Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Levi Winchester

Royal Mail stamp deadline: Everything you need to know as millions to become worthless

Royal Mail customers have been left confused by an upcoming deadline to use old stamps before they become worthless.

Classic stamps are being replaced by ones with barcodes, which allow recipients to watch videos and greeting messages from senders.

The deadline for which you have to use older stamps is January 31, 2023 - but the Royal Mail has now introduced a six month “grace period”.

This means you technically have until July 31, 2023 before they become worthless.

But to complicate matters, the Royal Mail still says you have to use your old stamps by January 31.

This has understandably left some people scratching their heads.

“Royal Mail website still saying old stamps are expiring end of Jan even tho [sic] they supposedly pushed back the deadline,” wrote one person on Twitter.

So what's going on? Here is what you need to know.

When is the deadline to use old stamps?

You can continue to use old stamps until July 31, 2023. This is covered by the six-month "grace period" from the January 31 deadline.

As the Royal Mail is not calling it an official extension, this is why its website still says the deadline as January 31 - despite this confusing people.

But rest assured, you can still keep using your older stamps until July 31.

In the FAQs section on the Royal Mail website, it states: “Mail posted with non-barcoded Definitive stamps after 31 January 2023, will for the first six month be delivered as normal, no surcharge will be raised.”

Royal Mail moved the deadline back to give people more time to adjust to the change.

What happens if I use an old stamp after July 31?

After this date, Royal Mail will treat any post sent with non-barcoded stamps as having insufficient postage. This means you may need to pay a fee.

For example, sending a letter or large letter currently incurs a £2.50 fee where no postage has been paid at all on a regular sized or large letter.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, you can still use commemorative and non-barcoded Christmas stamps even after July 31.

I’m worried I won’t use my old stamps by July 31 - what can I do?

You can exchange your old stamps for free through the Royal Mail 'Swap Out' scheme.

To do this, download a 'Swap Out' form on the Royal Mail website, call up Royal Mail on 03457 740740, or pick up a form from a local delivery office or Post Office.

If you’re downloading the form online and you don't have access to a printer, you can instead complete a web form and request for it to be posted to you.

Once you’ve filled it out, post back the stamps you want to swap using the Freepost address. Your new barcode stamps should then arrive in seven days.

You will need to complete a standard form for stamps worth up to £200, or a Bulk Stamp form for stamps worth more than £200.

There is no limit on the number of forms you can request.

There is also currently no deadline for swapping old stamps, although it’s best to do it sooner rather than later in case an end date does get announced.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.