How Much Does it Cost to Mail a Letter?

Do you even remember the last time you went to a post office to buy a stamp and dropped your letter? We bet you can’t. You may even be guilty of not checking your mailbox regularly.

Gone were the days when the most awaited moment of someone who has been away from their loved ones being the very long novels that would present themselves as letters that would take around 2-3 weeks to arrive. At worst, even a month.

And also, gone were the days when the sweetest gift you would ever receive would be a Hallmark greeting card, whether it be for your birthday, Christmas, or just about any occasion. When all your emotions are poured in a love letter sealed with a kiss, has seemed to become just a thing of the past.

The digital age has taken over. The time when most chit-chats are done through text messages and the long distance communications are done through Skype. That even birthday greetings have lost their sincerity when Facebook has even automated them.

Perhaps the young generations have never even heard of snail mails and telegrams, post offices seem like an old museum to them, and postage stamps are just known as the items being collected by philatelists.

Nowadays, snail mails are almost limited to the billing statements, formal correspondences, and legal notices and documentations that have to be presented in hard copies because of the signatures involved. And if you are still one of those who send them, you may still be interested in how much the cost of postage is.

Average Cost to Mail a Letter

The cost to mail a letter depends on the type of letter you are going to send, the manner in which they have to be sent, among others.

The cost of postage for letters and other mails are the following:

  • First Class Mail Letters when purchased at the Post Office        $0.49
  • Additional oz First Class Mail Letters        $0.21
  • First Class Postage (1 oz) (Metered Rate)       $0.46
  • Additional oz First Class Postage        $0.21
  • First-Class Mail Flat/Large Envelope (1 oz.) (9″ X 12″)        $0.98
  • First-Class Mail Flat/Large Envelope – each additional ounce        $0.21
  • Postcards        $0.34

The Express mail is the quickest way to send through the USPS or the United States Post Office which provides a money-back guarantee if it fails to deliver overnight.

According to reports, the cost of sending an express mail has three different rates depending on the size or dimension of the envelope, to wit:

  • Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelope (12-1/2″ x 9-1/2″) – $23.75
  • Priority Mail Express Padded Flat Rate Envelope (12-1/2″ x 9-1/2″) – $24.95
  • Priority Mail Express Legal Flat Rate Envelope (15″ x 9-1/2″) – $23.95

On the other hand, regular mail envelopes have the following sending fees:

  • Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope – $6.65
  • Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope – $7.20
  • Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope – $6.95

What are Included

The cost to mail a letter includes the guarantee that your correspondence gets to its destination at the approximate time it is expected to arrive. This, of course, depends on the type of letter you have sent, the destination, and the manner of delivery that you have paid for.

If you want your letter to be delivered as quick as possible, choose the express mail service as USPS guarantees delivery overnight. Otherwise, you would get a refund of the fee.

Additional Costs

Please note that there are no government offices during weekends and holidays so delivery of any kind of communication via mail may have to be resumed the next business days. Luckily, USPS delivers even on Saturdays. However, Sundays might be different as this is supposedly rest days.

But you may have the option to have the Sunday delivery if you have a very urgent matter that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. But this, of course, entails extra charges as USPS taps a third party which is the for this particular service.

Also, the rates stated above are the basic rates for certain weight of the letter you are sending. Every ounce in excess would be charged $0.21on top of the basic postage rates.

Other fees that you may opt to include in your mail service are the following:

  • Certified Mail Fee        $3.35
  • Electronic Delivery Confirmation Receipt        $0.80
  • Return Receipt Green Card (Old Fashioned Green Card)        $2.75
  • Return Receipt Electronic Signature (PDF)       $1.45
  • Restricted Delivery Service        $4.95

It would also be very convenient since you do not have to go to the post office to drop your letter for delivery. Just paste the appropriate number of stamps based on the weight of your letter and drop it in your mailbox, lift the red metal flag to signify that there is a mail that needs to be delivered. Or if you do not have any, which by the way is next to impossible as there is a law sometime in 1923 mandating all American homes to have a mailbox, locate for one of the blue USPS mailboxes in your area and drop your letter there and a postal worker would be retrieving mails from there for delivery.

Where to Mail a Letter

When you do not feel comfortable dropping your very important or urgent mails at your own mailbox or at the USPS drop boxes, your only option is to drop by at the nearest post office.

You may use the tool to locate post offices and approved postal providers.

You may also want to sign up for account for your “postage on demand” which purports to let your print your own postage and shipping labels in seconds.

Factors Affecting Cost to Mail a Letter

The following are the factors that affect the price you have to pay for sending a letter:

  • The type of letter – the cost of sending a letter varies depending on whether you are sending a regular mail, a postcard, among others.
  • Express or regular – you automatically pay a higher fee if you want speedy delivery of your correspondence.
  • The weight – there is an automatic charge for every excess weight of your mail from the standard weight from which the minimum price is based.
  • The envelope – prices also vary depending on the kind and size of the envelope. Have you ever wondered why irregular envelopes or the square ones cost higher to send compared to the regular or the rectangular-shaped envelopes? This is because square envelopes cannot be processed via the machine used for the rectangular ones. Therefore, their addresses are manually entered into the system so that they can be routed to their corresponding post office.
  • The Destination – international destinations naturally cost much higher compared to local destinations.

Most Popular Certified Mail Services

  • Certified Mail with Electronic Delivery Confirmation – $4.61

This is the type of USPS service which provides the sender with a mailing receipt and an electronic verification sent via email that the letter or the article has been delivered or an attempt to deliver was made.

  • Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested – $6.06

This provides the sender the same service described above and an electronic delivery confirmation containing the recipient’s name, signature and delivery address sent through email.

  • Certified Mail with Return Receipt Signature Restricted Delivery – $11.01

This provides the sender the same type of service described above plus additional evidence or proof of the delivery. As the name suggests, the delivery of the item is restricted to the specified recipient or the recipient’s authorized representative only.

2 thoughts on “How Much Does it Cost to Mail a Letter?”

  1. I need to know how much stamp value to put on a letter to New Zealand and cannot find it amongst all the complicated stuff you have on line.Surely I should be able to find it through typing in Australia post or something similar.


Leave a Comment