How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Card? (USPS)

Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas- so many of life’s special occasions are marked by the cards we send and receive.

Even in today’s increasingly digital world, getting well wishes in the mail is still one of the best parts of celebrating big days!

However, to make sure that your cards get where they need to go, you need to know how many stamps to attach. Well, we’ve got an entire guide here to help you out, no matter what kind of card you’re sending, so keep reading!

How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Card at USPS In 2022?

Standard-size greeting cards require 1 Forever Stamp. Adding a gift card or photos usually doesn’t require more postage. Cards that are irregularly shaped, contain decorative elements, or that are rigid require additional postage as they must be hand-sorted. This fee can be paid using 1 non-machinable stamp, or by adding additional ounce stamps to your Forever Stamp in 2022.

If you still have more questions about how many stamps to add when mailing a card, then check out our guide for more useful facts and tips!

How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Greeting Card?

If a greeting card is of a standard size and weighs less than 1 ounce, then 1 Forever Stamp is all you need to cover the cost of postage.

USPS has very specific criteria for what it considers standard size cards. Here are the conditions your card must meet:

  • Be rectangular
  • Have minimum dimensions of 3 ½ inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
  • Have maximum dimensions of 6 ⅛ inches high x 11 ½  inches long x ¼  inch thick
  • Have a uniform thickness (i.e. not have any bumps or bulges)
  • Be flexible/bendable
  • Be made of paper

If your card is square, oversized, has 3-D elements, is made of a stiff material like wood, or is covered with polywrap, then you’ll need to plan for additional postage.

That’s because items that don’t conform to USPS’ standards cannot go through USPS’ mailing sorting machines.

Rather, they must be sorted by hand. This additional service results in something called a non-machinable surcharge.

USPS sells special stamps for such cards. One of these stamps covers both the First-Class postage rate and the non-machinable surcharge.

To make things easier for consumers, USPS and the Greeting Card Association both use butterflies to indicate the need for non-machinable stamps.

As such, USPS’ non-machinable stamps all feature butterflies, while participating greeting card companies have a butterfly on the back cover.

How Many Forever Stamps Do I Need for a Card?

In most cases, 1 Forever Stamp is enough to cover the cost of postage for a card, provided that it meets the size requirements, and doesn’t weigh more than 1 ounce.

If you’ve determined that your card is irregular or overweight, you can use more than one Forever Stamp to cover the extra postage fees.

Forever Stamps are currently priced at $0.58, meaning that two will pay for $1.16 worth of postage.

As mentioned in the last section, the charge for non-machinable cards is $0.88. Therefore, if you attach 2 Forever Stamps to your card, you’ll be paying $0.28 more than you need to.

Therefore, while it’s possible to use more than one Forever Stamp to mail a heavy or irregularly-shaped card, it doesn’t make much financial sense.

How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Card and Gift Card?

How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Card and Gift Card? USPS

It’s tough to give a definitive answer to this question without having a specific card and gift card to reference.

In some cases, 1 Forever Stamp may be enough to cover the postage fees. In others, the combination may weigh slightly more than 1 ounce, and require an additional ounce stamp.

If you have a kitchen or postal scale, verify the weight and base your postage fees off of that. If not, add an additional ounce stamp to your Forever Stamp just to be safe. 

Alternatively, take your envelope to the post office, and have a clerk tell you how much postage you owe.

How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Card with Pictures?

To determine how many stamps you need for a card that includes pictures, you need to decide how many pictures you’re sending.

You can send up to five 4 x 6 inch photos using 1 Forever Stamp.

If you’re sending between 6 and 15 photos, you’ll need to use 1 Forever Stamp, and 1 additional ounce stamp to your envelope.

If you send between 15 and 21 photos, you’ll need 1 Forever Stamp and 2 additional ounce stamps.

While it’s important to consider the weight of your envelope when figuring out postage, you also need to be careful not to surpass USPS’ maximum thickness limit for cards (0.25 inches).

You should be able to send up to 25 photos without going over this limit.

How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Pop-Up Card?

If your card contains pop-up elements, you may need to include extra postage.

To find out, check to see if there’s a butterfly logo on the back of your card. If there is, you’ll need to include enough stamps to cover the $0.88 non-machinable surcharge.

If there’s no butterfly, but you still have doubts, have a postal clerk weigh and/or measure your card. That way you’ll know exactly what you owe.

To learn more about USPS stamps, you can also read our posts on how many stamps are needed for 3 oz, Purple Heart Forever stamp, and do USPS stamps expire.

Conclusion

Most greeting cards only require 1 Forever Stamp. In most cases, you can even get away with including a gift card and a few snapshots without having to add more stamps. 

If you’ve got a unique or fancy card, you will likely have to use either a non-machinable surcharge stamp, or add additional ounce stamps to your Forever Stamp.

Photo of author

Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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