Final day to use Royal Mail stamps without barcode before surcharge fee applies

Today is last chance to use stamps without a barcode – with any missing last post this evening set to incur a fee for the recipient.

From 1 August, any item with an ‘old-style’ stamp will be treated as having insufficient postage and liable for a £1.10 charge.

The changes affect any non-barcoded stamps on featuring the late Queen’s profile on a plain background.

The development will let customers watch and share videos. Pic Royal Mail

Image: ‘Regular’ stamps must have a barcode from 1 August. Pic Royal Mail

Any special stamps with a picture on, or Christmas-themed stamps, can still be used even if they don’t have a barcode.

Luckily, for those who have a stash lurking in the kitchen drawer, there’s a Royal Mail exchange scheme.

A form needs to be printed from its website – or picked up from a delivery office or Post Office – and the stamps sent to: ‘Freepost SWAP OUT’.

There’s currently no deadline on the scheme, but it’s important to note that Post Offices can’t swap the stamps themselves.

Barcoded stamps were introduced in February 2022 and allow people to watch videos, read messages and view other information from senders.

One of twelve new stamps, showing Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Steve Harris in Pamplona, September 1988, to honour British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden

Image: Special commemorative picture stamps remain valid

Royal Mail says they also improve efficiency and allow “added security features”.

Non-barcoded stamps were originally due to expire at the end of January but the scheme was extended by six months after people said they needed more time.

New stamps featuring the King’s profile went on general sale in April.

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