First Class Mail
Postcards, letters and flats can all be mailed using first class mail. First class mail is required when you are mailing personal correspondence, handwritten materials, some typewritten materials, bills and statements. This type of mail is typically the fastest service in terms of delivery (generally 1-3 days). This is a fully paid service costing .34 cents for small (4 x 6) postcards and .49 for letters (1 ounce or less) and .21 for each additional ounce up to 13 ounces. First class mail is handled differently by the Post Office than Standard Class Mail in terms of speed and commitment of delivery. First class mail is treated with urgency by the post office. First class mail will be delivered as addressed if possible, forwarded on to a forwarding address if possible or returned to the sender.
Presorted First Class Mail
Presorted first class mail can be used when you want to receive a delivery time of 1-3 days or you want guaranteed delivery, forwarding service or pieces returned to you with a reason for non delivery. When using first class mail there is no extra charge for guaranteed delivery or address correction information. For first class presorted mail you need a minimum of 500 pieces of mail. First class presorted mail receives a small reduction in postage costs for the fact that is already presorted for the post office. If it is prepared with a barcode and for automation compatibility additional discounts are available.
Standard Class Mail
This type of mail can be used for materials such as advertisements, credit card offers, solicitations for donations, newsletters and other types of printed materials not required to be sent at 1st class. This type of mail is typically slower than 1st class mail (3-10 days depending on how far away it is being mailed to). This is a discounted service used by mailers to send larger amounts of mail at a much lower postage rate than 1st class. There is a 200 piece or 50 pound minimum to present a standard class mailing to the post office. Automated (barcoded) standard class letters can range from .217 to .301 per piece. Carrier route sorted letters can range from .153 to .251 per piece. These rates show the significance of designing your mail for the different types of postage discounts. If you are a non-profit mailer and have received authorization through the Post Office to mail at non-profit rates you will qualify for letter rates between .076 and .183 for each piece depending on how your mail is designed and the areas you are sending the mail to.