The cost of mailing a letter will increase to 39 cents on Jan. 8.

The Postal Service's board of governors approved the two-cent increase in first-class postal rates late Monday. It is the first increase since June 2002.

The cost of mailing a postcard will increase a penny, to 24 cents, as part of the roughly 5.4 percent, across-the-board hike in most rates and fees.

The increase fulfills a requirement, passed by Congress in 2003, that the Postal Service establish a $3.1 billion escrow account. Congress is to determine later how to spend that money. The Postal Service said without the mandate it would not have had to raise rates next year.

The Postal Service has more than $69 billion in annual revenue.

Other rate changes include:

_First-class letter, one ounce, up 2 cents to 39 cents.

_First-class letter, two ounces, up 3 cents to 63 cents.

_Post card up 1 cent to 24 cents.

_Priority Mail, one pound, up 20 cents to $4.05.

_Express Mail, 8 ounces, up 75 cents to $14.40.

_Express Mail, 2 pounds, up 95 cents to $18.80.

_Certified mail up 10 cents to $2.40.

_Delivery confirmation (priority) up 5 cents to 50 cents.

_Delivery confirmation (first-class parcels) up 5 cents to 60 cents.

_Return receipt (original signature) up 10 cents to $1.85.

_Return receipt (electronic) up 5 cents to $1.35.

_Money orders up 5 cents to 95 cents.