Whether you want to advertise your business or send promotions to customers, postcards offer an easy way to grab the recipient's attention without the hassle of opening an envelope. The rate for sending a postcard depends on how the USPS classifies it according to size, shape and thickness. You can send most traditional postcards at a low price using a postcard stamp. However, the USPS classifies larger postcards as First-Class letters that you might mail with a regular postage stamp or have weighed at the post office.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
The 2020 USPS rate for a postcard stamp is 35 cents. Postcards that don't meet the required dimensions and thickness are considered letters and start at 50 to 55 cents, depending on whether you use metered or stamped mail.
Postcard Postage Rate for Stamps
In order to send it using a regular postcard stamp, the postcard must be a rectangular single sheet of paper that is between 0.007 and 0.016 inches thick. The height must be between 3-1/2 and 4-1/4 inches, and the length must be between 5 and 6 inches. It also should have no attachments since this can reclassify your postcard as a letter.
If your postcard meets these USPS size, shape and thickness requirements, you'll simply pay 35 cents for a postcard stamp in 2020. The USPS sells its postcard stamps in sheets of 20 and coils of 100, so you'll pay $7 for a sheet or $35 for a coil at the current rate. These stamps are available through the USPS website and your local post office, but expect to pay a handling fee between $1.30 and $1.80 if you buy them online.
First-Class Postage for Letters
When your postcard is bigger or thicker than the USPS postcard size limits, then you'll have to pay the same rate as for a First-Class letter. If yours falls in this category, you have other dimension requirements to consider. The postcard will need to be between 5 and 11-1/2 inches long and between 3-1/2 and 6-1/8 inches tall. The thickness can be between 0.007 and 1/4 inch.
The base letter postage rate for 2020 is 55 cents to send a one-ounce letter. You'll pay 15 cents extra for each additional ounce up to a maximum weight of 3.5 ounces for a letter. You can purchase regular stamps through the USPS or have the letter weighed for you.
To save a bit on sending a postcard at the letter rate, your business can use its own postage scale for metered mail. With this postage option, you'll pay a lower 50 cents for the first ounce.
Benefits of Sending Postcards
The low cost of sending a traditional postcard makes it an affordable marketing tool for new businesses that want to get the word out about a grand opening, provide information about the brand and provide important contact information to potential customers. Postcards also work for established businesses that want to send coupons, share information about a sales event or spread awareness of new offerings.
Postcards usually arrive within a few days, so they're a fast way to spread awareness of a business. They also make it easy to include an eye-catching call to action on the front to increase the chance of readership and effectiveness.
Considerations for Sending Postcards
Sending postcards can make it harder to track your marketing campaigns since you usually won't know how many people read or respond to your mailings. However, you do have the option of including a custom code on the card that can help you digitally track responses.
Postcards also come with a few limitations when it comes to message space and privacy. The size of a traditional postcard gives you just enough space to share your most important messages, so you'll often want to combine this form of advertising with other methods that allow sharing more information. Also, keep in mind that since the postcard has no envelope, everybody can see what it says, so postcards don't work well for sharing anything confidential with your customers.