The price of stamps just went down for the first time in nearly 100 years


The price of stamps went down 2 cents on Sunday.

The United States Postal Service announced last week that it would be lowering the price of postage stamps – the first time the agency has done so in 97 years, Fortune reports.

The last time postage was lowered was in 1919, when it dropped from 3 cents to 2 cents per ounce, the publication says.

The price to mail a standard letter is now 47 cents instead of 49 cents, and to send a postcard is down a penny to 34 cents. The cost of sending mail internationally is also down to $1.15, instead of $1.20.

Commercial and other postage rates also are declining, the Postal Service notes.

This good for those who need to go buy stamps, but hurts people who bought Forever Stamps, which are always equal to the value of a stamp, no matter how much you paid for them, CBS News reports

Why the drop in price?

It wasn't the Postal Service's idea.

The drop in price was ordered by the Postal Regulatory Commission – the agency that oversees the U.S. Postal Service – because the exigent surcharge that was put in place in January 2014.

That special program allowed the Postal Service to raise the price of postage to help it make up for a loss in revue during the Great Recession when mail volume sharply declined, the Postal Regulatory Commission says.

But the Postal Regulatory Commission capped how much the Postal Service could take in from the surcharge at $4.6 billion – and the Postal Service expects to reach that on Sunday, according to a news release.

The Postal Service says the surcharge only partially offset its revenue losses, which it estimates exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone, according to a news release.

And this forced rate reduction will "exacerbate" the Postal Services losses, Postmaster General Megan Brennan said in the release, citing the agency's "precarious financial condition and ongoing business needs."

The agency estimates it will lose $2 billion in annual revenue now that the surcharge has expired, and it is asking regulators and Congress to extend the higher postage rates.

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