Mailing a Postcard

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Postcards are the cheapest form of first class mail communication at 34¢.
Contrary to popular belief, postcards have very specific regulations. You can’t just send any single piece of paper that is not folded and not placed in an envelope as a postcard. They MUST be at least 3.5″x5″ but cannot be any bigger than 4.25″ x 6″ . Be careful to place the recipient’s address in an area where it will be clearly recognized.

The image to the right is an example of what NOT to do (clicking on the image will make it bigger). The most important element in addressing a post car is to make the address stand out from the rest of it.  If you’ve got stickers, logos and bold writing everywhere on the same side as the address, chances are that the post office will catch everything else before the delivery address. This won’t send your postcard back, but it could cause substantial delays.

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The picture to the left is an example of a what an ideal postcard should look like. Notice how the address stands out because of the blank margin surrounding it? This ensures that the address stands out from the surrounding text despite the writing not being any bolder. The bottom 1/2 inch has been left open and blank for the postcard to barcode it, and there is also a return address; all of which will ensure that the postcard is delivered on time.

Does doing all this work ensure that your postcard will get there with no problems and with no delay? No. Of course it doesn’t, because the post office is a human entity, run by an ever dwindling crew of overworked and (sometimes) underpaid postal workers that are constantly being blamed for the decisions made and prices set that they have no control over. Taking these precautions make it easier for the USPS to do their job, and trust me, they appreciate it. AB

About Amanda Bales 24 Articles
Mail Services Supervisor, former student worker. I have a BS in Psychology/Communications and a MS in Counseling. And I work in Mail.