USPS provides the service of different mail classes to its customers like priority mail class, retail ground, media mail, priority mail express, etc. One of the most popular mail classes is the First-class mail. Many customers use this mail class to ship their packages or mail as it is one of the finest services provided by the USPS.
Let us get to know First-class mail better.
What is First-Class Mail?
First-Class Mail is the most widely used services of the USPS. The customers go for the First-class mail not only because this is the best way to send their items because of the lesser delivery time, but also because it is very economical. The customers can send things like the following mail items using this mail class:
- Standard postcards
- Large envelopes
- Small packages (must not be more than 15.99 ounces in weight)
In case your First-Class package weighs more than 15.99 ounces, the option left for you is using the Priority Mail class to ship your package.
Though the First-Class package service does not guarantee the delivery time, normally it does not take more than 2 to 3 business days for the First-Class Mail like letters, large envelopes, standard postcards, and small packages to arrive at its destination address anywhere in the U.S. You can see the delivery time in the image below.
The key features of the First-Class package include:
- The time of your shipment for this mail class can be anywhere between 1 to 3 business days
- With this service, the customers can get up to 3.5 ounces free with commercial priced letters and cards.
- As we said this mail class is an affordable option, it is recognized as the best-priced service for the mails that are not more than 13 oz in weight.
- This mail class also covers an Insurance. But there is a limit of the insurance criterion of this mail class items. In case of any loss or damage to the First-Class Mail shipments, the insurance is only up to $5,000 for merchandise only
- One can combine this mail class with many other add-on USPS services like signature confirmation to have a confirmed delivery.
You cannot do the shipping of this mail class the way you want. There are some restrictions which you need to follow. The restrictions include:
- You can send a First-Class Mail letter having a maximum weight of 3.5 oz. in the case of large envelopes. In the case of parcels, the maximum weight can be 13 oz for using this mail class.
- To ship you mail using this service, you must make sure that your postcards and envelopes or flat envelopes must be rectangular. If it is not so, then you may have to bear the additional charges. These additional size restrictions will be as per the type of item you are shipping.
- The First-Class delivery should abide by the general USPS restrictions. These are the regular specific regulations and standards for shipping the items. The items you want to ship should not be restricted, prohibited, and hazardous materials. The list also includes the cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
The price of the First-Class Mail is calculated as per the size, shape, and weight of the mail item. The details are as under:
- In the case of Non-Machinable Envelopes, since they are not a regular shaped mail, and are like a square, lumpy envelopes, vertical envelopes, rigid envelopes, etc. along with having clasps, buttons, string, they must be hand-canceled. You may have to pay a non-machinable surcharge for using this even if the weight is less than 1 oz.
- The cost of Larger Envelopes will be more, in case it is more than the set limit of maximum length or height or width. You may have to pay an extra price as per the next higher item category.
- If the dimensions of the Large Flat Envelopes are more and it is rigid, nonrectangular, or not uniformly thick, it will be charged as a parcel price.
How Does First-Class Mail Work?
Do you know how does the First-Mail class work? The first thing to do is to seal the item, and then mention the address. Now, you must check the dimensions of the package. Since USPS has the restriction of the size, so before you send the package using this service, you must check if the package as per the given limit.
For your convenience, here are the size restrictions for the First-Class Mail items. Go through the table below:
|First Class Mail Item||Weight (In oz.)||Length (Maximum)||Width (Maximum)||Price Applicable (In $)|
|Postcard||Max 1 oz.||6.00″||4.5″||$0.34|
|Large Flat Envelope||Max 13 oz.||15.00″||12.00″||$0.98|
|Small Packages||Max 15.99 oz.||22.00″||18.00″||$2.61 and more|
|Letter||Max 3.50 oz.||11.5″||6.125″||$0.46|
Along with this, another few important things to know are:
- The contents of the First-Class Mail must not be more than 70 lbs. in weight. At the same time, the lower weight limits will apply as well.
- The postcards if oversized, it will be charged as a letter or large envelope.
- The Postcards must be rectangular if you wish to have the mail prices of this service.
- The standard size envelopes also must be rectangular so that you can avail the First-Class mail letter prices. In case the envelope is non-standard, square, lumpy, rigid, vertical, etc. or the mail has the string, clasps, buttons, then you will not be able to use the automated processing machines. This type of package will be charged with non-machinable surcharge. The letters that cannot be sent through the automated machines will cost you $0.21 postage surcharge.
- If the girth of your package is more than 108 inches, you will have to take the package to the Post Office and send the same using the Retail Ground service of USPS.
- If the large envelopes are more in size, it will be charged on the package prices.
- The large envelopes also must be rectangular for flat rate pricing.
- It has the facility of Signature confirmation and USPS Tracking like tracking First-Class shipping time, but these are only available for small packages. In the case of a postcard, the additional services like Registered Mail, Return Receipt, insurance, restricted delivery, and COD will not be available.
If your package is under the USPS’s weight restrictions, you can go ahead and attach the stamps to your large envelopes and small packages which are meant to be shipped via First Class Mail. To give you an idea, it may cost around $0.98 for the first ounce of a large envelope and $2.61 for the first 3 ounces of a small package.
The people also often buy the add-on services for shipping their First-Class Mail items. For example, Certified Mail can be combined with this mail class to ship your package.
To ready your First-Class Mail package,
- Print the complete and correct address in the capital letters
- Use a pen or permanent marker.
- Do not use commas or periods.
- Mention the ZIP Code wherever applicable.
- You can tick the package as “Fragile” or “Perishable” if such is the case.
- Delete or cover all other addresses if you are reusing a box.
- Attach sufficient postage. It will prevent additional charges.
- Do not underpay the postage in any circumstances. If you send the package without enough postage, it will cause a delivery delay, and the recipient will also be charged for the due postage.
How Long Does First-Class Mail Take?
First class mail delivery time is not more than 1 to 3 business days for your mail to reach. It is a quick and affordable way to send the lightweight packages. It is good for both business and personal deliveries. You can send things like cards, brochures, and lightweight merchandise and ensure the package to reach within First-Class shipping time. Still, you can see the delivery time of this mail on the Map below.
First-Class Package Time Map:
As you can see that it normally takes max. 3 days to ship your package almost anywhere in the United States. So, you can go with this mail class with the affordable prices.
Is First Class mail trustworthy?
The simple answer is yes, First Class mail is generally considered to be a very reliable form of mail delivery. In most cases, First Class mail will arrive at its destination within one to three days. Additionally, First Class mail is typically prioritized over other forms of mail, so it stands a good chance of arriving even faster than that. With its affordable rates and fast processing times, this service has everything you need to get your packages delivered safely and efficiently.
Difference between first class and standard mail?
First-class mail and standard mail are two different types of mail that are primarily used for different purposes. While first-class mail is intended for more personal or business correspondence, standard mail is often used for advertisements and mass communication. What sets these two types of mail apart is not only their intended use but also how they are delivered by the postal service. First-class mail is typically delivered faster than standard mail, generally within 1-3 days in a local area and 3-5 days nationally. In contrast, standard mail can take much longer to reach its destination, with delivery times ranging from several days to several weeks. Whether you need your letter or package to arrive quickly or you want to save some money on postage rates, it’s important to be aware of the differences between first class and standard mail.