Postage to increase May 11

Published 11:18 pm Saturday, April 18, 2009

On Monday, May 11, the price of a first class stamp will rise 2 cents to 44 cents.

A perfect storm of increased operational costs, increases in the Consumer Price Index and a declining volume of mail and shipping has led the United States Postal Service to this most recent increase.

“Our expenses have increased and our volume has decreased. That’s a bad combination and led to a need to increase postage,” service spokesperson Josh Breckinridge said.

There are many factors leading to the decline in mail volume. In addition to the advent of e-mail, the recent economic downturn has led to the postal service’s biggest customer sector cutting back on mail campaigns.

“The financial industry,” Breckinridge said when asked who was the biggest customer base for the postal service. “With the credit markets in the shape they are in, no one is sending out the number of credit card offers or loan offers like they once did.”

Breckinridge also added the volume has been heavily affected by the number of consumers using online banking to both organize and pay their monthly bills.

“Many customers now receive their bills online and pay their bills online,” Breckinridge said. “In that case, there are two first class stamps we’ve lost.”

But, Breckinridge said the postal service is once again encouraging customers to purchase “Forever Stamps” to ease the impact of the upcoming rate increase.

The Forever Stamp allows customers to purchase as many stamps as they would like for the current rate of 42 cents. These stamps will regain their first class postage value no matter what the rate increases to in the future.

According to a postal service flyer, a Forever Stamp is “good for mailing a one-ounce First-Class letter anytime in the future, regardless of price changes. No additional postage needed.”

The service does not place on limit on the number of Forever Stamps that can be purchased, but they must be purchased before May 11 in order to hold the current 42-cent value.

The stamps are available at any post office.