The cost of mailing a letter might be going up in January. In an effort to improve its financial situation, the U.S. Postal Service is proposing a 5-cent increase on its first-class stamp, which would increase the cost of mailing a one-ounce envelope from 50 cents to 55 cents.
If you send a lot of mail, there’s no need to start worrying about the price hike just yet. The change, which was proposed by the Postal Service’s board of governors, needs to be approved by regulators before it can be implemented. If approved, the recommended 10 percent increase for a one-ounce letter would be the biggest increase in postal rates since 1991. However, the price of each additional ounce would go down, from 21 cents to 15 cents.
According to a news release about the proposed price changes, the Postal Service also wants to increase the rates for other types of mail — a small flat-rate box would increase from $7.20 to $7.90 under the proposal, for example.
Why? The Postal Service has had years of financial troubles due to a variety of factors and really needs more money. A steady decrease in mail volume (which is the Postal Service’s main source of revenue), combined with the cost of providing employee benefits such as healthcare and pension obligations, has overshadowed the steady gain in package deliveries.
The drop in mail volume can be attributed to the way people live their lives. The Postal Service has been affected by technology in a variety of ways, including the rise in online banking. Nearly two-thirds of all recurring payments such as mortgages and utilities are now billed and paid electronically. Other aspects of technology, such as the ease of sharing photos and videos on social media, have affected the way people stay in touch.
In ongoing attempts to bolster its finances, the Postal Service is leaving no stone unturned. A recent report examined how millennials use the mail service and how the Postal Service can better market their services to that demographic.