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End of Saturday mail to hit consumers?

By Claes Bell ·
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Posted: 1 pm ET

Hoping to mail off that bill at the last moment to avoid late fees? It better not be on a Saturday.

The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it is ceasing Saturday delivery and pickup of mail from businesses and residences as of Aug. 1 to try to stem the massive losses it has experienced in recent years. Delivery of packages to homes and businesses -- and full service to post office boxes -- will continue six days a week, and post offices that now operate on Saturday will continue to do so.

"The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits," said Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, in a statement. "We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings."

The USPS reported an annual loss of nearly $16 billion in 2012, and Congress has been slow to implement reforms that could put it on sounder financial footing. The agency expects five-day delivery to save $2 billion per year after it's fully phased in. That's a small fraction of the agency's red ink. Indeed, a 2011 Government Accountability Office report concluded that "ending Saturday delivery would reduce costs, but comprehensive restructuring is also needed."

The USPS cited internal research and media reports indicating that 70 percent of Americans supported the move as a way for the agency to cut costs and improve its financial position.

For consumers, the impact will likely be felt in terms of payment flexibility and turnaround times for sending and receiving communications with banks.

For example, consumers who normally would have waited until after depositing their paycheck Friday before sending out a credit card payment Saturday will now face a choice between incurring late fees and hoping their paycheck clears before their payment does. Should that fail to happen, the result could be hefty overdraft fees on their checking accounts.

However, your bank's ability to receive any payments you manage to send will probably be unaffected, as many large businesses have special relationships with the USPS that allow them to receive mail more frequently than regular customers.

"We pick up from the USPS and process payments seven days a week, including all major holidays," says a spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase & Co. "If a customer's payment arrives in the lockbox on a Saturday or Sunday prior to our 5 p.m. local time cut-off, we will date the payment as of that day."

Overall, the negative impact on customers may not be what it would have been a few years ago, thanks to direct deposit and the sort of Web-based financial innovation that's partially responsible for the Postal Service's dire financial straits. Many people now get their paychecks directly deposited, and electronic bill-pay and other online services allow consumers to pay bills instantly as soon as they have the money in their checking account to do so.

That being said, if you have lost your debit card or have some other urgent need to receive mail from a bank, you won't be able to do so on weekends any longer -- and that could lead to financial hardship for some.

What do you think? Will you miss Saturday mail delivery?

Update: Spokespeople from Citibank and Wells Fargo say they don't expect their ability to receive weekend mail to be affected.

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Elizabeth Jennings
February 09, 2013 at 3:57 am

I agree with Ellida (sorry if not spelled correctly) about the USPS being the best in the world, and I'm sorry if they're having so much trouble because of the increasing internet usage. But I don't believe they're in as much debt as they say they are! I find all these comments very interesting. And I agree with all the posters who want to keep the Saturday delivery. It's such a shame that it has come to this. It seems like America is losing so much of what has made it such a wonderful country. While I truly enjoy using my computer and sending emails, I also enjoy getting "snail mail". There's something special about getting a handwritten note, letter, or card. It takes more effort to do that than to write an email, and you really feel special that someone went to all that effort for you! But PLEASE don't privatize it -- talk about higher fees and poorer service....!!

February 09, 2013 at 3:35 am

what I was happy about was when my Post Office told me that UPS an FedEx can now deliver to my PO Box, and the Post Office will accept an sign for my packages. I canceled my UPS PMB Box service and rented another Po Box and still save myself 100$ a year

February 09, 2013 at 3:29 am

Thank you Ellida for paying attention to what is going on. Unfortunately few people have any idea about the loss of government and why we as Americans need to clean it up.

The postal service is quite solvent, as are all the other targets of congress. YOUR congressman, bought by corporate America have made sure that the post al service will ever be solvent.

The most bizzare and very hard to believe is that Congress has required the postal service to pay for all FUTURE EMPLOYEE COSTS to include benefits.
That is what the corporate people want so they can own it just like social security, and Medicare.

Why is no one paying attention

alfred b jones
February 09, 2013 at 3:27 am

how about looking into hydrid trucks?that would save mega bucks per year. i am sure some auto comp would like to get that contract.also they could make some for varo\ious area to see the cast per mile, compared to gas only.just a thought from a retired worker. also no degree

alfred b jones
February 09, 2013 at 3:26 am

how about looking into hydrid trucks?that would save mega bucks per year. i am sure some auto comp would like to get that contract.also they could make some for varo\ious area to see the cast per mile, compared to gas only.just a thought from a blue a retired worker. also no degree

February 09, 2013 at 3:23 am

PUT post offices inside grocery stores, walmart,or even banks.

February 09, 2013 at 3:22 am

closes all post offices that are just PO Box and counter service centers, close on Sat an Sunday. sell off land not being used and post offices inside grocery stores, walmart,or even banks.

Donald Peterson
February 09, 2013 at 3:06 am

CLOSED all post offices on Saturday. That will save more dollars. Give all Postal Workes "OFF" on Saturday and Sunday without PAY. Save those dollars.

Ed Robert
February 09, 2013 at 2:04 am

One caution not yet mentioned. Today Monday deliveries are usually delayed until later in the day because of the extra day's mail backlog. With a second day's backlog to sort, pack and deliver the Monday delivery will likely cause and even later delivery and mail could rest in mailboxes overnight. Unsecured mailboxes could soon be targeted by mail thiefts.
Would recommend that the postal officials take measures to avoid that situation and have the Monday mail delieveries on time.

Ellida Lathrop
February 09, 2013 at 2:00 am

From other comments I can see that most folks don't know the real story. 1. The Post Office is NOT losing money. 2. NO taxpayers money goes towards its operation and has not since 1971. 3.It is NOT broke. For many years certain corporations have been trying to force privatization so they could take over what is, in fact, a lucrative operation if it were not for the absurd congressonal mandate of pre-paid retirement. The U. S. Post Office is the most efficient mail system in the world. No where else can one get mail in one or two days. No other work force appears each and every day, regardless of weather or disaster, and delivers a service. One can be without power for a week but one is never without mail. So quit thinking only New York City penthouse dwellers with computers are the only people who live in America. There are lots of us small town and city folks who depend on mail delivery and pick-up, and who don't want anymore unemployment in America. If we can save Bank of America, AIG, Goldman Sachs and other corporate leeches, there is no reason to even consider upsetting our current, very efficient and very cheap, postal system. And NO, I do not work for the Post Office.