Royal Mail issues warning on non-barcoded stamps as deadline looms - how to swap your old stamps

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This is how you can swap your traditional non–barcoded Royal Mail stamps, before they become no longer valid.

People have less than two months to use their regular non-barcoded stamps - notably the regular first and second-class stamps featuring the profile of the late Queen - before they are rendered completely invalid.

In a warning issued to customers through a notice sent through letterboxes across the country recently, Royal Mail said customers have until July 31 to use the traditional stamps or risk being hit with extra postage fees after the deadline.

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Royal Mail had launched the barcoded stamps in February 2022 and after January 31, regular stamps without a barcode were no longer valid for postage. However, the company implemented a six-month grace period with mail posted with the ‘retired’ stamps being delivered as normal.

Now that the six months is almost up, mail using the old stamps will be treated as if there is insufficient postage, which is subject to a surcharge. Those people who still keep the non-barcoded Christmas stamps are also urged to have them changed.

Royal Mail said the new addition “will enable exciting new services by connecting physical stamps to the digital world”. They can be scanned by customers using Royal Mail’s app, enabling people to do things such as watch a video.

How to swap your non-barcoded stamps

Fortunately, there is a way to swap your non-barcoded stamps, thanks to an exchange system currently in place. The Royal Mail’s "Swap Out" programme allows you to exchange stamps for free by filling out a form, which you can download on their website or have it posted to you.

For stamps valued up to £200, use a normal form; for stamps worth more than £200, use a bulk stamp form. The stamps unfortunately cannot be changed at the Post Office.

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