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End of Saturday delivery could cost you

The US Postal Service's cost-cutting measure will devalue some Netflix subscriptions and give people less time to pay bills by mail.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 7, 2013 1:05PM

This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site MarketWatch.


MarketWatch logoIf the post office doesn't deliver letters on Saturdays, mailboxes nationwide get a day off from being stuffed with junk mail. No big deal, right? But if you pay your bills by mail or subscribe to a DVD rental service, the change could hit your wallet.


The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it plans to eliminate Saturday letter delivery, effective Aug. 5. Packages would continue to be delivered on Saturdays, and post office locations currently open on Saturdays would remain open that day under the new schedule.  

Consumers' outgoing mail would not be retrieved from their home mailboxes on Saturdays, nor would letters placed in a blue USPS box be picked up, says Darleen Reid, a spokeswoman for the USPS. Letters delivered to a post office location will not be processed that day, but will be processed Sunday for Monday delivery.


Image: Mailbox (© Corbis)Without Saturday delivery or pickup, consumers will have to be more careful about making sure mailed bill payments arrive on time, says Gail Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. "Pay your bill the day it arrives if you're paying by mail," she suggests.


By law, credit card issuers have to set a payment deadline at least 21 days out from when they mail cardholders' statements, and the post office shift means consumers might get their statement two days later and have to send payment two days earlier.


This will inconvenience fewer people than it might have in the past. Just 23% of all bill payments are made with a check, according to an August 2011 study from research firm Fiserv, down from 61% in 2002. Meanwhile, online payments rose from 13% to 50% of payments during the same period.


But that still represents billions of checks. Another Fiserv study found that 59% of consumers still write at least one payment check each month. Consumers mailed just under 5 billion payments in 2010, according to a report that year from financial services research firm Aite Group. It projected a 6% drop by 2013, to roughly 4.7 billion mailed payments.


But even staunch e-payers may find that they have some mailed payments to worry about, says Ruth Susswein, deputy director of national priorities for advocacy group Consumer Action. Banks still send some payments arranged online through the mail, usually for smaller creditors that aren't set up to receive electronic payments, she says.


For consumers renting DVDs through a mail-delivery service like Netflix, no Saturday letter pickup or delivery can devalue subscriptions. Someone maximizing a monthly $7.99 one-disc Netflix subscription -- watching the movie the day it arrives and mailing it back the next day -- would get one less disc in August, eight instead of nine, if the customer started the month with a disc in hand. (A Netflix spokesman says the company had no immediate comment.)


It's too early to tell whether consumers will add more discs to their packages, switch to  streaming subscriptions or maintain the status quo, says Dan Rayburn, an industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan. "It's unlikely to make a major impact," he says.


Netflix's DVD business has been declining. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the company reported 8.2 million domestic DVD subscribers, down from 10 million in the first quarter. Domestic streaming subscriptions, meanwhile, grew from 23.4 million to 27.1 million during that same period. "With Redbox still around, people who want them can still get DVDs easily," Rayburn says.


More on MarketWatch and MSN Money:

Feb 7, 2013 1:33PM
Oh, quit whining.....they should have canceled it a long time ago to save money.    For the generation that never thinks or plans ahead I guess you will have to change your way of thinking.
Feb 7, 2013 1:40PM
Oh damn, I guess people will have to learn how to plan and return movies on time and pay their bills on time.
Feb 7, 2013 1:53PM

What is the big deal?  If it helps the USPS become more stable in the long run then cutting Saturday mail is fine by me. For too long has the Government tied the hands of the USPS ,running it into the ground financially ,then blaming it for not be competitive. Let the USPS have more authority to change what's broken and maybe it's service will improve !!  Keeping things the way they are is NOT working

Feb 7, 2013 2:47PM
Pretty weak the ways that no Saturday mail is going to "cost" me are related to paying bills and netflix dvd's?  It seems like this article is a weak attempt to drive ad traffic...
Feb 7, 2013 2:36PM
Well, ain't that a shame? So we might  have to  pay bills a day or two early. Oh, the hardship!. What a bunch of spoiled whiny babies some people have chosen to become.
Feb 7, 2013 1:45PM

Oh' please, the whining on this is sickening. If we can't cut $2 billion dollars from a service that would be reduced by one-day a week the United States is bigger trouble than I thought. And never mind that Meathead Ed Schultz calling this a conspiracy by Republicans to kill the middle class.

Feb 7, 2013 1:58PM
how about we take away some of the ridiculous amounts of retirement we pay these gov employees and start making them live off SS like the rest of us do.   The postal dept has just as many perks as a congress men.
Feb 7, 2013 2:02PM
they should cancel Wednesday delivery too to save another billion $$
Feb 7, 2013 2:21PM
grew up with mail delivery 3 days a week and I survived.  Now I look at this as one less day a week that I get bills in the mail.
Feb 7, 2013 2:00PM
I think the fact that most people pay their bills online or through an automated system is the crux of why Saturday service is being suspended. It isn't just about email...
Feb 7, 2013 2:57PM

it will not affect buisness delivery anyway, they will still transport mail on the weekends just not pick it up, or deliver it.

if your paying your bills the day before they are due, you need to either rebudget, or pay online.


Feb 7, 2013 3:12PM
I could care less about Saturday deliveries, I pay my accounts on line, have been doing so for years. They could deliver Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays and it would suit me fine.
Feb 7, 2013 1:44PM

Is it just me or was there a time we had no Saturday delivery. i seem to recall as a child back in the 70's that there was a big to do about Saturday delivery starting. Again, I could be wrong. either way, i won't miss it and its for the greater good. Unhappy, then as  said, stop whining and change your way of thinking.

Feb 7, 2013 2:36PM
Yes people are sending less letters by mail, but aren't they getting more packages by mail since so much is bought online?  Most of my stuff bought on ebay comes via USPS.
Feb 7, 2013 1:58PM
This is a necessary move to help stop the bleeding at the USPS.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things that I don't like about the Post Office, like the snooty, en-titlist attitude of the postal employees, commonly found among any government workers.   But we need the Post Office, if for no other reason to keep FedEx and UPS in check.  In many ways, the Post Office offers terrible service.  But we need an "official" service to deliver certain legal documents.  Certified Mail is recognized by the courts as a legal form of service.  FedEx or UPS can't provide that.   It's true that FedEx and UPS both provide similar services that the Post Office does and they do it more efficiently, which is also contributing to the Post Offices woes.  But like it or not, we still need government representation in this area.
Feb 7, 2013 4:04PM
tb101961 - Boy do you have this wrong.  I had 23 years between the Air Force and USPS employment.  For that I get a whopping $872 per month and NO benefits.  I pay for a portion of my life insurance which I would not have been able to afford at my age of retirement (62).  I was a retail (window) clerk.  Worked in a great area (sarcasm)!!  We were repeatedly cussed out, had stuff thrown at us, once knocking the clerks computer to the floor.  I was still unloading and loading trucks the day I retired.  No, standing in the front counter was not the only thing a retail clerk does.  I had to retire because my knees gave out from standing in close quarters.  I had knee surgery twice. Without my medicare and SS which I paid into for 48 years, not an entitlement, my money.  Just wanted to let you know how good my benefits are.  Same benefits as congress??  Boy that's a laugh!!
Feb 7, 2013 3:33PM
If 5 days a week is not enough time to pays bills maybe ...never mind.
Feb 7, 2013 2:52PM
If they were smart, they would cancel a mid-week day such as Wednesday and keep the Saturday delivery as it would differentiate them from FedEx and UPS.  Knowing I can be home for a Saturday delivery to sign for an important package is the only reason I use USPS since I do not have to take a day off from work.  You can still have a 5 day delivery schedule, but the smart thing to do is make your service stand out and convenient for everyone which UPS and FedEx often aren't.
Feb 7, 2013 2:34PM
Hey in some small towns they don't deliver the mail at all.  I had to rent a PO Box to get my mail. Some give them out for free, though. Now that would save the USPS a lot of money!!!!
Feb 7, 2013 3:03PM
But I won't get my junk mail and useless coupons on-time, other than that the service is great and they deserve every penny they earn.
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