Receiving more cards than you send

I joined Postcrossing this summer. Our post is quite slow so my postcards seem to be getting to their destinations slowly so I don’t have many sent. However, my received cards are growing - at one point I had 19 received (none of them had expired at the time I received them) vs 12 sent and I saw similar differences in people I’ve sent postcards to. Why is this happening? Are many people inactive so just sending but not receiving? Not that I’m complaining, just wandering.

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54 received, 41 sent - quite a big difference. How does it actually work? I keep getting places far, far away which makes me think I will have little luck in balancing it out because the post will take much longer to arrive in, say, Indonesia than it would Germany, France or even the US. What gives?

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At the moment I have a difference of 8 postcards. 8 more received than sent, in the last couple of days I’ve had 2 card arrived that had expired, shows there’s always hope.

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It’s actually a lot more exciting to get faraway places! But yes, it can delay the catching up. But with that difference, you need to send A LOT to catch up, when I lived in the UK I always had a huge difference (more received) because I would only send 4-5 cards a month, now I send a bit more but they take longer so I am always catching up anyway.

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I prefer sending than receiving when the ratio is like this - 14 is a large difference and it spoils the experience of Postcrossing for me just a bit. I am bemused that some of my cards are still travelling to, for example, Finland after 55 days. It is just a one-off, probably.

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It might not help you for a while, @nigello, but a possible trick to avoid too big differences is going inactive after one or two ‘now YOU will receive’. Then your traveling cards have time to arrive while the ‘imbalanced’ cards coming your way are dripping in.


I have thought of doing that but never done it because it seems that all cards to me are picked on the same day, so I figured that by the time I go inactive it’s too late and there are already 10 cards on their way to me after only 1 of mine was registered. I suppose this trick might stop some if maybe my address was given 5 times by the time I go inactive, as I guess they don’t all happen instantly.

Funny though. It’s like complaining we have too many cards ahaha but it is an odd thing. In my stats, my received curve is up and down because of this phenomenon (receive a lot one month, then a month or two to catch up). It is less evident right this minute because I was in fact inactive for a couple of weeks and a lot of my cards arrived then.

Oh, but the problem with the inactive is that you then receive them all once you go active and that it’s the worst thing for me, you receive so much that it really spoils the experience (for me) - as it becomes a chore and not a pleasure to register 10 cards a day.


It may be different for some countries b/c of postal connection (esp. in these weallknowwhat-times), but here in Europe cards are trickling in day after day. At least i experience this at the moment, after going back to active a week ago, with 25 cards due. Some on Monday, some on Tuesday, you get the pattern. Even from the same country drawn on the same day with the same postmark, cards arrive on different days.

Imho, the advantage of going inactive after one/two ‘Now you will recieve’ is that your arrivals only trigger “ten/twenty” cards for you, but if stay active, it might be 30 or 40 or 50 (exaggeration for scenarios sake). So while cards are on their way to you, your sent have the chance of being registered without triggering another flood of wonderful new cards.

Postcrossing … not only a training in patience, but in strategy too

Note: another way might be learning to live with the imbalances. As long as there are beginners and as long as there is various traveling time, there will always be an imbalance in the demand for adresses.


Yes, good ideas per se though I do not want to “go dark”, even for a short time. I am now some 15 cards behind, if you like to put it that way: many more received than sent.

Interesting to see at least a few other USA postcrossers with higher sent than received. I’m in this boat too.

I know it’ll even out eventually though. :slight_smile:

I also in the same boat. 12 more sent than received. Cards are arriving slowly right now. Actually all my mail is arriving slowly!

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You are lucky because in general it is rather the opposite that occurs, I always see a few more cards sent than received.
Happy postcrossing :slight_smile:

EDIT: This post was first from the merged topic ‘Sent/Received disbalance’, I’m adding this to avoid the possible discussion incoherency confusion of two more than a month discussions being put together :grin: :face_with_monocle:

How often you have more received postcards than sent on your profile?

I know that usually users from rare countries have a lot of received postcards, because many people who send have box “several postcards traveling to the same country at the same time” ticked off and system needs to pick different countries for them. So there is allowed overflow, but even then it’s limited because even with box ticked off you get two Germany or USA from time to time.

Otherwise I’ve always thought that users who have more received than sent are not sending in a “proper way” (with regularity): stopped sending for a while and then all expired postcard reached them or started again after being in-active, which system encourages by giving you a credit of postcards.

But after two periods of being in-active (because of moving twice/having a child) brought my profiles on the constant brink of having imbalanced amount of sent/received postcards. I send regularly, but if there is any postal troubles on the way - profile overflows and I need to send more cards not to receive more but just to compensate already received ones. For me it creates a little bit unhealthy statistics, and I worry a bit that people who saw my profile think I send irregularly (I know that most common way to spot a good swapper - it’s a person who has 10-15 more postcards in sent - now I have 1-5 more in received, sometimes the difference gets up to 15).

Does anyone else from ‘common’ countries have this problem? I am clueless of which characteristics of postcrossing algorithm caused it, and why this disbalance doesn’t go away for me in 3 years already…


I don’t keep track, but it changes; once I had received over 10 more than sent, then only few days it was even, then I had sent more. I wouldn’t notice anything, unless I looked at the numbers.
But, I don’t make any assumptions based on that. Also, for me it’s not a problem.



It’s not a problem for me too, and I never heard that:

Anyway if you wish more balance, you can set your account into inactive status for a while. So your address will not be selected to receive cards, but you can still send cards to balance account.


Probably I look too much at numbers indeed. It feels that the algorithm becomes more and more complicated, and the simple feeling of how proportion of sent/received should look like which was in action 5 or more years ago is not valid anymore

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I’m doing postcrossing for 10 years, I read the FAQ back and forth. My problem is not about that it happens sometimes, but almost all the time, and I’m asking about how other users feel or notice the disproportions. For me catching up for received cards on official site is much less pleasant as sending something unobliged and received reward after. Cause and causation feels broken for my profile


I have to say, this is the first time I hear this. I wouldn’t think you were a bad swapper, at least when you have more received, it shows mail sent to you arrived, and you register cards :slight_smile: :+1:


@xxxyyy and @ana_karp
Thank you for reassurance! Maybe I overthink the problem
I think this ‘swapper’ thing was more my assumption when I started doing direct swaps years ago, and just picked users from official website, now there are so many ways to check whether to rely on people.
Nevertheless, I encountered couple of users recently, who were not okay with direct swaps anymore just because of bad experiences of not received cards.