Using bulk mail is the best way to go if you are mailing 200 or more postcards. You can qualify for standard rates for a mailing of 200 postcards and for presorted first class rates by mailing 500 or more postcards. Depending on the size of the postcard and the type of permit you own, the savings can be as much as 55 percent off the cost of using stamps – which cost 29 cents each for postcards as of May 2011. The United States Postal Service (USPS) passes on savings to bulk postcard mailers for the work they do in preparing the mail for delivery based on USPS mailing practices and guidelines.
Bulk Mail Permit
You must have a permit issued by the USPS in order to distribute postcards via bulk mail. The fee for a permit, as of May 2011, is $175.00. The USPS also charges an annual mailing fee for bulk mailing privileges. When your permit is issued, you will receive indicia from the USPS. The indicia information is printed in the upper right corner of the postcard in the spot where you would otherwise place a postage stamp. Always check with the USPS for current prices, fees and application requirements, as they can be subject to change. To keep your permit and indicia active you must complete at least one bulk mailing per year.
Advance Deposit Account
You will have to open an advance deposit account with the USPS in order to pay for your mailing. Your account must have enough money on deposit to handle the postage price for each postcard. Each time you take a bulk mailing to the post office, the USPS representative will request to see a current printed or online statement for your account to confirm that you have enough money in the account to cover the cost of the mailing.
Presorted First Class
Use presorted first class if you want your postcards delivered as soon as possible. In most cases (but there is no guarantee), the postcards will arrive no more than three days later than they would have if you mailed them at the regular stamp rate. This can total to a considerable savings when you are mailing hundreds or thousands of postcards.
Standard class is an option if your mailing is predominantly composed of local mail. The postcards will be considerably cheaper than postage stamp rates and will be delivered in just about the same amount of time as regular first class mail. The only downside is that delivery may not be as swift for out-of-town addresses, which might take a couple of weeks for delivery.
The USPS offers an “automation” price for postcards that meet “aspect ratio” guidelines. The aspect ratio is calculated by dividing the height of the postcard by the length of the postcard. If the resulting measurement is between 1.3 and 2.5 – the postcard can qualify for the automation postage rate. Savings are significant. An automated bulk mail postcard could cost as low as 0.205 per card for a business, and 0.132 for a nonprofit organization, as of May 2011. That represents a savings of almost 30 percent for each postcard mailed by a business and nearly 55 percent for a nonprofit organization, compared to the 29-cent stamped postcard price.