Sending greeting cards through the mail is a timeless tradition. But figuring out the proper postage can be confusing, especially with all the different sizes, shapes, and features greeting cards can have these days. This article will walk through the postage costs for various types of greeting cards in 2023 using USPS First-Class Mail service.
Overview of Greeting Card Postage
For standard letter-sized greeting cards, the typical cost to mail is just a single First-Class Mail stamp. In 2023, a 1 ounce Forever stamp costs $0.63 at the Post Office.
Smaller greeting cards without envelopes, like postcards measuring at least 5″ x 3.5″ up to 6″ x 4.25″, can sometimes be mailed for the First-Class Mail postcard rate. In 2023, this costs $0.44 for a single domestic postcard stamp.
When determining postage, the weight and dimensions of the card are the main factors. Make sure to round up to the next whole ounce when weighing a card. Any special features like pop-ups or rigidity may incur additional fees too.
Postage for Standard Greeting Cards
A regular greeting card that is letter-sized, rectangular, uniformly thick, and somewhat flexible can be mailed with just a First-Class Mail Forever stamp for each ounce it weighs.
Here are the ideal specifications for standard greeting cards according to USPS guidelines:
- Minimum size of 5″ x 3.5″
- Maximum size of 6.125″ x 11.5″
- Thickness between 0.007″ and 0.25″
- Rectangular shape
- Uniform thickness throughout
- Flexible (can bend at least 1 inch)
As long as your greeting card fits these criteria, a single Forever stamp will cover up to 1 ounce. Use one additional stamp for each extra ounce over that.
Examples of Standard Greeting Card Postage
4″ x 6″ greeting card weighing 0.8 oz
This fits the size and flexibility requirements for standard First-Class Mail. Although it weighs less than 1 full ounce, the cost would be 1 Forever stamp.
5″ x 7″ greeting card weighing 1.2 oz
Again, this greeting card meets the criteria for standard First-Class pricing. Since it weighs over 1 ounce, it would require 2 Forever stamps.
Square-shaped greeting cards, rigid cards, and other cards that don’t meet the specifications for standard letters may incur an additional non-machinable surcharge.
This is because they cannot be processed efficiently using the Postal Service’s automatic sorting equipment. These types of cards need to be handled manually, resulting in the extra fee.
As of 2023, the non-machinable surcharge is $0.40 for First-Class Mail. Some examples of non-machinable greeting cards include:
- Oversized cards – Exceed the maximum dimensions for standard letters
- Square-shaped cards – Do not meet the minimum 1.3 aspect ratio
- Thick or rigid cards – Cannot bend at least 1 inch
- Pop-up or musical cards – Have uneven/non-uniform thickness
Look on the back of your greeting card for a butterfly icon, which indicates a non-machinable mail piece. You’ll need to add $0.40 in addition to the regular postage for each non-machinable card.
Postage for Oversized Greeting Cards
For greeting cards larger than the maximum letter size dimensions, you may be able to fold them to fit within acceptable dimensions. Here are some tips for mailing oversized cards:
- Fold gently and seal with glue, tape, or wafers
- Ensure the address and postage are not obstructed
- Folded size must be at least 4.25″ x 6″ up to 6.125″ x 10.5″
Keep in mind that additional postage may be needed if the folded card weighs over 1 ounce. And non-machinable surcharges apply if the card is rigid or unevenly thick.
Postage for Picture Greeting Cards
For greeting cards with photos inside, postage is calculated based on the number of photos and total weight:
- Up to 4 photos (max 4″ x 6″ each) = 1 Forever stamp
- 5 to 14 photos = 1 Forever stamp + 1 additional ounce
- 15 to 21 photos = 1 Forever stamp + 2 additional ounces
Stay under the 1/4 inch maximum thickness and weigh the card to determine total postage. Up to 25 photos can usually be mailed while staying within the limits for standard letter size.
Postage for Pop-Up and Musical Greeting Cards
Greeting cards containing pop-up paper elements or musical sounds tend to have uneven, non-uniform thicknesses. These specialty cards most likely cannot be processed automatically and will require a non-machinable surcharge.
Look on the back side for a butterfly icon indicating the non-machinable status. One Forever stamp plus the $0.40 non-machinable fee will cover postage for most pop-up or musical greeting cards under 1 ounce.
People Also Ask
How many Forever stamps are needed for a greeting card?
One Forever stamp covers up to 1 ounce for a standard letter-sized greeting card. Non-machinable or overweight cards require additional postage.
Can a greeting card be mailed with one stamp?
Yes, a single First-Class Mail Forever stamp is sufficient for a standard greeting card weighing 1 ounce or less.
What does extra postage required mean on a greeting card?
Greeting cards marked with “Extra Postage Required” are non-standard shapes or sizes that need additional fees beyond regular First-Class Mail postage.
How much is a butterfly stamp for greeting cards?
In 2023, the cost of a butterfly stamp to cover the USPS non-machinable surcharge is $0.88.
How many photos can you put in a greeting card?
Typically up to 25 photos can be mailed within a standard letter-sized greeting card without exceeding size and thickness limits.
When sending greeting cards by mail, a single Forever stamp covers a standard letter-sized card weighing 1 ounce or less. Non-machinable surcharges, extra weight, photos, and specialty features may increase the postage cost. Carefully check the size, thickness, weight, and indicia on your greeting card to determine the accurate postage.