Death of the Stamp - Postage Codes ("Portokod")

Sweden :sweden: has introduced a product where you buy a 12 letter alphanumerical code (like the one below) that you write on your letter/postcard instead of a stamp. This is available both for domestic and international mail. You buy it with an app or on the PostNord webpage.

I wonder:

  • Is this going on in other countries?
  • How do they know if the code is used or not?
  • Will we become “code collectors” instead of “stamp collectors” :smiley: ?

Screenshot from 2021-10-19 17-14-10


it is also possible here in Germany, but as far as I know, only few people use it, mostly for business purposes. So no worry… :slight_smile:


We have those in the Netherlands too. I use it for mail within the country at times when I have no stamps at home. Here the code is only valid for so many days, before it expires and I guess the postal system will “know” if the code has been used before or not.


There is no such thing in China. Though we have a kind of postcards having postage value itself, with a picture of stamp printed on the place where stamps are usually posted.

For the second question, I suppose they have a system for it.

Anyway, I don’t want to become “code collectors”. Stamps are soooo lovely that I think nothing can take the place of.


We have that kind when sending packages (stamps aren’t allowed anymore when sending a package).

1 Like

In Norway, the codes can be used domestically on letters and parcels lighter than 350g and thinner than 7cm. Valid for 7 days.

I think we’ve always had the option to go to the post office and get postage stamped on parcels, so you didn’t have to use loads, and you can also get this on letters.

1 Like

There’s also in Switzerland:

I think that, being the code generated into a centralized database, they’ll recognize if someone try to use it again, and in the case will consider the mail unfranked.

I’ll never become code collector, it would mean that philately is dead, let’s hope it’ll remain only a side possibility in franking mail. :crossed_fingers:

1 Like

We don’t have codes for regular mail in Canada (yet!). If it’s for business reasons, you can purchase pre-paid envelopes, but that’s not quite like the 12 digit code you mentioned.

When I was living in France, it was possible to print out stamps online for mail. You could also go to a machine in the post office where you could print out a postage label for your mail, like in this picture:

I personally stuck to stamps when I was in France because I lived only a few minutes away from the post office, plus you can get free shipping if you order over a certain value for their online store.

I can see the utility of codes for businesses or people who don’t really care to collect stamps, but I wouldn’t personally collect them.

1 Like

In the U.S. if you go to the post office with anything that has not stamps on it, they will print a label with either a bar code or a QR code on it. Most postal clerks I’ve encountered get annoyed when you hand them a letter and ask them to estimate the postage, and then ask for stamps vice the label. That being said, no indications here (yet) that stamps are going away any time soon. Hard to say though, given that the Postmaster General seems to be out to destroy the postal service.

I didn’t really think that anyone should start collecting numbers in the future :wink:. It was just to draw the attention to a view that is dominant today: “it is just information”. An unfortunate view (affecting receipts, tickets, letters/postcards). So much other values and perceptions gets diminished and lost.

Just test-sent this from another city to myself. It looks naked…


It definitely looks a little sad, like something is missing… :disappointed:


Today I received my first official postcard with a code. I didn’t know they existed and at first I thought it was a joke (last three letters were “omg” :sweat_smile:) then I thought it was something written under the stamp and maybe the stamp fell off, but then there was no trace of glue or not even a machine stamp over it…so I started looking for code info…and here I am…
The result is so empty and sad… Of course I understand sometimes there are no stamps available, but … I hope they will not become the norm!



Does it have to be written in black ink, or can you at least use different colors? :rainbow:

I think writing it in a few different bright colors (if that’s allowed) would make the envelope look less naked and sad.

Or, if the letters and numbers have to be all black, could they be boxed in by a colorful border?

Or could the background be colored in lightly, so that the code would be written on, for example, a light blue square?

In America, packages with postage stamps more than 370g require a trip to the post office for “security” reasons. They must be given to a USPS employee directly rather than deposited in a mailbox.