Royal Mail has issued a warning to all customers with non-barcoded stamps that they must “use up or swap out” before the July 31 deadline.

From July 31, non-barcoded stamps will not be accepted and anyone sending mail with them could be surcharged, details of how much that could be will be released nearer the times.

Customers who cannot use any non-barcoded stamps before 31 July will still be able to swap non-barcoded stamps for barcoded stamps through Royal Mail’s simple and free Swap Out scheme.

The Swap Out scheme opened on March 31, 2022, and there is currently no deadline for customers to swap their non-barcoded stamps.


Royal Mail encourages customers to check their purses, wallets and drawers to find any unused non-barcoded.

Matthew Parkes, Managing Director, Stamps and Collectibles, said: “As the 31 July deadline approaches, we are reminding customers to use-up any remaining non-barcoded stamps they may have at home or in the office.

“Customers can swap their non-barcoded stamps for the new barcoded version via our free and easy to use Swap Out scheme, so no customer should be out of pocket if they still have non-barcoded stamps they cannot use before 31 July.”

Royal Mail said it will aim to process applications within seven working days, but some applications may take longer and customers should allow 15 working days before following up through Royal Mail Customer Experience on 03457 740740.

Bury Times: Examples of stamps that can and can't be swapped out for new stampsExamples of stamps that can and can't be swapped out for new stamps (Image: Royal Mail)

The move to barcoded stamps was first announced on 1 February 2022 - giving customers time to use up their old-style stamps.

What stamps can be swapped out?

Eligible stamps are the regular 1st and 2nd Class ‘everyday’ definitive stamps, and all other values, featuring the profile of Her Late Queen Elizabeth.

Non-barcoded Christmas and other special stamps with pictures on continue to be valid for postage and should not be submitted for swap out. Customers only need to swap out the ‘everyday’ stamps featuring the profile of Her Late Queen Elizabeth.

Stamps that have already been used for postage will not be accepted on the Swap Out scheme.

How can you swap your stamps?

There are four ways customers can obtain a Swap Out scheme form:

  • Via the Royal Mail website at where customers can download a form. Customers who do not have access to a printer can instead complete a web form and request a form be posted to them.
  • By contacting Royal Mail’s Customer Experience team by telephone on 03457 740740 and requesting a form be posted to them.
  • By visiting one of more than 1,200 local delivery office Customer Service Points, where they can pick up a form in person.
  • From Post Office branches nationwide.

Customers can complete a standard Swap Out scheme form for stamps worth up to the value of £200.

Customers returning the form and non-barcoded stamps can do so free of charge.

Customers who pick up a Swap Out scheme form from a local delivery office Customer Service Point, Post Office or request one to be posted to them – will also receive a freepost envelope.

Customers who print off a Swap Out scheme form can address an envelope to: Freepost SWAP OUT. No other address details are needed.

Mail posted after 31 July 2023 without a barcoded stamp will be treated in the same way as if there is insufficient postage on an item. Any item that has insufficient postage may be subject to a surcharge.