They were introduced as part of a move to modernise the service and to allow enhanced security features, Royal Mail previously said.
It also said barcodes would “enable exciting new services by connecting physical stamps to the digital world”, such as exclusive videos available by scanning the codes in an app.
Since the launch, customers have been able to scan the barcodes to watch videos, information about services, or even birthday messages and other greetings from senders.
Look out for our Holocaust Memorial Day postmark over the next few Days.
— Royal Mail (@RoyalMail) January 24, 2024
In the past, a video featuring Shaun the Sheep created exclusively for Royal Mail by animation studio Aardman could be viewed.
Since February 2023, non-barcoded stamps have been invalid.
Royal Mail explained: “We’ve added barcodes to all our regular stamps. Regular stamps without a barcode are no longer valid for postage.
“This follows the introduction of a 6 month grace period from the initial 31 January deadline. Swap them for the new barcoded ones.”
If you still have old stamps which don’t have a barcode on them, they can be exchanged for new barcoded versions through the Royal Mail Stamp Swap Out scheme.
To swap out your stamps, you can do one of the following:
However, special stamps with pictures on and Christmas stamps without a barcode will continue to be valid and don’t need to be swapped out.
You can find more information on how to swap old non-barcoded stamps with new ones on the Royal Mail website.
It’s been revealed that Royal Mail could cut postal deliveries to as few as three days a week which could save up to £650 million a year, according to Ofcom.
The option has been put forward to reform the service by the industry regulator.
In a long-awaited report, Ofcom outlined options for overhauling Britain’s universal postal service, warning that it risks becoming “unsustainable” without reform.
The regulator set out two possible proposals, including cutting Royal Mail’s letter delivery service from six days to five, or even three, a week.
It could save Royal Mail £100 million to £200 million if the service was cut to five days and £400 million to £650 million if it was reduced to three, reported Ofcom.
But the government would have to change the law for this to happen and Downing Street has already said it would “not countenance” scrapping Saturday deliveries, given the importance of a six-day service, particularly to businesses.