Understanding the USPS Growth Incentive Program
October 30, 2023   Dave Lewis

A 30% discount on some of my mail?  Yes, please!

As with most things Postal, this new incentive program for 2024 mail growth is not simple.  Here are the basics:

  • If you increase your mail volume in either First-Class Mail or Marketing Mail, the Postal Service will give you a credit of 30% of the postage spent on the mail in excess of the prior year.
  • This really is two incentive programs – one for First-Class Mail, one for Marketing Mail.  No mixing allowed.
  • This is not a discount – it is a credit.  The credit will be put on a postal permit for future mailings.
  • Credits will be issued quarterly, beginning in June, again in October, and after the end of the year. 
  • Given the nature of the incentive, most mailers are not likely to qualify for credits until the end of the year, so the essential benefit will be postage credits to use in 2025.
  • Credits earned for First-Class Mail can only be used for First-Class Mail.
  • Credits earned for Marketing Mail (including nonprofit) can only be used for Marketing Mail.
  • The baseline year – the year you need to grow above – is based on the USPS fiscal year, which was October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.  So, the baseline year will include a great deal of your 2022 political mail, if you had any.
  • The incentive is based on mail in calendar year 2024.
  • Mail owners must register for the incentive, not their MSPs
  • When registering, the Postal Service will provide you with your baseline number.  You will need to agree or dispute the baseline number at that time.
  • If you mailed less than 1,000,000 pieces in the baseline period, your default baseline will be 1,000,000 pieces. 
  • USPS expects registration to begin in November, and remain open through June 2024.
  • It is still not decided if a mail owner can put their credits on the permit of their mail service provider.  If not, the mail owner may need their own permit. 

There are some significant challenges you should consider if you are interested in this incentive program.  Mail owners will be the people who need to register for the promotion.  Of course, many mail owners use multiple vendors, have multiple divisions, and use a variety of MIDs and CRIDs.  Exactly whose volume may appear as the baseline when registering for the program may be confusing.  

At the other end of the program, mail owners need to figure out what permit the credit will go to.  Many mail owners do not have permits – they use the permit for their mail service provider.  The Postal Service has still not decided if the credits can be applied to the MSP’s permit. 

So, should you participate?  If you know that you are not going to mail more than a million pieces in 2024, it’s a nonstarter – you won’t get any credits by default.  If you are looking for a short-term cash benefit, or credits you can use to lower your 2024 postage costs, just be aware that you most likely will not see any actual benefit until 2025 when the 2024 Q4 credits are applied.  

Large mail owners with multiple locations and vendors should coordinate to be sure they are comparing apples to apples in volume.   Mail owners should also have expectations as to what their baseline volume should be from their own documentation, so they know whether to accept the baseline suggestion provided by USPS or dispute it. 

Is it worth it for you?  If you mailed more than a million pieces in the last year and think you may mail more next year, there is little harm in signing up.  As always, we will do all we can to help our customers take advantage of the program if it makes sense.  Look to us for continuing updates as the details of the incentive programs become available.