How to Calculate the Postage of Greeting Cards

By Baillee Perkins
Nov 22, 2021
Knowing the postage cost of greeting cards is especially helpful in the holiday season

Tis the season for sending greeting cards to all of your loved ones! Greetings cards come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be hard to determine the best way to send them or calculate the most accurate cost. With the holiday season causing a rush to the post office (not to mention the USPS holiday shipping cutoffs causing an even bigger rush), it’s important to know the best way to send your greeting cards so that you aren’t stuck waiting in line until the new year. We’ve gathered some of the most commonly sent greeting cards with advice on how to package your card and the service to use so your cards get delivered smoothly.

Card Type    Card Dimension   Issues   Suggested Service and Cost
Christmas CardMeasures 8” long x 5” thick x .25” thick and weighs 2 oz Exceeds the maximum letter height of 6.125"Since it is uniformly thick and slightly flexible, but too large to be sent as a letter, it is considered a large envelope.

Pay the 2-ounce First-Class Mail Large Envelope/Flat rate.
Large Musical Greeting CardMeasures 6.5" long x 6.5" high x 0.25" thick
Weighs 1.5 ounces
Exceeds the maximum letter height of 6.125"Since it is uniformly thick and slightly flexible, but too large to be sent as a letter, it is considered a large envelope.

Pay the 2-ounce First-Class Mail Large Envelope/Flat rate.
Small Square Greeting CardMeasures 5.5" long x 5.5" high x 0.25" It does not meet the aspect ratio criterion for a letter. Since it is square, the aspect ratio is less than 1.3Since it is uniformly thick, slightly flexible, and within letter-size dimensions, it qualifies for First-Class Mail.
But because it does not meet the aspect ratio, it is considered non-machinable.

Pay the 2-ounce First-Class Mail rate and non-machinable charge
Letter Size Greeting Card Measures 6.625" long x 5" high x 0.125" thick

Weighs 2 ounces
NoneSince it is uniformly thick, slightly flexible, within letter-size dimensions, and meets the aspect ratio criterion, it qualifies for First-Class Mail.

Pay the 2-ounce First-Class Mail rate.

Additional Cost 

The weight and dimensions of your greeting card are a big factor in pricing, but there are a couple of potential charges that might affect the price of your postage, including non-machinable surcharges and “rigid” letter-size pricing. 

Non-Machinable Surcharges 

Non-machinable surcharges* come from First-Class Mail letters that can’t be processed automatically/can’t go through the standard sorting machine and instead have to be sorted by hand. This can happen when the envelopes are too large, too small, or are mislabeled. Learn more about USPS non-machinable surcharges.

*As of August 2021, USPS’s non-machinable surcharge for First-Class Mail is $0.30. 

Rigid Letter-Size Pricing 

“Rigid” letter-size pricing is when a greeting card can’t flex at least 1” and is less than the following dimensions: 

  • 11-1/2″ x 6-1/8″ x 1/4″ thick
  • 3.5 ounces

If your card or letter meets these conditions, they’ll be charged the standard postage rate, plus a non-machinable surcharge. If greeting cards exceed these dimensions, they will be priced as a “large envelope/flat”. Keep in mind, cards sent as a “large envelope/flat” aren’t subject to the non-machinable surcharge. 

Oversized Greeting Cards 

Oversized greeting cards can potentially be sent through USPS if they are folded into a smaller size. We recommend folding it gently and sealing it with wafer glue, sealing glue, or tape. Before folding and sealing your card, here are a couple of helpful tips: 

  • Check the adhesive doesn’t interfere with the barcode or mailing address
  • Measure the letter to see if it falls within the acceptable sizes for folded self-mailers of 4-1/4” x 6” minimum or up to 6-1/8” x 10-1/2” maximum 

If you have any additional questions, check out USPS’s limits for letter dimensions

Closing

Greeting cards are a wonderful way to connect with your friends and family during the holiday season. This means getting those cards to your loved ones without additional surcharges and without avoidable delays is definitely crucial. By knowing the weight and dimensions of your cards and letters in advance, you can save time and potentially money. Being aware of the surcharges that might be applied to your mail will save you from any surprises later on and keep your holidays holly and jolly. Keeping up with greeting card postage costs means you can continue to spread cheer year-round for other holidays and special occasions, making you a card-sending pro in no time!

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