Royal Mail’s new barcode stamps for 2022: Everything you need to know

Earlier this year, Royal Mail introduced barcoded stamps as a way to make deliveries more efficient and, ultimately, modernise how we send and receive mail. However, this change means that after January 31st 2023, Royal Mail will no longer accept regular stamps without a barcode.

So, what should you do with all of your current stamps? And how will the barcodes affect the future of mail? We’ve got everything you need to know right here.

What Are Royal Mail Barcoded Stamps?

The 1st and 2nd class stamps that we have been using for decades that feature the profile of Her Late Majesty The Queen will become unusable after January 2023. Instead, new stamps produced from February 2022, featuring barcodes unique to each stamp, will be the only valid stamps.

If after the 31st of January 2023 you still have the older stamps, they can be exchanged free of charge for the new barcoded stamps. However, it won’t be as simple as heading down to your local post office to swap them. For up to £200 worth of non-barcoded stamps, you’ll need to fill out a ‘Swap Out’ form and send your old stamps to a Royal Mail Freepost address, where they will then send you the equivalent replacements. If you have over £200 worth of stamps to swap, you’ll need to use the ‘Bulk Stamp Swap Out Form’ instead.

This only applies to the standard 1st and 2nd class stamps. Any stamps you may have that are themed, commemorative, or non-barcoded Christmas stamps will still be able to be used after the deadline.

Why Do Stamps Have Barcodes Now?

These barcoded stamps will enable a whole host of new and exciting services for customers. They will connect physical stamps to the digital world, allowing us to keep the traditional stamping methods in a more modern way. The barcodes will also be unique to each individual stamp, meaning it will help to prevent any counterfeit stamps made and, therefore, improve security.  

The codes on the stamps will be able to be scanned by customers using the Royal Mail app for an easier way to see more informative tracking details. At the moment, when you scan a stamp’s barcode, customers will be shown a video through the app exclusively created for Royal Mail. But, over time, their goal is to make it possible for people to watch videos or messages created by the senders. 

So, for example, senders will be able to make birthday wishes videos for their recipients for a more personalised mail experience. This could potentially be fantastic for businesses, big or small, to create personalised marketing messages with every package sent.

Royal Mail Barcode Stamps frequently asked questions

Understandably, with a change as big as this, plenty of questions will arise. Below, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions about Royal Mail barcode stamps: 

What Happens if You Try to Use a Non-Barcoded Stamp After the Deadline?

If after the 31st of January 2023, you try to use a non-barcoded stamp on a letter or parcel (that isn’t a special, commemorative or Christmas stamp), it will be treated as though there is insufficient postage. This means your mail will be subject to a surcharge fee. So, we highly recommend ensuring you apply the correct barcoded stamps on all mail moving forward.

How Long Will It Take To Receive Swapped Barcoded Stamps?

As non-barcoded stamps are valid up until the 31st of January 2023, we suggest you continue to use them up until that point to avoid the need of swapping them out. However, if you do need to swap your stamps, the process should be completed within 7 working days.

Where Are Swap Out Forms Available?

The Swap Out form is available on the Royal Mail website to either print off or submit digitally. You can also contact the Royal Mail Customer Service team, who will send out a form to you, or you can pick one up from any Delivery Office Customer Service Point. From the end of November 2022, these forms will also be available to pick up at regular post offices.

To improve your current business mailing systems, take a look at our franking machines and mailing solutions to see how we can help.

Also, read our article on how to improve business mail tracking in order to maintain customer retention, improve customer service and make life easier for everyone! 

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