Here in the UK for some time we have been trying to find out the long term security of International Reply Coupons. We now have an official answer from Royal Mail about the rumoured phasing out of IRCs:

"Due to declining international mail volumes and electronic substitution, customer demand for International Reply Coupons has been falling dramatically over the last few years. Overall sales of International Reply Coupons have been very low indeed - on average just 4 per annum bought from each Post Office branch. Therefore, it was no longer commercially viable to maintain the sale of coupons and Royal Mail has taken the decision to withdraw them from sale.

International Reply Coupons have not been withdrawn globally from sale. Under UPU regulations Royal Mail through Post Office Counters is obliged to redeem International Reply Coupons presented having been purchased overseas, but we are not obliged to sell them. However, Royal Mail can confirm that customers have up to December 2013 to redeem IRCs."

Like many other QSL managers, with effect from 31st December 2013, I will not be accepting IRCs. Direct QSL requests with IRCs received after this date will be returned via the RSGB bureau wherever possible.

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