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First-class stamps to cost 49 cents as of Jan. 26

Stamps are seen in this undated file photo. (Damian Dovarganes)

December 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
It will soon cost a little bit more to mail a letter. Postal regulators on Tuesday approved a temporary 3-cent price hike for a first-class stamp, bringing the new cost to 49 cents.

Regulators rejected a request to make the price hike permanent. The change takes effect Jan. 26 and will last no more than two years, allowing the Postal Service to recoup $2.8 billion in losses.

The independent Postal Regulatory Commission said the change is justified by mail volume decreases since 2008.

Regulators said the Postal Service has to come up with a plan to phase out the higher rates once the lost revenue is recouped. It's unclear if that would take rates for first-class postage back to 46 cents in 2016 or to a different level.

Forever stamps, good for first-class postage whatever the rate, can be purchased at the lower price until Jan. 26.

Bulk mail, periodicals and package service rates will go up 6 percent.

The mail industry opposes the price increases. It says charities using mass mailings and bookstores competing with Amazon will suffer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.