What Is the Difference Between a Postage Stamp and a Shipping Label?

What Is the Difference Between a Postage Stamp and a Shipping Label The United States Postal Service (USPS) issues two main types of labels to customers who pay postage: postage stamps and shipping labels. They are used for different types of shipments and have several other major differences that you need to be aware of if you are going to send something via the USPS and want your shipment to arrive without a hitch. So how exactly is a postage stamp different from a USPS shipping label?

Postage stamps are small adhesive pieces of paper that indicate the amount of postage paid. They are issued by an authorized postal authority (in the United States, it is the USPS) and have a specified amount of postage noted of them. You can buy USPS postage stamps at a USPS Post Office locations or online at the USPS Postal Store.

The USPS issues several types of stamps varying by value:

  • Postcard Stamps
  • First-Class Mail One-Ounce Price Forever Stamps
  • First-Class Mail Additional Ounce Forever Stamps
  • Global Forever Stamps
  • Priority Mail Express Stamps
  • Priority Mail Stamps and more

What is a Forever Stamp? The word “forever” in the name of a USPS stamp means that it always represents the current price of the corresponding postal service (for example, USPS First-Class Mail), even if the postage rate has gone up since you purchased the stamp. Since shipping rates have a tendency to increase on a regular basis, purchasing Forever Stamps in advance might be a good strategy to save on shipping.

The value of a Global Forever stamp is linked to the price of a First-Class Mail International single piece 1-ounce letter (or a 2-ounce letter when you use it to send to Canada). If your letter weighs between 1 ounce and a max of 3.5 ounces, you will need to purchase Additional Ounce postage.

Postage stamps can be used to mail postcards, letters, flat/large envelopes, and small packages under 13 ounces. They don’t contain any information about the shipment except for the amount of postage paid.

Unlike postage stamps, USPS shipping labels don’t only indicate the amount of postage paid (which, by the way, depends on the shipping service and package weight). They also include a lot of identifying information about a shipment: the sender’s and recipient’s names and addresses, package weight, a tracking number, a barcode that is scanned to add the package to the USPS system and update its whereabouts, a list of items in the package (for international shipments), etc. USPS packages are processed automatically, so shipping label barcodes are essential to having them delivered.

Another difference between postage stamps and shipping labels is that postage stamps are issued exclusively by the USPS and need to be purchased, whereas shipping labels can be generated online and printed at home. Unlike postage stamps, which are self-adhesive, shipping labels can be printed on regular paper and affixed to packages with clear Scotch tape.

You can create a USPS shipping label using Click-n-Ship, an online postage service provided by the USPS, or a third-party service such as PostageMaker. There are at least two reasons to go with the latter option: third-party shipping label services typically cooperate with several major carriers (for example, UPS and FedEx in addition to the USPS) and offer shipping discounts.

So, let’s sum everything up. A postage stamp and a USPS shipping label are two different types of labels used to ship items with the USPS; they indicate the amount of postage that has been paid. Stamps are used for letters, postcards, envelopes and small packages and do not contain any identifying information, whereas shipping labels are used for larger packages and parcels and contain information that is used to identify and track a shipment as it travels to its destination. Finally, stamps must be purchased, but shipping labels can be created online and printed at home.