Ahh, poor ol’ SingPost. Everyone always rags on our local postal service for taking forever to deliver mail and blaming them for the unexplained disappearance of ASOS parcels.
To be fair, they’re probably truly overloaded with deliveries for stuff bought online.
So it’s not at all surprising that SingPost has finally changed its postage rates and introduced new rules, effective 2 December 2019.
The gist of it is that mailing packages locally will be more expensive than before, while normal (flat) letters are charged more cheaply (according to a different tier).
Overseas postage will also become more expensive.
What does this mean for those of us who want to mail stuff at SingPost?
Here’s a comprehensive summary of the updated local & overseas postage rates.
SUMMARY OF SINGPOST POSTAGE RATES & OPTIONS (WEF DEC 2019)
SingPost has restructured its postage offerings and rates, effective 2 December 2019.
Here’s an updated overview of what services are available for different types of local mail:
|SingPost service||Tracking||What it’s for||Postage rate|
|Basic Mail||❌||Letters up to 500g||$0.30 to $1.70|
|Registered Mail||✔️||Letters up to 500g||Basic mail + $2.24|
|AM Mail||❌||Letters up to 300g||$2.90 / $4.40|
|Basic Package||❌||Small parcels up to 2kg||$0.90 to $3.50|
|Tracked Package||✔️||Small parcels up to 2kg||$3.20 to $4.80|
|Poly M (polybag)||❌||Small parcels up to 1.2kg||$2 / $2.90|
|SmartPac (box)||✔️||Small parcels up to 3kg||$3.20 / $3.80 / $4.70|
Phew! And that’s only for local mail (to Singapore address).
For overseas mail, things are more complicated because pricing depends on the country of the recipient.
SINGPOST POSTAGE RATES FOR LOCAL LETTERS: BASIC MAIL, REGISTERED MAIL, AM MAIL
I’m probably not the only person who has stuffed clothes, books and other things that are obviously not letters inside an envelope in order to mail it out as “normal local mail”.
Well, SingPost has finally cottoned on to this practice and decided that they will no longer entertain cheapskates like me. From 2 Dec 2019, “normal mail” will be renamed Basic Mail, and it will only be for letters and printed papers up to 500g.
Here are the SingPost postage rates for Basic Mail:
|Weight up to||Standard (C5/C6/DL envelope)||Standard Large (up to C4 envelope)||Non-Standard envelope|
It really pays to put your letters or Christmas card inside a regular sized envelope, which are for sale at SingPost, of course.
Not only is postage cheaper, regular envelopes also get delivered quicker (next day instead of 2 working days).
If you’re worried about your letter getting lost in the mail or arriving late, there are 2 options: Registered Mail and AM Mail.
Registered Mail costs an extra $2.25 on top of whatever postage rate you’re paying.
You’ll get a tracking number which you can use on the SingPost tracking page.
If your main concern is timely delivery, you can opt for the express AM Mail.
There’s no tracking, but letters will be delivered by 11am the next working day.
The AM Mail postage rate is $2.90 flat (up to 300g) for letterbox delivery; doorstep delivery is also available at $4.40.
TL;DR: The cheapest and fastest way to send letters or cards locally is by Basic Mail, but make sure you put it in a standard envelope.
SINGPOST POSTAGE RATES FOR LOCAL PARCELS: BASIC/TRACKED PACKAGE, POLY M, SMARTPAC
Important note: SingPost will no longer be doing doorstep delivery; instead, all parcels will be placed inside the letterbox.
So it is now implicit that the size of each parcel must be small enough to fit within a letterbox (not the slot, the box itself).
If you need to send something bulkier, such as shoes, you will have to opt for Speedpost (see below).
In an attempt to make its offerings more relevant, SingPost has now introduced a new Basic / Tracked Package rate.
There are now 4 methods for mailing a small package through SingPost: Basic Package, Tracked Package, Poly M and SmartPac.
|Weight up to||Basic Package (untracked)||Poly M (untracked)||SmartPac (tracked)||Tracked Package|
|500g||$1.80||$2 (max. 600g)||$3.20 (max. 600g)||$3.80|
|1kg||$2.70||$2.90 (max. 1.2kg)||$3.80||$4.20|
The new Basic / Tracked Package postage tier is more for ad-hoc peer-to-peer mail, like if you’re mailing a T-shirt to a Carousell buyer or sending a Christmas present to your friend.
If you’re OK with not tracking it, SingPost’s Basic Package postage rates are the cheapest for local parcels.
You can wrap it all up in an odd-shaped bundle if you want, as long as it would fit in a letterbox.
To mail this, you have to bring it to SingPost to get it weighed and stamped.
They’re meant as e-commerce solutions but anyone can buy one at the post office; there’s no minimum order.
You can simply seal it, write the address, and drop it off at the mailbox, no need to bring it back to SingPost to get it weighed and stamped.
Plus, the cost of packaging is accounted for.
As you can see from the comparison table, if you’re looking to mail your parcel with tracking, it’s often cheaper to opt for a SmartPac instead of the Tracked Package.
Also, a SmartPac lets you send up to 3kg (not possible with normal packages).
However, you’re limited by the size of the SmartPac box.
For all local parcels, delivery takes 2 to 4 working days, except Poly M which takes 3 to 5 days.
TL;DR: For untracked parcels, go with the Basic Package for lowest postage rates.
For parcels with tracking, opt for SmartPac if possible.
SINGPOST OVERSEAS POSTAGE RATES: AIR MAIL, SURFACE MAIL, REGISTERED MAIL (OVERSEAS)
For overseas postage, SingPost offers (broadly) 2 options: Air Mail or Surface Mail.
Air Mail is way faster (takes days instead of weeks), but a lot more expensive.
If you’re planning to send stuff by air mail, note that SingPost will be increasing its overseas postage rates from 2 Dec 2019 onwards. Best get those Xmas cards out this month!
Since there are way too many permutations depending on weight, postage method and destination, I’ve picked out 3 plausible overseas mail scenarios: A 40g greeting card, a 250g care package, and a 2kg present.
Here’s how much the new overseas postage rates will cost:
|SingPost overseas postage||40g card||250g package||2kg present|
|Air Mail (Malaysia, Brunei)||$0.90||$3.90||$21.70|
|Air Mail (Asia Pacific excluding Japan, Australia, NZ)||$1.30||$6.80||$49.50|
|Air Mail (rest of the world)||$2.10||$9.85||$69.50|
For Air Mail, SingPost has 3 zones, each with different postage rates.
For simple greeting cards there isn’t a huge difference, but if you’re sending heavy presents to Zone 3 (pretty much every country outside Asia), you might find yourself paying as much as nearly $70(!!) for postage.
If you’re mailing heavy stuff to far-flung countries, it’s way more cost-effective to ship by Surface Mail.
Surface Mail postage is purely calculated by weight, not distance, so it’s pretty much capped at $20.
But since it’s sea shipping, your present might take weeks or even months to reach the recipient (might not be in time for Christmas).
For registered mail overseas, you have to top up $3.60 per piece, and it applies to air mail only.
Registered mail is not available for Surface Mail.
If you happen to know the weight of your mail, you can calculate the overseas postage rate and check out the options with the SingPost postage calculator.
TL;DR: Air Mail is okay for light overseas mail (greeting cards, letters, small packets) but if you’re mailing heavier packages, it’s much cheaper to send it by Surface Mail.
SPEEDPOST SINGAPORE: LOGISTICS FOR EXPRESS/BULKY DELIVERIES
SingPost has a cap of 2kg for most of its postage options (except SmartPac which allows up to 3kg) and an implicit size constraint since most mail will be delivered only to letterboxes from Dec onwards.
So if you’re planning to mail a bulky Christmas gift to someone, then you’ll have to go to SpeedPost. SpeedPost is kind of like Singapore’s answer to FedEx or UPS.
It’s usually used for commercial purposes (like e-commerce shipping), but regular people can use it too.
For local delivery, Speedpost Standard is the cheapest option.
It takes 1 to 2 working days, and you can mail items up to 30kg in weight, max. length 1.5m.
Postage is charged by weight, and it ranges from $10 (2kg) to $16 (30kg) including tracking.
There’s also Speedpost Priority (same day delivery) which costs $15 to $21.
Meanwhile, packages up to 5kg can be sent by the fastest Speedpost Express (2-hour delivery) which costs $13 or $22.
For overseas delivery, the cheap option is called Speedpost Economy.
It’s not speedy at all though, and usually takes 4 to 6 weeks (basically surface mail / sea shipping).
Rates are calculated by zones once again.
For example, a 5kg parcel costs $23 to ship from Singapore to most countries in Asia, $50 to Australia, and $80 to the US or Europe.
The faster Speedpost options for international shipping cost more, obviously.
It can even go up to more than $1,000! You can see the full Speedpost postage rates here.
TL;DR: Speedpost offers delivery services for heavy parcels up to 30kg.
For local deliveries, it’s quite cheap, capped at just $16 for Speedpost Standard. Overseas delivery rates vary a lot with the destination country.
This article was first published in MoneySmart .