It just got a little more expensive to mail letters in the United States and abroad.
The price for first-class Forever stamps increased to 63 cents from 60 cents this week, a 5% price jump that stemmed from rising operating expenses and losses for the Postal Service.
The change, which went into effect Sunday, was first announced in October. The new rates also include increases in the prices of 1-ounce metered mail, to 60 cents from 57 cents, and domestic postcards, to 48 cents from 44 cents. Sending a 1-ounce letter overseas is now $1.45, up from $1.40.
"As operating expenses continue to rise, these price adjustments provide the Postal Service with much-needed revenue to achieve the financial stability sought by its Delivering for America 10-year plan," the Postal Service said, referring to its plan to become "self-sustaining and high-performing." The agency said in 2021 that it projected $160 billion in losses over the next 10 years that it hopes to mitigate.
The last price increase was in July, when the price of a first-class stamp for a 1-ounce letter rose to 60 cents from 58 cents. Before the increase to 58 cents in 2021, the stamps cost 55 cents.
Officials have said that customers can expect price increases twice a year at least through 2024.
"The Postal Service expects that, in each subsequent year, it will implement price changes for all Market Dominant classes in January and July of such year," the Postal Regulatory Commission said in a report about rate schedules. It was not clear how much they would go up each year.
The Postal Service said it generally did not receive tax funding and instead "relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations."
When it was introduced in 2007, the Forever Stamp cost 41 cents. The stamp launched with an image of the Liberty Bell. Since 2011, all first-class stamps have been Forever stamps. The stamps remain valid regardless of price increases.
Despite the convenience and popularity of electronic communications and digital media, people still mail letters. The Postal Service said it delivered 13.9 billion pieces of first-class mail (letters, cards and bill payments) in 2021, down from 23.2 billion in 2012.