Cost to mail a wooden postcard in the U.S

What do you pay to mail a wooden postcard domestically in the U.S.? The ones I have measure 4 3/8 by 6 1/8 inches by 1/8 inch thick. It weighs two ounces. On the USPS website it calculates $0.85 for a rigid letter, but when I went to my post office they said, “It’s a package. $4.20.” I tried calling the USPS customer support number. After waiting on hold for 45 minutes, I got transferred twice, the second time to a line that had a message that said to call back on a weekday (today is Saturday).

I know on the USPS website for every extra once for a letter I think it’s 20 extra cents in postage. So $0.85 could be correct? If I were you, I would address it to myself, drop it in a postbox and see what happens.

According to USPS webpage for postcard maximum thickness is 0.016 inch.
https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm100/mailing-domestic.htm
But if you send it as a letter:
Envelopes must be made of paper.
https://www.usps.com/ship/letters.htm
Therefor you can not send it as a postcard, only as a letter in a paper envelope.

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Thanks. I think I understand it now. I guess it has to be sent in an envelope to avoid it counting as a package. I’ll have to find some envelopes that fit it. A #10 is not quite tall enough.

I have mailed wooden postcards in the US with first-class (Forever) postage and a non-machinable surcharge stamp (Butterfly) on them, by taking to the mail counter for a hand-cancel, and also by dropping in a PO collection curbside box. I put a return address on them in case they were rejected, but both arrived at their destination with no problem.

No one ever said they were a “package”, or that they had to be in an envelope. So I don’t know if the rules changed recently?

US-6480349 US-6835273

Found this on Reddit:
The requirement for postcards (i.e. in order to use a postcard stamp) is that they cannot exceed .016 inches in thickness. That’s just over 1/64th of an inch. Wooden postcards would definitely be more than that.

To qualify for using a regular forever stamp, there’s a max thickness of .25 inches, which the wooden postcard should certainly qualify for. However, forever stamps also have a requirement that they need to be machineable, which generally just means they need to be rectangular and not have any extra bits hanging off of it, but there’s also a requirement that it isn’t too rigid.

It looks like some people have had decent luck just putting a forever stamp on them, but if you want to be absolutely safe, the correct amount of postage to put on a wooden postcard would be .70, which is .55 for a regular letter plus the .15 nonmachineable surcharge.

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It’s $0.70 to mail a wooden card domestic and $1.20 international, and you’ll need to go in and have it hand canceled.

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Thanks. I guess the next time the postal clerk wants to charge it as a package, I’ll ask to talk to the postmaster. It was kind of frustrating when I paid more in postage than I did to buy the wooden card!

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To confirm I am reading this correctly - you don’t have to use the non-machinable butterfly stamp, you just have to have the non-machinable rate (currently 70 cents domestic) covered by any range of stamps?

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The non-machinable surcharge also applies to international letters. It is 21 cents extra making it $1.41 for one ounce.

USPS Notice 123 Price List effective October 18,2020

@ shelleybeansaid
Non-machinable rate can be made with regular stamps

That would be why I didn’t know about it. Welp, hope my wooden cards I just sent still arrive because they don’t have that extra surcharge on them!

I have now sent out 2 wooden postcards domestically in US. Waiting for them to be received. The first one I took to one post office and they tried to charge it as a package as well. I already had a 70 cent non-machinable stamp on it and she said it would cost another $3.20. I just asked for the card back then had my husband take it to a different PO the next day. She told him it was fine as is with the non-machinable stamp. Guess we’ll see if they make it to their destination…

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I would expect that once it’s accepted and the stamps cancelled by the clerk, there shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll have to try the different post office trick.

Yes, my local post office charges it as a package too, but when I go to the next closest post office they just charge the non-machinable surcharge for a rigid letter, which is 17 cents extra.

You might try putting it in an envelope. Then they couldn’t claim it’s not a letter.

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Thought I’d chime in by referring to the Domestic Mail Manual, the standards post offices are supposed to rely on. From my reading, a wooden postcard would be a nonmachinable letter, and cost the applicable letter rate plus the nonmachinable surcharge (currently $0.75 total, soon $0.88) to mail.

You can’t just slap a postcard stamp on it, because, per Section 101,

6.2.2 Postcard Dimensions
Each card and part of a double card claimed at card pricing must be:
[…]
c. 1. Not more than 4-1/4 inches high, or more than 6 inches long, or greater than 0.016 inch thick.

[…]

6.2.4 Paper or Card Stock
A card must be of uniform thickness and made of unfolded and uncreased paper or cardstock of approximately the quality and weight of a stamped card (i.e., a card available from the USPS). A card must be formed either of one piece of paper or cardstock or of two pieces of paper permanently and uniformly bonded together. The stock used for a card may be of any color or surface that permits the legible printing of the address, postmark, and any required markings.

Not made of paper or cardstock. Too thick.

But a wooden postcard does meet the physical standards for letter-size mail, also in Section 101:

1.1 Dimensional Standards for Letters
Letter-size mail is:
a. Not less than 5 inches long, 3-1/2 inches high, and 0.007-inch thick. For pieces more than 6 inches long or 4-1/4 inches high, the minimum thickness is 0.009. (Pieces not meeting the 0.009 thickness are subject to a nonmachinable surcharge under 1.2f).
b. Not more than 11-1/2 inches long, or more than 6-1/8 inches high, or more than 1/4-inch thick.
c. Not more than 3.5 ounces (First-Class Mail letter-size pieces over 3.5 ounces pay flat-size prices).
d. Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Letter-size, card-type mailpieces made of cardstock may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch). See Exhibit 201.1.1.1.

As long as it’s not heavier than three and a half ounces or more than a quarter inch thick, it meets those requirements.

However,

1.2 Nonmachinable Criteria
A letter-size piece is nonmachinable if it has one or more of the following characteristics (see 601.1.1.2 to determine the length, height, top, and bottom of a mailpiece):
[…]
b. Is polybagged, polywrapped, enclosed in any plastic material, or has an exterior surface made of a material that is not paper. Windows in envelopes made of paper do not make mailpieces nonmachinable. Attachments allowable under applicable eligibility standards do not make mailpieces nonmachinable.
[…]
e. Is too rigid (does not bend easily when subjected to a transport belt tension of 40 pounds around an 11-inch diameter turn).

Wood is not paper and will not bend easily. Therefore, this is a nonmachinable letter.

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Thanks, that’s really helpful! Next time I bring a wooden card up to the counter, I’ll come with those sections of the Domestic Mail Manual, so I don’t get charged the package rate.

Hello. I found this forum by searching for the cost of mailing a wooden postcard. I had mailed myself a wooden postcard from a hotel in California to Texas, receiving it 3 weeks later. I placed two forever stamps on it, hoping it would cover the expense. I found the postcard in my mail today, with what looks like a payment envelope attached by rubber band. (PS Form 4245). Written on the postcard next to the two stamps, “$2.90 due”. Postcard measures approx. 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. Hope this helps someone else down the road.
Also, I thought the idea of ‘Postcrossing’ interesting enough to sign up!

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@anon6440920 I recommend you appease the postal gods and go pay the $2.90 (maybe you already have?) But know in your heart that they are just flat wrong, and that no two postal clerks ever give the same answer on wooden postcards. That being said, you might have had better luck if you had slapped a Forever stamp and Non-Machineable Surcharge (butterfly) stamp on it.