What do you think of the security matrix on stamps?

A few post offices are now making stamps that bear a sort of matrix code on them, like this:

Each code is unique, and as it goes through the postal system, they’re able to mark that code as “used”. If the stamp is washed or otherwise copied after being used, the system is able to detect that the code is no longer valid, and thus reject that piece of mail. It also allows the post to potentially track the journey of that stamp through their system.

I’m curious to hear what people think of these codes, which are probably here to stay. Do they bother you at all? Does it change anything for you in the mailing or collecting experience?


Hi well it’s not yet here fully in the U.K, but there was talk of it. I guess, well I hope it will be better for postage. Bring down the cost perhaps, as it should stop the re-use of un-cancelled stamps. Also if each stamp has it’s own code, does it make it more collectable? If you got a certain code like for example 007?

I’m not a stamp collector, so to me it’s not relevant, but I can see why some postal services are doing it…


I think, it’s a good idea. Using the DHL app, it allows me to track the mail up to a certain point (airport Frankfurt am Main). But at least I know that it might not get lost here (just in case) …small comfort…


Aesthetically I don’t like it, I think it wrecks the beauty of the stamp.

But I am aware that billions are made off of stamp fraud each year & that fraud affects the costs passed down to postal users & affects the viability of our postal systems.

And I suppose if this stops the black pen marks through the stamp it could be a better alternative.

I’m also not crazy about each piece of mail having a specific code - in theory that could help with tracking the mail but I feel like there’s some potential there for that info to be misused.

Organizations tend to keep data whether they should or not - ignoring privacy rights. Not super keen on having all my mailing data in a database to be looked at by whoever.

While that’s not likely to be a huge issue in Canada any time soon (we’re not using it yet), I could imagine in some countries, keeping that data & authorities having access to it could be quite problematic.


I like them, because their format is nicer than the one of other stamps. And I like that I can see now, where and when the mail has been treated.


i think they’re ugly, but also they don’t bother me. the stamp is still there, and for me it’s not the most important part of the card at all.
i got some of these stamps without the code though, so you can still send them like that?

makes me wonder though. does it happen often that people reuse stamps that aren’t cancelled? it never even occured to me to do that. okay that is a lie. i had a penfriend from finland and the stamps on their cards and letters almost never got cancelled so i said i could send them their stamps back. which was a joke, please don’t call the police. finnish stamps are way too pretty not to keep.


I don’t like how it looks like vision disturbance.
I know these can be hidden in the image, like in some stamps you can watch a video from it, so I don’t know why not use it that way.

Also, I am really sad to think, that reuse or fake postage production would be so massive, that this is what they need to put in use. The suspicion part in me :slight_smile: thinks there must be other reasons too (than prevent reuse/copying or the tracking (do people need to get their normal mail tracked?)).


The idea behind it is kind of cool, but as a stamp collector I think they don’t look the greatest visually. Though to be fair, it does kind of mean that every stamp will be unique, so that might be interesting to people interested in philately.


I don’t like it at all. One thing is it will kill the beauty of stamps. Other thing is the QR code part would be bigger and bigger in future making it would take the whole space, which leads to the extinction of stamps. Plus, postal authorities would present this as an excuse to increase postal rates.

Currently our Post is experimenting in using QR codes on personalized stamps. This is good for track these private issues, but I don’t want to see it in regular issues.


It’s a good idea, I like them :+1:, QR code presence is a good addition to aestetics of mail.
At least, until QR code will remain at side of a main image and will not take its place.

In Italy stamp still don’t have code on them, but whenever is possible I like to keep the barcode that is put on the stamp sheet, used by postal clerks to quickly do the bill at counter, in this way:

In this case the only thing I like less is that stamp perforation is less visible, thing that will not happen if code is integrated on stamp.

Perhaps it’s the occasion to finally introduce tracking of all mail without extra costs… if you have to read code for avoid reuse, it’s not difficult or more expensive to use this info also for let the user where his mail is :wink:

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We have it in Germany now and I don’t like it at all… It looks not so nice in my opinion. And honestly, many times the machines don’t even read the code, so I don’t see how the whole devalueing by machine is going to work. I think they should’ve waited with implementing this until the machines can read it properly. Right now it works in about half the times I use these stamps. :stuck_out_tongue:


So far the USPS only has those on machine generated stamps like you might get from a vending machine or a meter/computer generated postage.

Jenny, super curious - how do you know it only works about 1/2 the time on your mail?

Well, we can track them with the matrix. I scan all my matrix code stamps into the app and there I can see when they’re scanned. I sent some cards the other week and sometimes the stamp didn’t get scanned at all and sometimes only once, when it should be twice… I think it’s the same process in which it gets devalued.

This is what it looks like:


I think it’s totally ugly and I avoid buying these stamps. I hope and pray, that Germany will always provide stamps without it.


Yes, of course, lol - thanks for the explanation - fascinating that the tech doesn’t live up to it’s hype eh?

I didn’t like them a lot at first.
But meanwhile…some motifs are really beautiful.
And for the code: even it still doesn’t work proper I had it two times in the past months that someone tried to cheat me and only after I showed the tracking I was told the truth. And so :smiling_imp::smiling_imp:


That is also my experience, it does not work in all cases. Maybe 30 % are not tracked. Until it does not work better, this does not make so much sense. Also it does not track when German border is crossed, so it is not so helpful for postcrossing. Does anybody know if it is planned to extend the tracking to international mail ?

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Welcome to the forum!

All new systems are a big wonky in the beginning, right? I can imagine maybe some sorting machines might not yet be updated to the latest version, or maybe some fine-tuning is still required here and there. 30% failure does not seem that bad, for such a complex system involving physical machines! A lot of testing and refinement are probably required.

I’m not sure whether there are plans to extend it internationally. In theory, this should be possible… but I don’t think this is a UPU technology — and if that is not the case, who sets the standards for the codes used? :thinking: If all postal services use their own code system, it will be tricky to make this work across borders.

I also don’t like the look of them. I think it destroys the aesthetic of the stamp. Like many other Germans I am currently trying to stockpile stamps without the matrix. Deutsche Post will not issue new stamps without matrix anymore. Btw. I highly doubt that the prices for postage will go down, even if fraud is not possible (or harder due to the Matrix Print) - when have prices ever come down? - Exactly - never.