Royal Mail Franking Machine Changes: What You Need to Know

royal mail delivery van

Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral.

Franking machines that are not Mailmark ready can no longer be used for sending post via Royal Mail. This change came into effect on 1 January 2023, when non-Mailmark franking machines became decertified.

If your current franking machine isn't compatible with Mailmark technology (which means it prints a barcode in blue ink), then you'll need to upgrade it.

Royal Mail has also introduced a new deadline for swapping out your old stamps for the new ones, so read on to find out about that.

Decertification of standard franking machines

Some older franking machine models will be no good in 2023. Royal Mail has rolled out Mailmark franking as the only acceptable form of frankingThat means you can only frank and send post with a Mailmark machine as of 1 January 2023.

Royal Mail is phasing out non-Mailmark franking to increase accuracy and efficiency of mail processing across the board. After all, it's quicker to let robots read barcodes rather than to ask humans to interpret numbers and sort mail by hand.

Mailmark technology was invented in 2013, so any franking machine made before that date became obsolete in 2023. If your machine prints standard franking marks with red ink and a round insignia, these are two of the signs that you'll need an upgrade.

two examples of franking machine marks

What do I need to do?

You'll need to ensure your franking license is updated to a Mailmark franking license. You'll also need to upgrade machines to a Mailmark-ready model. If your machine is due an upgrade, then it's time for a conversation with your expenses department. Low-volume machine rental starts from £20 per month, and mid-volume is around £50 monthly.

If you have an older non-Mailmark machine, Royal Mail would have notified you that the last date you can add credit was 31 October 2022.

To upgrade, you can take out a new contract with the same supplier or you can switch to a new one – it's completely up to you. We can help you find the best deal, if you register your interest in our franking machine deals engine. We'll promptly arrange a callback.

If your machine already prints barcodes in blue ink then, good news, you don't need to do anything. That means your machine is already good to go this year.

Will my franking machine still work this year?

Your machine needs to be able to run Mailmark franking for it to continue functioning.

If you aren't sure if your franking machine prints the new or old marks, you'll need to check your lease or purchase paperwork to see what model you've currently got. If you spot your franking machine in the list below, then it will not be valid for use anymore.

Tip: Try Pressing Ctl+F and typing in your model name, then scroll down to see if it is highlighted below.

Pitney Bowes non-Mailmark franking machines

  • DM50, DM55 & K700
  • P720
  • DM100i, DM125i, DM150i & DM200i
  • DM300c (Pre 2013)
  • DM400c (Pre 2013)
  • DM475 (Pre 2013)
  • DM400, DM500, DM550 & DM575
  • Paragon Series
  • DM800, DM900 & DM1000
  • DM200, DM225, DM250 & DM300
  • Post Perfect & B700
  • E700 & personal Post

Frama non-Mailmark franking machines

  • Accessmail (Pre 2013)
  • Ecomail (Pre 2013)
  • Officemail (Pre 2013)
  • Mailmax (Pre 2013)
  • Mailspirit (Pre 2013)
  • Matrix F2 (Pre 2013)
  • Matrix F2L (Pre 2013)
  • Matrix F4 (Pre 2013)
  • Matrix F4L (Pre 2013)
  • Matrix F6 (Pre 2013)
  • Matrix F6L (Pre 2013)

FP non-Mailmark franking machines

  • Mymail, Mymail 3
  • Optimail, Optimail 25, Optimail 30, & Optimail 35
  • Optimail 60, Optimail 65
  • Optimail 90, Optimail 95
  • T1000
  • Jetmail

Quadient non-Mailmark franking machines

Quadient is formerly known as ‘Neopost'

  • Autostamp, Autostamp 2
  • IJ25, IJ25E
  • IJ30, IJ35, IJ40, & IJ45
  • IJ50, IJ65, IJ70, & IJ75
  • IJ80, IJ85, & IJ90
  • IJ110
  • IS240 (Pre 2013)
  • IS280 (Pre 2013)
  • IS330, IS350 (Pre 2013)
  • IS420, IS440, IS460, & IS480 (Pre 2013)

Changes to stamps

Following suit with the rest of the Royal Mail upgrades, regular stamps are being upgraded to have a barcode attached.

The old deadline for exchanging old postage stamps for new ones was 31 January 2023. But that turned out to be way too soon for everyone to catch up with the news. So the deadline was extended to 31 July 2023.

If you had too many stamps to use before the deadline, you can exchange your old stamps for new ones under the Royal Mail Stamp Swap Out scheme. You fill out a form and post it along with your stamps, then Royal Mail will send you back new ones within seven working days. You cannot swap your stamps at a Post Office.

If you have stamps with special pictures on them (such as Christmas stamps) these will continue to be valid after the deadline, and you don't need to swap them out.

But for regular stamps with the Queen on them, you needed to swap them for barcoded stamps before 31st July 2023.

Ready to upgrade that old franking machine?

Changes to Special Delivery and Signed For franking

As of 31 October 2022, you should not attach a sticker onto franked Special Delivery Guaranteed or Signed For post. This is part of the franking machines decertification process. So your franking machine will print a long barcode on these types of mail instead.

You should use black or blue ink. Buying new ink cartridges should be factored into your franking machine costs, as different colour inks retail for various prices.

Fortunately, this change will make your mailroom workflows more efficient, particularly if your business processes lots of Special Delivery and Signed For mail. For professionals such as legal advisors, estate agents, consultants and creatives, the change will add much-needed automation to save staff time.

Your machine software will update to include the new, longer barcode. However, the longer barcode may take up the space where your company logo and return address normally goes. You may want to check your machine settings to see how you can include these alongside the long barcode. Ask your manufacturer if you need help with this.

Unfortunately if you still have the sticky labels for Special Delivery Guaranteed or Signed For you'll have to throw these away. If you use the sticky labels now you may be surcharged.

Next steps

If you need to update your franking machine, there's no time like the present.

We know how tempting it is to leave mailroom equipment upgrades until the last minute, but you should save yourself the stress. Simply answer a couple of questions about your office postage and we'll match you with the most appropriate franking machine supplier. They'll then get in touch and arrange upgrades with you directly. It's as simple as that.

Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.
Reviewed by:
Heleana Neil, Business Services editor
Heleana Neil specialises in Business Services, managing the strategy and production of content for SMBs, helping businesses with the challenges and opportunities they face today. Covering everything from payroll to payment processing, Heleana uses her expertise to help business owners make better, informed decisions and grow their companies.