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Barcoded stamps trialled by Royal Mail

By Chris Dawson March 25, 2021 - 10:45 am

For 500 years, one Royal Mail stamp has looked exactly the same as every other stamp of the same value, with of course the exception of special stamps at Christmas and to commemorate other events. Now, for the first time in a barcoded stamps pilot, Royal Mail will add unique barcodes to stamps making every single stamp unique.

The initial pilot will see the new-look barcodes appear on around 20 million 2nd Class stamps supplied to UK businesses through the retailer Viking Direct and through Royal Mail online channels. The barcodes, which will match the stamp colour, will sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.

The barcoded stamps initiative forms part of Royal Mail’s ongoing modernisation drive aimed at bringing even greater convenience to its customers. However Royal Mail haven’t revealed how or what the barcodes will be used for. Will it bring tracking to every single stamped product in the future, or probably rather than tracking at least some form of delivery confirmation? Will it make claims for lost or delayed items easier as Royal Mail will know the first scan within their network and when or if the item was delivered? One thing you can be sure of, it will make counterfeiting or washing stamps incredibly difficult as once barcoded stamps have been used Royal Mail will instantly know if the same stamp is reused.

Royal Mail has used barcode technology printed directly on to envelopes and labels for some time. For many years, business customers have used franking machines to print a pre-paid franking mark onto an envelope or a label for parcels, as well as printing a Mailmark barcode onto letters.

“This initiative will see Royal Mail become one of the first postal authorities in the world to add unique barcodes to stamps. By doing this, we are looking to transform the humble stamp so that we can offer our customers even more convenient, new services in the future. Royal Mail has a long and proud history for creating innovative and intuitive postal solutions. This goes all the way back to the Penny Black which established the principle of the one-price-goes-anywhere universal service – to the recent launch of Parcel Collect – where we pick up our customers’ parcels from the doorstep. The pilot of barcoded stamps reflects our commitment to constantly evolve our products and services in line with the ever-changing needs of our customers.”
– Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer, Royal Mail

  • mark
    4 weeks ago

    If royal mail refunded the cost of posting immediately once an item is lost or not delivered they may buck their ideas up.
    The current system requires a sender to jump through hopops filling in forms of items cost and the postage service costs making many not bother.

    But when you contact them and say where is my item and it has been over their delivery timescale for lost or late and clearly shows no scans for delivery they should immediately refund that postage cost. Then you can follow up later with claims for the item.

    After all they have total proof from their own system that the item has not been delivered.
    They would soon sort out the losses then when they see millions of pounds leaving their account daily

  • 4 weeks ago

    How will that affect stamps that have previously
    been bought, I have some 2nd class stamps form 2 years ago!

  • Al
    4 weeks ago

    Your 2nd class stamps are still OK to use….for now!

  • Toby
    4 weeks ago

    Sadly RM tracking is pointless. Until they start scanning every item that is delivered, the system will be like a chocolate teapot. I have loads of items that have never shown as delivered yet I know they have been. Even my own purchases are often never marked as delivered…
    In some cases it is actually counter productive as some scammers know that if it isn’t marked you can’t prove it has been delivered.

  • Victor
    4 weeks ago

    Royal mails like it or lump it attitude
    Still dont seem to grasp
    There are alternatives

  • “But when you contact them and say where is my item and it has been over their delivery timescale for lost or late and clearly shows no scans for delivery they should immediately refund that postage cost. Then you can follow up later with claims for the item.

    After all they have total proof from their own system that the item has not been delivered.”

    Really good point and idea! Nice one! 🙂

  • 3 weeks ago

    i have lost loads of parcels so called scammers saying they have not receaved them ebay admit they now they have been delivered but cant proove it so the scammers get a refund and i am out of pocket .

  • 3 weeks ago

    if all items was scanned this really would be the endof the scammers on ebay happy days iscthis going to be the way forward is this going to happen on shuttle

  • 3 weeks ago

    if all items was scanned this really would be the end of the scammers on ebay.?????? happy days is this going to be the way forward is this going to happen on shuttle.

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