Rates FAQs

See also:

What were the USPS® 2019 price changes?

The USPS® price changes took effect January 27, 2019. Pitney Bowes updated the Shipping APIs production environment January 27, 2019 at 12:00 AM EST.

The new USPS prices include the following major changes:

  • USPS Priority Mail Commercial Plus Pricing (CPP) is now the same as Commercial Base (CBP).

  • The existing ounce-based pricing structure for USPS First-Class Package Service and First-Class Package Return Service has changed to a zone-based pricing structure.

    Note: The PB Complete Shipping APIs now return zone information for First-Class Package Service and First-Class Package Return Service. The APIs return the information in the rates.destinationZone field in responses to rate and shipment requests.

  • Balloon pricing for USPS Priority Mail and Parcel Select services has been eliminated.

    Note: USPS has deferred Dimensional weight-related changes to June 23, 2019.

For a more detailed list of USPS changes, see Rate Change Central.

In addition to the USPS changes, some Shipper Rate Plan IDs (X-PB-Shipper-Rate-Plan) have also changed. The PB Support Team has already notified everyone affected by that change.

See also: Previous USPS Price Changes

What is USPS cubic pricing?

USPS cubic pricing provides high-volume shippers discounted rates on small, heavy parcels. Rates are based on parcel size and shipping distance, not on parcel weight.

Requirements

Cubic pricing is available for high-volume Priority Mail (PM) shippers, usually those who ship more than 50,000 parcels a year. Cubic pricing is available only for the SOFTPACK and PKG parcel types.

Qualifying parcels can be rectangular, non-rectangular, or soft packs, but they cannot be rolls or tubes:

  • A rectangular or non-rectangular parcel must:

    • weigh no more than 20 pounds

    • have a longest dimension of no more than 18 inches

    • measure no more than 0.5 cubic feet. USPS uses the following formula to measure cubic feet:

      Length x Height x Width / 1728 = Cubic Feet

  • A soft pack must meet the following requirements:

    • the sum of the longest and next-longest dimensions must not exceed 36 inches
    • the longest dimension must not exceed 18 inches
    • the smallest dimension must not exceed 2 inches

    The measurements must be taken prior to placing the item in the envelope.

When is cubic pricing applied?

When a qualifying shipper prints a Priority Mail label, Pitney Bowes checks if the parcel qualifies for cubic pricing. If it does, Pitney Bowes calculates both the cubic rate and weight-based rate and then applies the rate that is more cost-effective. In the case of a soft pack, Pitney Bowes calculates three rates and applies the best of the three. See How are rates calculated for USPS soft packs?

Pitney Bowes always applies the best rate

Whenever a parcel qualifies for cubic pricing, Pitney Bowes checks the weight-based rate as well and applies the rate that is most cost-effective.

Will APV apply cubic rates when adjusting cost?

No. If the USPS APV detects a parcel has the wrong mail class and assigns the parcel to Priority Mail, APV will automatically apply weight-based rates and will not check the cubic rates, even if they are available.

More information

For more information on cubic pricing, see Commercial Plus Cubic on USPS.com.

How are rates calculated for USPS soft packs?

Soft packs (SOFTPACK) are flexible packages that adhere and conform to the contents being packaged and that, as a result, take up minimum cubic space. A soft pack must meet the following requirements:

  • the sum of the longest and next-longest dimensions must not exceed 36 inches
  • the longest dimension must not exceed 18 inches
  • the smallest dimension must not exceed 2 inches

The measurements must be taken prior to placing the item in the envelope.

When you specify that a parcel is a soft pack, Pitney Bowes calculates rates based on all of the following and then applies the most cost-effective rate to the shipment:

The label will have markings corresponding to the rate applied. For supported services for soft packs, see the SOFTPACK entry in this table.

What is USPS dimensional weight pricing?

Dimensional (DIM) weight pricing applies to packages that are large and relatively light for their sizes. DIM weight is calculated based on volume and a volumetric divisor.

For USPS shipments, you can calculate whether DIM weight applies to a given package using the USPS DIM weight calculator. See https://www.usps.com/dimensionalweight/.

Note: A package might alternatively be subject to oversize pricing.

What is USPS Oversize Pricing?

Oversize pricing applies if the parcel’s combined length plus girth falls between 108 and 130 inches.

Which charges apply when my request includes a Shipper Rate Plan?

If your request to Rate a Package or Create a Shipment includes the X-PB-Shipper-Rate-Plan request header, which specifies a shipper rate plan, then in the response the rates array returns the following:

  • If the shipper does not have an NSA:
    • The alternateBaseCharge and alternateTotalCharge fields are based on the shipper rate plan. These contain the shipper’s charges.
    • The baseCharge and TotalCarrierCharge fields are based on the developer’s rate plan.
  • If the shipper has an NSA:
    • The baseCharge and TotalCarrierCharge fields are based on the NSA. These contain the shipper’s charges.
    • Do not use the alternateBaseCharge and alternateTotalCharge fields.

What is USPS Commercial Base Pricing (CBP)?

Commercial Base Pricing (CBP) provides discounts based on how you prepare your shipments. There are no volume requirements. The rates are lower than the retail pricing offered at USPS locations. The current rates are found in the Commercial Prices sections of the USPS Price List. You can access the list as HTML or as a PDF.

What is USPS Commercial Plus Pricing (CPP)?

Commercial Plus Pricing (CPP) provides discounts based primarily on shipping volume. If you are doing high volume, you might qualify for CPP. CPP rates are found in the Commercial Prices sections of the USPS Price List. You can access the list as HTML or as a PDF.

What is a USPS Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA)?

For a shipper with a very high volume, a Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) provides discounts based on a contract between the shipper and USPS.

For more information, see this USPS document: https://pe.usps.com/cpim/ftp/manuals/dmm300/709.pdf

When rating a package, can I send multiple package details in a single request?

No. Currently, the PB Complete Shipping APIs do not support the processing of multiple parcels in a single rates request. You must include only one parcel object, as shown here:

curl -X POST .../v1/rates?includeDeliveryCommitment=false \
-H "Authorization: Bearer <oauth_token>" \
-H "Content-Type: application/json" \
-d '
{
    "fromAddress": { ... },
    "toAddress": { ... },
    "parcel": {
        "weight": {
            "unitOfMeasurement": "OZ",
            "weight": 1
        },
        "dimension": {
            "unitOfMeasurement": "IN",
            "length": 5,
            "width": 0.25,
            "height": 4.0,
            "irregularParcelGirth": 1.0
        }
    },
    "rates": [ ... ]
}'