What is the difference Between 1st Class and 2nd Class Royal Mail Stamps?

7629shutterstock_176431898 (2)When it comes to postage stamps in the UK, there has long been an ongoing dialogue regarding the relative merits of the 1st Class Royal Mail Stamp when compared to its poorer sibling, the 2nd class stamp. While there are differences in price, there are many people who will tell you that the value proposition that separates the two classes of mail is tenuous and flimsy at best. For the sake of argument, let’s take a look at the actual and perceived differences between letters and other parcels mailed under the two classifications.

  • Price – the cost of postage to mail a first class letter starts at 62p while the same letter maid with a 2nd class stamp will run you 52p. Both stamps are relatively good values when compared to postage rates in the EU and America. Costs to mail larger packages have a similar delta between 1st and 2nd class as well.
  • Delivery – Generally, a letter with a 1st class stamp on it will be delivered the next working day. This guarantee includes Saturdays as well. A 2nd class stamp on your letter will mean that your letter will reach its destination within the UK sometime between the 2nd and third day after it was mailed, although most of the time you can expect it to reach its destination within 2 working days.
  • 1st class postage is very popular with online sellers who appreciate the confirmation of delivery option that is available with the more expensive stamp and while it is very rare, compensation of up to £20 for lost items.
  • Many businesses and individuals will use 1st class stamps as a marketing strategy to tell the recipient that they are an important customer even though the content of the letter may not be time sensitive.

2nd Class Stamps7629shutterstock_132027881 (2)

While many countries don’t have a 1st and 2nd class postage system for letters anymore, this system is a long standing tradition within the Royal Mail establishment and is not likely to be changed anytime soon. As with many long established governmental structures, this two tiered system has become part of the UK’s heritage and many people would find it more than a little unsettling if it were to change.