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Postcrossing: the basics

What is Postcrossing?

The goal of the Postcrossing project is to enable anyone to exchange postcards with random people around the world. That's using real mail, not email!

It goes like this: for every postcard you send, you receive one back from another random member - and the more you send, the more you will receive. That's it! It's that easy.

You can learn about other countries, far away places, different people or even practice other languages. Postcrossing turns your mailbox into a box full of surprises!

How does Postcrossing work?

It's quite simple:

  1. Create an account on the website (it's free). You need to provide your address so that you can receive postcards back.
  2. Request to send a postcard - the website selects a random member for you to send a postcard to. The address and some profile details are shared with you. A Postcard ID is also given to you: that's an unique code that identifies the postcard that you are about to send.
  3. Choose a postcard, write something nice and make sure to also write its Postcard ID on it. That's it - now all you need to do is post it just like any other postcard. Don't forget the stamps!
  4. The card arrives to its destination - hurray! The other postcrosser registers it, using the Postcard ID written on the card.
  5. Now, you will receive a postcard as well! When you receive it, simply register it on the website - that makes the sender the next person to be selected to receive a postcard.

And you can send several postcards at once - the more you send, the more you will receive back.

For more details, make sure to read the Postcrossing Community Guidelines. If you still have questions, check out the FAQ.

Is Postcrossing free?

Yes! Postcrossing is offered to you completely for free. We believe this is the best way to allow more people from around the world to join the project, increasing its diversity and making it much more interesting for everyone. So go ahead and join us!

We'd love to be able to offer you postcards and postage as well... but that's beyond us. So, those costs are on you.

And if you are curious, the project does have many running costs. They are supported by displaying advertisement banners on the website and also through the contributions of many of its members. This is what makes it possible for Postcrossing to be offered to everyone for free.

Is Postcrossing safe?

The Postcrossing system is designed to be safe and protect your data. Your personal data, including your address, is important to you (and to us) so we work hard to keep it secure. Please be aware of the following:

  • The addresses stored in Postcrossing are only used for the purposes of exchanging postcards in the project.
  • It is not possible for anyone to intentionally get your address from the system. In Postcrossing, the destination of all postcards is selected randomly among all accounts in the system, so your address is shared only with the few selected members that will be sending you a postcard. To learn more about this, see how Postcrossing works.
  • Any member can only request a small number of addresses from the system. This is by design so that no one can get all the addresses from our database. Several other safety measures are also in place to prevent this.
  • All maps displayed in Postcrossing are only approximate and are not calculated from actual addresses. The coordinates used only show the geometric center of the nearest large city as selected by you in your account. The lack of precision is intentional to protect your privacy.
  • Your address and private data stored in Postcrossing is not sold, traded, given or shared with other third parties, or have any other use other than exchanging postcards in Postcrossing. No one else will have access to your address without your explicit permission, as specified by our Privacy Policy.

You should understand that your address will be shared with the few members that will be sending postcards back to you (as explained above) since that is the only way you can receive postcards. Also, the information you publish in your profile such as the about text and your Postcrossing username is public. As with any other internet website, you should share only what you feel comfortable with.

If you wish to do some additional steps to maximize your privacy, here are some ideas:

  • Consider getting a PO Box in your local post office instead of using your home address. Alternatively, you can use your work or school address to participate in Postcrossing.
  • All fields in your profile are optional: only share in your profile information what you feel comfortable sharing in a public place such as the internet.
  • When you write a postcard to another member, don't include a return address if you prefer to. In fact, most postcards don't include the return address since space is quite limited.

Lastly, please understand that we offer this website to you completely for free and we will not be held responsible for anything that may occur as a result of its use or misuse. The system is very safe to use and designed to be secure, but if you run into problems as a result of using the service, we might not be able to help you. Please check our Terms of Service for more details.

If you still have any questions regarding this, feel free to contact us.

Is Postcrossing suitable for collectors?

Yes, and no!

Yes, you can receive many postcards from all around the world. In fact, some postcrossers are longtime postcard and/or stamp collectors and their collections have become much more interesting by participating in Postcrossing.

But, no, the goal of this project is not for collectors to complete their collections. Postcrossing is more than just the postcards - we celebrate the diversity of our world through the postal connections we enable between two random people. Not knowing which postcard you will get or where it will come from is part of what makes the experience interesting.

So, if you are a collector you are welcome to join us! But, please keep in mind that:

  • You cannot choose where your postcards will come from. That will be randomly selected by Postcrossing.
  • You should expect to receive postcards on all sorts of different themes - perhaps not only the ones you are most interested in. While you may say in your profile what postcard themes you like to the most, the sender does not have to follow this. You still have to register all postcards you receive, even if they do not match your personal preferences or taste.
  • All postcards you receive will be written and stamped. Postcrossing is not to collect blank postcards as there is always some communication (in the postcard) from the sender to the receiver.

Postcrossing can transform your mailbox into a box of surprises: enjoy the diversity - let yourself be surprised!

How many postcards can I send?

Initially you can send 5 postcards. As you exchange more postcards with other members of the website, the number of postcards that you can send (that is, have simultaneously traveling) will increase. These limits allow the system to remain secure while still encouraging new users to try out the project and allowing more avid members to send more postcards if they want to.

Your limit will start to increase (from 5 to 6) immediately after you have your first 5 postcards registered by their receivers. From then onwards, for every 10 postcards that you have sent, the number of postcards that you can send will increase by 1 up to 35 postcards. After that, for every multiple of 50 postcards (sent), you will be allowed to send one more.

In other words:
  • If you have sent between 0 and 4 postcards, you can send 5 postcards.
  • If you have sent between 5 and 14 postcards, you can send 6 postcards.
  • If you have sent between 15 and 24 postcards, you can send 7 postcards.
  • If you have sent between 25 and 34 postcards, you can send 8 postcards.
  • If you have sent between 35 and 49 postcards, you can send 9 postcards.
  • If you have sent between 50 and 99 postcards, you can send 10 postcards.
  • If you have sent between 100 and 149 postcards, you can send 11 postcards.
  • If you have sent between 150 and 199 postcards, you can send 12 postcards.
  • ... and so on, in increments of 1 postcard for each 50 you send.

This means that if, for example, you have sent 21 postcards, you can have at most 7 postcards traveling simultaneously to other members.

Once you have reached your limit, the only way to free up a slot to send another postcard is to either have a postcard you have sent be registered, or, have a postcard you have sent to expire. Postcards expire after traveling 60 days although they can still be (and often are) registered after that time frame.

The limit of postcards traveling at the same time stops growing at 100 postcards.

Note: Adjustments to these limits may occur in the future.

Sending postcards

What is a Postcard ID and where can I get one?

A Postcard ID is a little code that uniquely identifies a postcard in the system. It is composed of two parts: two letters (the country code) and a number.

To get a Postcard ID, you simply request to send a postcard and the Postcard ID for that specific postcard will be given to you. This means only official cards have Postcards IDs (postcards that you have privately swapped with other users cannot be registered).

It is important that you always write in each postcard its unique Postcard ID - that is what allows the receiver to register that postcard when it is received.

Where do I write the Postcard ID?

For a postcard you sent to be registered, the receiver must be able to read the Postcard ID. Here are some dos and don'ts for writing the Postcard ID.

DO:
  • do write it on the left side of the postcard (direction of text is unimportant)
  • do write it more than once on the postcard
  • do double check that you wrote it correctly
DON'T:
  • do not write it under, above or to the right of the address
  • do not write it next to the postage area
What should I write on the postcard?

Although quite small, the space on the back of a postcard can often seem intimidating, and some postcrossers struggle with what to write there... To help with this, here are 20 different ideas to fill your postcards:

  • Express what daily life is like where you’re sending the card from by describing what you did today, your routine, etc.
  • Write 5 curious facts about the place where the card is from.
  • Give local traveling tips from your area! What are the must-sees around you?
  • Include your favorite quote, perhaps in its original language (with translation!)
  • What was the last thing you cooked or ate? Include a recipe!
  • What do you have in common with the recipient of your card?
  • Recount a childhood memory, or something you've learned from your grandparents.
  • What makes you happy? If it makes you smile, there's a good chance others will like to hear about it.
  • Share a local idiom or saying, in its original language, with translation of course!
  • Did you ever travel to the place where your card is going? Recall your best memory of that place.
  • What's the weather like as you are writing your postcard? Draw the weather forecast in detail!
  • Share an interesting fact that you've learned, and which most people are not aware of.
  • Got an unusual hobby or collection? Do tell!
  • Did anything important happen in your country lately? Share an interesting news bit!
  • Tell the recipient about your favorite book, movie or band!
  • Draw a picture of your surroundings, or your favorite object in that room!
  • Write your favorite poem or…
  • ...make up your own poem - acrostic poems or haikus are short and enjoyable to write!
  • What are the local festivals or traditions from your area?
  • If you're a student, what are you studying? What was the last thing you learned in school?

We hope that helps! Always remember to clearly write the Postcard ID that is provided to you. The Postcard ID is the only way the receiver can register your postcard on the website.

What language should I use?

Probably the safest option is English. When you receive the address to send the postcard to, you will also receive a list of languages that the recipient understands. Try to stick to those.

What can I send on Postcrossing?

Postcrossing is a postcard exchange community, so each exchange that you make must include at least one postcard. It can be a postcard you bought in a store or a handmade postcard, as long as it hasn't been previously used.

If you want, you can also send other things with your postcard - for instance, a letter, photo or pamphlet. However, this isn't required nor expected of you - the only thing you have to send on Postcrossing is a postcard.

I forgot to write the Postcard ID on the postcard I sent

First, don't worry, the receiver can still ask for help when they receive your postcard.

If you would like to make the receiver's life a little easier, just write them a private message to explain that they will be receiving a postcard without a Postcard ID and include the Postcard ID in the message.

Should I send my postcard in an envelope?

Postcards are usually mailed without an envelope. So, by default, if you're sending a postcard to another member, mail it without an envelope. Most members prefer to receive their postcards this way.

However, in some countries, postal services may require postcards to travel in envelopes, or there might be clear advantages to that method of sending them (protection from likely damage or curious eyes, etc.). Some members indicate this on their profile. Whenever possible, try to follow the recipient's recommendations.

Keep in mind that in many countries, it is more expensive to send a postcard with an envelope than without it. Both methods are acceptable, so it's up to you do decide how to send your postcards.

Why do I have so many cards travelling to the same country?

First, you should check if you accidentally selected the option in your settings saying that you prefer to have several postcards traveling to the same country at the same time. This option is not enabled by default, and if it is selected for your account, it must have been turned on by you at some point. It's ok to switch it off again, if you're looking for some more variety!

However, if you have not selected that option, please note that countries can still repeat sometimes. This FAQ entry explains how those country repetitions work in Postcrossing, so read on.

As you probably know, some countries are much more active than others in Postcrossing. This generates unbalances between countries as more active countries need to receive in proportion to the amount of postcards they send, but less active countries can only send much less. For this reason, Postcrossing can not guarantee that you will always be sending to different countries at the same time.

What the Postcrossing system does is to try to maximize the number of different countries you are sending to at any given moment. However, at some point, repetitions must still occur.

If Postcrossing would prevent any repetitions from happening, members in less active countries would receive postcards in much higher amounts than they actually had sent. At the same time, members in more active countries would not get enough postcards back - they would be sending, but not receiving! So repetitions are an actual requirement to keep countries as balanced as possible.

The way our system allows repetitions to happen is that they are more frequent to members who are sending larger amounts of postcards at the same time, while being less common for those who can send less. Since those who can send more at the same time have (by consequence) a wider variety of different countries than those who can send less, we feel this is more fair for all.

Lastly, note that the amount of repetitions can and does change overtime. Our system dynamically adapts to the balance of each country at any given moment and this is why you sometimes might see more repetitions than usual.

What if the postcards do not arrive or are not registered?

First, this is not common. But, if your postcard is not registered after 60 days of being requested, it is set to expired in the system. Every time one of your postcards expire, you get back a free "slot" so that you can send a new postcard. But don't worry, the receiver can still register the postcard up to one year from when it was sent.

We know 60 days is a long time, but you need to be patient. Some countries have slower postal services and it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for your postcard to reach its destination. Usually, 60 days is enough time for your postcard to travel to almost everywhere in the world and to be registered.

But keep in mind that mail is not 100% reliable. Sometimes, it does get lost, is misdelivered or even accidentally damaged - this can happen anywhere between the sender and the receiver. If you send many postcards in Postcrossing, this is likely to happen to you as well at some point - this is part of the postal experience and, unfortunately, Postcrossing has no way to help you with this.

Lastly, all postcards are saved in Postcrossing, including the ones that are not registered (ie: expired). This data is used to detect misuses of the system. When this is significantly above normal for a particular account, that account performance may receive penalties to prevent it from continuing to affect other accounts. This however is not rare and if you always register what you is sent you, you don't need to worry about any of this.

The address given to me does not have a name on it. Will the postcard still arrive?

Not all countries require the name of the recipient on the address. The postcard will still arrive at its destination. Please trust the member - he or she knows their address best.

What are expired postcards?

A postcard that has been traveling more than 60 days is set to expired in the Postcrossing system. This status allows your account to request to send another postcard. You can see which of your traveling postcards have expired by looking at your traveling postcards list.

Most sent postcards will arrive before 60 days have passed; however, some postcards do take longer to reach their destination. Postcards that have expired can still be registered up to one year after you requested the address. After this period, they are deleted from our database and can no longer be registered.

Can I send a postcard after it is already expired?

Yes, absolutely!

We understand that sometimes life gets in the way and postcards do not get sent out in a timely fashion. That is okay, you can still send the postcard late. Just make sure that you send the postcard to arrive within a year of the date you requested the address. Also make sure that the member whose address you were given is still an active member of Postcrossing. Once the member gets the postcard and registers it, the postcard will be registered as a normal postcard.

Should I write my address on the postcards I send?

It is really up to you. If you wish to be contacted back, it might be a good idea to write your address on the postcard. However, not all postcrossers will write you back.

Members frequently ask why their address is not sent automatically to the person who registers the received postcard. The reason is that some members are not comfortable with this. It is their choice if they would like to send an address on the postcard; we will not do any different.

Note that when you register a postcard, you can leave a message. At this point, you can request the address of the member that sent you a postcard if you would like to send a return postcard.

I mailed the postcard! How do I mark it sent?

The system does not record the date of mailing. Instead, sent date reflects the date that the address was requested. This simplifies the Postcrossing process. The postcard must be received and registered for your Postcards Sent total to increase.

I lost an address, how do I get it again?

You can always see the address of your traveling postcards directly on Postcrossing website. You just need to go to that traveling postcard page and it is displayed there. To find it, simply go to your Traveling postcards page and choose the Postcard ID of the postcard you are missing an address for. Once a postcard has been received and registered, you will not be able to view the address anymore.

If you are having trouble receiving emails from Postcrossing, see the FAQ on email problems.

Receiving postcards

What do I do when I receive a postcard?

First, congratulations if this is your first Postcrossing postcard - hopefully many more will follow!

When you receive a postcard from another Postcrossing user, you must register it on Postcrossing as received. To do that, you need to go to the register a postcard page and enter the Postcard ID written on it. Just look in the text written on the postcard and you should find an alphanumeric code starting with two letters (the country code) followed by a number - this is the code that uniquely identifies that postcard in the system.

Once you register that postcard, it will make the sender be the next person to receive a postcard from someone else in the system. That's it! Simple, right?

If you have problems reading the Postcard ID written on the Postcard, don't give up! Feel free to try as many combinations as possible - only the right combination will be accepted. However, if you still are unable to register it (or if the sender forgot to write the ID!), you can request help to find the Postcard ID by going here.

What do I do if I receive a postcard without or with the wrong Postcard ID?

If the postcard you just received is missing its Postcard ID (or it seems to be incorrect), please submit a Unknown ID request (the link is also on the right column of the register a postcard page).

Fill in as much information as possible even if you are not sure. Sometimes if there is very little information, a visual description of the image on the postcard can help, since we can compare it with an image the sender might have previously uploaded to the website.

PT-1

For instance, if you received the postcard on the left, a good description would be that it features "A row of three lighthouse pictures, of which 2 are white and the middle one is red". Don't describe the decorations on the back of the card or tell us the author of the photo, as that won't be very useful.

Note that the postal cancellation mark often displays the date and postal code/city, so please add those as well. The Postcrossing team will try to find it for you using the information you provide, so the more details you submit, the more likely it will be found.

You only need to fill out the Unknown ID request once for each postcard. If you make a mistake, delete the request and enter a new one. It can take several days for a match to be found. Please be patient.

Additionally, if you find the Postcard ID and register the postcard before you receive a response, please delete the request. You can delete any request by using the delete button for the request on your "Received postcards" list.

Also, please consider the following:

  1. Are you really certain the Postcard ID is not written somewhere in the postcard? Check for any numbers (even if without the country two letter prefix), or in places like right above/under your own address.
  2. Make sure that the postcard is an official Postcrossing postcard and not a thank you postcard or a private swap.
  3. You can try to enter the correct Postcard ID many times without consequence. So, why not try a different combination? For instance, sometimes 1's can look like 7's, 3's and 5's can look like 8's, etc. Don't worry, the Postcrossing system will not let you register a postcard that does not belong to you.
  4. If the postcard has information about the sender, you can use those hints to search for the user in our search users page and then contact him/her by private message.
  5. Note that postcards with Postcard IDs over one year old cannot be registered. Postcrossing does not keep track of which member was assigned a specific Postcard ID so submitting an Unknown ID request is not helpful.
Why do I receive more postcards from a certain country?

Probably because that country has many more active users (sending many more postcards) than other countries.

For a more balanced distribution of members and postcard origins, try inviting some international friends to the project. In this manner more balance can be achieved without being unfair to countries where Postcrossing is popular.

Why have I received more postcards than I have sent?

The algorithm for selecting addresses is complex and there are instances when your address will be selected a bit more often than you expect. Count it as an early bonus - your sent/received numbers will even out soon.

Using Postcrossing

How do I send a message to a member?

You can send messages to other Postcrossing members through a link provided on the member's profile page. First, access the member's profile page. Next, find and select the Send *member* a message! link directly under the member statistics area and above the About *member* ... area.

Once you select this link, a form appears where you can type in a Subject: and Message:. You can also choose to receive a copy of the message you write by checking the Check this to receive a copy of the message option. When you are ready to send the message, use the Send message button.

The message is immediately delivered to the private email address provided by that member. To reply to your message, the member must access your profile page and follow the steps outlined above. In this manner, email addresses are kept private.

Guidelines

  • Be polite and use common sense.
  • Do not send private swap or trade requests to people who have indicated that they do not want to engage in such activities. You will see a helpful reminder to the right of the message box when the member has chosen NOT to partake in private swaps.
  • The number of messages you can send in one day are limited. This is to discourage spammers.

Not receiving messages from other members, a copy of your sent message, or emails from Postcrossing? Check out the FAQ for email problems.

Can I choose the country which I will exchange postcards with?

Not at the moment. For now, addresses are chosen randomly from another country (including your own, if you choose that option).

My postcard should have already been received! What should I do?

Wait! :-) There are several things that can make a postcard take a long time to be registered. Here are a few:

  • slow postal services
  • the member is on holiday or temporarily away
  • the member does not have a home Internet connection
  • the member did not understand your handwriting and is trying to figure out the ID
  • the member is not able to check (or does not receive) their mail daily

Traveling time depends on the postal system of the respective countries so while some postcards may arrive in 5 days, it is as common that postcards take over 30 days to arrive. If it has been well over 30 days, we advise you to contact the recipient of your postcard through private message and ask whether the postcard has arrived (the ID might be blurred, illegible, etc.). After 60 days, the postcard will be set to expired status and you will be able to request another address.

Be patient, experienced postcrossers will quickly advise you to do the same - it works!

How does the Inactive state work?

When your account is set to Inactive Postcrossing will not select your account to receive postcards. However, when you set it back to Active you will receive all postcards that your account should had received during that time.

If you know you are going to be away for some time (for example: on holiday, a business trip, etc.), you can set your account to Inactive. You can do that at any time in your edit account section and also you can restore it to Active whenever you want.

It is a good idea to use this option whenever you are going to be away from your address for more than a week so that other members do not send you postcards that you are unable to register. It is also advisable to set your account to inactive in advance of your departure so that you can register all postcards that are still traveling to you.

If you plan to return after a short period of time (example: vacation) and you wish to continue sending postcards while on Inactive status, you can. Note however, that if the period of inactivity is too long, the Postcrossing system might temporary block you from sending more postcards if the difference between sent and received postcards is too large for your account. However, this block will automatically go away once you reduce the difference between sent and received postcards. To do that, simply set your account back to active and register the due postcards as soon as they arrive to you.

Can I specify which cards I want to receive?

No. You may say in your profile what your preferences are. What you write will indicate to other members what type of postcards you like to receive the most; however, it does not necessarily guarantee that they can or that they will fulfill your preferences.

You must still register all postcards you receive regardless of whether they match your preferences or not. Therefore, stating in your profile that you will not register X or Y type of postcards is against the Postcrossing Community Guidelines.

Remember that Postcrossing is not a collector's website.

How can I help Postcrossing balance the very active countries?

In Postcrossing, those who send, receive. But, because of such, very active countries need to receive postcards back in the same quantity that they send. And, consequently, countries with less activity have to send postcards to the most active countries more often than to others.

The Postcrossing system is aware of this fact and aims, when possible, to maximize the number of different countries a user is exchanging postcards with. When this ideal scenario is not possible, it allows some repetitions to occur so that users who send always receive postcards back in the same amount and don't become unbalanced.

There are a few actions that can help Postcrossing reduce this problem such as inviting your friends in less active countries to join Postcrossing. By increasing the number of Postcrossing users in other countries, it decreases the weight of the most active countries making the system more balanced globally.

Another way to help is by activating the option in your profile that allows for country repetitions when you're sending postcards. With this option, when you request a new address, Postcrossing will not try to select a country that you are not currently exchanging postcards with yet. This way, you will start to send more postcards to the most active countries, thus helping Postcrossing to balance the different weights of each country.

Not all users are equal and you might prefer to send postcards to as many different countries as possible, and that's ok! You don't need to select this option at all if you don't want to. Or you can select it only temporarily to experiment with until you decide. Either way, it's up to you. And note that this only changes the destination of your postcards - it does not change in any way where the postcards you receive will come from.

If you have any question about this, feel free to contact us.

Accounts and profiles

Can I have more than one account?

Postcrossing does not welcome multiple accounts per person. The project is designed with safety and fairness in mind and for that, certain limits have been applied to each account so that the system as a whole remains balanced. But, by having more than one account, those limits no longer apply, which means you would be going around Postcrossing's limits, which creates several problems for other members and for Postcrossing as well.

For example, we can no longer make sure that any two persons do an exchange only once; it is harder for a receiver to know which account they should register a postcard with, etc. It also creates unbalances on the address selection system which is unfair to other members.

We do understand that postcrossers are very enthusiastic about participating in Postcrossing (and we love that!) and that sometimes they would like to send and receive more postcards than what their account allows them to. And that is why the limit of postcards each account can send at the same time increases over time.

For any postcrosser wishing to exchange more postcards than the account allows, we recommend to:

  • Organize direct swaps with other members. Or, do other types of postcard exchanges on the forum where many other members would be happy to exchange with you.
  • Be a little bit more patient! The amount you can send at the same time will increase, and soon enough you will find that you can send more than you can possibly handle or afford.

We occasionally tolerate that one person holds more than one account if within a reasonable amount, and only if we see strong evidence of proper usage. But, we still do not welcome such practices and we strongly discourage anyone from doing it. We do monitor for multiple accounts and Postcrossing reserves the right to delete (without any warning), all existing accounts belonging to the same owner, when we see fit. So please, don't open more than one account.

How do I upload, change or delete my avatar (profile photo)?

To upload or change your avatar (that's your profile picture or photo), first make sure that you own the copyright to the image that you are going to upload. Pictures that you took yourself make perfect avatars. Images must be in either the jpg or png file format and be larger than 140x140px. Square images work best on Postcrossing. Ready?

  1. Verify that you are logged in to your account.
  2. Go to the Edit avatar section from menu.
  3. Use the Browse... button and choose your avatar image from your computer.
  4. Use the Upload button. Wait. It may take a few some time for your image to upload.
  5. Now you'll need to crop your image. You can change the size of the crop area by dragging any one of the eight handles (small squares around the image). A preview of what your image will look like cropped appears to the right.
  6. Once you are happy with the preview, use the Crop button.

Your avatar is now uploaded.

To delete your avatar, go to the same Edit avatar page and use the delete link under your existing avatar.

Is my address displayed on the map on my profile?

No, the maps in Postcrossing do not use your actual address. This is intentional to protect your privacy. All maps in the website use the coordinates of the center of the closest large city, as selected by you in your account. In fact, all the users in the same city will be mapped on the same coordinates.

I have moved. How do I update my address?

Simply update your address in your account, including the My location area if it has changed. Please note that you can change your country only once every 60 days.

Can I change my username?

Yes, you can! You can change your username in your edit account section. Note that you are limited to only 2 changes, so choose wisely! Changes of case do not count as a change, or in other words, changing from 'paulo' to 'Paulo' will not count as a change.

Once you change your username, all the links where your previous username was being shown will be updated to the new one - this includes the 'Traveling postcards' of anyone who would have to send you a postcard.

What is a Postcrossing Ambassador?

A Postcrossing Ambassador is a member who has made remarkable contributions to the project. Members have received this title by doing things like:

  • Writing an article about Postcrossing for a popular newspaper or magazine;
  • Giving an interview to a radio or TV channel about the project;
  • Spreading posters in their neighborhood.

If you have done any of these (or other) good deeds, let us know and we may consider you for Postcrossing Ambassador - you even get a small ambassador badge added to your profile!

Please understand that we receive many requests to become Postcrossing Ambassadors for writing about Postcrossing in personal blogs or websites. Currently we are not considering these eligible unless some proof is provided of having a very large audience.

Tip: If you put your mouse over the words "Postcrossing Ambassador" on a member's profile, you can learn about that person's contribution!

Why do some members have a list of expired Postcard IDs on their profile?

Some members post a list of expired postcards on their profile to keep track of the cards that never reached their destination.

We don't encourage that these lists are posted on your profile. Most of the time, the members who will be reading your profile are those who have been assigned to send you a postcard... and they get no valuable information from reading a list of expired postcards. Your profile should be about you.

Even if by chance the recipient sees their username and a Postcard ID on one of these lists, they should not register that postcard if it did not arrive.

If you'd like to see a list of your expired postcards, you can do so on your Traveling postcards page. Please keep in mind that postcards which have been traveling for longer than a year are removed from Postcrossing's database, and can no longer be registered.

How do I quit?

Sorry to hear that! If you just wish to take a break from Postcrossing, you don't need to terminate your account. Instead, just set your account to inactive. When you are ready to come back, just set your account status back to active, and voilà!

But, if you are sure that you want to terminate your account, then log in with your username and password and go to the terminate account page. Note that once you terminate your account, you can not revert it.

The website

Why am I not receiving emails from Postcrossing?

Do not panic!

Having a valid email address is important to participate in Postcrossing. It allows you to receive emails from us as well as use the private message feature. For this reason, you may be requested by us to confirm your email address. This confirmation is sent through email with an activation link.

Note: You can always retrieve addresses for your traveling or expired postcards on the Postcrossing website by following the FAQ instructions on lost addresses.

Some email servers wrongly consider email sent from Postcrossing to be spam and discard our emails. This is beyond our control, but there are several things you can do to resolve the problem:

  • Check your email account Junk/Spam folder for expected email. If you find our emails in there, try to mark them as "Not spam" if you can.
  • Make sure your email account has enough free space to receive email.
  • When possible, white-list our emails by adding @postcrossing.com (or postcrossing@postcrossing.com) in your list of safe senders.
  • Add postcrossing@postcrossing.com to your list of contacts. That may prevent emails from being considered to be spam.
  • Change your email address to one with a different provider (Gmail is known to work and the accounts are free).
  • Check your anti-spam filter. If you are using an anti-spam filter that requires senders to manually confirm that they want to send you a message, you might want to disable that for emails sent from the postcrossing.com domain.
  • If you are using an email address that forwards your email to a different email address, that may cause issues with receiving our emails. We use an email standard that minimizes spam abuse and email impersonation, but some email providers do not implement this standard and may forward our emails in an incorrect way. If you use email forwarding and you are having trouble receiving our emails, try using the final email address instead of using the forwarding email address.

In the unlikely event that none of these resolve your problem, please contact us for help.

How do I access my messages?

There is no messages inbox on the Postcrossing website. Messages sent from other members are sent directly to your email address.

If you are not receiving messages from other members, a copy of your sent message, or other emails from Postcrossing, check the FAQ entry for problems with emails.

There is a country in Postcrossing that is not a real country!

In Postcrossing we follow the ISO standard 3166 for the 2 letter country code used in the Postcard IDs. This ISO standard covers not only sovereign countries, but also dependent territories or regions of special interest.

Taiwan, Macao, Hong Kong, Åland Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Cayman Islands, Christmas Island etc. all fall into this category.

Will the website be translated into other languages?

No, not any time soon. For this project to work, there needs to be a common language among all participating members so that they can communicate through the postcards they write and receive. In this case, English was chosen due to its widespread online usage.

If the website is translated to other languages, a user can sign up without sharing a common language with other members. This member would only be able to send postcards to those who speak his language, reducing the diversity that the project aims to provide. Hence, for the moment, it is a requirement to be able to read and write basic English to participate in the project.

Can you translate the 'about' section into my language?

We cannot, but you can! It is impossible for us to translate the about page into every possible language. But our members can help by translating into their own language. Just translate the text in the about page and send it to us. It helps if you keep the text in the same format, that is, with all the paragraphs and titles that the text has so that it is easier for us to add it to the page. When it is ready, contact us so that we can give you instructions on how to email it to us. We will then make sure it appears on the page with a reference to you.

Postcards wall

Do I have to upload the scan of all my postcards?

No, the postcard walls are optional. It is up to you to decide if it's important for you to have a wall of the postcards you have received.

How do I upload or delete a postcard image from the postcards wall?

To upload a postcard image to your gallery, the first step is to get the postcard into an image file. For that you must have access to a computer scanner or a use a digital photo camera - keep in mind that you can only upload the front side of the postcard (the one with image), and not the written text or the address.

Once you have the postcard in an image file, follow these steps:

  1. If you are not logged in to Postcrossing, log in.
  2. To upload the image of postcard you have received, go to your received postcards section. If you wish to pre-upload the image of a postcard you are sending (ie: that is still traveling), go to your traveling postcards.
  3. Find the row that has the Postcard ID for the image you would like to upload. Use the green '+' icon found in the last column of the row.
  4. Select your file. For your received postcards, you can also enter an optional description text.
  5. Upload it and that's it!

Lastly, to delete a postcard image that you have uploaded, go to that postcard's page by selecting it from your received or sent postcards. Right above the postcard image there is a button to delete that postcard image.

The image of a postcard went missing from my postcard wall!

If the image of a postcard that you sent is gone from your gallery on the website, the most likely reason is that the image was deleted by the recipient. Recipients can chose to add, modify or delete the images of the postcards that they've received at their own discretion.

Since January 2014, the sender of a postcard can also delete a postcard image, if they were the original uploader of that image. If the sender of a postcard you've received deletes the image of that postcard, you will be receive an email notification.

Lastly, Postcrossing's team may remove images that they deem to be inappropriate for the Postcrossing's Community Guidelines. If this was the case, you should receive a notification email.

A postcard image in someone's wall is wrong. How can it be removed?

If you find a postcard image that should be removed from a gallery, the first thing to do is to contact that person and ask to remove it. Please wait a few days for a reply since not every person accesses the website on a daily basis.

If you don't obtain a reply, please contact us specifying the reason why that image should be removed from the website. We will do our best to help.

How do I add a postcard to my favorites?

It is quite simple! Just go to the postcard page (by clicking in its Postcard ID) and right above the postcard image there is a small heart-shaped icon that you can use to add the postcard as a favorite. By the way, to remove it from your favorites, it is the same process.

Social media integration

How can I integrate my twitter account with Postcrossing?

If you have a twitter.com account, you can integrate it with Postcrossing. When you send or receive a postcard, Postcrossing will automatically publish that to your twitter.

Here are some samples:

To activate this, you just need to edit your account and connect it with your Twitter account - you will be taken to twitter.com to approve the connection between the two accounts. You can at any moment disable this functionality.

If you don't have a twitter account and want to learn more about this service, visit twitter.com website.

How can I integrate my Facebook account with Postcrossing?

If you have a Facebook account, you can integrate it with Postcrossing so that some events are automatically published to your wall. If you connect the two accounts, Postcrossing will publish short stories to your Facebook feed when you send or receive a postcard in the Postcrossing website. To activate this, just follow the steps below.

First you need to go to your Edit Account page and use the button "Check my Facebook Connect status". If you are not connected yet, you can use the button to connect with Facebook. You will be asked to log in with your Facebook account (if aren't yet) and you will need to accept to connect your Facebook account with Postcrossing. You need to do this step only once. See screenshoot.

If you do not logout from your Facebook account, then when you send or register a postcard a window will appear asking you to confirm if you wish to publish that event to your Facebook wall. Note that this window appears only when the page is fully loaded (after requesting an address or after registering a postcard). On this window you also have the option to allow Postcrossing to do this automatically for you so that you do not need to approve (this window) every time. See screenshoot.

To disable this feature, read this.

How do I stop Facebook from publishing my Postcrossing events?

The connection between Postcrossing and Facebook must be disabled on your Facebook privacy settings. The location of these settings might depend on your Facebook setup, but generally these are the steps to reach it:

  • Log in in Facebook
  • Go to 'Account settings'
  • Then go to 'Apps'
  • Find the Postcrossing app in that list and use the 'X' to cancel the integration

Other questions

Why does my password not work on the forum?

The Postcrossing forum is a separate website from postcrossing.com. As such, you must complete a separate registration process to access the forum. Read and agree to the forum rules then register using the same username that you have on postcrossing.com.

Once you have completed the registration, an email with a temporary password is sent to you. Use this password to log in initially but we suggest that you immediately change the temporary password using the User Control Panel.

Remember that the two systems are separate so if you change your password on postcrossing.com it is not changed on the forum and vice versa.

Where can I buy postcards?

You can buy postcards in many different places! Following is a small list of locations where our members have found them:

  • Post offices
  • Tourist spots
  • Museums
  • Stationery stores
  • Book stores
  • Newspaper or magazine stores
  • Convenience stores (drug stores, supermarkets, department stores, truck stops)
  • Airports
  • Chamber of Commerce

Sometimes, Postcrossing features online and offline stationery shops and postcard makers on the blog. You can find those posts under the tag stationery-shop.

You are also likely to find advertisements in the website to several online postcard shops.

What are direct swaps?

Many Postcrossing members exchange postcards between them besides exchanging the official Postcrossing ones. We call these direct swaps. They are exchanges organized by the Postcrossing members themselves, often in the forum and are not tracked by the system and hence do not have Postcard IDs.

To help members know if another member is available for private swaps or not, we allow members to configure that on their profile. This way, members who are interested in doing direct swaps are easier to find and members who do not wish to participate can clearly state that too.

How do I find other members that want to swap?

Use the search users interested in direct swaps feature to find other members that want to participate in direct swaps. Make sure that you select the option for direct swaps and then use the other fields to narrow down the list.

Do not contact members that have indicated they are not interested in direct swaps.

The easiest way to find swap partners is to use the Postcrossing Forum. The forum has a very active swapping community. On the forum, swaps are also referred to as trades. Find the appropriate trade section and read through the message threads or create your own.

How to become a supporter without a Paypal account?

Beforehand, thank you for your interest in wanting to contribute to this project!

Currently the best way to contribute is through PayPal. The PayPal service is free and safe to use and signing up with Paypal simple and quick. In many countries you don't even need a credit card to use it because you can also use a bank account with it.

If you can't open a Paypal account, the other option is by International bank transfer, to a bank in Europe. If you wish to use this option, please contact us for the required details. If you are in a E.U./SEPA country, this option is likely to be free of any fees to you. However, if you are in another country, please keep in mind that such International bank transfer may have associated fees, so we advise you to check with your bank first.

For the moment we can not accept any other methods such as checks, money orders, western union or others. All those usually have heavy fees (reducing your contribution to almost nothing when it gets to us) or require too much handling work for the amounts involved. For this reason, on a worldwide context the Paypal option is the simplest and quickest way to contribute.

What are the new Terms of Service and what do they mean for me?

The purpose of Postcrossing's new Terms of Service is to set up some ground rules for the website, and explain what is expected of both the members and the website. They function as a contract between you and Postcrossing, and help to legally protect both parties.

The new Terms of Service have been written in collaboration with a group of postcrossers from around the world, who expressed their concerns and suggested ideas for modifications. With their input and feedback over several months, we were able to reach a final version, which took effect on March 10th, 2014.

If you agree with the new Terms of Service, you don't need to do anything and may continue using the website as usual.

If, however, you do not agree with the new Terms of Service, you should terminate your account on the Postcrossing project, as they will automatically apply to all Postcrossing accounts after March 10th. You can do that here. We'll be sad to see you go, but we understand.

If you have any comments or questions, please get in touch.

I cannot find the answer to my question on the FAQ. What should I do?

If you are in a hurry and you have a general question about how something works, typically the fastest way to get help is by placing the question on the forum; other members may be able to help you faster than we can.

But if you have a specific question or problem and are unable to address it on the forum, then contact us and we'll do our best to help you.


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