Barcodes and text on the postcard?


I am new to postcrossing, so my first few cards might have not been up to standard (at least based on what I am reading here in the forums :smiley: )
One of my issues is that, the cards that I buy in local shops all have bar codes and logos on them. I use stickers to hide these, but I am not sure, do these look like “free”/advertisment cards because of the logo?

They are totally fine. Most publishers print either their logo or just the name on the backside.

While I do cover barcodes with stickers or washi tapes, I prefer to keep the other information visible. Some people really mind if it is covered up (as they like to put this information as comment for copyright issues or just to check that publisher as they really liked the card).


Welcome to Postcrossing! Advertisement/free cards are very clearly advertisements in my experience, they have very bright, colourful designs with slogans and may also use generic stock photos. Personally I enjoy them!

All the postcards that I buy from shops/tourist destinations/museums/etc to use for Postcrossing have logos and barcodes on, I think it’s common if not universal. So in short, no, these don’t look like ad/free cards at all. :slight_smile:

Please don’t worry too much about this kind of thing, anyway! Whatever you send will definitely be up to standard, because it’s something you’ve written and posted! That’s the spirit of Postcrossing and the only thing that matters.


Almost all the postcards I buy have barcodes on them. The publishers (and stores) want different barcodes on the different postcards, because the codes are scanned when sold. Then the stores and publishers can document that “we’ve sold X of postcard A, Y of postcard B, Z of postcard C” and so on, instead of “W postcards, but we don’t know how many of each”.

So there’s no need to worry about the barcodes, they don’t make the postcards appear as free/advertisements.


I think this is almost certainly not true. You’ve sent absolutely lovely cards and they reached their recipients, so you stamped and addressed them. I bet you wrote a message, too. They are definitely ‘up to standard’ :slight_smile:


Same for me. Only covering barcodes. For some of my collections (for example the Tausendschön cards) I prefer to have the number of the card and don’t like it, when these are covered by stickers. Washi is fine, as you can remove it to check the number (and cover it then again).
And I often check the publisher when I like a card to see if I can order these.


the standard is sending out a postcard, pay the right amount of postage and preferbly write a nice message, though even that is your own choice. so i think you’re doing fine :slightly_smiling_face:

i think you’ll recognise ad cards when you see them. usually by the front, and often they have a bunch of text on the back to explain what it’s about.
you’re allowed to send ad and free cards though, so even if you did i wouldn’t worry about it.

i always try to cover the barcode with washi or stickers, as i think they’re quite ugly. but i leave the source of the card (like when it’s from a book or something) and/or the artist free. i think the artists deserve the recognition and the receiver might wanna know more about it.


My own view is that the presence of a bar code on the back tells you the card if fairly recent - which is a good thing. I buy thousands of US cards; in nearly all cases, the cards I buy have a barcode on the back, identified on the front. I don’t know about other countries, but barcoding started here in 1990.

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Thank you, I didn’t know about these copyright concerns! I typically cover the barcode and, in the case of the card on the left, the company logo and the text under it, as I don’t see it is a relevant… The text in small print is usually some information about the design of the card, like a photographer or a designer.

Thank you :slight_smile: It caught my attention mainly because there are no barcodes or logos on the postcards I received so far, and I was thinking maybe I am doing something wrong. I also have some cards which I bought from local artists, which don’t have such big logos and/or barcodes on them. :see_no_evil:

thank you :two_hearts:

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As for barcodes, I usually use such PAR AVION sticks to cover.


thank you! I use either a sticker or washi tape (along with a text corrector roller first, if the tape is more transparent) for the barcodes. And I typically write the card ID in the space between the artists’s name and the margin of the card :smiley:

Now that you described them, I think I might have some ad cards at home. I picked them up on trips to Germany and Austria, but there is no space to write a message there as the left side is filled with information about whatever they are promoting. But they make great bookmarks. I haven’t seen such cards in Hungary though, so perhaps that is why I didn’t make the connection… Thank you for clarifying!

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Most cards I received up until now don’t have any barcodes or similar, so this is why I was a bit concerned. I also have some cards which I bought from local artists that don’t have big logos and barcodes on the back, so I somehow made a connection between quality and the absence of barcodes/logos. I am now glad that it does not seem to be the case :slight_smile:

that’s a good idea! I have “priority” stickers and try to place them on the barcode, if they fit

In Finland quite many cards have barcodes (and sometimes printed prices) on the upper right corner of the card, so they are quite easy to cover with stamps. I have cards from other countries, that also have the barcode in that same location. So maybe you have received cards with barcodes, but they have been covered with stamps.


wow :astonished: the secret barcode revealed! Looks like there are different barcode placement conventions - wherever I buy a card in Hungary, the barcode is always at the bottom of the card, either on the left or the right side (except on cards from local artists, which typically don’t have barcodes). Thank you for sharing!

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Welcome to postcrossing! I hope you will enjoy it!

There is no “standard” you invest your time and energy in a card for someone else, to make that persons day a little better or just an extra smile on their face! I’m so happy if I receive a happy hurray message!

If the barcodes annoy you put a sticker or washi tape over it… It doesn’t bother me when I receive a card with barcodes.


I’m bringing up an old thread here- I hope this is ok, it seems to be the best fit since my question concerns markings on the writing side of the card.

Yesterday I bought a few touristy postcards of my city. On the back they have the barcode, which is no problem since it is in a convenient place and will be covered by the stamp anyways.

But they also have a line across the writing side of the card, which is marked “do not write below this line”.

I haven’t noticed anything like this before on postcards, and I’ve never heard that you should leave part of the card empty. Has anybody an idea what the thought behind this is? Are there countries where the postal services need this space for special markings, and it could possibly happen that cards can’t be forwarded properly without it?

What would you do? Leave it empty as intended? Put some tape or stickers over it to make it look a bit nicer? I think just writing over/past the line would not look too appealing, and also I don’t want to be the person that writes past the line that says “do not write below this line”, if there is a reason behind it :sweat_smile:

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That’s quite common her in the USA, and even when the line isn’t marked we’re technically supposed to leave half an inch clear along the bottom. USPS puts a code there. If it isn’t left blank, they cover it with a piece of white tape and put the code on that. The card still arrives, but it may be slowed down a bit. The good news is, the tape can be peeled off again without damaging the card.

Perhaps they had the card printed by an American company? Or they cater to American tourists who want to send the cards home to friends?

Most cards I get are written below the line and arrive with the tape strip, even if they’re sent by other Americans, so it doesn’t seem to be a huge issue :sweat_smile:

Maybe if you write below the line, the postcard police come and haul you off to prison :thinking: Only one way to find out :rofl: