French post office to launch digital ‘stamps’

The scheme will enable people to use the La Poste app to generate a unique code that can be used in place of a physical stamp

The ‘digital stamp’ will be in the form of a code that people can write directly onto envelopes weighing over 20g and is part of an €800million investment by La Poste
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The post office in France is to launch a ‘digital stamp’ (un timbre numérique) in 2023, which will be available via the La Poste app for items weighing up to 20g.

The La Poste group confirmed the move this week (June 28), and said it would be launched initially in an “experimental phase”.

It said that the option would enable users to “attach a ‘stamp’ to a letter in real-time, at any time of the day or night”.

Users will need to use the La Poste mobile app, and buy “an eight-character, one-time-use alphanumeric code”, which you can then copy “in pen” onto your envelope to be sent, the group said. This will replace the need for a physical stamp.

La Poste added that the codes must be “sufficiently different from each other to tolerate small reading errors, and minimise the risk of fraud”.

The system is set to be launched during the course of 2023. It will be available to send letters across France, which weigh up to 20g.

The launch is part of a one-off investment of €800million into La Poste between now and 2025, it said, and is aimed at “modernising its omnichannel network”.

It said that it plans to spend “€500million on renovating post offices and €300million on digital transformation”. All post offices are set to be renovated by 2027, it said.

La Poste already allows users to send parcels from home by creating a Colissimo label on its website.

To do it, you must enter the details of the parcel, the weight, and the addresses of the sender and receiver, and then print the label out before sticking it to the parcel.

The label must be made before 23:00 the night before to qualify for pick-up the next day. You must then leave the parcel in your letterbox for the postal worker to collect before 08:00 on the day you want it to be sent.

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