201.3.0 and bear an accurate delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 202.5.0, and 708.4.0. Pieces prepared with a simplified address format are exempt from this requirement. Letters with Intelligent Mail barcodes entered under the full-service Intelligent Mail automation option also must meet the standards in 705.22.0.

6.1.3 Maximum Weight for Enhanced Carrier Route Letters

Maximum weight for Standard Mail Enhanced Carrier Route pieces: 3.5 ounces (0.2188 pound) (see 201.3.14.4, Heavy Letter Mail, for pieces heavier than 3 ounces).

6.2 Carrier Route Accuracy

6.2.1 Basic Standards

The carrier route accuracy standard is a means of ensuring that the carrier route code correctly matches the delivery address information. For the purposes of this standard, address means a specific address associated with a specific carrier route code. Addresses used on pieces claiming certain prices under 6.2.2 that are subject to the carrier route accuracy standard must meet these requirements:

a. Each address and associated carrier route code used on the mailpieces in a mailing must be updated within 90 days before the mailing date with one of the USPS-approved methods in 3.8.2.

b. Each individual address in the mailing is subject to the carrier route accuracy standard.

c. If the carrier route code (and accuracy) of an address used on a mailpiece in a carrier route mailing at one class of mail and price is updated with an approved method, the same address may be used during the following 90 days to meet the carrier route accuracy standard required for mailing at any other class of mail and price.

6.2.2 Mail Classes and Prices

Except as provided in 243.6.2.3, addresses used on pieces claiming all Enhanced Carrier Route prices for Standard Mail, regardless of any required surcharges, must meet the carrier route accuracy standard.

6.2.3 Exception

The carrier route accuracy standard does not apply to mail of any class bearing a simplified address format under 602.3.0, Use of Alternative Addressing.

6.2.4 USPS-Approved Methods

Carrier route coding must be performed using CASS-certified software and the current USPS Carrier Route Product or another Address Information System (AIS) product containing carrier route information subject to 509.1.0, Address Information System Products, and 708.3.0, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS).

6.2.5 Mailer Certification

The mailer's signature on the postage statement certifies that the carrier route accuracy standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.

6.3 Basic Price Enhanced Carrier Route Standards

6.3.1 Sequencing

All pieces mailed at basic prices must be prepared in walk sequence or in line-of-travel (LOT) sequence according to LOT schemes prescribed by the USPS (see 245.6.8 through 245.6.9 in Preparing Enhanced Carrier Route Letters).

6.3.2 Basic Price Eligibility

[5-11-09] Basic prices apply to each piece sorted under 245.6.0 or 705.8.0 in a full carrier route tray, in a carrier route bundle of 10 or more pieces, or in groups of 10 or more pieces placed in a 5-digit carrier routes or a 3-digit carrier routes tray. Basic prices also apply under these conditions:

a. Basic letter prices apply to each piece that is automation-compatible according to 201.3.0, and has an accurate delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 202.5.0 and 708.4.0.

b. Pieces that are not automation-compatible or not barcoded are mailable at the basic price for flat-size pieces.

6.4 High Density Enhanced Carrier Route Standards

6.4.1 Basic Eligibility Standards for High Density Prices

[5-11-09] High density prices apply to each piece that is automation-compatible according to 201.3.0, and has an accurate delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 202.5.0, and 708.4.0. High density prices also apply under these additional conditions: Mailpieces must be in a full carrier route tray or in a carrier route bundle of 10 or more pieces placed in a 5-digit carrier routes or 3-digit carrier routes tray.

a. Pieces that are not automation-compatible or not barcoded are mailable at the high density price for flat-size pieces.

b. Pieces bearing a simplified address do not need to meet the standards in 201.3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards, and are not required to have a barcode to qualify for letter prices.

6.4.2 High Density Prices for Letters

All pieces mailed at high density prices must:

a. Be prepared in walk sequence according to schemes prescribed by the USPS (see 245.6.8 through 245.6.9 in Preparing Enhanced Carrier Route Letters).

b. Meet the density requirement of at least 125 pieces for each carrier route. Multiple pieces per delivery address can count toward this density standard.

6.4.3 High Density Discount for Heavy Letters

Pieces that otherwise qualify for the high density letter price and weigh more than 3.3 ounces but not more than 3.5 ounces pay postage equal to the piece/pound price and receive a discount equal to the high density flat-size piece price (3.3 ounces or less) minus the high density letter piece price (3.3 ounces or less). If claiming a destination entry price, the discount is calculated using the corresponding prices.

6.5 Saturation ECR Standards

6.5.1 Basic Eligibility Standards for Saturation Prices

[5-11-09] Saturation prices apply to each piece that is automation-compatible according to 201.3.0, and has an accurate delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 202.5.0, and 708.4.0. Saturation prices also apply under these additional conditions:

a. Mailpieces must be in a full carrier route tray or in a carrier route bundle of 10 or more pieces placed in a 5-digit carrier routes or 3-digit carrier routes tray.

b. Pieces that are not automation-compatible or not barcoded are mailable at the saturation price for flat-size pieces.

c. Pieces bearing a simplified address do not need to meet the standards in 201.3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards, and are not required to have a barcode to qualify for letter prices.

6.5.2 Saturation Prices for Letters

All pieces mailed at saturation prices must:

a. Be prepared in walk sequence according to schemes prescribed by the USPS (see 245.6.8 through 245.6.9 in Preparing Enhanced Carrier Route Letters).

b. Meet the density requirement of at least 90% or more of the active residential addresses or 75% or more of the total number of active possible delivery addresses on each carrier route receiving this mail. Pieces bearing a simplified address must meet the coverage standards in 602.3.0, Use of Alternative Addressing. Multiple pieces per delivery address do not count toward this density standard.

6.5.3 Saturation Discount for Heavy Letters

Pieces that otherwise qualify for the saturation letter price and weigh more than 3.3 ounces but not more than 3.5 ounces pay postage equal to the piece/pound price and receive a discount equal to the saturation flat-size piece price (3.3 ounces or less) minus the saturation letter piece price (3.3 ounces or less). If claiming a destination entry price, the discount is calculated using the corresponding prices.

Back to Top

7.0 Eligibility Standards for Automation Standard Mail

7.1 Basic Eligibility Standards for Automation Standard Mail

[5-11-09] All pieces in a Regular Standard Mail or Nonprofit Standard Mail automation mailing must:

a. Meet the basic standards for Standard Mail in 2.0 through 4.0 in Prices and Eligibility.

b. Be part of a single mailing of at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of pieces of automation price Standard Mail (Regular and Nonprofit mailings must meet separate minimum volumes).

c. Be in the same processing category and meet the physical standards in 201.3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards.

d. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code, ZIP+4 code, or numeric equivalent to the delivery point barcode (DPBC) and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The address matching and coding standards in 7.5, Address Standards for Barcoded Pieces, and 708.3.0, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS).

2. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

e. Bear an accurate delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code, matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 202.5.0, and 708.4.0. Mailers must apply the barcode either on the piece or on an insert showing through a window.

f. Be marked and sorted according to 245.7.0, Preparing Automation Letters.

g. Meet the applicable documentation and postage payment standards in 1.6, Computing Postage for Standard Mail, and 244.1.0 through 244.3.0 in Postage Payment and Documentation.

7.2 Additional Eligibility Standards for Full-Service Automation Standard Mail Letters

[5-11-09] All pieces entered under the full-service Intelligent Mail automation option must:

a. Bear a unique Intelligent Mail barcode.

b. Be part of a mailing that meets the standards in 705.22.0.

c. Be scheduled for an appointment through the Facility Access and Shipment Tracking (FAST) system when deposited as a DBMC or DSCF drop-shipment.

7.3 Maximum Weight for Automation Letters

Maximum weight limit for automation price mail is 3.5 ounces (0.2188 pound). See 201.3.14.4, Heavy Letter Mail, for pieces heavier than 3 ounces.

7.4 Price Application for Automation Letters

Automation prices apply to each piece that is sorted under 245.7.0, Preparing Automation Letters, into the corresponding qualifying groups:

a. Groups of 150 or more pieces in 5-digit/scheme trays qualify for the 5-digit price. Preparation to qualify for that price is optional. Pieces placed in full 3-digit/scheme trays under 245.7.5 in lieu of 5-digit/scheme overflow trays are eligible for 5-digit prices (see 245.7.5).

b. Groups of 150 or more pieces in 3-digit/scheme trays qualify for the 3-digit price. Pieces placed in full AADC trays under 245.7.5 in lieu of 3-digit/scheme overflow trays are eligible for 3-digit prices (see 245.7.5).

c. Groups of fewer than 150 pieces in origin/entry 3-digit/scheme trays and groups of 150 or more pieces in AADC trays qualify for the AADC price. Pieces placed in mixed AADC trays under 245.7.5 in lieu of AADC overflow trays also are eligible for AADC prices (see 245.7.5).

d. Pieces in mixed AADC trays qualify for the mixed AADC price, except for pieces prepared under 7.4c.

7.5 Address Standards for Barcoded Pieces

7.5.1 Basic Address Standards for Barcodes

To qualify for automation prices, addresses must be sufficiently complete to enable matching to the current USPS ZIP+4 Product when used with current CASS-certified address matching software. Standardized address elements are not required. Any barcode as defined in 202.5.0, Barcode Placement, and 708.4.0, Standards for POSTNET and Intelligent Mail Barcodes, that appears on a mailpiece claimed at an automation price must be the correct barcode for the corresponding delivery address on the piece.

7.5.2 Numeric ZIP+4

A numeric ZIP+4 code must consist of five digits, a hyphen, and four digits.

7.5.3 Numeric Delivery Point Barcode (DPBC)

The numeric equivalent is formed by adding three digits directly after the ZIP+4 code.

7.5.4 Address Elements

Addresses must include the correct street number, predirectional, street name, suffix, and postdirectional that are input to obtain a match with the current USPS ZIP+4 Product.

7.5.5 Firm Name

An address must include a firm name when necessary to obtain a match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product. If an address contains a firm name assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product, the unique ZIP+4 code must be used. If the firm name is not one assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product and the apartment/suite number is included in the address, the ZIP+4 code for the range in which the apartment/suite number appears must be used in that address. If the firm name does not correspond to a firm name that has a unique ZIP+4 code assigned in the USPS ZIP+4 Product and the apartment/suite number is not included in the address, the ZIP+4 code for the building must be used.

7.5.6 Secondary Designator

If a secondary address designator (e.g., an apartment number) is shown in the address, the mailpiece must show the appropriate ZIP+4 code representing the range for that secondary address as contained in the current USPS ZIP+4 Product. If a secondary address designator is required to obtain an exact match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product but the information is not available, the alternative ZIP+4 code or ZIP+4 or delivery point barcode for the building must be used.

7.5.7 Rural and Highway Contract Routes

If a rural route or highway contract route box number is included in the address, the mailpiece must show the appropriate ZIP+4 code representing the range for that box number as contained in the current USPS ZIP+4 Product. If a rural route or highway contract route box number is required to obtain a match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code but is not available, the alternative ZIP+4 code or ZIP+4 or delivery point barcode for the rural route or highway contract route must be used. If used, the rural route or highway contract route box number must be placed on the line immediately above the city/state/ZIP Code line.

7.5.8 Post Office Box

A Post Office box address must contain a Post Office box number that can be exactly matched with the USPS ZIP+4 Product in effect.

7.6 Enclosed Reply Cards and Envelopes

All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (business reply, courtesy reply, and meter reply mail) provided as enclosures in automation Regular or Nonprofit Standard Mail, and addressed for return to a domestic delivery address, must meet the standards in 201.3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards, for enclosed reply cards and envelopes. The mailer's signature on the postage statement certifies that this standard has been met when the corresponding mail is presented to the USPS.

7.7 Discount for Heavy Automation Letters

Automation letters that weigh more than 3.3 ounces but not more than 3.5 ounces pay postage equal to the automation piece/pound price and receive a discount equal to the automation nonletter piece price (3.3 ounces or less) minus the automation letter piece price (3.3 ounces or less). If claiming a destination entry price, the discount is calculated using the corresponding prices.

Back to Top