Royal Mail Launches Barcoded Stamps Swap Out Scheme

Royal Mail has announced the launch of its Swap Out scheme that will allow customers to swap their non-barcoded Definitive stamps for the equivalent value of barcoded stamps. Definitive stamps are the regular ‘everyday’ stamps featuring the profile of The Queen.

In February, Royal Mail announced it is moving to barcoded stamps as part of the company’s extensive and ongoing modernization drive. The unique barcodes can facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for customers.

To date, Royal Mail has announced the ability for customers to watch and share exclusive videos – such as a specially created Shaun the Sheep video by Aardman, and a Mother’s Day video – by scanning the barcoded stamps in the Royal Mail App.

The new barcoded stamps will have a digital twin and the two will be connected by the Royal Mail App. The barcodes match the stamp color and sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.

Non-barcoded stamps will remain valid to use until 31 January 2023.

Customers are encouraged to use their non-barcoded stamps before 31 January 2023. However, those who cannot do so can swap their non-barcoded stamps for the equivalent value of barcoded stamps by completing a Swap Out form.  Customers will need to enclose the non-barcoded stamps and post the form and the stamps to Royal Mail using a Freepost service.

Stamps Eligible For The Barcoded Stamps Swap Out Scheme

Eligible stamps are the regular 1st and 2nd Class ‘everyday’ stamps featuring the profile of HM The Queen and those that show any other value.

Non-barcoded Christmas and other special stamps with pictures on them 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 The Queen.

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

Obtaining a Swap Out form:

There are three ways customers can obtain a Swap Out 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.

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

Customers wishing to swap stamps with a value of more than £200 will need to request and complete a Bulk Stamp Swap Out form. Bulk Stamp Swap Out forms can be requested from  or by contacting Royal Mail’s Customer Experience team on 03457 740740.

Royal Mail will launch an ongoing nationwide awareness program, that will run throughout the year, to ensure that everyone who wishes to swap out their stamps will have the opportunity to do so. The campaign will include press and radio advertising and a national door drop leaflet delivered to every household in the UK.

Returning the Swap Out form:

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

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

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

Royal Mail says they will endeavor to process all Swap Out forms within seven working days.

Mail posted with non-barcoded stamps after 31 January 2023:

Mail posted with non-barcoded Definitive stamps after 31 January 2023 will be treated in the same way as if there is insufficient postage on an item. Any item that has insufficient postage could be subject to a surcharge.

“As we move to this exciting new era of barcoded stamps, please check your kitchen drawers, wallets and purses for older non-barcoded stamps and make sure you use them up by 31 January 2023. If you can’t use them up by then we have set up a Swap Out scheme as a simple way to swap your old stamps for our new, digitally enabled, ones. Welcome to the new world of barcoded stamps. Download the Royal Mail App and try them out.”

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer, Royal Mail

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