Royal Mail to replace ‘old style stamps’ with barcodes

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Customers were warned to check their drawers and desks for old stamps before the deadline

Thousands of stamps will soon be unusable, Royal Mail customers have warned.

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The post office will use a new barcode system to replace traditional postage stamps, said to be more secure and easier to mail letters.

When are postage stamps no longer used?

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As of January 2023, the left profile face stamp style of Queen Elizabeth II will no longer be used.

After this date, only barcoded stamps bearing the image of the Queen, non-barcoded Christmas stamps or special collection stamps can be used.

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The price of a first class stamp will increase by 10p to 95p from 4 April and a second class stamp by 2p to 68p. From April 5, Swiss Post will no longer accept payments for tax credits, child benefit and parental allowance. Around 7,500 Britons are still receiving these payments into their postcard accounts, but HMRC will soon no longer allow this. Anyone who has not switched these payments to a new account will not be paid out by then.

If you attempt to send mail using the old stamps after the deadline, additional charges may apply.

According to the Royal Mail website, there is a £2 charge for sending a letter without postage.

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Nick Landon, Royal Mail’s Chief Commercial Officer, said earlier this year: “Please check your kitchen drawers, wallets and purses for older non-barcoded stamps and ensure you use them by 31 January 2023.”

Is there a way to exchange stamps before January?

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Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme is an exchange scheme for people who don’t think they can use the stamps before the January deadline.

You can exchange your stamps for free by filling in a standard stamp form up to £200.

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However, the stamps cannot be taken to the post office for exchange.

The forms are available on the Royal Mail website and can either be printed or completed online. You can also request the forms to be sent to you via the Royal Mail website or by calling customer service on 03457 740740.

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The form can also be collected in person from your local delivery office, however bulk forms can only be found through the options above.

How to return the stamps and forms to Royal Mail

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If the forms have been collected or mailed to you, they should be delivered in a Freepost envelope. For those who printed the forms themselves, you can mail the sealed envelope to Freepost Swap Out for free.

Anyone posting bulk forms has been advised by Royal Mail to send them by special delivery and the additional cost will be reimbursed by Royal Mail in the form of barcoded stamps of the same value.

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The exchange should be made within 7 working days, if you have not received the new barcoded stamps within 2 weeks please contact Customer Service at the number above.

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