Postage stamps are getting a face-lift

By | March 7, 2022
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I don’t know about you, but I love getting post – letters, cards, postcards… even catalogues… there’s just something about it. It’s much more personal than an email. There’s something reassuringly old-fashioned about about opening paper post.

But even Royal Mail need to move with the times. From this month they’re going digital with their stamps by adding a special bar-code next to the traditional picture of the Queen. It means they can use more efficient systems to process your post, and these stamps will be will much harder to fake.

All good.

At the same time, though, prices are on the up (nothing to do with the switch to digital – just one of those things). First class stamps are going up by an eye-watering 10p per stamp – up to 95p! Second class stamps aren’t going up as much – just a 2p rise to 68p per stamp. The prices don’t change until the 4th April, though, so you might be tempted to stock up now.

But a word of warning if you’re planning to do that. The old stamps without the fancy bar-code will still be valid until the end of January next year, but after that you won’t be able to use them. So if you are stocking up, make sure you get the new design or only enough to last you a year.

You can order the new stamps now from the Royal Mail website shop.

Paying for your postage online

Of course, if you’re paying for your postage online, you don’t necessarily need to order actual stamps, you can do it all on the Royal Mail website these days. This can be handy if you’re sending a large letter or parcel – you just have to weigh it and measure it yourself to make sure you’re not underpaying for the postage.

To use the service, you go to the Royal Mail website and choose their “Send an item” service. You fill in various details about the parcel (including the weight, type of package and both the ‘from’ address and ‘to’ address). Then you can choose a service to use and it’ll tell you the price. You can also choose to have the parcel collected from your house – handy if you can’t get out to a Post Office easily.

You pay online using a credit or debit card (or PayPal if you have an account). Then you can print out a label that includes the address of the person you’re sending it to as well as proof that you’ve paid for the postage. Attach the label to the envelope or parcel and put it in the post box or drop it off at your Post Office to send within the next day or so (the time limit will be printed on the label). You don’t need special labels or anything – you can just use a sheet of paper and tape it on.

For sending letters, you’re probably better off ordering a book of stamps, but I’ve used this service several times for parcels. It saves me time at the Post Office because I don’t have to queue to have a parcel weighed or to pay for the postage. You can usually just leave it at a drop-off point in the Post Office and go (unless you need proof of postage, in which case take your parcel to the counter). Or you can choose to have the parcel collected from your house (though that does cost a bit more).

Happy posting

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