The Royal Mail stamps that could become worthless from next week

Britons have a matter of days to use or swap their old Royail Mail stamps before they become unusable on August 1.

Non-barcoded stamps, which typically feature just the late Queen Elizabeth II’s profile, will no longer be accepted as the Royal Mail completes its transition to barcoded stamps. The move comes as part of the postal service’s “modernisation drive” to improve security and efficiency.

The new barcoded stamps will also enable “exciting” new features, such as allowing customers to access videos through the Royal Mail app.

The deadline to use the non-barcoded stamps was initially January 31, 2022, but the Royal Main introduced a six-month “grace period” to give customers extra time.

But it should be noted, the new rules won’t apply to some stamps. A statement from Royal Mail reads: “Special Stamps with pictures on and Christmas Stamps without a barcode will continue to be valid and don’t need to be swapped out.”

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With the deadline to use old-style stamps approaching on July 31, 2023, here is everything people need to know – from swapping stamps out to using them up – to avoid losing money.

Dan Whittaker, a personal finance expert from financial solutions firm, said: “To avoid losing the value of the stamps, the first option is to use the non-barcoded stamps ahead of the deadline. This is likely a slightly simpler solution, however, with the deadline looming, you may not have the use for them in the next week.”

Alternatively, people can swap their non-barcoded stamps in for the new, barcoded versions using Royal Mail’s Stamp Swap Out scheme.

Mr Whittaker said: “To do this, you must first obtain a ‘Stamp Swap Out form’. You can print this form out at home, request that one is sent to you, or pick one up in person.

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“If you have a printer, you can print the form out at home. There are two forms available – one for if you need to swap up to £200 of stamps, and one for if you need to swap more than £200 worth of stamps.”

Those who have less than £200 worth of stamps need to select the form entitled ‘Stamp Swap Out’ from the Royal Mail website and fill out the form. People can then send it back for free by writing “Freepost SWAP OUT” on their envelope.

Mr Whittaker added: “Ensure that the stamps you would like to swap are also included in the envelope.”

Those who have more than £200 worth of stamps need to select the ‘Bulk Stamp Swap Out’ form on the Royal Mail website.

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Due to the higher value of the stamps enclosed with the form, Royal Mail advises sending them both using a secure service with suitable cover to:

Royal Mail
Swap Out
Tallents House
21 South Gyle Crescent
EH12 9PB

Finally, those who don’t have a printer can request that the form is posted to them via the Royal Mail website. The ‘Stamp Swap Out’ form (for up to £200 worth) is also available to pick up from the Customer Service Point at local delivery offices. Alternatively, people can call the Royal Mail’s Customer Experience Team at 03457740740.

People also have the option to pick up a Swap Out form from their local Post Office along with a free envelope, but the Post Office won’t be able to actually swap the stamps to barcoded ones there and then – they’ll still need to be sent off.

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