Postal Service Postcard Mailing Guidelines
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has different postage guidelines dependent upon how fast you want your postcard delivered; the size of the postcard; whether or not you are a non-profit organization and the number of postcards mailed. The post office also has strict postcard layout requirements. This article includes general statements about The USPS requirements for mailing postcards. It is best to consult with a professional mailing service when first looking into using discounted postage.
As with regular letters and packages, the post office has different rates for delivery times for postcards. Specifically, the faster you want it delivered the more it costs. First class mail is the best when mailing time sensitive material. It has a delivery time of 1-5 days nationally.
U.S. Bulk Rate, which is often associated with discounted high volume mailings, is now known as Standard Mail. Selecting this lower postage rate has a longer delivery time. An expected delivery time for Standard Mail is 10-14 days nationally.
A postcard is eligible for the postcard rate when its size is between 3.5” X 5” and 4.25” X 6”. Any piece larger than this but smaller than 6” X 11” requires first class postage. For Standard Mail, there is no special postcard rate, regardless of size. Therefore, all postcards mailed using Standard Mail, use a Standard Mail letter rate.
If you are a non-profit organization, you may be eligible to apply for special non-profit postage rates. Non-profit postage rates have the same delivery timeframes but are more deeply discounted than Standard Mail rates.
As already mentioned, the price per piece postage rate depends on the size of the postcards. In order to receive discounted, postcard, postage rates, you must mail at least 500 pieces at once. Standard Mail postage requires a minimum of 200 pieces be mailed at once. Keep in mind that if mailing cards larger than 4.25” X 6”, you will pay First Class Letter rate or Standard Letter Rate, depending upon your volume and whether or not you have applied for the discount.
The post office also has design requirements if you want to take advantage of the discounted postage rates. The bottom 5/8” of the card must be free of writing so the post office can print barcodes. The mailing address area must be positioned on the right side and be a minimum of 3.5” X 2 1/8” tall. It cannot contain any background images or text. Only the mailing address can be located in the bottom 2.5” of the postcard. Make sure your own address and other contact information is above this line or the postcard could end up delivered to you. An empty white area of 1.5” X 1.25” must be left in the upper right corner for indicia/permit imprint or stamps.
As you can see, there are a number of considerations when determining the postage and postal service that is right for your postcard campaign. Again, consult with a professional mailing service when considering discounted postage.