January marked the arrival of good news — and some not-so-good news — from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
USPS is now more than two years into its 10-year plan, Delivering for America (DFA), which presents a focus on modernizing the system, increasing efficiency and bettering its financial outlook. USPS says the DFA “has achieved significant and measurable successes” so far.
The ongoing nature of this plan means that 2024 brings new policy changes as well. While many of this year’s changes are meant to deliver higher satisfaction, you may have to shell out a few extra cents. Following is a look at some of the things you can expect to change this year.
Higher first-class mail prices
Prices were hiked last year, and 2024 can’t escape an increase either.
On Jan. 21, price changes officially took effect, including:
- First-class mail Forever stamp: 68 cents (up from 66)
- Metered letters (1 ounce): 64 cents (up from 63 cents)
- Domestic postcards: 53 cents (up from 51 cents)
- International postcards: $1.55 (up from $1.50)
- International letters (1 ounce): $1.55 (up from $1.50)
If 2024 is anything like 2023, you may see some additional price increases this year. USPS increased its rates in January 2023 and an additional time last July.
Higher prices for Priority Mail
Priority Mail fees are determined by weight and where the package is heading (unless you select a flat rate box).
In 2024, those rates have increased by an average of 5.7% and the Priority Mail Express service increased by about 5.9%.
USPS Ground Advantage, a slightly slower and more affordable option than Priority Mail that was introduced in 2023, is seeing rates increase by an average of 5.4%.
New stamp designs
Not everything new has to be a price hike. USPS has released a new stamp for Valentine’s Day and has more than a dozen other releases set for 2024. These new stamp sets include themes such as Dungeons and Dragons, Garden Delights and Pillars of Creation.
USPS reports that as of the start of 2024, it was delivering 87.5% of first-class mail on time — 1.6 percentage points more than the previous quarter. And it delivered 45% of mail and packages a day ahead of the specified service standard. The mail that isn’t delivered in the specified time range, USPS says, is often a result of staffing issues.
Its goal is to deliver 95% of all types of mail on time. So in a push to continue raising the rate of successful, on-time deliveries, USPS is opening new sorting and delivery centers. USPS has already opened several new sorting and delivery centers as part of its 10-year plan and 18 more are coming online in the first couple months of 2024.
New anti-fraud rules for mail forwarding
This new rule from USPS was implemented in 2023, but unless you’ve recently moved, you may not know about it yet. The change adds some extra security to the change of address process to mitigate fraud.
While users previously only had to submit a form online or in person, they’ll now also have to present some unexpired form of ID.
This can still be done online or in person. If you do it online, you’ll have to pay a $1.10 credit card identity verification fee, and it’s possible USPS will request further verification. If so, the system will generate a barcode sent to you via email. You’ll have to go to a local post office to present the barcode and a valid photo ID.
You can skip the online part and fill out the form in person; just visit a local post office and bring a valid form of ID.