[4/10/16] TUTORIAL: How to Ship via PayPal: An Easier and Cheaper Postage Alternative to the Post Office

[UPDATED FOR 10 APRIL 2016] Purchasing postage through PayPal is cheaper than going to a physical Post Office, and very easy. Since I’ve had many questions about shipping, I thought I would post a quick tutorial and postage price chart for those of you who’ve never shipped through PayPal.

How to Ship on PayPal for Cheaper than the Post Office - A Guide on Oaxacaborn dot com

Why is it less expensive?
Paying for and printing a postage label through PayPal rather than going to the Post Office saves you money because you get a cheaper commercial-based postage rate. And if you enter an email address when creating a postage label, PayPal even automatically sends the tracking number to the buyer via a shipping notification!

What do I need?
All you need is a printer and a scale (I use this postage scale); you don’t even need any special labels, since you just print the label right on a 8.5×11 piece of paper.

How do I start?
To start the process, just log into PayPal and click “Print Shipping Label” next to the transaction you want to ship. If your package is under 16 oz or under, you’ll select “First Class”; “Package/Thick Envelope” and then enter the weight in ounces.

How much does a First Class package cost?
Here are the First Class mail rates (tracking number is automatically included in this price) when you print and pay for postage through PayPal. Remember to weigh after you have packaged the item, not before. ;)

Note that postage rates for First Class actually decreased on April 10, 2016, when the Postal Regulatory Commission required the USPS to drop the extra surcharges added on to postage costs. Even Forever Stamps are lower now!

[Prices lowered to reflect the APRIL 10, 2016 First Class postage rate decrease.]

  • 1 through 3 oz = $2.45
  • 4 though 8 oz = $2.60
  • 9 oz = $3.30
  • 10 oz = $3.35
  • 11 oz = $3.40
  • 12 oz = $3.45
  • 13 oz = $3.50
  • 14 oz = $3.55
  • 15 oz = $3.60
  • 16 oz = $3.65

Now, I would still recommend rounding up when you budget for shipping. For example, I’ll budget that it will cost me $3.00 to $3.50 to ship a 1-8oz package, rather than the $2.45-2.60 in actual First Class postage costs. Why? Because I spend a little money on poly mailers, tape, ink, and paper each time I package an order.

What happened to Parcel Select Nonpresort?
[UPDATE: This question wasn’t in the original version of the article, but was added along with the January 17, 2016 and April 10, 2016 postage updates]

Parcel Select Presort is now called Parcel Select Ground.  And if you go to a brick-and-mortar Post Office, you’ll find that Parcel Select Ground’s sibling — formerly Standard Post — has been renamed Retail Ground. Way to be concise, USPS! Since this is a tutorial about the cheaper, commercial-rated based postage rates you can purchase online via PayPal, we’ll just worry about Parcel Select Ground and let the people standing in long lines at the brick-and-mortar locations worry about Retail Ground.  ;)

How much does a Parcel Select Ground package cost?

[UPDATE: This question wasn’t in the original version of the article, but was added along with the January 17, 2016 and April 10, 2016 postage updates]

As you can see, once your package weighs more than 16 ounces, you can’t mail First Class anymore. Your options above 16 ounces are either Media Mail, Parcel Select Ground, or Priority Mail.  Media Mail is generally only for books (more about that below), and Parcel Select Ground gets pricey quickly especially if you’re mailing to a ZipCode far away, so I highly recommend the much cheaper Priority Mail flat rate boxes (see end of article). Sometimes, though, you might want the Parcel rate.

Here are the Parcel Select Ground mail rates (tracking number is automatically included in this price) when you print and pay for postage through PayPal. Remember to weigh after you have packaged the item, not before. ;) Also note that for any given one-pound increment listed below, the prices vary within that range depending on ZipCode, not depending on ounces within the one-pound increment. (For example, for a ZipCode near you, it would cost $5.95 to mail a small package whether that package was 1 oz or 1lb. And for a ZipCode far away from you, it would cost $7.11 to mail a small package whether that package is 1 oz or 1 lb. Media Mail, First Class Mail, and Priority Mail flat rate postage rates do not work this way, but Parcel Select Ground does.)

[This post was updated to reflect the April 10, 2016 postage rate changes, although Parcel Select Ground postage rates did not change on this day.]

  • 1 oz to 1 lb = ranges from $5.95 to $7.11
  • 1 lb, 1 oz to 2 lb = ranges from $6.12 to $11.42
  • 2 lb, 1 oz to 3 lb = ranges from $6.31 to $15.50
  • 3 lb, 1 oz to 4 lb = ranges from $6.78 to $17.04
  • 4 lb, 1 oz to 5 lb = ranges from $7.46 to $19.76
  • 5 lb, 1 oz to 6 lb = ranges from $7.55 to $22.64
  • 6 lb, 1 oz to 7 lb = ranges from $7.63 to $25.43
  • 7 lb, 1 oz to 8 lb = ranges from $7.92 to $28.56
  • 8 lb, 1 oz to 9 lb = ranges from $8.42 to $31.77
  • 9 lb, 1 oz to 10 lb = ranges from $8.69 to $34.55
  • 10 lb, 1 oz to 11 lb = ranges from $9.00 to $37.44
  • 50 lb, 1 oz to 51 lb = $26.34 to $96.75*

*Keep in mind that at this kind of weight, your package may exceed the 84″ when you add the length and girth, which means yet another postage increase on top of what you see here.

How much does a Media Mail package cost? Does my package qualify for the Media Mail rate?
[UPDATE: This question wasn’t in the original version of the article, but was added along with the May 2015 postage update, because it’s so commonly asked, especially by homeschoolers reselling their curriculum at the end of the school year. ]

Note that postage rates for Media Mail actually decreased on April 10, 2016, when the Postal Regulatory Commission required the USPS to drop the extra surcharges added on to postage costs.

But before we get into cost, let’s quickly go over what does and doesn’t qualify as Media Mail.

When it comes to the discounted rate, the following items are a YES:

  • Books of 8+ pages
  • Sheet music or music books
  • Objective testing materials
  • Scripts and manuscripts
  • Certain film strips and audio recordings
  • Educational charts
  • Loose-leaf binders — only if for hospitals, doctors, and medical students

Here are some more details about what items are allowed under the Media Mail rate.

These guidelines are kind of a sticking point for a lot of people. But here’s what’s at stake. When you’re mailing something at the Media Mail postage rate, you’re literally agreeing to let the USPS open and inspect your package at any point during the mailing process, right up until when your recipient takes possession of the package. What does this mean? It means if the USPS opens your package and sees something that doesn’t fall under this category, they’ll either return the package to you, where you have to pay for postage all over again, or they’ll add a bill to the parcel, and your recipient will have to pay extra to receive it. (And yes, this isn’t just an idle threat. The USPS really and truly does this. And they don’t do such a good job of taping up the gaping holes they rip in the package to inspect, either.)

If USPS opens the package and deems it unworthy of the discounted Media rate, it naturally causes delays. And delays, if they’re significant enough, sometimes cause buyers to open PayPal disputes, since the package hasn’t arrived yet. I’m just not willing to risk my reputation as a seller over a small amount of Media Mail postage savings. That said, when you truly are mailing “bound printed matter” AKA plain old books, the discount is tremendous!

Unlike First Class Mail, where prices correspond to ounces, Media Mail postage works in whole pound increments. Anything less than 16 ounces is considered 1 pound.

Here are the Media Mail rates when you print and pay for postage through PayPal. Remember to weigh after you have packaged the item, not before. ;)

[Prices lowered to reflect the APRIL 10, 2016 Media Mail postage rate decrease.]

Please note that as of April 10, 2016, the PayPal interface still lists the USPS tracking fee as an additional $0.23 cost; HOWEVER, when you click the checkbox to add the USPS tracking service, the $0.23 price drops to $0.00. I imagine PayPal will update their interface soon. Prices listed below are calculating with tracking as $0.00.

  • 1 oz to 1 lb = $2.61
  • 1 lb, 1 oz to 2 lbs = $3.09
  • 2 lbs, 1 oz to 3 lb = $3.57
  • 3 lb, 1 oz to 4 lb = $4.05
  • 4 lb, 1 oz to 5 lb = $4.53
  • 5 lb, 1 oz to 6 lb = $5.01
  • 6 lb, 1 oz to 7 lb = $5.49
  • 7 lb, 1 oz to 8 lb = $5.97
  • 8 lb, 1 oz to 9 lb = $6.45
  • 9 lb, 1 oz to 10 lb = $6.93
  • 10 lb, 1 oz to 11 lb = $7.41
  • 11 lb, 1 oz to 12 lb = $7.89
  • 12 lb, 1 oz to 13 lb = $8.37
  • 13 lb, 1 oz to 14 lb = $8.85
  • 14 lb, 1 oz to 15 lb = $9.33
  • 15 lb, 1 oz to 16 lb = $9.81
  • 16 lb, 1 oz to 17 lb = $10.29
  • 17 lb, 1 oz to 18 lb = $10.77
  • 18 lb, 1 oz to 19 lb = $11.25
  • 19 lb, 1 oz to 20 lb = $11.73
  • 50 lb, 1 oz to 51 lb = $26.61

How should I package my item?
To keep your shipping costs down, use plastic poly mailing bags instead of boxes. You can order poly mailers on Amazon quite inexpensively. An added bonus? They’re water resistant, and they don’t take up much space to store!

This is the self-sealing brand I use, and I’ve not had a single issue with the strength or durability:

Does the Post Office give away shipping supplies like poly mailers or boxes for free?
[UPDATE: This question wasn’t in the original version of the article, but I’m adding it to the list here because I repeatedly receive this question.] The answer is no, and yes. No, you cannot obtain poly mailers or regular boxes for free from the Post Office, you must purchase those yourself. And yes, you can request Priority Mail boxes from the USPS/Post Office. They are completely free. (Of course, Priority Mail boxes can only legally be used for Priority Mail, which brings me to the next Q+A on the list…)

What if my package weights more than 16 ounces?
If your package is over 16oz, it does not qualify as Media Mail, you don’t want to pay Parcel Select Ground prices, but you still want to print postage through PayPal, then you should use a Priority Mail flat rate box. This is a really good deal, because heavy packages get expensive quickly. The Post Office provides Priority Mail flat rate boxes for free, and you can pay for and print the postage label through Paypal. Again, you get a discount if you do that instead of paying postage at the Post Post Office.

How much is postage for the flat rate boxes? 
Here are the Priority Mail flat rates, and again, a tracking number and insurance up to $50 is included:

[This post was updated to reflect the April 10, 2016 postage rate changes, although Priority Mail Flat Rate postage did not change on this day.]

  • A flat rate envelope is $5.75 through PayPal, and $6.45 at the PO
  • A small flat rate box is $6.10 through PayPal, and $6.80 at the PO
  • A medium flat rate box is $11.95 through PayPal, and $13.45 through the PO
  • A large box is $16.35 through PayPal, and $18.75 through the PO

How do I mail the packages?
To mail your packages after you’ve attached the postage-paid label to them, just put them in a USPS collection box (a Blue Box); You don’t need to go to the Post Office at all!

If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer! And if you found this helpful, why not click here to get this post’s Permalink, then pin it to Pinterest? :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links above are “affiliate links” provided in conjunction with my participation in Amazon.com’s Associates Program. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  Please be assured, I only recommend products or services I use personally, and I will always disclose any such links. 

188 thoughts on “[4/10/16] TUTORIAL: How to Ship via PayPal: An Easier and Cheaper Postage Alternative to the Post Office

  1. Thanks for this one. My friend was just asking me about this the other day assuming I did it but I don’t. I need a scale first. But I am lucky enough to have a drive-thru post office less than a quarter of a mile from my house so don’t mind going :)

  2. It’s me again haha. Do I call USPS to get a box? I guess I’m just confused as to how the mailman would know to come to my house to get them! Haha. Our neighborhood has the community mail boxes, not sure if that makes a difference? I’m pretty clueless about all this and thank you SO much for your help!

    • These blue boxes, also called curbside boxes or collection boxes, are in public areas; for example, you might find one next to a supermarket or a convenience store. These collection boxes are never used for delivering mail; they are provided by the USPS so you can send your postage-paid packages. (Note: This has nothing to do with your mail carrier coming to your house — you do not ever talk to a mail carrier in this process.You just walk up/drive up to the box, pull open the handle, and drop your package inside.) If you click on the “USPS collection box” link in the above blog post, you will be directed to the USPS’ official “Find Locations” page. Under “Location Types”, select “Collection Boxes”, then from the resulting choices, click the “Blue Boxes” check box. Once you enter your City,State or Zip and search, you’ll see where the closest collection box is to you.

  3. Hi!! I have to ship a 15 oz package through paypal, I always ship first class but this time the package weights more than 13 Oz, I want to ship flat rate, but envelope (polymailer) not a box, can you give me some input on how to do this?
    your help is highly appreciated!!

  4. For some reason mine keeps coming up $5.54 when I follow these steps! What am I doing wrong? Also, you didn’t mention adding the dimensions of the package that only pops up for priority?

  5. Do you know if these prices are still the same? I can’t find anywhere on paypal where shipping costs are listed! If you’ve got a link I’d love to have it!

  6. Hi! Great tutorial ! I just have a question. Can I get paid thru paypal but still purchase a shipping label at the post office?

  7. Hello, I have a 30 lb box to ship. The product is already in the box and it hasn’t been opened? How much would I pay for this using pay pal? Thank You

  8. This was sososoososo helpful! I cannot thank you enough lol I’ve been looking for instructions like these for over an hour, and this is exactly what I need, Thanks! :)

  9. I am wondering if these are updated rates. It looks like this was written in late 2012? Have rates changed since then? Perhaps you can edit and have the posting or last edit date?

    Also, is there a link to somewhere on Paypal that would list these out? Or is it not listed anywhere?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hello Annie, this post IS monitored and updated :) thus the notation “Prices updated to reflect the January 2014 postage rate increase” which appears more than once in the above post. In fact, I have have edited this post every time the postage has increased since 2012.

      As far as I’m aware, there’s no list on PayPal showing these rates, which is why I’ve written them out here.

  10. I started shippiing through paypal and prices were reflected as you posted in this blog.I went to ship something last week and the shipping was outrageous. Today, I’m filling orders and printing labels and for a 2 oz order – the labels is $5+. I’m so confused. Thoughts?

    • Hi Amanda, yes, PayPal does indeed give an option to either show the postage $ amount or hide it.

      And I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use a thermal printer — once the label is ready to print, you’d just choose to send the label to the thermal printer rather than to your default printer.

      Hope this helps! :)

  11. I am so confused :( SO, if something costs (and this is an extremely small and light item to stay in ontario) $29 estimated from UPS shipping, Paypal will lower it when you purchase their labels?

    I love your post but I wish I could understand it; it’s me not you ;)


    • Hi Heather, I’m sorry to hear you’re confused. You mentioned Ontario and UPS, so I need a little more information from you before I can troubleshoot.

      1. This post is talking about shipping via United States Postal Service (USPS), not United Parcel Service (UPS). Did you mean USPS?
      2. This information only applies to domestic shipping via USPS, i.e., mailing from the United States to an address in the United States. Are you trying to ship from the US, or from Canada?

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Thanks so much for your quick reply, Gina!! It’s much appreciated!!

        Oh dear, yes I meant USPS :( What a blonde moment!!

        I completely understand it now!! Thanks again and I am pinning this for when I need UPS :D

  12. I just had a quick question. I’m using padded flat rate envelopes to mail stuff, but when I go into PayPal shipping there isn’t an option for the padded fre. Do I just choose fre? Will postage still be the same?

    • Hi Camie, thanks for stopping by. If you create and print a shipping label using the method outlined in the post above, you actually also pay for the shipping too, via your PayPal balance. No need to pay for shipping at the post office, since you would have already done so when you created and printed your label. And yes, the buyer can track it. Hope that makes sense!

  13. Hi, Gina! This has been so incredibly helpful. Thank you! Do you recommend just having some flat rate boxes on hand in case they’re needed or do you grab them on a need-today basis? Can I grab some to take home or do I need to just take my items to ship to the post office and ready them there? Also, once they’re ready to ship, can I put those in the blue boxes as well or do they need to be dropped off at a desk with a postal worker?

  14. Hi Gina,
    How is this actually less expensive? I have a Pitney Bowes postal meter. I’m mailing a folded 4×10″ map in a clear USPS approved poly bag. It fits a #11 policy envelope or clear bag. It weighs 3.1 OZ by the meter’s scale, and the meter prints postage of $1.11. Pay pay charges $1.93 for the same item and weight. I was looking for regular old 1st class envelope, but apparently PayPal is charging for a package/thick envelope. Much cheaper for me to bypass Paypal on this. Good tutorial even if it doesn’t apply.

    • Hello Loren, looks like you are mailing items as a first-class letter. You are correct that the postage price for stamps are much different than the postage prices for packages/thick envelopes, which is what is being addressed in this tutorial. 1 oz postcard, 1 oz letter, and 1 oz package/thick envelope are all different base costs.

  15. I just have two questions I want to use a flat rate envelope or the envelope that’s more like you paper bag but they don’t give me that option when I save flat rate envelope and because it’s technically not a package I don’t know the dimension height wise if I’m using priority mail also with the flat rate envelope can I use any flat rate envelope because last time they just gave you the smallest one at the post office and I needed it to be a little bigger

  16. Thanks for the great tips! I’ve been printing first class shipping this way for a while. I do have a question though. I know that $50 of insurance is automatically provided. But what if my item is valued at let’s say $125? Do I need to enter $75 on the insured value line to only pay for that amount of additional coverage? Or do I enter the full value of $125? (It seems like I would be double-paying for that first $50 that way). Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Hello Amy, thanks for taking the time to leave a question. You may notice when you select “Purchase Insurance: Yes” and then enter “Value: $50” (or “Value: $10” or any number $50 and under) USPS does not charge you at all. The system only begins to charge you once you enter a value that’s MORE than $50. So no, you’re not double-paying for the first $50. Go ahead and enter the full value of $125. Hope that helps!

  17. Hi, I am shipping from Illinois to Canada via Paypal. Normally when shipping using poly mailers within the US, I select First Class and then Package and enter the ounces. To ship to Canada, I had to select First Class International and my only options are Letter or Large Envelope. Do I select Large Envelope for the poly mailer? Thanks

  18. Hello,
    Love what you are doing.
    I have been spending way too much and have had to eat alot of shipping due to trial and error, being a fairly new eBay seller. My question is, once I have my scale, and can weigh my packages ( in poly mailers) for first class shipping, how do I change shipping costs once I want to add the expense of mailers, tape, etc…
    Does PayPal at the end of auction choose shipping total since we don’t have any idea where the package is being shipped to until it ends.?
    Also do you just get postage deduction from your PayPal card for each shipping transaction as you print your shipping label.
    Thanks for the help.

    • Hi Sheli, thanks for your kind words!

      I don’t actually have a PayPal card, so I can’t answer that part of your question. Any postage I purchase via PayPal is deducted from my PayPal balance.

      Whenever I weigh my packages (in the poly mailers/packaging materials like you said) I always just round up / add a little bit to account for the cost of tape, shipping supplies, etc. For example, I’ll charge the buyer $2.50-3 for shipping on a 1-5oz package, rather than charging exactly $1.93-2.09, which is the amount I pay to the USPS through PayPal to ship a 1-5oz package.

      And the beauty of shipping First Class and Flat Rate Priority Mail (the two types of shipping I talk about above) is that in all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen the postage price change based on where the package is being shipped! :) When you ship First Class and Flat Rate Priority Mail, you don’t need to know the buyer’s Zip Code in order to calculate postage.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that the eBay shipping interface offers more options than the PayPal shipping interface I talk about in this tutorial. You can choose a ton. of different options with eBay shipping, whereas I have chosen to simplify it and just address First Class and Flat Rate Priority Mail here, because I’ve found them to be the most economical and simplest/easiest for the kind of shipping I do.

      (Also, a lot of people sell privately via a Facebook page, an Instagram account, or other “yard sale” type page online and do not have the option of buying postage through eBay, and only have access to PayPal transaction user interface.)

      Hope that helps!

    • You’ll probably need to leave a note on your mailbox for the carrier that there’s outgoing mail inside, otherwise they may just leave it there.

    • Hi Joanne, thanks for your comment! There are a lot of different kinds of mailboxes, depending on where you live. If you live along a rural route, and have a rural mailbox, or you have a wall-mount letter receptacle attached to the exterior of your home, then it’s typical to place outgoing mail in the box. If you receive mail in a locked mailbox on a large cluster mailbox (one that has a grid containing lots of other locked mailboxes, such as in a neighborhood or an apartment complex), the mail carrier usually only collects outgoing mail from the outgoing mail slot, not from individual boxes. In that case, you could always schedule a free pickup for your outgoing mail! https://tools.usps.com/go/ScheduleAPickupAction!input.action

  19. Hi Gina, question about shipping… How do i know how much I should charge buyer for shipping? I live here in Northern California, someone told me to calculate shipping just put the farthest zip code from where I live.. I’m still confused with this ebay shipping..:(

    • Hi Lerma, YAY NorCal! I miss living there :)

      One of the reasons I originally wrote this tutorial is to answer the question, “How do I know how much I should charge the buyer for shipping?” Now, there are a lot of different ways to ship a package, but this tutorial primarily addresses First Class and Flat Rate Priority Mail. For as long as I’ve been shipping these ways — plain old First Class and Flat Rate Priority Mail — I’ve never seen the price change based on Zip Code. That’s the beauty of it!

      So, to know how much to charge for shipping, you can read the “How Much Does it Cost?” paragraph above, which is essentially —
      1. Weigh the item along with the the poly mailer / packaging
      2. Consult the chart above to see how much postage will costs. (If it’s under 13 oz, you can send it First Class. If it’s over 13 oz, and you want to print postage through PayPal, then I always recommend a Priority Mail flat rate box. This is a really good deal, because heavy packages get expensive quickly unless you use the “slow-boat” Standard Post option [formerly Parcel Post]).
      3. Round up / add just a little bit onto the postage amount to account for your cost in mailing supplies, tape, time, etc.

      Another note: eBay offers a lot more options for shipping, but a lot of people sell privately via a Facebook page, an Instagram account, or other “yard sale” type page online and do not have the option of buying postage through eBay, so this tutorial addresses paying for and printing postage via the PayPal transaction user interface, not the eBay interface.

      Hope that helps!

  20. What exactly is the difference between a padded flat rate envelope and one of the tyvek ones besides one being padded? & which option would I choose on paypal for the tyvek?

  21. Hello, my question is: Since I print the labels on a regular 8.5×11 paper, how do I attach that to the poly mailer. Should I invest in sticker labels? Or can I just use clear tape?

    • I’ve never had a problem with clear tape around the perimeter, but some go crazy and tape over all the label except what USPS says not to.

    • Hi Joanna! Thanks so much for stopping by. I print labels on 8.5×11 paper, too. Shipping via PayPal is all about saving money (and time!) for me, so I just tape the paper on to the package. Easy peasy! :)

  22. Hello, I was wondering if I can schedule a pick-up for a package through USPS if I use the paypal shipping? or if I would have to bring to the post office/ drop box?

  23. Maybe you can help me- Wondering if I must have a business paypal account to sell on IG, or can I use a personal? Do you pay a fee per sale for either? Also, can you invoice customers via a personal paypal account? Do you have any invoicing tutorials? Thanks a million!

    • HI Jessica, thanks for taking the time to comment! I use a personal account on PayPal, as I don’t have the business information (like an Employer Identification Number) that I’d likely need to set up a business account. Yes, you definitely can invoice via a personal account. While I don’t have any tutorials, PayPal has made it very easy. Now you just click “Send & Request” link from the top of the screen and then choose the “Create and Manage Invoices” option on the next screen, where you can click “Create an Invoice”. The main two things you’ll need to fill out are “Single Customer / Recipient’s Email Address” and then of course the dollar amount. You can preview the invoice before you send, too. Yes, PayPal will take a small percentage out; so if you send an invoice for X amount, you will receive a bit less than X when the buyer pays the invoice. I often just add a dollar to my selling price ahead of time, to make sure the fees are covered. So if I think, “Hmmm, I will sell this for $15”, then I usually list it for $16 instead. Hope that helps!

  24. Excellent post! I’m trying to mail a poly mailer that weighs 1lb 14oz. I selected parcel select non presort and entered weight but it’s giving me over $7? Can you help me?

    • I apologize, Page, that’s likely due to an error in my post, which has been fixed now.

      The other possibility is the “Package Size” option (i.e., “Large Package”, “Very Large Package”, or “Package/Thick Envelope”). The majority of packages will fall under the “Package/Thick Envelope” category, which the USPS defines as ” A package is a parcel less than 84″ when you add the length + girth. Length is the longest side of a package. Girth is the distance if you wrapped a string around the two smaller sides of a package. A Thick envelope is a large envelope exceeding 3/4″ thickness.”

      I am guessing your package, at less than 2 pounds, is in the “Package/Thick Envelope” category. Choosing another package size will up the postage price. :)

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for reply! Ok, here’s what I’ve done:
        1. Selected Parcel Select Nonpresort (2-9 days)
        2. Selected Package/Thick Envelope
        3. Weight 1lb 14oz
        ….nothing else
        And it’s giving me $7.63

        Selecting Large package is $33.96 and selecting very large gives me $105.11!!!

        Maybe rates have gone up???

  25. I have a polymer envelope, weight 1lb. I still don’t know what to select to get the most reasonable charge. I know PAYPAL hasn’t added the options we all want but until then, what should I select? Thanks

    • Hi Linda, thanks for taking the time to comment. I assume you mean a regular poly mailer and not a Priority Mail Flat Rate Tyvek envelope, right? At this time, PayPal doesn’t offer the option to print out postage for Priority Mail Flat Rate Tyvek envelope; however, you can look at the price rate charts in this blog post to compare postage rates for 1-lb packages. Like I say in the blog post, anything over 13oz won’t be eligible for First Class mail. For a package over 13oz which does not qualify for Media Mail rates, Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are often cheaper than Parcel Select Non-presort. There’s also the option of choosing the service type/package type via the PayPal interface, and then clicking “Continue” to see the postage price before you confirm and pay. If you don’t like the price, you can always click “Edit Shipping Details” to choose a different service option before you confirm and pay. Hope that helps!

  26. Do you know how to print a label on PayPal for a legal size flat rate envelope?If I click on Flat Rate Envelope, it will print a letter size label. Thanks for any help.

  27. HI, I am trying to print a label via paypal. i have a regional box A…when i go to the usps calculator…it gave me a price 5.85. there is not selection for these regional boxes on paypal…I put priority and the size of the box…but its giving me a price of over $7. any idea how to use the regional boxes for this? thanks so much!!

  28. Hello and thank you for this! It’s wonderfully helpful, but as I read this it sounds like it is mostly for domestic (USA) prices. I am opening up shop soon and trying to figure out cheaper shipping methods and I found your post and discovered Paypal postage.

    My question is: For international shipping through Paypal, when I select First-Class it gives me the option of Letter or Large Envelope. The items I am shipping weight at most 9oz and are put in bubble mailers/poly mailers. (They are miniature doll books) Would it be considered Large Envelope or would I have to bump up to Priority Mail International and select package on there?

    My worry is that att First-Class International for the Large Envelope is only $11.14 (9oz) VS. Priortiy Mail International – small flat rate box $25.25 (9oz). I am selling my items for only $5 a set…. so charging this for shipping is unfair to the customer.

    Also here is another quote I did for a lower ounce package for international shipping.
    For a 3oz package through Paypal postage:
    Priority Mail International >>> small flat rate box $25.25
    First-Class Mail International >>> Large envelope $4.32

    Also I know that Canada has different prices too if I select that as the country. But everywhere else this is the norm.

    My bubble mailers/poly mailers come in 6×10 and 4×7. (Sorry this is such a long comment!)

    What should I do in choosing shipping options? Please help, thank you!

    • MykoWilliams, thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Unfortunately, international shipping guidelines and prices really vary widely from country and country, so I can’t answer all your questions easily. Even USPS guidelines for what constitutes a Large Envelope or a Package is different for international shipments vs. domestic shipments. I can, however, refer you to https://www.usps.com/international/preparing-international-shipments.htm That link contains “Large Envelope” and “Package” size guidelines for International postage purposes, among other things. Hope that helps!

  29. Almost everything I ship is under 13 oz. But I’m wanting to start shipping other things that would be over 13 oz and not fit in a poly mailer. If I have something that weighs between 14 oz and 2lbs and it has to be shipped in a medium sized box (breakable) would I be cheaper to ship priority mail flat rate or parcel select? Or should I just box it up and try both ways once the item sells?

    • Hi Angel, thanks for stopping by! The beauty of Priority Mail Flat Rate is that you know ahead of time how much it will cost. With Parcel Select, it varies — sometimes A LOT — by zipcode, so there’s no way of knowing how much it will cost until you have the zipcode handy. Usually, you don’t know the zipcode until the item sells, so for this reason, a lot of people opt for Flat Rate. Hope that helps!

  30. Thank you so much for this post, it helped me out a lot with Depop and all my customers love my shipping rates and how fast they come. (: However, I wanted to know what you would suggest for items shipping to Canada? It’s about 3 ounces as well. Thanks so much, Gina!

    • Hi Shaefer, thanks so much for stopping by! Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you (Happy Labor Day! ;)) I think your best bet is to play around with the international USPS calculator at http://ircalc.usps.com/ and see what would give you the best value. One word of caution, though — let your Canadian customers know ahead of time that US-to-Canada customs is exceptionally slow! Every time I have shipped to Canada, I had concerned customers, until I started letting them know that it takes up to 4-6 weeks for Canadian-bound mail to get through US-Canada customs. So just gives them the heads up, and you should be good!

      • Thank you! Okay, I have another question haha sorry. I’ve been only shipping first class for the past few months and it’s worked flawlessly! However today I’ve got a customer who wants me to bundle for them, and the items came to be 19″ in thickness. Would that still work for first class? Or would I have to switch to priority mail? The items don’t fit in the Priority padded envelope :\

  31. Hi I would like to know if I created the shipping label via paypal, does my client know the actual shipping charge? Any one knows? Thanks

    • Hi Lory, you can hide it! In PayPal, before you print the postage, you have a choice to click “Yes” or “No” when it asks you “Display postage value on label?” Click “No”, and your actual shipping charge will be hidden from the client :)

      • Hi Gina,

        Thanks for your information. That’s good to know. My anther concern is that after paid the shipping label, I got an email from paypal which tells you the shipping details, shipping status as well as the total shipping cost. I wonder if the client receives the same email or not?


        • Hello again Lory :) I have purchased lots (and lots and lots and lots ;)) of items online using PayPal, and the shipping notification email I receive as the client has never shown me how much the seller actually paid. :) Hope that helps!

  32. Hi Gina,

    Thank you for your great information. It answered my questions. So, I don’t need to worry about if the buyer knows the actual shipping cost I paid as an ebay seller. :)


  33. hi – i have 16 pages of printed knitting instructions – would this qualify for media mail? would these pages fit in a 9×12″ poly mailer? what is the best way to mail these pages? thank you.

    • Hi Carmen, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. :) Loose printed papers aren’t Media Mail material, unfortunately. But sounds like a perfect opportunity to just use First Class rate postage, in an “old-fashioned” manila envelope! (I wouldn’t put loose papers in a flexible polymailer without some kind of cardboard to stiffen.)

  34. hi gina – been thinking media mail is not the way to – after much trouble with the usps website i ordered the free priority mail padded envelope – would you know if this envelope is listed on paypal’s pay pages? thank you. carmen

    • Hi Carmen. Unfortunately, no. The Priority Mail options on the PayPal shipping page are as follows
      +Small Flat Rate Box
      +Medium Flat Rate Box
      +Large Flat Rate Box
      +Package/Thick Envelope (i.e., not Flat Rate, but still good prices)
      +Flat Rate Envelope (i.e., not Padded Flat Rate Envelope or Legal Flat Rate Envelope)

      Hope that helps.

  35. Hi Gina, thank you for all this information. Im 14 y/o and I was wondering if you could give me advice on shipping clothing. I want to sell my clothes online but I have no idea where to start or if PayPal is convenient for me. Thank you

  36. Hi Gina,

    I am from Asia, sending a 3oz package to the US, which will then be sent back to me in return. The problem is, I have to pay for the return postage to Asia. Since I am unable to enclose or electronically send in money to cover for the return cost, or to get US stamps or International Reply Coupons, can I instead use this Paypal method to pay and print for a “return” postage label which I will be enclosing in the package to be sent to US. The postage label will of course have my Asian address and will be affixed in the package that will be sent back to me.

    Thanks and more power.

  37. Are these for envelopes only? I’m trying to ship a small box through First Class as it only weights a bit over 2 ounces, but I’ve been doing some scouting about PayPal’s system that even though it says parcel, it counts it as a large envelope. Don’t want the post office sending the package back to me because of insufficient postage costs or something.
    Also, if I wrap the label around the box (it’s quite small) would that be a problem to the office workers? I’d make sure the bar code is flat, but does the rest need to be?
    I’m really trying to avoid a trip to the post office, lol.

  38. Very informative and helpful post!
    I would like to know if standard post option is available on Paypal, because I don’t see any option for standard post during label purchase on PayPal. I am looking to send a package over 13 oz and wondering if i can use standard post rather than priority mail. Thanks

  39. Thank you so much for your post. I was SO confused on if I should ship something first class or flat rate and wasn’t understanding the 13oz limit with first class. Thanks for your help!

  40. Hi, I recently started purchasing labels with the help of your post! The first few labels were fine, but now PayPal won’t let me purchase anymore. It just tells me I need I add funds to my account, even though I paid with card for the successful ones. I called in and they said PayPal shipping isn’t for offline transactions, which is why my later attempts were denied :( Has this ever happened to you?

    • Hi Julianne, I haven’t experienced anything like that — but the scope of this tutorial is to assist in printing postage associated with online PayPal transactions only. In order to do that, log into PayPal and click the “Print Shipping Label” link that’s next to the transaction you want to ship. Hope that helps!

  41. Hi Gina, I must be missing something, USPS raised the first class ounces to 15.99, but I only see the 13oz selection on Paypal. How do I get access to mail a First Class package at 14 or 15oz?

  42. Paypal shold be updating soon for First Class weight increase (16oz), im confused as to why they didn’t do it already, they are not losing anything by doing it. Both eBay and Amazon had there’s switched the same day it took effect. I hope it’s soon since the USPS website doesn’t offer First Class postage.

  43. I am not getting any savings through Paypal for shipping. I have others tell me that they do. I’ve called Paypal and have received several different answers, none the same. Since the rate increase in Jan 2016 is it true that there is no savings with Paypal?. I sell on sites through Facebook and at this point am not seeing a lot of profit. Is there any way to save? I don’t use Ebay for sales but do purchase many things from them, but also see no option as a buyer to use their postage, with is cheaper. If not, how can I add enough postage to compensate for my ink, paper, etc without gouging the buyer. Thanks!

    • Hi Tammi, thanks for taking the time to comment. Aside from Media Mail, yes, postage IS indeed cheaper when you purchase in conjunction with a PayPal transaction vs. purchasing in a brick-and-mortar Post Office. You can calculate retail rates at https://postcalc.usps.com to see, and then compare to the PayPal postage rates in this post, to confirm the savings. For instance, here are a few examples chosen at random. A 9-ounce parcel sent First Class is $3.30 through PayPal and $3.74 otherwise. A 9-ounce parcel to a faraway zone is $7.11 through PayPal’s Parcel Select Ground and $7.84 via the brick-and-mortar equivalent, Retail Ground. A small flat-rate Priority envelope is $5.75 through PayPal, and $6.45 otherwise. Etc, etc.

      And consumers are getting more and more savvy. You can definitely round up a little on postage costs, but if you find you’re losing money on your endeavors, it’s always better to increase your product price than to increase shipping charges to a point consumers may perceive as gouging.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for responding.That is the site that I use (USPS) and enter the info. It is the same amount that shows up on Paypal when I print out my postage. Here is one that I just did. 2 oz. on USPS was 2.54 and it printed out the same on Paypal. I never see any savings. How do you round it up on your shipping label (to 3.00-3.50 as suggested). I am using my ink, paper, tape, mailers and honestly am losing money. Do you know if I am being told correctly by Paypal employees? Thanks for your time.

        • As of the last update, you will not see a discount on very, very light First Class parcels such as you’ve described. I am not sure what you are selling, but at two ounces, perhaps it would fit in envelope with 2 postage stamps?

          Rounding up would never be done by altering a postage label (!!!). Rather, you’d list whatever product you’re selling for more. For instance, you might consider charging the customer $13.50 for a $10 item rather than charging $12.54 for a $10 item.

          I am not sure what sort of shop you have, but if you’re literally in the red after mailing a sale, I am not sure rounding up by less than a dollar will make a difference :/

    • You will definitely save $$$$ using PayPal compared to using your local post office, using PayPal you get tracking for FREE at the post office it’s about $1.00 You do need to ship some volume to see any big savings though. Recently I had to buy postage at the local post office for a 8oz package (this is the weight for most of my packages) it cost me $3.34 with tracking at the post office, on paypal it’s only $2.60 for 8oz package with tracking, I save $0.74 a package using PayPal. It’s not much if Im only shipping 1-2 packages but over a month and shipping 200 packages that’s $148.00 a month $1776.00 a year I’m saving using PayPal over the post office, it adds up. Also ebay postage prices should be the same as PayPal, and yo can only use ebay shipping to ship ebay packages, there is no option to input any address which is why they have the paypal shipping which was the same company as ebay until the recent spilt.

      • You should be saving by using paypal over going to the post office. Now if your only mailing a few packages you will not save alot, or very lightweight packages. You need to ship alot to see a significant amount of savings. Foe example if I sip a 8oz First class package at the post office it’s around $3.34 if I use paypal it’s $2.60 $0.74 saved. But with paypal and the rate changes if I Ship a 9 oz package it goes up $0.60- $0.70 and almost a $1 at the post office. It really depends on the size of the package and the quanity your shipping. But there are always saving when buying online vs. the post office, it might not be much but there will be some kind of savings.

  44. Ok, this is a super helpful site for me with my shipping needs! I use a flat rate priority mail envelope but it is padded. My question is do I just add a 35 cent stamp to the flat rate price since at USPS it is 35 cents more than their regular flat rate envelope? HELP!

    • Sim, that’s a great question. Unfortunately, I’m befuddled too. I sure wish they had an option for the bubble/padded flat rate envelope, because that’s the one I like best! Maybe your local postmaster would know. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

    • If you use USPS website it has the option for the bubble mailer ( Priority Mail® Padded Flat Rate Envelope $6.10 commercial base $6.80 at Post Office (retail & online), if you get commercial pricing its worth it. I used to pick the regular flat rate envelope when I first started selling on eBay, Amazon etc. and use the bubble mailers with it cause I didn’t know there was difference, I’ve never had a issue doing it (I’ve sent hundreds), the postal clerk at my local post office said it wasnt a big deal, every post office is different though. I still do on occasion, but if a clerk has a problem wit it your package will arrive with Postage due. YMMV

  45. Ok, I’m about to sound super stupid but please bear with me lol

    Let’s say I sold some clothes that need to be shipped. Do I weigh them before or after I put them in the polynailer, or does it not matter?

  46. Just wondering I need to mail a pair of jeans. I bought poly mailers through Amazon. Will that work? And what option would I use on PayPal to send them?? Thanks for your help.

    • Poly mailers are fine, you may want to use some bubble wrap if you have it, it’s up to you. If it’s under 1lb use first class (package/thick envelope) if it’s over 1lb use priority mail (package/thick envelope).

      PayPal has updated there system to 16oz for first class instead of 13oz. At the post office first class is still 13oz.

  47. your first class rates look like they are for letter. I have to use “large envelope” which is considerably more. can you include those rates? also, while large envelope is much more than letter, it is MUCH less than buying at retail, like $5 less. is this legit? I am worried PayPal is using a commercial rate that I am not entitled to use. does USPS check this? thanks!

    • Hi Jenn, the First Class rates listed here aren’t First Class Letter rates — if they were, 1 oz would be $0.47, the price of a postage stamp! ;) Also, one can’t even print First Class Letter postage from PayPal, only “Package/Thick Envelope” and “Large Envelope”, both of which cost exactly the same (see price chart in post above.) Yes, you are right; this is a Commercial Rate, which is cheaper than what you’ll find at a brick-and-mortar/retail location. Are you entitled to use it? Yes, if you are printing postage associated with online PayPal transactions. In order to do that, log into PayPal and click the “Print Shipping Label” link that’s next to the transaction you want to ship.

      Hope that helps.

      • it’s great to know that I can use the PayPal shipping rate since it’s considerably less than USPS. and also, my bad on the “Large Envelope” rate–I am mailing First Class International and, of course, those rates are higher than Domestic. I don’t think it’s possible to add every type of service to your info!. :) thanks!

  48. Thanks for this great information. I have a question about using Paypal shipping label for non-paypal transactions. Someone told me there is a way you can print a shipping label (and pay for it with your Paypal account) even if the transaction did not take place with Paypal.

    Do you know if that is illegal?

  49. Hey! How would you recommend shipping shoes? I got them to fit in a 9 x 12 poly mailing bag, but they’re heavier than 16 oz… 1 lb and 10 oz to be exact. What’s the cheapest way to ship domestically?

    • Hi Joyce, since shoes can’t go Media Mail or First Class, then you’d have to choose from either Parcel Select Ground (1 lb, 1 oz to 2 lb = ranges from $6.12 to $11.42 depending on ZipCode), or Priority Mail.

  50. Wow… fabulously thorough post! So refreshing too to see that the rate information is even up to date as well. Just what I was looking for as I prepare to dip my toe into selling & shipping with PayPal. Many thanks!!

  51. First of all, thanks so much for this post! It has helped me with my fear of shipping! I am a newbie and I was wondering where you get your packaging from when you ship first class. Thanks again!

  52. Hi. I would like to know how a Canadian can use the USPS system.
    Although we can create a USPS account, and order supplies, etc when we try to Ship’nClick type and to pay for it, the USPS system stalls. We tried to pay via paypal and credit card and it does not accept them.
    We would be interested in how to be able to create labels and pay for items shipped to Canada; as we would like to do a lot of mailing things to ‘ourselves’. Thanks

    • TheBandit, this tutorial focuses on using the system inside the United States. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I don’t have any advice for you on how to use PayPal to ship via USPS if you are not in the United States. (Click n Ship is different from the steps outlined in this tutorial, but I don’t have any advice for that, either.)

  53. What about for getting the best international rates? I have an online business and shipping charges for example, to the UK are much cheaper if I can pay through paypal vs the usps website. However, I have some orders that get paid with another merchant so I’m then forced to use usps. Paypal will not allow you to pay for shipping on international orders unless that order was paid for by using paypal. The difference in shipping cost is fairly outrageous. Thanks for any help!

  54. If your package is in the middle of two different weights.. for instance, it weighs between 8 and 9 oz. (8 5/8 oz.) do you really have to pay for a 9 oz. package, even though the weight is slightly closer to 8 then it is to 9 oz? What would happen if I would simply pay for an 8 oz. package?

    • It’s worth the cents to pay for 9oz when your parcel is over 8oz anyway. This way you don’t risk having your package returned to you for insuffiecient postage (in which case you’d have to pay all over again from scratch), or risk getting bad feedback from a customer who receives a parcel with postage due.

  55. On the poly mailers what type of mail & box do you chose on paypal? Like priority & just envelope? Or do I need to measure them.

    • The options are “Large Package”, “Very Large Package”, or “Package/Thick Envelope”. Most likely you will choose “Package/Thick Envelope”. The majority of packages will fall under the this category, which the USPS defines as “A package is a parcel less than 84″ when you add the length + girth. Length is the longest side of a package. Girth is the distance if you wrapped a string around the two smaller sides of a package. A Thick envelope is a large envelope exceeding 3/4″ thickness.”

  56. Does it matter which service type you pick for the polymailers? Sorry for all the questions! I am mailing like 20 packages today & I want to make sure nothing comes back. :)

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