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USPS Shipping for 2018: Changes and Updates



Every year, USPS updates, alters, and sometimes raises rates. This year is no different. USPS rate changes have been in effect since January 21st of this year and have increased 3.1% across all mail classes and shipping services. Shippers using UPS and Fedex as part of their shipping solution, should also be aware that UPS and Fedex have increased their rates this year by approximately 4.9% with surcharge and fee increases as well. The biggest changes have taken place for Priority and First Class packages.  For Priority Mail, rates went up by 6.1%, and, for Priority Mail Express, rates have gone up 3.7% and First Class Package 3.9%. First Class Package, in particular, is one of USPS’s most popular options and has been unbeatable for shipping small parcels and light packages under 5.5 lbs. Not only has it been the cheapest (compared to other carriers like DHL, Fedex and UPS), it is also exceptionally fast and efficient and has been a consistently best-in-class choice for small parcel shippers over the past decade. This year, First Class Package has been impacted by USPS changes in several ways.


First Class Package Commercial Base Changes: First Class Package Retail Rates increased in 2018 while Commercial Base pricing has increased for some weights and not others. Commercial Base rates for First Class Package will move to one rate for packages up to 4 ounces and differ for packages from 4 to 15.999 ounces. Service still remains regular for Commercial Base customers.

First Class Package Retail Rates: For shippers buying First Class Packages at the Post Office, buying postage or stamps, or using Click -N-Ship on USPS’ website, full retail rates will apply. No Commercial Base or Commercial Plus rates will be extended at the Post Office.

First Class Package Commercial Plus Changes: Shippers currently buying USPS shipping labels through VIPparcel or the e-commerce platforms and shopping carts integrated with VIPparcel receive Commercial Plus pricing on domestic and international shipping with absolutely no hidden fees- no monthly membership fees and no per-label fees. Customers with VIPparcel accounts may also wish to synchronize their eBay accounts to receive VIPparcel’s Commercial Plus rates to print labels for their eBay sales.

If you are  shipping large envelopes or flat rate packages with First Class International, you should be aware of additional changes to shipping protocol and cost. Before January 21, 2018, it was possible to ship documents and goods internationally in Large Envelope/Flat Rates via First Class Mail International if the envelopes met the following dimension restrictions:

Large Envelopes/Flat Rate Boxes shipping First Class International can no longer contain merchandise - only documents. For shippers sending merchandise, there are three other options to consider. Large Envelopes/Flat Rate boxes are not an option.

First Class Package International Service: First Class Package International  is the most cost effective shipping method offered by the USPS to worldwide destinations. It is is the optimal way to send your packages when delivery time is not as important as lowest cost shipping prices. Be mindful, customs restrictions may apply based on the countries to which you are shipping. Senders should consider restrictions and prohibitions and should visit our prohibitions page.

First Class Package International Shipping Requirements Include:

  • Maximum weight: 64 oz (4 lbs)

  • May not exceed $400 in total value

  • Maximum combined length, height/width: 36 inches/42 inches for rolls and tubes

  • All countries have customs regulations and restrictions & prohibitions for import/export.

  • No guarantee on delivery window dates or time frame.

Priority Mail International Service: Priority Mail International provides not only reliable, but also affordable international delivery. Priority Mail International Shipping Requirements Include:

  • Can be qualified for FREE Package Pickup service at your home or office

  • Delivers in approximately 6-10 business days

  • Offers senders USPS Tracking

  • Extends up to $100 insurance on non-negotiable document reconstruction and up to $200 insurance for merchandise for loss or damage

With Priority Mail International Flat Rate, you pay the same price no matter the weight or country of origin. For example, if you are shipping to France, you will pay the same rate regardless of final delivery address in France. The tracking and delivery time frame guarantee comes with an additional cost. However, shipping with First Class Package International shippers do not incur this additional cost. When considering optimal ways to ship your goods or documents, you will want evaluate how much of the additional fees generated by tracking and delivery time frame guarantees will be absorbed or passed on to your customers. You will also want to consider the balance between cost and speed, depending on your particular needs.


Posted on February 8, 2018