Direct Mail

How Much is First Class Postage

By 19 March 2024April 15th, 2024No Comments
bulk mail postage costs and rates

First Class Postage: The Most Effective Way To Minimize Your Direct Mail Expenses

Remember Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants? The quirky red crab would plop around Krusty Krab, looking for ways to save him money. As children, we might not have liked the character back then, and most people still don’t. Nonetheless, we can’t help but agree with his caution in using money as adults.

bulk mail postage costs and rates

And if Mr. Krabs is in charge of your business’s direct mail communications, he would choose First-Class Mail in the blink of an eye. We are not saying that because the First Class postage is significantly lower than other USPS services.

It is arguably the best mailing service for any business communication. But, don’t take our or Mr. Krab’s word for it. Let us explain how the First Class postage rates are perfect for your direct mail marketing and communication needs. 

Below we provide you with everything you need to know about 1st Class postage rates and how you can maximize your ROI using it.

Related Article: First Class Mail: What is it and How to Send It

How Much Is First Class Postage?

The first thing to know about USPS First-Class Mail is that it is the least expensive way of sending envelopes and lightweight packages. Naturally, it is the first choice of business organizations for sending marketing and communication mailers. So, every time a business considers implementing a direct mail campaign, they start by checking the First Class postage for their mailers.

But, to ensure that your mailer qualifies for the standard First Class postage, you must provide the mailer meets certain conditions. For instance, if your First-Class mail is overweight, you may have to pay extra postage. But assuming that your mailer meets all the standard requirements of a USPS First-Class mail, its postage rate starts at $0.60.

However, the $0.60 First Class postage is only for your business mailers that do not weigh more than 1 oz. In other words, you only need a single First-Class Forever stamp worth $0.60 for sending a domestic business mail weighing less than 1 oz. Of course, you can get cheaper postage-metered letters and even more affordable commercial pricing.

Related Article: How Long Does First Class Mail Take?

What Is First Class Postage For Retail Single Piece Mailers?

You should be more than familiar with retail pricing as a business organization. The retail price is never the best price for a product or service. And the same goes for postal services. Retail postage price is the postage you have to pay for non-bulk or individual mail.

For instance, let’s say you send a stamped business mailer to a single customer. In this case, you do not get commercial pricing because it is not bulk mail. Hence, you would have to pay the retail 1st class postage for sending the mailer.

The following table shows the retail First Class postage for single-piece mailers.

First Class Postage For Stamped Letters

Maximum Weight In oz. First Class Postage Rate
1 $0.60
2 $0.84
3 $1.08
3.5 $1.32

First Class Postage For Metered Letters

Maximum Weight In oz. First Class Postage Rate
1 $0.57
2 $0.81
3 $1.05
3.5 $1.29

First Class Postage For Large Envelopes (Flats)

Maximum Weight In oz. First Class Postage Rate
1 $1.20
2 $1.44
3 $1.68
4 $1.92
5 $2.16
6 $2.40
7 $2.64
8 $2.88
9 $3.12
10 $3.36
11 $3.60
12 $3.84
13 $4.08

First Class Postage For Postcards And Other Mailers

The retail-single piece First Class postage for postcards is only $0.44. On the other hand, the EDDM or Every Door Direct Mail retail single piece has postage of only $0.187. But much like the other mailers, the EDDM mailer also needs to be flat and weigh less than 3.3 oz. And finally, we also have semipostal stamps, which cost slightly more, and the price starts at $0.750.

First Class Postage For Retail Parcels

Unlike USPS letters, the First Class postage rate for parcels tends to change. The postage rate can vary depending on the zone of delivery and the Weight of the package. You can use the following table to find the postage for First-Class Retail parcels.

Weight (oz.) Zone
1&2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 – 4 $4.50 $4.60 $4.65 $4.70 $4.75 $4.80 $5.00 $5.00
5 – 8 $5.10 $5.15 $5.20 $5.25 $5.30 $5.40 $5.50 $5.50
9 -12 $5.80 $5.85 $5.90 $5.95 $6.00 $6.15 $6.25 $6.25
13 $7.05 $7.10 $7.25 $7.30 $7.40 $7.55 $7.65 $7.65

Besides this, if a First-Class parcel exceeds 22 inches in length, USPS adds another $4.00 and another $15 if it exceeds 30 inches. Similarly, postal packages that exceed two cubic feet also add $15 to the 1st Class postage.

What Is First Class Postage For Commercial Mailers?

Commercial pricing or Commercial Plus Pricing (CPP) is a special discount that business organizations can get from USPS. Your business must have an annual shipping volume of at least 50,000 units per year to be eligible for the commercial pricing rates. As you can guess, the commercial pricing is lower than the standard 1st Class postage at all times.

Another thing you should know about USPS commercial pricing is that the first-class postage can vary depending on the level of automation. If USPS processing is fully automated, then the postage rate will be lower. Then there is nonautomation machinable mail and nonautomation nonmachinable mail. That’s not all. The postage within these postage rates can also vary depending on ZIP code presorting.

ZIP Code Presorting

There are three primary presort methods that the USPS bases its First Class postage rates on and they are:

  • Five-digit ZIP
  • Automated Area Distribution Center (AADC)
  • Mixed AADC

Five-Digit ZIP 

Suppose you are using the five-digit tray setup. In that case, you must submit at least 150 mail pieces that go to the same five-digit ZIP code. Furthermore, all mailpieces must be part of a single bundle to get the lowest First Class postage rate for your business mail.


The level of presorting in AADC is not as good as the one we discussed above. In this type, the letters are bundled together for deliveries in a specific area. The only common denominator here is that all the mailers or addresses share the same postal distribution center. Nonetheless, you still get a more affordable First Class postage rate with AADC.

Previously, USPS grouped AADC mail using a standard three-digit ZIP code. However, USPS stopped this practice in 2016 and merged the five and three-digit ZIP codes into a single presort scheme.


Lastly, we have the mixed AADC or MAADC presort scheme. As you can guess, the MAAD scheme covers a much broader geographic area than the other two schemes. In other words, any mailer that doesn’t qualify for the five-digit or AADC scheme falls into this category. The upside here is that, unlike the other two schemes, MAADC does not require a minimum mailer per tray.

First Class Postage For Commercial Letters And Postcards (Automation)

Maximum Weight (oz.) Five-Digit AADC Mixed AADC
1 $0.455 $0.491 $0.515
2 $0.455 $0.491 $0.515
3 $0.455 $0.491 $0.515
3.5 $0.455 $0.491 $0.515
Postcards $0.330 $0.348 $0.359

First Class Postage For Commercial Letters And Postcards (Nonautomation Machinable)

Maximum Weight (oz.) AADC Mixed AADC
1 $0.493 $0.526
2 $0.493 $0.526
3 $0.493 $0.526
3.5 $0.493 $0.526

First Class Postage For Commercial Letters And Postcards (Nonautomation Nonmachinable)

Maximum Weight (oz.) Five-Digit AADC Mixed AADC
1 $0.562 $0.671 $0.794
2 $0.562 $0.671 $0.794
3 $0.562 $0.671 $0.794
3.5 $0.562 $0.671 $0.794

First Class Postage For Commercial Flats (Large Envelopes – Automation)  

Maximum Weight (oz.) Five-Digit Three-Digit AADC Mixed AADC
1 $0.555 $0.762 $0.821 $0.934
2 $0.795 $1.002 $1.061 $1.174
3 $1.035 $1.242 $1.301 $1.414
4 $1.275 $1.482 $1.541 $1.654
5 $1.515 $1.722 $1.781 $1.894
6 $1.755 $1.962 $2.021 $2.134
7 $1.995 $2.202 $2.261 $2.374
8 $2.235 $2.442 $2.501 $2.614
9 $2.475 $2.682 $2.741 $2.854
10 $2.715 $2.922 $2.981 $3.094
11 $2.955 $3.162 $3.221 $3.334
12 $3.195 $3.402 $3.461 $3.574
13 $3.435 $3.642 $3.701 $3.814

First Class Postage For Commercial Flats (Large Envelopes – Machinable)

Maximum Weight (oz.) Presorted
1 $1.080
2 $1.320
3 $1.560
4 $1.800
5 $2.040
6 $2.280
7 $2.520
8 $2.760
9 $3.000
10 $3.240
11 $3.480
12 $3.720
13 $3.960

First Class Postage For Commercial Parcels

Similar to the retail First Class postage, the postage for commercial parcels also tends to vary. USPS postage differs depending on the delivery zone and the package weight. The following table can help you find the correct postage for your First-Class Commercial parcels.

Weight (oz.) Zone
1&2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 – 4 $3.37 $3.39 $3.42 $3.48 $3.58 $3.72 $3.86 $3.86
5 – 8 3.76 3.79 3.81 3.87 3.88 3.99 4.15 4.15
9 -12 4.34 4.39 4.42 4.50 4.68 4.83 4.98 4.98
13 – 15.999 5.49 5.53 5.57 5.72 5.96 6.11 6.28 6.28

Besides the First Class postage rate you see above, USPS charges an extra $0.25 for irregular-shaped parcels. An irregular-shaped box can include tubes, triangles, and other such packages.

What Is First Class Postage For International Mail?

Of course, sending First-Class mail to your international customers comes with an additional First Class postage, usually higher. Sending a First-Class postcard or a 1 oz retail letter to international addresses only costs about $1.40. But the postage can change depending on the country and the Weight of the letter.

The First Class postage rates can go as high as $5.04 for retail letters and $14.68 for large retail envelopes (15.999 oz). Naturally, the postage keeps on going up for retail packages. USPS categorizes countries into different groups, and the postage differs for each group. However, you can get a much better postage rate with USPS commercial pricing.

Related Article: What Is the Difference Between First Class and Standard Mail?

Features Of First-Class Mail

Suppose you intend to use First-Class Mail for your business communication. In that case, it is essential to understand its features and capabilities. And like any other product or service you buy, you must assess how feasible it is for your business communication. After all, the First Class postage rate is not the only consideration when selecting a postal service.

Delivery Time

First-Class mail is one of the most affordable postal services from USPS. So, don't be surprised if your mail delivery is not as fast as The Flash. According to USPS, their First-Class mail service can take between one to five business days for delivery.

If you think about it, the 1st Class postage rate is fair considering its delivery speed. And if you are sending a small package, the delivery time can take two to five business days. It is no wonder that most businesses consider First-Class mail delivery the best-priced postal service for their mailers.

Insurance For Damage/Loss

USPS provides insurance for their First-Class mail, which is always a plus because you never know what can happen. However, the insurance is only applicable to merchandise. You can use the insurance to cover damages or losses up to $5000.

Delivery Confirmation Services

The First-Class mail service from USPS is also eligible for delivery confirmation services like Certified Mail. However, this is an additional service and the First Class postage rate does not cover it. Hence, you may need to pay an additional fee for accessing such services.

One Price 

One of the significant advantages of using the USPS First-Class mail service is that it offers one price for commercial letters and cards. As long as the Weight of the mailer doesn't exceed 3.5 oz., you can get the same 1st Class postage for your mailers.

Weight, Size, & Shape Of First-Class Mail

You must keep track of your first-class mailers because it can directly affect the first-class postage rate of your mailer. Your First-Class mail letters can weigh a maximum of 3.5 oz, and for envelopes and parcels, they can go up to 13 oz.

All letters or postcards you send must be rectangular if you want to avoid additional charges. Using irregular or nonmachinable envelopes can increase First Class postage rates for your mailers.

How To Minimize First Class Postage?

There are several ways to minimize the First Class postage rates for your business mailers. Business organizations that send many mailers annually can opt for commercial pricing. Presorting your mailers can also get you a discount from USPS. 

However, in the sections above, we saw that presorting the mail is a tedious task. Not to mention that your 1st Class postage rates go up if the mailer is nonmachinable. The best way to avoid such scenarios is to use a direct mail automation tool like PostGrid.

PostGrid's direct mail automation software produces high-quality mailers that always meet USPS standards. Hence, PostGrid ensures that your business mailers are eligible for USPS commercial pricing. Furthermore, PostGrid has a track record of delivering bulk mail campaigns for leading companies in healthcare, real estate, and more industries.

Below is an excerpt from what one of our clients had to say about PostGrid helping them minimize their direct mail expenses.

“We were looking for a low-cost and easy-to-use direct mail platform. PostGrid could meet all our direct mail needs at a reasonable price, and there were zero delays in the SLA's commitment.”

We provide quick and cost-effective direct mail solutions that are tailor-made to fit our client's requirements. As a result, our clients always go home with a better ROI for their direct mail campaigns.

Related Content: USPS Bulk Mail Costs and Requirements


USPS First-Class Mail is one of the most affordable ways for business organizations to send mailers. However, that does not mean that you can not minimize the First Class postage rates for your business.

You can optimize your direct mail process by using an advanced direct mail automation solution like PostGrid. On top of that, it lets you access the USPS commercial pricing for your business mailers. It significantly brings down the First Class postage and contributes to a high ROI.

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