Higher postage rates go into effect

It now costs 39 cents to mail a letter and 24 cents to mail a postcard after new postage rates went into effect Sunday.

The increase follows legislation requiring the Postal Service to place $3 billion in an escrow account this year. Another rate boost is likely next year to cover rising costs for the agency. Stamp prices last went up in June 2002.

Many rates, such as parcel post and advertising mail, vary by distance or whether the material is presorted. Rate changes taking effect, including some estimates for typical mailed items:

* Post card, and each additional ounce in first class, up 1 cent to 24 cents.
* Letter to Canada or Mexico, 1 ounce, up 3 cents to 63 cents.
* Letter to other foreign countries, 1 ounce, up 4 cents to 84 cents.
* Priority Mail, 1 pound, up 20 cents to $4.05.
* Express Mail, 8 ounces, up 75 cents to $14.40.
* Certified mail, up 10 cents to $2.40.
* Money orders up 5 cents to 95 cents.
* Delivery confirmation, up 5 cents to 60 cents.
* Weekly news magazine, 5.8 ounces, presorted, up 1 cent to 18.5 cents.
* Household magazine, 13.8 ounces, presorted, up 1.5 cents to 28.9 cents.
* Small nonprofit publication, presorted, up 1.4 cents to 28.3 cents.

Companies that do mass mailings can actually save money by using an option called pre-sort. By negotiating a cheaper rate with the postal service the company passes on those savings to its clients.

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