E-mail has replaced the need to send a letter through the regular mail. Additionally, on-line banking, while not as widely understood or accepted as e-mail has decreased the amount of bills that are sent through the regular mail. The use of e-cards has also diminished the number of cards being sent through the regular mail for birthdays, holidays and even the “just because” types of cards.
All of the pieces of correspondence referenced above would have required postage to be purchased, if sent as a hard-copy through regular mail. Now, these transactions are free of charge, via the internet.
Postage rates, for postage stamps, just have had a recent increase from 37 cents to 39 cents. 41 cents was the originally proposed number, but it seemed that the 2 cents increase was enough for now. This increase is attributed to an attempt to make up for lost volume, by increasing the price of sending each piece of mail.
The other costly update that is required when potage rates increase is the burden of businesses that use postage meters. Older versions of postage meters do not have the capability to automatically update when the postage rate varies from what they are currently programmed for. In this case, the lessee must buy an expensive up-grade chip that will re-format the postage meter to calculate the proper postage.
The postage rates for sending those materials that are unable to be sent electronically have not yet been increased, at least by an amount that is noticeable. The 2-3 days to send larger mail or packages is still costing about 3-10 dollars and sending packages overnight will cost about 20 dollars on average.
The postage rate increases will continue to be evident as the more and more people become comfortable with electronic transfer technology. However, the postal service will have to be careful to retain competitive rates, as they are not the only provider of package sending service.
Postage rates may become a big factor for businesses in the future, especially those that are responsible for a lot of outgoing materials. There will be a high market for providing the best service and the lowest price for high volume main and package distributions.
Whether it is the individual mail sender or a business, if postage rates continue to rise, and at a rate that is not found to be acceptable, people will find a way to avoid using this service all together, which is exactly what the postal service is trying to avoid. Hopefully, they will come up with a way to still provide a worthy service, without breaking the bank.