Millions of stamps are to become invalid 

A Royal Mail employee empties a post box in central London following the announcement that postal wo

Royal Mail are experiencing delays to service in Upminster due to resourcing issues and high levels of sickness absence. - Credit: PA

People were concerned when it was released this week that Royal Mail has warned some stamps will become invalid.  

First and Second-class stamps with the Queens head on them, or Christmas themed stamps will become invalid by the end of January 2023.  

The Royal Mail has said that anyone who tries to use the stamps after the cut-off date will find their stamps are invalid and they will have to pay a surcharge if there is insufficient postage on their mail.  

Barcode stamps Royal Mail

Barcode stamps are to be introduced by Royal Mail - Credit: Royal Mail

Though until that date, all stamps already in circulation are completely valid.  

One off commemorative stamps will not be barcoded and continue to appear as they do.  

Each new stamp will have a digital counterpart with its unique code, this will make for higher mail security in the future.  

There will be no personal data stored in the new barcoded stamps.  

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It looks like stamps will not be able to be swapped over at the Post Office, but the swap out scheme will offer a service to swap them out free of charge, so customers should not worry if they are unable to use their stamps before then.  

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "We are adding unique barcodes to stamps to pave the way for innovative services for our customers and to enhance the security of the postal service.  

“We are encouraging customers to find and use-up any stamps they may have before January 31, 2023.  

The price of stamps has gone up

The price of stamps has gone up - Credit: PA

“However, if customers are unable to use them up by then, we will exchange them for barcoded stamps of the same value completely free of charge. 

"Our 'Swap Out' scheme will open on 31 March 2022 and run until 31 March 2023.  

“Customers will be able to print out a form from our website, call our Customer Experience team to ask for one or pick one up from their local Delivery Office's Customer Service Point.  

“More details about our ‘Swap Out’ scheme will be announced soon, but in the meantime our customers can be assured that all existing stamps remain valid for postage in the usual way.”