Royal Mail is hiking the price of stamps from April 3 as old 'everyday' stamps like these are phased out and replaced with barcoded versions

© Getty Images Royal Mail is hiking the price of stamps from April 3 as old ‘everyday’ stamps like these are phased out and replaced with barcoded versions

The price of every day essentials has continued to rise in line with soaring inflation in recent months. And many household bills – from council tax to phone and broadband plans – will further increase next month.

Even postage stamps are affected – with the price set to be hiked in a matter of days. From Monday, April 3, standard stamp prices will jump to £1.10 for first-class (a 16% rise from 95p) and from 68p to 75p for second-class.

For large letters, first class stamps are increasing to £1.60 from £1.45 and second-class will cost an extra 10p, rising to £1.15. Royal Mail has blamed a “25% drop in letter volumes since the pandemic, increasing costs and the highest inflation rates for a generation” for the increases.

READ MORE: Five money changes in April 2023 – bills, wages and benefits set to rise

Finance guru Martin Lewis‘ website MoneySavingExpert has urged people who will be affected to stock up before April 3 to avoid paying more. His team advises bulk buying at the current rate to save money, rather than picking them up as you need them, reported the Echo.

The MSE website states: “You have until Sunday, April 2 to stock up on first or second-class stamps to secure them at their current price to beat the hike. Just ensure you’re given new barcoded stamps rather than old-style versions without a barcode.”

It’s important to pick up barcoded stamps as the old ‘everyday’ ones that feature a profile of the Queen’s head are being scrapped – and will soon be worthless. Those old stamps will no longer be valid after July 31, meaning you’ll need to use them up or swap them for new barcoded versions before that deadline.

Royal Mail had originally said you’d no longer being able to use the old stamps after January 31 this year, but they’re allowing them for another six months to give people more time to adjust. It states: “Mail posted with non-barcoded Definitive stamps after 31 January 2023 will for the first six months be delivered as normal – no surcharge will be raised.

“After this six 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.”

How to exchange your old stamps

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

  1. Pick up or print out the relevant swap out form
  2. Complete your form and put your stamps in
  3. Send free of charge to ‘Freepost SWAP OUT’

If you have more than £200 worth of stamps to exchange, you will need to fill out a different form and there is a specific address to send them to. Visit for more information.


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