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Where should you write the Postcard ID?

For a postcard you sent to be registered, the receiver must be able to read the Postcard ID - therefore, its placement is crucial!

If you put it in an area where it might be read by the postal services machines, it could be confused for a post code, which would delay its delivery. And if you write it too close to the stamp area, it might be stamped over, causing the receiver some problems deciphering it!

So here are some handy dos and don'ts to consider when 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 - in case part of the card gets damaged
  • do double check that you wrote it correctly
DON'T:
  • do not write it under, above or to the right of the address, because it might be read by a mail sorting machine and confused for the postal code
  • do not write it next to the postage area
postcardidplacement

Hope that helps!

PS - Can't figure out the Postcard ID on one of the postcard you've received? Fill out the Unknown ID form and we'll help you out!


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45 comments so far

wildernesscat, Israel
That is very good advice, although the part about 'not writing it above the address' is violated by the Postcrossing site itself. This happens every time I use the "print addresses" option.
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wildernesscat, Israel
Proposed solution - enclose the Postcard ID in a separate dotted frame, and instruct the user to cut them out/glue them on separately.
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meiadeleite, Portugal
@wildernesscat: We only give you the postcard ID on the printing sheet so that you know which address it refers to - but good point, maybe we should change that!
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Rekbe, United Kingdom
Best place for the postcard ID is on the left side of the poscard. I write it in red ink so that if there is any postal mark, the ID can still be read.
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sapic12, Portugal
This is curious because today I recieved a postcard with the ID and the DATE inside the adress!
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elwingelfje, Netherlands
I think it's always a good idea to write the ID in a different colour or draw a line around it. That makes it stand out more and more difficult to confuse with an address.
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Titvi, Finland
Good advice!
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nisnoopy3, Malaysia
I write my message vertically and I draw a circle around the postcard ID. The address is written on the right side horizontally.

Many times, I miss the postcard ID which is printed on top of the address. Because when I received a postcard, I read the message part first. After reading a few times, still can't find the ID. Then I spotted it on top of my address.. Urghh! X-O

Reading my own address is the last part I would do. I prefer the ID is written in the message part and not on the same area as the address.
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Augenstern, Austria
Good advice, I hope lots of users read it :) I've had numerous cards where I had trouble deciphering the ID for the reasons stated above. On my cards, I always write the ID in a different colour and twice: once horizontally in the top left and once vertically on the right side of my message. So far, it has worked very well, out of almost 1,900 sent cards, I only had 2 reminders telling me that I made a mistake.
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sandersalamander, Netherlands
I always write it in under the address but I always use a marker to make it a nice and readable colour! ;)
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Nordbaer, Germany
This advice was so long overdue! And is so valuable!
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kirk2001, Germany
I always write my nick too, that helps to find my profile if i forget to write the ID twice. Exactly this happened this week.
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soilian, Finland
I always write the ID twice: to the upper left corner and vertically in the middle of the card between the text and the address.
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mikekmac, United States of America
I've settled into writing the ID vertically along the left edge, in green extra-fine Sharpie (won't bleed if it gets wet). I also write my username and the date there.

I only write the ID once, though.
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sapic12, Portugal
Message to postcrossing team:

You should recommend people to write the username next to the name. It helps the person who recieve the postcard, in case of the ID is missing, wrong, unreadable or even smudged.

Ex: Manú (Sapic12)
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robertofcottam, Canada
I like some of the ideas especially using coloured ink,, although I have to say I have never had any problems. But a card is marked as expired may well have fallen prey to loss of ID
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nugget, United States of America
I am very thankful to Postcrossing for helping me with missing or incorrect ID's. I have seen profiles reporting cards without ID's, but all you have to do is enter as much information as you can and you'll quickly get the correct ID number to register your card.
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Luziaceleste, Brazil
you r very efficient helping mis-written IDs to be identified. Anyway, nice to remember everyone!
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giacatalan, Philippines
I write my IDs using a pink felt-tip pen and then I draw a box around it so that it stands out at the left side of the postcard. I also make sure to write the numbers legibly, especially 1 & 7 and 4 & 9. Upon joining Postcrossing, this was one of the details that I have tried to figure out. Long overdue indeed, but good thing it is discussed here now.:)
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rosenbusch, Germany
If you cannot read an ID-number, the system of postcrossing is very creative to search the user...
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jacquelineke, Netherlands
I always cover the id number with tape, so when the cards are wet, the number is still there.
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fredriech, France
If you send a card from or to the usa, don't write the ID on the bottom part of the card. The us postal service prints something (kinda orange code) here.
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LadyDiBella, United States of America
I highlight my ID with a bright yellow highlighter so the recipient never has to look for it. :)
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yogiflow, Netherlands
I mostly use an other color for ID's and I mostly write it on the card first and when the card is ready to send I put the ID on a place where is room left. Mostly in the middle between the address and the message on the card :)
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HenkK, Netherlands
I print the addresses with the print option and then the ID is above the address. I paste it then complete on the card and had never problems. I will try to cut the ID of and paste it on the left side next time. On the bottom I always leave a big part for prints of the postal-machines.
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mskamat1857, India
Recently I bought a rubber seal ; round seal showing postcrossing India in round shape .ultimately it hightlight postcrossing id
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postmuse, United States of America
Thank you for this! It is a very helpful guide. Postcards coming to the US with the ID in the address area almost always get delayed. And lots of people write the address at the bottom of the card which is almost always covered by postal markings. I'm going to start outlining IDs in a color, like some have suggested.

I also put the postage on first whenever possible so that I don't cover any writing when I get carried away with adding fun postage.
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droopy_kat, Belgium
I'm happy you've attended this topic because i've already received 6 cards without an ID number on it!! (on the 390 cards)!

Myself i putthe ID on the top left hand side and on the bottom left hand side with my name and nickname. And i always highlight the receivers name and the ID number so that it jumps out at you! ( so i hope anyway, i've never had any complains!) But i paste my cards with stamps and stickers anyway because i don't like empty cards!!

But it happens often that people print out my address and they always leave the ID number attached, is it an idea of mine or do this cards take longer to get to me.....??

P.S. You should put this message in another color to get more postcrossing users to read it!!!
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siobhan, Germany
It is very good advice, and I do hope a lot of people read this entry. I've struggled many times with IDs written right next to or underneath the stamps, because they were covered by the cancellation mark and hardly readable. And if the address is written near the address, I tend to overlook it even if it is highlighted.
I agree that you should look into the ID being right over the address when it's printed out - most people leave it there and don't add it elsewhere, and it's not convenient at all - well, maybe for the sender, but certainly not for the receiver.

I usually use a colour different from the one I'm writing the message with for the ID, and I write the ID twice, too - once at the top and the second time wherever it fits (at the bottom or down the middle mostly). I've had very few problems so far and I've sent over 2,300 cards.
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zeroday, United States of America
I use a Dymo label maker to print the ID number and place it in the upper left area of the card.
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Stasele, Netherlands
The ID is usually the first thing I write on the left hand side of the card, making sure I add my username (because some people, including myself, like to read the sender's profile before registering, so they can add a personal touch to their thank-you note).
Example: "BE-12345 from user Stasele".

I got a few cards with unclear ID, and the Postcrossing tracking service has always been successful in identifying the sender in a very short time via the "Unknown ID form".
By the way, I would love to read more about how you do it on the blog some time... it is so amazing!
Thank you for this very useful blog entry, I am sure it will speed up the travel of many a postcard from now on! ;)
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david2051, United States of America
I always just say thanks when registering a postcard and then write a separate note after reading the profile. I might write more on registering if I would get a copy of the message like I do on regular messages...
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ankehelene, Germany
@jacquelineke it is useful to write the whole message with a permanent waterproof ink. I sometimes receive a postcard with demaged message (and ID) on rainy days...
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lupideeloop, Spain
Lot of people stick the adress retailed from the Poscrossing adress sheet... Why not to write it? It's easy to do.
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dartheather, Australia
It would be good to have this Do's and Dont's for postcard ID's on a Beginners page. Great advice.
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helms2049, United States of America
Also, don't put it where the cancellation mark over the stamp(s) will cover part of it. And don't put it too near the bottom where the postal service will imprint a bar code to cover part of it.
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alterego, Canada
I write it only once, vertically, along the left side of the card. I use a red marker to draw a box around the ID number so that it stands out.
And I am another who is grateful to the bookcrossing team for their always-fast service in helping to find the sender when I can't read the number or when it is missing. Great work! And good advice here.
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dollart, Finland
i like to write my name and profilename on the card i am sending. i hope more people would do the same. Good tips :)
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FlagGazer, United States of America
So many put it on the bottom and the top - locations covered with ink by the postal services - especially the US -- or along the edges which often get ripped.

I use bright colors for writing the id on the card.
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geminiscp, Portugal
Good advice! Sometimes what is obvious is not really understood by everyone. :)
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Gweilo, Hong Kong
All good advice. Just want to note that our automatic sorting system for incoming cards here in Hong Kong has started ripping taped and pasted labels off, which means many of those cards will never arrive. In the profile, I ask people just to write the address and ID number, but ... Also, as someone else pointed out, Europeans write some numbers very different from the way Asians do, especially 1 and 7, 4 and 9, and even sometimes 8 looks like 6 or 0. The post office for my area is not large, I know the staff, and they ask me to "remind your friends" but I say, well, I have too many new (Postcrossing) friends to remind. It applies to ID numbers as well as addresses. Totally agree that it is useful when persons write their username.
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xcmer, Taiwan
I write it once, at the beginning of the message, above the date. After reading this post, I'll probably start highlighting it or using a different colour. Very helpful post!
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wildernesscat, Israel
Wow! Thank you for making the change in the print-addresses page! It's awesome. More economical (paper-wise) and better formatted for cutouts. Big thumbs up!
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Spriggan, United States of America
I like it when people highlight the Postcrossing ID with a highlighter marker for me :) My eyes jump right too it! I cant miss it!
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butterflycard, Malaysia
all very intelligent after thoughts!Now I know why printed addresses have the Postcrossing ID right on top of the address.Also about double writing the ID is an off colour ID as inks does get washed away.One way is to write the number clearly and then put a put a clear cellotape onver the ID written on the card.You also include your Nick name and your house address or email as a backup.These days cards are getting less lost...the postal services worldover are improving.
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