Borrowing shamelessly from a travel Stack Exchange question https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/2825/2fabe-the-secret-international-travel-postcard-stamp-code:

I was told about this about three years ago, that if you were desperate and didn't have time to buy stamps for a postcard, merely putting the code '2FABE' would get your postcard to its intended destination.

Sceptical at the time, I searched for it on Google and found nothing. Now searching for it has a couple of people asking if it's real, but no actual answer.

After being in the expatriate community in London for four years, I'd met several people who have tried this, from many countries, and aside from sending from China, word is they've all gotten through.

The obvious question would be 'is it real?' - but that doesn't seem to matter as it seems to work. The real question is WHY does it work? Is it a special code that means something? Is it an informal system like the old 'S2S' (Student to Student) code was meant to do? Or is it just blind luck that these have all made it through.

It came up in tonight's #TTOT (Travel Talk on Twitter), after I mentioned it, but nobody else had heard of it, so figured it might be a good one to ask on here.

One person has posted a suggestion of comparing it against some controls: putting random codes on the postcard, or no codes at all.

Is 2FABE any better than a random code, or no code at all, at getting a postcard sent?

  • 9
    Well, it's not secret any more - way to go... :)
    – John C
    May 6, 2012 at 12:29
  • 2
    All USA public regulations are required to be published in the federal register. There are numerous regulations that mention the words "free postage" but none for the code 2fabe or 2FABE federalregister.gov/articles/…
    – Paul
    May 6, 2012 at 14:51
  • 2
    Various postal users in the USA are entitled to free postage, among them: braille material for the blind, soldier's letters, letters from government officials to the citizens they represent, letters from certain government agencies on official business, etc... I saw nothing obvious related to students or vacationers. Most of these free uses require a kind of official mark, or frank to be recognized to get free service. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franking
    – Paul
    May 6, 2012 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


No it is fake, as this website has already investigated this claim:

At the bottom it has a message from the Polish post office saying:

Z informacji otrzymanych w przedmiotowej sprawie z jednostki odpowiedzialnej w Poczcie Polskiej S.A za kontakty z zagranicznymi Administracjami Pocztowymi wynika, że w obrocie międzynarodowym nie są znane przypadki honorowania jakiegokolwiek tego typu kodu umożliwiającego nadanie kartek pocztowych za granicę. Także doręczanie takich kartek mimo braku znaku opłaty, które de facto nie powinny trafić do obrotu pocztowego nie wynika z naniesienia tego kodu.

which translates to,

The information received in this case the unit responsible for the Polish Post SA for contacts with foreign postal administrations shows that international trade is not aware of any cases of honoring this type of code enabling the granting of cards abroad. Additional delivery of such sheets despite the absence of a trade charges which in fact should not enter the postal traffic does not result from application of this code.

So while the code may allow some letters to be sent, it is not because of the code that these letters are sent, and is probably more a result of nice post office staff not wanting to throw away postcards.

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