When do stamps without barcodes expire? Royal Mail deadline date looming - how to exchange

The Royal Mail expiry date for  ‘everyday’ stamps is looming but you can exchange them for new barcoded stamps - here’s how.

Stamps with no barcode will soon no longer be valid for postage and people are being urged to use them up by January 31. In a statement released on its website, Royal Mail said the deadline affects “everyday” stamps featuring the late Queen Elizabeth II’s profile.

Barcoded stamps were introduced in February to make deliveries more efficient and improve security, leaving those without them obsolete in just under 100 days. However, the latest move has nothing to do with the change of monarch as further details on the launch of stamps featuring King Charles will be made at the appropriate time.

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But there is no reason to panic because customers will be able to use themed, commemorative and non-barcoded Christmas stamps after the deadline. Meanwhile, anyone unable to use older everyday stamps before the deadline will be able to exchange them for newer barcoded ones free of charge.

It said: “We’re adding barcodes to our regular stamps. After 31 January 2023, regular stamps without a barcode will no longer be valid. You can either use up these stamps before this deadline or swap them for the new barcoded ones.

“The stamps that are changing are the stamps that will be very familiar to you. They feature the profile of Her Late Majesty The Queen on a plain coloured background. The barcodes will enable exciting new services by connecting physical stamps to the digital world through the Royal Mail app.”

Why are stamps barcoded?

In February, Royal Mail launched barcoded stamps, which would promote "new innovative services." The barcoded stamps allow people to view films, locate information, and send birthday messages to each other using barcodes that can be scanned with the Royal Mail app in the long run.

Earlier this month, the postal service issued a national public service announcement asking customers to use up their non-barcoded stamps before the deadline. It has distributed leaflets to 31 million homes and placed advertisements in newspapers, on the radio, and on social media in the hopes that customers will use those stamps this Christmas.

Those who are planning to exchange their stamps, can go to the Royal Mail website where you can swap out up to £200 worth of non-barcoded stamps via a form. You can then send this back to the Royal Mail free of charge, along with your stamps. However, stamps that have been used for postage will not be accepted for the swap out scheme. For more information on how to swap out your stamps, visit the Royal Mail website.