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These are the four main size categories that USPS uses to classify mail and determine postage. Is your mail a postcard, letter, flat or parcel? Here's the quick answer:
(Click on the links for more detailed information.)
A postcard is a card (not an envelope) that fits ALL THREE of the following:
- 3½ - 4¼ inches tall; and,
- 5 - 6 inches wide; and,
- 0.007 - 0.016 inches thick.
For Marketing Mail (bulk mail) and Periodical Class (newspapers and magazines), postcard-size pieces are classified as letters, not postcards.
- 3½ - 6⅛ inches tall; and,
- 5 - 11½ inches wide; and,
- 0.007 - ¼ inches thick
(except at least 0.009' thick if the piece is larger than 4¼' x 6').
- weighs no more than 3½ ounces (applies to First Class letters only).
If your letter is an unusual size, shape or material, or have unusual content, find out if you have to pay a surcharge. For First Class mail only (including regular mail and Presorted First Class), a card that is postcard-sized is a postcard, not a letter.
- more than 6⅛ inches on its shorter side; or,
- more than 11½* inches on its longer side; or,
- more than ¼ inches thick.
* 10½ inches for Every Door Direct Mail.
- no more than 12 inches on its shorter side; and,
- no more than 15 inches on its longer side; and,
- no more than ¾** inches thick.
** 1¼ inches for Periodical Class nonmachinable pieces.
Parcel Mail Boxes MakeTo be classified as a flat, a mail piece must also:
- be flexible enough to go through postal sorting equipment. For example, a carton, hard-bound book, or an envelope with contents that cannot bend is a 'parcel' even if it fits the dimensions for a flat.
- not be 'lumpy'. The thickness may not vary more than ¼' except within 1' of the edges.
- longer than 12 inches on its shorter side; or,
- longer than 15 inches on its longer side; or,
- more than ¾ inches thick (except more than 1¼ thick for Periodical Class nonmachinable pieces); or,
- fits the dimensions for a flat, but is not flexible, or is too lumpy.
USPS Marketing Mail
- less than 16 ounces.
- 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail.
USPS Marketing Mail is mail matter not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Periodicals. Lower nonprofit prices are available for USPS Marketing Mail but require specific authorization.
Parcel Mail Tracking
Mailers use USPS Marketing Mail to send:
- Printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising.
- Newsletters, bulletins, and catalogs.
- Small parcels.
All USPS Marketing Mail prices are bulk prices, and each mailing must meet a minimum quantity of 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. There is no single-piece USPS Marketing Mail postage. In USPS Marketing Mail, there are prices for letters, flats/large envelopes, parcels, Marketing parcels and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels.
Parcel Mail Center
Certain extra services can be used with USPS Marketing Mail parcels, Marketing parcels and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels: electronic USPS Tracking, bulk insurance, and return receipt for merchandise. USPS Marketing Mail, USPS Marketing Mail parcels, Marketing parcels and Parcel Select Lightweight parcels are not forwarded or returned unless you request it with an ancillary service endorsement. Forwarding and return services may result in additional fees or postage.
Parcel Mail Meaning
For beginning mailers, USPS Marketing Mail is often the best choice because postage prices are very low.
Not sure if USPS Marketing Mail is right for you? With Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) you can reach customers in targeted neighborhoods, without having to provide names or street addresses. Ask your local Post Office for details on EDDM-retail (you don't need a permit imprint) or EDDM-BMEU options.
- Mail is for domestic mail only. You cannot send USPS Marketing Mail to international addresses.
- Many mailers use a service called 'Priority Mail Open and Distribute' to speed up the delivery of their USPS Marketing Mail. You mail your trays or sacks of USPS Marketing Mail via Priority Mail to the postal facility nearest the final destination of your mail. This is a very cost effective way to get your message to your customer sooner.
- Business Calculator – Compute prices for all commercial mail
- Direct Mail will show you how to use the power of mail to grow your business.