Certified Mail in 2020: What Are the Rates? New US Postal Service rates were recently approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. Find out all about the new rates of certified mail in 2020.

The United States Postal Service handled 146.4 billion pieces of mail in 2018.

Not all of that mail was created equal. Some of it was junk. Other pieces decided the outcome of court cases.

Individuals and businesses can protect themselves from fraud by using Certified Mail in 2020.

When you send a letter by Certified Mail, someone must sign for it when it's delivered. If the intended recipient refuses the letter, you get documentation of that too. In either case, you deny recipients the ability to fraudulently claim they never received the documents you sent.

This can save you huge amounts of time, money, and hassle. Using an online service to address and print certified mail labels makes the process easy. Keep reading to find out how affordable using Certified Mail really is!

First Things First: Letters Only

While all certified mail is First-Class, not all First-Class mail can be certified. Under the 2020 Certified Mail guidelines, only letters can be sent via USPS Certified Mail.

Letters must receive a standard mailing stamp and can weigh up to one ounce. Additional costs apply to envelopes weighing more than one ounce.

Certified Mail is a domestic service and deliverable only in the United States. If you need proof of delivery for documents sent to Canada or elsewhere, look into registered mail.

Certified Mail in 2020: A Cost Breakdown

There's no single answer to the question "how much is Certified Mail?" This is because the total cost can vary depending on your process. All Certified Mail starts with two baseline costs:

  • A stamp
  • A Certified Mail Green Card

As of January 26, 2020, the cost of a Certified Mail is $3.55. Individual stamps cost $0.55 each. Postage meter stamps cost $0.50 apiece.

The base cost of a single piece of Certified Mail, then, is either $4.10 or $4.05. Letters weighing over one ounce cost an extra $0.15 per ounce.

The final cost will depend on whether you choose a hard copy receipt or an electronic one.

Return Receipts: Hard Copy vs Digital

Mailers can elect to receive a physical slip of paper as proof that their document was delivered. The paper is a portion of the Return Receipt Green Card. Some 'old school' mailers prefer this method because it's paper. 

Electronic Return Receipt provides a digital receipt in PDF format. The digital receipts hold equal weight legally and are eco-friendly. They can be electronically stored and a great choice for companies that prefer digital document management.

The physical paper receipts are more expensive since they cost the USPS more to administer and deliver. They also cannot be duplicated or replaced. Digital receipts, by contrast, can be copied, saved, and reprinted for convenience.

Under the 2020 rates for Certified Mail:

  • Paper Return Receipts cost $2.85 each.
  • Digital Return Receipts cost $1.70 apiece.

While this may look like a negligible difference, going digital can save a lot of money over time. You also don't have to worry about losing a paper return receipt.

Tracking Numbers

All Certified Mail is issued a tracking number. Mailers can use these numbers to see where the mail is at any given time. This information can be recorded or printed as additional legal evidence if desired.

Recipients cannot identify the sender of Certified Mail prior to signing for it. The USPS is not permitted to provide that information. Tracking numbers will show only the zip code the letter originated from.

This deters recipients from refusing unappealing legal notices. It also protects senders' identities in sensitive cases. Tracking is included in the certified rates for mail.

Making Certified Mail Easy

The biggest barrier to taking advantage of Certified Mail is typically the inconvenience.

Mailers assume they must go to the post office with all of their information. Then, they expect to wait in line before getting the help they need. They must then negotiate payment, juggling cash or company cards.

Rather than deal with the mess, many mailers just assume the risk of sending uncertified mail.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Savvy mailers speed up the process and automate the process to keep their costs down using smart online services. These usually take one of two forms:

  • Printable Certified Mail labels that include postage, bar code tracking and the required green banner.
  • Pre-printed Certified Mail envelopes that have the compliant green banner pre-printed on the envelope.

Both options are fast and cost-effective. They allow mailers to send Certified Mail from the comfort and convenience of their homes or offices.

Printable Certified Mail Labels

Printable Certified Mail labels are tags that can be printed on a standard printer. They contain codes that tell the USPS that the letter is Certified Mail. Mailers affix these labels to their envelopes before mailing.

They are not a perfect solution. Mailers must still glue the labels to their envelopes, which takes time and effort. However, they do:

  • Eliminate the need to personally go to the post office.
  • Allow all Certified Mail costs to be directly charged to a central account.
  • Allow for easy, entirely digital tracking of mail.

This creates Certified Mail letters that:

  • Are fast, easy, and mess-free to put together.
  • Do not require a trip to the post office.
  • Can be charged to a single account, hassle-free.
  • Are easy to track digitally and integrate with a digital file system.

Where to Start

Start leveraging the power of Certified Mail in 2020 in three easy steps:

  1. Get set up with an online Certified Mail service: This usually involves supplying a credit card and entering your default address. Two minutes and you're done.
  2. Order pre-printed Certified Mail envelopes: At around $10 for 50 envelopes, with price reductions for bulk orders, this is money well spent.
  3. Check out online tracking options: Explore the tracking and reporting options the service makes available. Pick one or two that fit with your process and enjoy the new convenience!

Don't put yourself through one more trip to the post office. Get your Certified Mail account set up today!