Postcard Postage (US)

As you probably already know, I love postcards – and I don’t get enough of them, even though I swap through online sites – so I’d love you to send one written and “naked” (stamped, no envelope) or blank ones in an envelope. But you may not know that all postcards don’t qualify for postcard rate postage, which is currently 28 cents. Only standard 4 x 6 postcards can be sent with postcard stamps. Larger postcards (often 5 x 7, though some are larger) require additional postage.

Some postcard companies include lines for the recipient’s address designed to match the front of the card, as in the samples below. The far left sample has a landscape photo on the front of the card, while the near left postcard has a portrait photo on the front. When a 5 x 7 postcard is addressed in the “landscape” style, it requires regular first class postage (44 cents). However, if a 5 x 7 postcard is addressed “portrait” style, it exceeds the acceptable dimensions for first class postage (6-1/8 inches high). Currently, cards addressed in this manner require 88 cents postage.

So, what do you do if the postcard you purchase has a “portrait” style format on the back? You probably don’t want to pay the extra postage, so there is an easy fix – simply ignore the lines the company has printed and instead address the card “landscape” style.

Caveat: I have received postcards addressed in a “portrait” style with 44 cents postage that have made it through the mail system, but more often, I have had to go to the post office to pay the extra postage due.

USPS First Class Mail Guidelines


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