When do old stamps go out of date? Royal Mail deadline and how to swap them
27 July 2023, 13:34 | Updated: 27 July 2023, 13:37
1st and 2nd Class stamps without a barcode will be invalid from 31st July – here's how to swap them.
Royal Mail is urging customers to use up their old-style 1st and 2nd Class stamps before they become worthless in just a matter of days.
A warning has been issued to people who still own non-barcoded stamps with the late Queen's profile on, as these will become invalid on 31st July.
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Instead, classic stamps are being replaced with new designs featuring tracking information that can be used to trace letters and link to video messages when scanned.
The original deadline to phase out unbarcoded stamps was set for 31st January, but the postal service has since introduced a six-month grace period.
By Monday next week though, this extension runs out meaning if you try to post something without a barcoded stamp, there will be a fee to pay.
The person you're sending the mail to will be charged £1.10 to receive it by way of a Fee to Pay card.
This can't be paid on the spot, meaning potential delays too.
There are a few exceptions to note as Royal Mail have confirmed Christmas stamps or “special stamps” used to mark anniversaries and events will still be valid after 31st July.
If you have a huge stash of stamps you won't use in time, Royal Mail have launched a Swap Out scheme that lets you exchange them for free.
It's simple, just download a Swap Out form from royalmail.com, fill it out and post it off – making sure to include your old stamps – to Freepost SWAP OUT.
For people without a printer, a form can be requested online.
You can switch up to £200 worth of non-barcoded stamps for the new barcoded ones.
If you are sitting on more than £200 worth of stamps, make sure to use the Bulk Stamp Swap Out form instead and send them via special delivery.
Royal Mail will refund this additional cost through barcoded stamps worth the same amount.
There is no limit on the amount of forms you can request so don't panic if you've decided to quit your stamp-collecting hobby.
For people who miss the deadline, it's also worth noting there is no cut-off date for swapping stamps, although it's best to do it sooner rather than later incase Royal Mail close the scheme.
Once sent off, you should receive your shiny new barcoded stamps within seven days.
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