What is the difference between mailing First Class and mailing Standard (3rd class)?

May 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm 8 comments

The two key differences are delivery time and postage rates:

A First Class mailing is treated as a priority; the normal delivery time is 3–5 business days. A Standard mailing can take up to 2 weeks or longer for delivery. Therefore, you are paying a premium to mail First Class and the postage rates are much higher to mail this way.

The exception is the 4.25 x 6 postcard, as you will receive less costly postage rates mailing First Class than if you mail Standard.

Another thing to keep in mine is that you will receive returns (due to bad addresses/undeliverable mail) on First Class mail but you will not on Standard. For this reason, when you mail Standard, it’s important to consider the quality of your mailing list and how that will affect your postage costs.

Best, Melissa


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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Roderick  |  May 15, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Melissa, this blog is a great idea.

    What is the difference in price from mailing a letter First Class and a Postcard (regular 4.25 x 6 and over-sized)?

    • 2. Melissa  |  May 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      The price for putting a stamp on is .28 per piece for a postcard and .44 per piece for a letter.

      The postage difference between mailing a 4.25 x 6 postcard and a larger card (6 x 8.5 & 6 x 11) are pretty significant. Most of our clients mail the larger card Standard 3rd class to save on postage. The current postage rate for a 4.25 x 6 to mail is 20.5 – 23 cents per piece. This size piece can only be mailed First Class, if you mail this size piece Standard, it will mail as a letter versus a postcard. The postage rates for the 6 x 8.5 or 6 x 11 are 32.4 – 36.9 First class and 22.5 – 25.7 Standard.

      • 3. Roderick  |  May 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm

        Thanks, Melissa.

        One more…can a large postcard be folded to 4.25 x 6 (in half) and still have the same postage?) Does your company offer this service? Thanks for your expertise!

  • 4. Steve Sprague  |  May 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Having recently sent a mailing 1st class, I see what you mean about getting returns. We received HUNDREDS of them, because the post office considered many as invalid addresses, even though the addresses were actually correct. They reject addresses with “Cty” instead of “County” for example. The errors in addresses were so miniscule as to be ludicrous. Where can I get some idea of what to look for concerning what the Post Office considers a “correct” address?

    • 5. Melissa  |  May 28, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Steve,

      Here is a link from the USPS website that should help you with the address quality: http://www.usps.com/ncsc/addressstds/deliveryaddress.htm. I’m guessing the list you are mailing to is an in-house list of your own. In this case, I would run the list through the National Change of Address list if you haven’t done this already. This will only update the addresses that have turned in a Change of Address card in the last 18 months. In addition to running the list through the NCOA, remove any bad addresses as they come back and this will keep your list fully updated so you do not waste money on postage.

      Best, Melissa

  • 6. justlowrates  |  July 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    I have a question…I thought that you did get returns on STD mail if you put a STD stamp on the card/envelope instead of an indicia mark…can you comment on this…

    • 7. Melissa  |  July 10, 2009 at 6:52 pm

      There are Service Endorsements that can be added to the mail piece and in a case when these are used you can receive returns or have the mail forwarded.

      Can you give me a “for instance” and I can help you more specifically?

      Best, Mel

  • 8. Opal Small  |  February 2, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Ace writing. You have got a brand-new reader. Please maintain the good posts and I look forward to more of your newsworthy writings.


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