Anyone who regularly posts letters has been warned that Royal Mail is hiking the cost of stamps from next week. Household finance guru Martin Lewis’ website MoneySavingExpert advises people to stock up on stamps by this weekend before prices go up 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.
The increase have been blamed on a “25% drop in letter volumes since the pandemic, increasing costs and the highest inflation rates for a generation” by Royal Mail. It says the increases will help ensure that the ‘universal service’, which means any letter delivery costs the same regardless of the distance, “remains sustainable”.
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MoneySavingExpert suggests snapping up stamps now at the current cost will be cheaper than buying them as you need them after the price hike, reported the Echo. It 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.”
The old ‘everyday’ stamps, which feature a profile of the Queen’s head, are being scrapped and replaced by barcoded version. Those old stamps will soon be worthless as no longer be valid after July 31 this year – meaning you need to use them up or swap them for new barcoded versions by that date.
Royal Mail extended the original deadline of January 31 by six months months to give people more time to adjust. It says: “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.”
Old stamps without a barcode can be exchanged through the Stamp Swap Out scheme. All you have to do is:
- Pick up or print out the relevant swap out form
- Complete the form and put your stamps in with it
- Send free of charge to ‘Freepost SWAP OUT’
But if you have more than £200 worth of stamps to exchange, you will need to fill out a different form and send them to a specific address. Visit https://www.royalmail.com/sending/barcoded-stamps for more information about exchanging your stamps.