Rates FAQs

See also:

What were the USPS 2019 price changes?

Please see 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 Parcel 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 Pricing?

Commercial Pricing provides shippers with lower prices than the retail prices offered at USPS locations. Commercial Pricing has no volume requirements and is usually available through online shipping providers. The current prices are found in the Commercial Prices section of the USPS Price List.

Note: In January 2019, USPS formed Commercial Pricing by merging Commercial Base Pricing (CBP) and Commercial Plus Pricing (CPP) into one discount level. While both Commercial Base and Commercial Plus are found in the USPS Price List, they offer the same prices. They differ only in that Commercial Plus alone is available for Cubic Pricing.

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 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": [ ... ]
}'