With what mentality do you swap postcards?


Disclaimer: In this post I like to discuss just normal postcard, not maxicards etc. I understand people will only trade a maxicard for another maxicard and such.

I am new to the forums, and I have made a thread in which I did swaps. I also have approached people for swaps. On the official postcrossing forum, the spirit is: You can wish for things, but you cannot demand cards. Personally, I feel a bit bad, if I am to though on people with swaps. When I offer something in the swap forum, I usually try to be accommodating, sometimes even saying: 'Just send me a card you think I’ll like. However, I have also met people that do not think like this.

This made me wonder, how do others here approach swaps? I wanted to break open this discussion, and figured I’d also make a poll. You can choose what answer fits best with you, and maybe participate in this discussion?

  • They better bring they’re cards and stamps, else it’s #@% off.
  • I am a hard negotiator.
  • I will try to make the trade with the other work somehow, so that we are both happy.
  • I’ll just tell them to send back something they think I’ll like, after they read my profile and leave it to them.
  • As long as it’s not an ad card, I’m happy.
  • Others - post in thread why please.

0 voters

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I chose: 100%I will try to make the trade with the other work somehow, so that we are both happy. However I have also often just told them to read my profile and send whatever. I do not want to be demanding and I also think this defeats the spirit of postcrossing.

I would love to see more of you add in to this discussion.

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I’m super easy to satisfy so like, as long as it’s not an ad card, I’ll enjoy it. For me it’s more about what the person writes on the postcard than the postcard itself.


Well, I’m just speaking for myself. When I make swaps on the forum I prefer certain types of postcards and I want to know in advance what I will receive. When I want surprises, I use the official site. In my experience many do this way and have photos of the postcards they offer.


I totally understand you, I also do feel a little bit like you. On the other hand, if someone says they got nothing that matches my profile. I feel bad to tell them no. Usually I ask if they can show me some cards they have, and I pick the one I like the most out of those. May I ask how you negotiate for something you would like?


I personally thought for official postcrossing cards (sent with an ID via the website) this was the spirit. However, on the forum people can offer/request whatever they like and have every right to say no to a swap.

Cost is also a big factor for me. Postage is expensive and if I’m spending, sometimes £3, on each card (for the card and postage) I’d like to swap for a card I like.

I will ask to see people’s offers and am always happy to send photos of my offers too. I have turned down a few direct swaps in the past and I have also compromised on some where someone really liked a card I was offering. For me, it depends on the situation, what they’re offering, how many stamps I have, whether I’ve done lots of swaps already that month etc.


I only respond to those I have something to offer so it doesn’t require much negotiation. If they or I have nothing to offer, then you can just say no thanks, maybe later. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.


I understand swaps as a kind of trade.

What I want in return depends on what I offer. I write what I am looking for when I describe my offer so that the deal is transparent. If I offer something that doesn’t have a very high value for me, I always try to find something I like. When you offer something of high value, I don’t see anything wrong with asking for high value stuff in return or just in general sticking to what you stated you want. It is up to everyone to either accept the conditions or look elsewhere.

To give examples, when I offer regular card, I normally just ask for something that fits my profile or ask for something that is of similar value to me. When I went to Greenland, I only accepted written and stamped postcards from other rare countries. I think it is fair. And when I look at other people’s offers, I only contact them if I feel like I do have what they are looking for.


I agree with this!!


Did you mean the forum or the official site? If you mean the forum, I disagree with the assertion. I view the forum as a place to escape the risk of the unknown/get certainty in what’s coming in the mail. That may be perceived as “demanding” because of the back-and-forth in reaching a happy outcome for both parties. And sometimes that may mean no swap takes place.


I meant the forum, I do some going back and forth, but I’m not that demanding. I also know however, some are more demanding. I just wanted to open the discussion and see how others think about it. I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong way. I’m just curious to see how others think about it, and discuss it a bit. Judging from the poll, a lot of people want to try to make it work. I like that.

First, thanks @Boeboe for posting this discussion. As I have posted many times in the past, I firmly believe Official PostCrossing is the worst place to do swaps. There are several reasons for this:

■ It can be a honeypot for cheaters. In the beginning after being burned a couple of times by folks who requested a swap, I stopped sending my cards first. After that, whenever someone asked to swap, I stated fine…you mail first. The typical retort was “Why don’t you trust me?” Honestly, I don’t know. But when someone brings up the trust issue, that’s a warning signal you are dealing with a cheat.
■ If you are from a rare or not-often-seen country, you can expect to get quite a few requests to swap. I had a chuckle when someone observed that another member told them “I NEED to get a postcard from your country!!”

In view of the above, whenever I swap, it is always in the Forum. There are also several reasons for this:
■ That is where experienced, veteran members swap. Like me, they have specific interests. Unlike the Official site, here you can expect to receive want you want. Here, you find dedicated collectors, less so people interested in an one & out random card.
■ Whether it is private swaps or moderated Tags and RRs, there is control when cheats are involved. The only area that they can escape notice are tags that aren’t moderated. There it’s buyer beware. But overall, a cheat will be eventually revealed.

The Official site works for some; the Forum by many more. If you have doubts about this, just take a look at the Directories of Tags and RRs in the Forum. A very large tent for everyone. Happy Postcrossing!


I see, I totally forgot the official site also has a message system with tags. I actually meant the forum. As I find it hard to understand how it operates on the forums. However I am happy with your reply. I think the tags and such look interesting.

When I want to refuse to continue the postcard exchange :

Dear XXX,

I have went through your offer albums (or your list of offer cards) and I couldn’t find a card which I would like to have.

I would like to decline to proceed with this postcard swapping.

If you have new postcards to offer, I’ll be in touch.

Thank you for your time.


To ask the other party to offer more variety of cards :

Dear XXX,

I find that your postcard offers are quite nice and pretty. However, there is none that I am interested with. Would you be able to get postcard showing XXX, XYZ, YYY, ZZZZ? Or maybe PPP, KKK, KYO themes?

Only if you are able to find them.

I would like to continue swapping with you if you have any card from the topics I mentioned above.

Thank you for reading this.


I’ve tried my best to reply as politely as possible. :see_no_evil: :laughing:


I think I’m a pretty simple swap partner.

For example, if someone wants to have a Tausendschön card from me, but they don’t have one themselves for exchange, I don’t care. I’m happy with a view card or something else (I have very few things that I dislike, that’s stated in my profile).

I don’t like so-called 1:1 transactions. For me personally this is nonsense and also too complex. Swapping should be fun, nothing else. This is what I believe and live.

(I also send a maxicard without problems and get “only” a viewcard back - why not?).

To be more clear: This is, when someone asks me first, because they found a card they like in my albums.


That is really polite, and nice! I have gotten message like: ‘Your offer is no good, bye.’ I mean fair enough, your not forced to trade with me, but there’s also no reason to treat me like a machine. So I really like what you do :slight_smile:


Maybe because English is not so good? I think it’s more important that the message is understood and everything else is extra.

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I have not been in the position often where I have offered a swap, usually I am the one responding to a thread, offering whichever cards I have in my collection. I think I have gotten rejected more times than not, but that just is part of trading. In the past, most of the times, I don’t receive an answer back.

I guess I am someone that is between the option of “just send whatever you think I would like” and “I will try to make it work.” In the end, I am not a serious postcard/stamp collector. I like pretty postcards, but that’s about the extent of it. I don’t care if it’s limited edition or vintage. I think the only time I really cared was when I swapped for the Ukranian “go f**k yourself” warship stamp" (I got it :wink: ).

I understand that some people may not have a large collection because they are just starting out, don’t have a lot of money or the ability to buy cards where they live or online. Because of this, I want to be accommodating wherever possible so that the hobby is fun and accessible for as many people as possible. I enjoy the connection more than the image itself.


This is possible, but with a translator you can get quite far. I’m not saying they cannot do it like that, but I do not like it. I also make mental note, to not trade with them in the future. Since they have other goals than I do.

I think I have a different point of view. My favorite thing is the regular Postcrossing site, where you send and receive randomly. I like the forum, but I don’t collect specific postcards or stamps and I have LOTS of postcards and stamps of my own to pick from to send, so I’m not really interested in swapping. What I really enjoy is if I see someone looking for a specific card or stamp that I have and I’m able to send it to them. That’s it - no swap necessary - it’s just fun for me! But, if the person offers, I ask for a surprise postcard.