Royal Mail issues warning as it urges customers to use stamps before expiry - when is deadline, how to swap

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Royal Mail is urging customers to use up their old-style 1st and 2nd Class stamps before they become worthless in just a matter of days.

The Royal Mail is warning 1st and 2nd Class stamps without a barcode will be invalid in just a matter of days. The classic stamps are being replaced with new designs featuring tracking information that can be used to trace letters and link to video messages when scanned.

The original deadline to phase out unbarcoded stamps was set for January 31, but the postal service has since introduced a six-month grace period.However, the extension is set to run out, meaning if you try to post something without a barcoded stamp, there will be a fee to pay.

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The person you’re sending the mail to will be charged £1.10 to receive it by way of a Fee to Pay card. This can’t be paid on the spot, meaning potential delays too.

There are a few exceptions to note as Royal Mail have confirmed Christmas stamps or “special stamps” used to mark anniversaries and events will still be valid. If you have a huge stash of stamps you won’t use in time, Royal Mail have launched a Swap Out scheme that lets you exchange them for free.

Royal Mail: When is the deadline for -style 1st and 2nd Class stamps? 

Non-barcoded stamps with the late Queen’s profile on will become invalid on July 31.

How to swap invalid Royal Mail stamps

If you have a huge stash of stamps you won’t use in time, Royal Mail have launched a Swap Out scheme that lets you exchange them for free.

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Library image of Royal Mail vans, as its parent company calls for the Government and regulators to change its service obligation. (Photo Rui Vieira/PA Wire)Library image of Royal Mail vans, as its parent company calls for the Government and regulators to change its service obligation. (Photo Rui Vieira/PA Wire)
Library image of Royal Mail vans, as its parent company calls for the Government and regulators to change its service obligation. (Photo Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

To swap the invalid stamps, download a Swap Out form from royalmail.com, fill it out and post it off – making sure to include your old stamps – to Freepost SWAP OUT. You can switch up to £200 worth of non-barcoded stamps for the new barcoded ones.

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