Updated Oct 6, 2023 - Economy

USPS proposes fourth stamp price increase in two years

The USPS is proposing an increase of the price of a first-class stamp starting in January. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The price of postage stamps could increase again in January 2024 — the fourth rate hike in less than two years — under a new United States Postal Service proposal revealed Friday.

Why it matters: If approved, the approximately 2% increase would be the 18th stamp rate change since 2000.

  • Rates went up twice this year with increases in January and July.
  • They also increased in July 2022 and August 2021.
  • Costs to send a letter by certified mail and insure packages will also increase if the proposal is approved.

Driving the news: The announcement comes weeks after USPS said it wouldn't levy any additional surcharges during the peak 2023 holiday season like in past years.

What they're saying: USPS said in its statement that the price adjustments are needed as "inflationary pressures on operating expenses continue and the effects of a previously defective pricing model are still being felt."

Stamp increase could start Jan. 21

Sunday, Jan. 21 is the day the new rates would go into effect and postage for a 1-ounce letter would increase to 68 cents, up 2 cents from the current price of 66 cents.

Other increases are:

  • Metered 1-ounce letters would cost 64 cents, up from 63 cents.
  • Postcards sent domestically would be 53 cents, up from 51 cents.
  • International postcards and 1-ounce letters would see a 5-cent increase to $1.55.

Forever stamp prices

Flashback: The Postal Service first started selling Forever stamps in 2007, when they cost 41 cents.

  • Since 2011, all first-class commemorative stamps have been issued as Forever stamps.

More USPS stamp hikes

Meanwhile, Kevin Yoder, executive director of the advocacy group Keep US Posted, said he expects the proposed rate hike will drive more consumers and businesses away from using the mail.

  • "These unprecedented postage hikes are giving Americans rate whiplash and compromising the Postal Service's ability to deliver for America," said Yoder, a former Republican congressman from Kansas.
  • "Paper mail business keeps USPS afloat, and with every postage hike, more mail leaves the system forever," Yoder said.

What's next: More price increases are expected as part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's 10-year Delivering for America plan "to achieve financial sustainability."

  • Yoder said the "twice annual postage increases are the only part of the Delivering for America Plan that is coming to fruition."

Editor's note: This story was updated with comments from Kevin Yoder, executive director of Keep US Posted.

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