How much is a First Class stamp? The new price of stamps

The price of stamps went up in April 2022

A red first class stamp in the middle of blue second class stamps
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Amidst the cost of living crisis, the cost of stamps has gone up too. The change has many asking how much is a First Class stamp now?

2022 certainly marks a penny-pinching year for households up and down the UK, as we come to terms with rising energy bills (opens in new tab) and changes to the energy price cap (opens in new tab), and increases to the cost of household items too. These changes to the cost of living has led many to take another look at their finances and seek ways to cut expenses through handy hacks to help save on fuel costs (opens in new tab) and the cheapest ways to heat a room (opens in new tab)

Earlier this year, Royal Mail announced further testing news for Brits, as their trusty First and Second Class stamps went up in price in April. We've taken a look at how much the new stamps cost and everything else you need to know now the change has come into effect.

How much is a First Class stamp in 2022?

On 4 April 2022, the price of First Class stamps rose by 10p to 95p per stamp. The price of Second class stamps and Large Letter stamps also rose on this date.

The rise in price is due to inflation rates, coupled with less people sending letters these days. "Royal Mail has considered these pricing changes very carefully in light of the long term structural decline in letter usage and rising inflation," read a statement on 4 March.

A pile of packs of gold coloured first class stamps

(Image credit: Alamy)

According to Royal Mail (opens in new tab), the amount of letters Brits send has decreased by 60% since 2004. And the pandemic only contributed to this decline, with a further 20% drop reported since the outbreak of Covid-19.

A growing population and increased demand on postal workers is also behind the rise, with Nick Landon (opens in new tab), chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, saying: "While the number of letters our postmen and women deliver has declined from around 20 billion a year to around seven billion since 2004/5, the number of addresses they have to deliver to has grown by around 3.5 million in the same period." 

He added: "We need to carefully balance our pricing against declining letter volumes and increasing costs of delivering to a growing number of addresses six days a week."

This address growth has proved problematic for the company, who announced postal delays to 45 UK postcodes (opens in new tab) last December - a problem that is sure to be exacerbated this year by the ongoing Royal Mail strikes (opens in new tab).

Royal Mail's First Class postal service aims to deliver your letter by the next day, including on Saturdays, and the stamp can be applied to letters that weigh up to 100g. It also features compensation cover of up to £20 should your letter go missing - though this insurance does not apply to money or valuables sent via letter.

You can buy First Class stamps online via the Royal Mail shop (opens in new tab), or at your local Post Office. Many stationery stores also sell stamps, such as WH Smith, Staples and Ryman, as well as supermarkets and many newsagents.

How much is a Second Class stamp?

Second Class stamps rose by 2p on 4 April, from 66p to the new price of 68p. Royal Mail confirmed the change to it's Second Class stamp cost back in March.

The new cost covers letters weighing up to 100g and has the same £20 compensation cover as the First Class stamps (excluding money and valuables), and they can also be bought via the Royal Mail online shop, as well as the Post Office, supermarkets and some stationery stores.

Second Class is a cheaper option for UK customers who don't need their letter sent urgently, because delivery times are slightly slower. "Delivery in two to three working days including Saturdays," Royal Mail states of their Second Class postal service (opens in new tab) online.

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Can I still use old stamps?

Yes, customers will still be able to use stamps bought before the price increase. This is because the design is not changing - just the price - so the regular Queen fronted stamps are still usable after 4 April.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis (opens in new tab) urged Brits to stock up on stamps before the price increase in order to save money, saying: "You can stock up on 1st and 2nd class stamps now at the cheaper prices," on Twitter.

Do stamps go out of date?

Yes, after 31 July 2023, regular stamps without a barcode will no longer be valid (opens in new tab), because Royal Mail has brought in new barcoded stamps.

The new stamps are purple and green stamps and will replace the old red and blue, and the barcodes on them to allow for added security features and "enable exciting new services by connecting physical stamps to the digital world through the Royal Mail app," according to the Royal Mail website.

Don't panic, however. If you're one of the people who stocked up on stamps before the increase then your efforts haven't gone to waste, as any non-barcoded stamps can be swapped out by completing an online form (opens in new tab).

There is but one exception to the rule though. "Special Stamps with pictures on and Christmas Stamps without a barcode will continue to be valid and don't need to be swapped out," Royal Mail confirmed.

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