Last chance to use non-barcoded stamps

Non-barcoded stamps expire on 31 July 2023

There are only a couple of weeks left to use non-barcoded stamps before they expire on 31 July 2023.

You’ll have seen these types of stamps everywhere. They’re the ones that feature a picture of the profile of Her Late Majesty The Queen on a plain, coloured background.

Not to worry if you still have any of these stamps lying around though. Read on to find out your options to use them before the deadline.

When do non-barcoded stamps expire?

Non-barcoded stamps, which are also called everyday stamps, will expire on 31 July 2023. This means that you won’t be able to use them from 1 August 2023 onwards. 

These types of stamps are commonly used to post letters and show the iconic picture of the Queen’s profile on a solid, coloured background. 

Royal Mail has started introducing barcodes onto stamps to help connect physical stamps to the digital world through their app.  You may have already seen the barcodes appear on the new King Charles III stamps which went on sale on 4 April 2023. 

This change was initially supposed to happen at the end of January 2023 following an announcement from Royal Mail last February. But the deadline was pushed back six months to give us more time to adjust and use any existing old stamps. 

What can you do with non-barcoded stamps before the deadline?

There are a couple of options to get the most out of your non-barcoded stamps before the deadline. 

The first is to simply post a letter before the end of July deadline. 

If you don’t think you’ll use your old stamps in time – don’t panic! You also have the option to exchange them for free, using Royal Mail’s ‘Stamp Swap Out’ scheme.

Swapping stamps worth up to £200 in value

If you’re swapping stamps worth up to £200, you’ll need to follow these steps to exchange them: 

  1. Get a standard swap out form from your local Post Office (you can also print them off here).
  2. Fill out the form and include all of your non-barcoded stamps.
  3. Send the form off to “Free SWAP OUT” free of charge. (no other address details are needed on the envelope!)

Swapping stamps worth over £200 in value

If your non-barcoded stamp collection is worth over £200, you’ll need to follow these steps instead:

  1. Print off a Bulk Stamp Swap Out form or request one to be sent to you by completing this online form
  2. Fill out the form and include all of your non-barcoded stamps.
  3. Send the form using a secure service with suitable cover to the following address:
    • Royal Mail, Swap Out, Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, EDINBURGH, EH12 9PB

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Can you exchange non-barcoded stamps at the Post Office?

You won’t be able to exchange your stamps at the Post Office. They can help you with the exchange process though. For example, if you need help deciding which Stamp Swap form to complete and getting a hold of free post envelopes to send everything off in. 

How long does it take to exchange non-barcoded stamps?

Royal Mail says it aims to exchange stamps within seven working days. However, this timeframe is subject to change and their capacity. For instance, if they receive lots of requests it may take a little longer to sort them through. 

As a general guide, if you haven’t received your new stamps within 15 working days, get in touch with Roya Mail on 03457 740740 for an update. 

Do Special Issue stamps need to be exchanged?

For now, commemorative or one-off stamps don’t include barcodes and won’t need to be exchanged.

The same goes for Christmas Stamps. Although barcodes will be introduced on them over time, non-barcoded versions will still be valid. So there’s no need to swap them using the scheme either. 

Why are stamps being barcoded?

Royal Mail says it’s introducing barcodes to stamps as part of a big push to modernise the postal service. By using barcodes it aims to beef up security when posting mail and make things more efficient too. 

Will all stamps be barcoded?

Most stamps, such as everyday stamps and Christmas stamps will be barcoded. (Although you won’t need to swap out your old Christmas ones as part of this change!) Special Issue or commemorative stamps won’t be barcoded because they’re one-off designs.

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