Know where your old stamps are?

Regular stamps without a barcode* are no longer valid for postage.

Know where your old stamps are?

Regular stamps without a barcode* are no longer valid for postage.

We’ve added barcodes to all our regular stamps. Regular stamps without a barcode* are no longer valid for postage. This follows the introduction of a 6 month grace period from the initial 31 January 2023 deadline. Swap them for the new barcoded ones.

The stamps that have changed are the stamps (pictured below) that will be very familiar to you. They feature the profile of Her Late Majesty The Queen on a plain coloured background.

Image of Royal Mail's new barcoded stamps
 

Note: Special Stamps with pictures on and Christmas Stamps without a barcode will continue to be valid and don't need to be swapped out.

Swapping them out

If you are a retailer who sells stamps to the general public – please click here to access a Retail Stamp Exchange form.

Your non-barcoded stamps can be exchanged for new barcoded versions through our Stamp Swap Out scheme. To swap out your stamps, simply: 

  1. Pick up or print out a swap out form 
  2. Complete your form and include your stamps
  3. Send free of charge to “Freepost SWAP OUT”

 
How to get a ‘Stamp Swap Out’ form

  • If you have a printer, you can swap out up to £200 worth of non-barcoded stamps by printing out and completing this Stamp Swap Out PDFpdf, 203.46 KB. You can send this back to us free of charge, along with your stamps, by writing on the envelope Freepost SWAP OUT. No other address details or postcode are needed.
     
  • If you have a printer, and more than £200 worth of stamps to swap out then use the Bulk Stamp Swap Out formpdf, 156.45 KB. We recommend sending this and your non-barcoded stamps back to us via a secure service with suitable cover. The address to send to is:
     
    Royal Mail
    Swap Out
    Tallents House
    21 South Gyle Crescent
    EDINBURGH
    EH12 9PB
     
  • If you don’t have access to a printer you can request a Stamp Swap Out form to be posted to you by completing this form online. The instructions for sending back to us will depend on the form you request.
    'Stamp Swap Out' forms are also available from the Customer Service Point at your local Delivery Offices (but please note they will only have the forms for the up to £200 option). Or you can call our Customer Experience Team on 03457 740740.

You can also pick up a 'Swap Out' form from your local Post Office along with a free post envelope – but the Post Office won’t be able to actually swap your stamps for barcoded ones.

Examples of stamps you can Swap Out

Examples of stamps accepted for the Swap Out Scheme

 

Examples of stamps you don't need to Swap Out

Examples of stamps not accepted for the Swap Out Scheme

 
More information is available in our Q&A section below.

 
We introduced a six-month period of grace from the initial 31 January deadline to give customers even longer to use up their old, non-barcoded stamps. This means that non-barcoded stamps will no longer be valid for postage and will be liable to a surcharge.

 
The move is part of the Company’s extensive and ongoing modernisation drive and will allow the unique barcodes to facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for customers.

 
Most stamps are being barcoded — but not all stamps.

All Definitive stamps are being barcoded - including Christmas stamps. Definitive stamps are the regular ‘everyday’ stamps featuring the profile of HM The Queen created by the sculptor Arnold Machin.

We aren't barcoding special issue stamps - which are printed as a one off to commemorate a person / event — these remain valid as postage so don't need to be swapped out.

Also, although Christmas Stamps are being barcoded, previous years of non-barcoded Christmas Stamps will remain valid as postage after 31 January 2023 — so there is no requirement to swap them out.

 
The 'Swap Out' scheme opened on 31 March 2022. 'Swap Out' forms are available from the following places: print one off our website; complete a request form on the website; contact Royal Mail Customer Services who will arrange for one to be sent to you; pick one up from any Delivery Office Customer Service Point. Please note from end of November 2022 swap out forms will also be available at Post Offices.

 
You can pick up a 'Swap Out' form from your local Post Office along with a free post envelope – but the Post Office won’t be able to swap your stamps for barcoded ones.

 
Mail posted with non-barcoded Definitive stamps after 31 January 2023, will for the first 6 month be delivered as normal, no surcharge will be raised. After this 6 month grace period, an item with a non-barcoded stamp would be treated as if there is insufficient postage. Any item that has insufficient postage is subject to a surcharge. Surcharge fees can be found on our website.

 
Non-barcoded stamps no longer valid for postage. If you have not been able to use them up you can send them in to us and we'll swap them out for barcoded stamps. Our 'Swap Out' scheme opened on 31 March 2022 and you can pick up a 'Swap Out' form from your local Post Office; your Delivery Office's Customer Service Point; print one off our website; or contact Customer Experience and we'll post one out to you.

Note: you don’t need to swap out non-barcoded Christmas stamps – we are still adding a barcode to Christmas stamps, but non-barcoded Christmas stamps will remain valid so can continue to be used after 31 July 2023.

 
The following stamps are having barcodes added to them:

Machin definitive stamps, this covers:

  • NVIs 1st Class, 2nd Class. 1st Class Large Letter; 2nd Class Large Letter
  • These make up value stamps: 1p; 2p; 5p; 10p; 20p; 50p; £1; £2; £3; £5
  • International Tariff stamps

Country definitive stamps: England; Northern Ireland; Scotland & Wales

Non-barcoded version of the above Machin & Country definitive stamps will not be valid as postage after 31 January 2023

Christmas Stamps: We are also adding barcodes to Christmas stamps.  Note: non-barcoded Christmas stamps will remain valid as postage after 31 January 2023 so Christmas stamps are not part of swap out.

The following stamps are eligible for swap out:

All standard decimal Machin definitive stamps since 1971, this covers:

  • NVIs 1st Class, 2nd Class. 1st Class Large Letter; 2nd Class Large Letter
  • all make up value stamps (e.g. 1p, 2p, 10p, £1, etc.) 
  • International Tariff stamps

All Country definitive stamps this includes Regional / Country Machins (1971- 1999) and the replacement Country Emblems (1999 to present) 

Christmas Stamps: Although we are adding barcodes to Christmas stamps, non-barcoded Christmas stamps will remain valid as postage so Christmas stamps should not be sent in for swap out.

See examples of stamps that can be swapped outpdf, 78.67 KB.

 
Special Issue stamps that are produced as one offs to commemorate an event as we are not adding barcodes to these types of stamps so non-barcoded versions remain valid for postage after 31 January 2023.

Christmas Stamps: although we are adding barcodes to Christmas Stamps — non-barcoded Christmas Stamps will remain valid as postage after 31 January 2023 — so there is no need to swap them out.

Any stamps which are pre-decimalisation are not eligible for swap out — as they don't have a postage value.

 
The company aims to process applications within seven working days. However, it should be noted this is an aim and not a guarantee - as there may be times when, due to higher volumes of swap out requests, applications take longer to process. Customers should allow 15 working days before contacting Royal Mail Customer Experience on 03457 740740.

 
Regular stamps without a barcode* are no longer valid for postage. There is currently no end date as to when you need to swap out your non-barcoded stamps by.

 
No you won’t lose out. Non-barcoded NVI stamps sent in for swap out will be swapped out with the new barcoded equivalent. It doesn’t matter what you paid for the stamp at the time.

E.g. if you send in a non-barcoded 1st Class NVI stamp; you will get back a barcoded 1st Class NVI stamp; if you send in a non-barcoded 2nd Class Large Letter stamp you will get back a barcoded 2nd Class Large Letter NVI stamp.

 
The value you put in is the value of the NVI stamp at the time you are filling in the form i.e. current Royal Mail prices (e.g. 1st Class NVI on 3 April 2023 costs £1.10 – so you would use £1.10). What you actually paid for the stamp when you bought it is not relevant.  Non-barcoded NVI stamps sent in for swap out will be swapped out with the barcoded equivalent.  e.g. send in a non-barcoded 1st Class NVI stamp – you would count this; you will get back a barcoded 1st Class NVI stamp; if you send in a non-barcoded 2nd Class Large Letter stamp you will get back a barcoded 2nd Class Large Letter NVI stamp.

 
Following our announcement on 1 Feb 2022, and subsequent discussions with key stakeholders, including feedback from our customers, we have removed Christmas stamps from our Swap Out scheme. These stamps are mostly kept by customers to send their Christmas cards and we anticipate that the vast majority will have been used by the end of this year. We are still adding a barcode to Christmas stamps, but non-barcoded Christmas stamps will remain valid so can continue to be used after 31 July 2023 and therefore there is no requirement to swap them out.

Stamp Swap Out Scheme - Terms and Conditionspdf, 195.32 KB - last updated 5 December 2023

*Eligible ‘non-barcoded’ stamps are the regular 1st and 2nd Class stamps featuring the profile of Her Late Majesty The Queen and those that show any other value. Non-barcoded Christmas stamps and Special stamps (i.e. pictorial stamps issued to commemorate anniversaries and events) continue to be valid for postage and do not need to be swapped out. Please do not try to exchange your stamps at your Post Office branch, as they will not be able to do this. You can only do this directly with Royal Mail.