Ad cards vs normal cards :postcard:

I love fountain pens & bottled ink and collect cards showing these. I would be over the moon to receive ad cards for them!!
I send ads cards but only if the profile says they are welcome and the ones I have on hand match their interests (cars, fashion, music, art gallery exhibits etc)

Basically I’ve no problem with free or ad card as long as they are written ! But the problem is people who send whatever and don’t even write on it (I got some of these), to me it’s just people who don’t want to make any effort and just get beautiful cards from others. I feel it’s not respectful and unfair, like, you would just message me the poscard number to register it if you could…

Look, a beautiful ad card from St Moritz tourism


I see that the line between ad cards and normal cards is sometimes blurred.
I have some cards featuring book covers, which I received ages ago after I subscribed to a junior book club. They were not technically free because I had to pay the subscription. How should I consider them? Are they equal to book related cards coming from boxed sets?

Well for me this is absolutely irrelevant. I don’t care how much anyone spent on the card to be honest. What I don’t like about advertisment postcards is that they are often just that - an ugly advertisment of a product. It feels like receiving junk mail. There are some ad cards that are beautiful and don’t scream advertisment. Those would be ok for me.


I would certainly count them as ad / free cards. And I don’t think that the reason why people don’t like them is the “I have paid 1 Euro/Dollar (or whatever) and the other one takes a free postcard” only, but the sometimes very poor design of them.

Personally I don’t mind ad cards at all if they’re interesting. For sending them: I’ve only send them to people who don’t state they dislike ad cards and (of course) if they match the profile.


For me, it depends on whether the cards were a gift for members but also available to buy, then I would not consider them ad cards.

But if they clearly advertise the book club on the picture side, they would be considered as ad cards by most users. If they just show books and you have to look closely at the description on the backside to see that they’re advertising a book club, I think they would be considered as “normal” cards.


Just to be on the safe side, I’ll keep those postcards for those who like ad cards.
Thank you all for the feedback and happy postcrossing

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I don’t believe the cost of a card has anything to do with anything. I have found cards at small museums that are free with donation. The donation to get in was two American dollars. The cards themselves are very nice. I ended up giving an extra donation because there were so many that I liked. Don’t worry about looking cheap because the card says not for sale. If you like the card, chances are the recipient will also like it.


Hello everyone. I’m fairly new to Postcrossing and I notice some people write that they don’t want to receive ad cards. I am curious how exactly that is defined because I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

Does ad card refer to any card from a business that clearly states where it is from? Or if I write a short note describing the place does that make it no longer an ad card?

Curious to hear what other people think about this.

Welcome to postcrossing!

There’s a long thread here which should help you:


Welcome to Postcrossing. I’ve been Buying/Collecting/Selling/Swapping postcards for 40+ years. Ad cards are also known as Free Cards, Rack cards & similar. In some countries, many retail businesses have “racks” placed on counters containing postcards advertising the business. I guess very few of these are mailed; rather patrons give them to friends. The postcards have a bigger picture to show the food/product/service.

You also have these types of cards that advertise movies, concerts, etc. An interesting use of ad cards that I’ve seen has been with Art Galleries. Art Galleries will send out postcards alerting people about an “open house” featuring works by new or local artists. The picture side of the card has an example of the artwork, sculpture, etc. The message side has the details imprinted of the artist and the Gallery.

As you can see from what I said above, the major difference between these cards and the ones members typically want is that the former are FREE and not store-bought. Moreover, they are 99% of the time very generic. I personally don’t like them. These types of cards have a place in the hobby. So if a member specifically states they don’t want these types of cards, after considering what I wrote you will know why; just don’t send them.

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Honestly, I don’t understand the problem around Ad cards. There may be more and less beautiful ones, but I believe that to be true for almost every type of card. And beside the fact that not all ad cards are free, it can be asked why paying for a card is supposed to make it better. In my opinion the picture- and the message-side of a postcard are important, and not how much you’ve paid for the card.
Besides: Some of the most interesting cards I’ve recieved were Ad cards.

@Krel33: As far as I understand postcrossing, you are supposed to send a postcard - which one is up to you. Please don’t stress yourself and enjoy postcrossing.


The problem with ad postcards for me is that many are just a picture of the product. They are not aesthetic, they are advertisment just like your standard road side billboard. I am sure there are exceptions but I prefer to miss out on those if it spares me receiving what feels like spam. It is easier to say just “no ads” that trying to explain which ads are ok and which are not, hoping the sender interprets it the way I meant it… As you said, both the message AND the picture matters. I couldn’t care less if someone paid for the postcard or not, by the way.

That’s why I added “Ad/ free cards are as welcome as regular bought cards if they match my interests” :wink: I received very, very few of that kind you mentioned, but many nice ones fitting my preferences perfectly!