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End of Saturday mail to hit consumers?

By Claes Bell · Bankrate.com
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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197 Comments
Ryan
February 09, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I have no problem with Satuday delivery going away. However, the forever stamp was the best solution to the problem of constanly knowing what the current postage rate is and always having penny stamps around to fix those problems. Penny stamps cost more to print than they are worth just like the coin penny. I generally use stamps to mail 2 bills a month, everything else is done by card or online. Therefore, I do not like to have tons of supplies on hand. I just buy a book every 3 months. As to outsourcing our services to an overseas facility is just plain nuts! We already have too many businesses leaving our lands. If the majority of you reading these comments have never been to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. I highly suggest you do some research. They have postage on display from the creation of the U.S. Postal Service on and some of them are has high as $10.00 to send a letter. Stop complaing about the cost of stamps when they go up in price. As a nation we pay the least amount around the world for postage. Thank You

tina
February 09, 2013 at 3:30 pm

i think they should also go down to delivering on monday wednesday and friday how much gas could be saved majority of americans recieve 90% junk mail they could still go to work 5 days and just deliver 3 you have no idea how much gas is waisted for junk mail delivery wow gas would go down and it would be awesome

James
February 09, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Why can't the Dummys that run the country,run it like a business.
If a person ran their private business like the gov. they would be out of business. We can do WITHOUT the Postal Service on Saturday. I do NOT know anybody that uses the postal service much anyway.

Faye Simmons
February 09, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I think that getting rid of Saturday delivery is a good thing. Since I do my banking, receive 90% of my bills, and pay 95% of my bills on line I certaintly will not miss it. Most of what I get in the mail are business's trying to sell things I do not need or want and newspapers trying to sell things. Most of these things go in the paper recycling, but I guess that is what keeps the PO in business. It is nice to receive a written note or card in the mail.

Penny Duncan
February 09, 2013 at 3:07 pm

They need to end Forever stamps! It was a stupid idea, probably designed to provide an influx of cash.

johnny
February 09, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I deliver ups and we do the mail alotnow. give your loyal carrier a life and in the meantime help revamp the system. We need the usps to be viable and make my company stronger in the mix

GREG
February 09, 2013 at 2:45 pm

PEOPLE LETS START USING OUR HEADS, ITS THE COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO MANAGEMENT. LET'S THINK OF PRIVATIZATION OF THE MAIL IS THE RIGHT WAY TO GO. (TAKES THE POLITICS OUT OF IT AND THE HIGHER PAYED JOBS CAN BE CUT AS WELL.)

marie
February 09, 2013 at 2:45 pm

After all if we can outsource our voter elections to Scotland (thanks to George Soros) maybe we can do the same with the USPS.

Felicia Liban
February 09, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I'll miss the Saturday delivery, but this is the only way the post office can stay in business...so I will plan on my mail to be posted in time for the various transactions and medicine orders.
I do remember the days when there was mail delivery twice a day!

Hannah
February 09, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Now Vernon Dursley is very happy. No post on Sundays; now no post on Saturdays