Royal Mail has announced that millions of its so-called “definitive” stamps featuring the portrait of the Queen will become worthless after January 2023 in favour of barcode stamps
Royal Mail has finally opened its “Swap Out” scheme, where you can exchange current-style stamps for new barcoded versions.
The postal giant has announced that millions of its so-called “definitive” stamps featuring the portrait of the Queen will become worthless after January 2023.
This is because it is rolling out new barcode stamps which the recipient will be able to scan with their phone to view an animated video.
The only stamps you’ll be able to use beyond January 2023 are the barcode stamps, collectable stamps and Christmas stamps.
Post sent with non-barcoded stamps after January 2023 may incur a surcharge that will need to be paid by the recipient.
This will be treated in the same way as if not enough postage has been paid.
How to use the ‘Swap Out’ scheme
If you’re using the “Swap Out” scheme, you’ll need to fill out a form from the Royal Mail.
There is a standard form for stamps worth up to £200, or a Bulk Stamp Swap Out form for stamps with a value of more than £200.
You can download and print out the form on the Royal Mail or call its customer services team on 03457 740740 to request a form to be posted to you.
Will you be swapping your stamps? Let us know in the comments below.
Alternatively, you can pick up a form from your local delivery office. If you collect a form or get one sent to you, you’ll be given a freepost envelope to send it off.
If you’ve downloaded the form, you’ll need to attach your own postage to send it to the Royal Mail. There’s no limit to the number of forms you can request.
You can’t collect a form from Post Office branches and you can’t take stamps to the Post Office to be swapped.
It should take seven working days for your new stamps to be sent to you.
Less than one week before stamp prices go up
Stamp prices are due to rise in just under one week – but there is a way to beat the increase if you act now.
The cost of 1st class stamps will reach 95p, up 10p from 85p, from April 4. The price of 2nd class stamps will increase to 68p, up 2p from 66p.
Royal Mail confirmed the price hike earlier this month and blamed it on Brits sending fewer letters.
If you send a lot of letters, it could be a good idea to stock up on stamps now ahead of the price rise – but keep in mind you will need to swap them.
There is currently no end date as to when you need to swap out your non-barcoded stamps by.
A statement released on March 4 said: “Royal Mail has considered these pricing changes very carefully in light of the long term structural decline in letter usage and rising inflation.
“Letter volumes have declined by more than 60% since their peak in 2004/5, and around 20% since the start of the pandemic.”