How Postcardly Works

Below are the questions that we’re asked most frequently. If you don’t see your question answered here, just email us.

What is Postcardly?

Postcardly turns your emails into real-life postcards, delivered by U.S. Mail. We also have a Postcardly app, which helps you send postcards right from your iPhone or Android devices. Postcardly is especially great for staying in touch with older family members who don’t use computers.

You can send postcards from your phone, your computer, or anywhere you have email—including from your iPhone, using either your email or the Postcardly app. If you’re using email, just create a new email with an attached photo the way that you normally send an email: your photo will be on the front of the postcard, your words will go on the back.

Your attached photo is on the front:
postcard example front

The message from your email is on the back:
postcard example back

Why use Postcardly?

People love getting pictures that they can hold in their hands.  Printing and mailing pictures from your camera is a pain. Email is easy. Using Postcardly is just like using email.

How do I get started?

When you join Postcardly, you’ll set up a Postcardly address book. Your Postcardly address book will have the physical mailing address and a special Postcardly email address for anyone you want to send a postcard to. You might only have one person in your Postcardly address book, or you might have a hundred. (We suggest you start with your grandmother.)

This is how your Postcardly address book works: if you want to send postcards to your Grandma Jeannie, you might set up in your Postcardly address book. Then, anytime you send an email to—from your computer, your phone, or an Internet cafe in Morocco—your email would come to us, get automatically printed on a real postcard (text on the back, attached picture on the front), and then be mailed to Grandma Jeannie.

Postcardly email addresses work just like regular email addresses. You can add them into the “to” or “cc” field on any email, and a copy of that email will be sent as a postcard.

You can even add Postcardly email addresses into an email that you’re also sending to regular email addresses—so if you send a birthday picture to everyone in the family who has email, you can add a Postcardly email address (like to the “cc” field and a copy of that email will be mailed as a real postcard. (In this case, Grandma Jeannie would get a real postcard, and everyone else in the family would receive your email normally.)

How do I get free postcards by referring friends?

We want to help you spread the word about Postcardly. You can get free postcards for every friend who joins. If you signed up with a monthly plan, you’ll get a free month for every friend. If you signed up for 10 postcards prepaid, you’ll get five free cards added to your account for every friend. Get enough friends to sign up, and you’ll never have to pay for Postcardly again!

Here’s how it works: Send your friends your unique Postcardly referral link. You can find your unique link on your account page, on the yellow post-it on the right. It will look something like this: (Note: You won’t get a referral link until you start sending postcards after your free trial.)

If someone signs up using your referral link and keeps sending postcards after their free trial, then you’ll get a free month added to your account, or five free cards if you signed up for a prepaid plan. Hooray! There’s no limit to how many people you can refer and how many free cards you can get.

Each free month covers the number of cards in your current Postcardly plan, not any additional cards beyond your monthly limit.

Can I send the same postcard to multiple recipients?

Yes. You can turn a single email into as many postcards as you want. This is a great, easy way to do birth announcements, party invitations, and anything else you want to send to a bunch of people. So, for example, if you sent a single email to,, and, we would send three identical postcards, one each to Auntie Kate, Nana Barbie, and Grandpa Bo.

My grandmother loves it when I send her postcards. Can my brother send her postcards, too?

Yes. Every Postcardly plan is a family plan! You can set up as many senders as you want for a single recipient. So if your grandmother is in your Postcardly address book, you can add other family members as Approved Senders for your grandmother, too. The postcards they send will count towards your monthly total.

What happens if I go over my limit?

If you're on a monthly plan, you pay $1.99 per card for any additional cards over your monthly limit. You can set up your account to either automatically stop additional postcards or allow them for this additional charge.

If you prepaid for 10 postcards, then we'll send you an automated email when you try to send your 21st card that asks if you want to buy 10 more. (Or you can switch to a monthly plan at that point). You can also set up your account to auto-renew and prepay for another 10 postcards automatically.

How does the free trial work?

If you sign up on the Postcardly web site, you get a free trial that lasts for your first three postcards. You won’t be charged anything until you send your fourth postcard. When you send your fourth postcard, you’ll be charged based on the Postcardly plan you selected when you signed up (either a monthly subscription or a one-time charge for 10 prepaid postcards). The free trial is only available to first-time Postcardly customers.

For first-time customers who sign up through the Postcardly app, it’s a little bit different: new Postcardly users on the app pay a one-time charge of $4.99 and can send five postcards, which is like getting three postcards free. There is no additional charge. (Why two different introductory offers, one for the web site and one for the app? It’s because of the way apps work. There was no way to keep nefarious ne’er-do-wells from just deleting and reinstalling the app, to send free postcards forever—so the $4.99 charge was a compromise. If you want to use the app but $4.99 seems like too much of a risk, you can always sign up on the Postcardly web site! Just use that email and password to log into the app, then you can send your first three cards free at no charge.)

How much does it cost?

Postcardly costs $8.99 a month for 5 postcards, or a one-time charge of $19.99 for 10 prepaid postcards or a one-time charge of $99.99 for 60 postcards, for domestic U.S. postcards. International postcards count as two postcards against your monthly limit (or the number of postcards on your account, in the case of a pre-paid plan).

If you’re on a monthly plan and go over your limit, Postcardly can print additional cards for $1.99 each (or $3.98 for international cards). You can set up your account to either automatically stop additional postcards or allow them for this additional charge.

For monthly plans, your month begins on your billing date, which you can see on your account page. So, for example, if your last billing date was June 14th, you'd need to send your cards for that month (5 or 15, depending on your plan) before July 14th.

There is no commitment. You can cancel or put your account on hold anytime.

How do I preview my postcard?

If you want to see what your postcard will look like before you send it, email it to and we'll send you a pdf preview. (Anybody can use this feature, even if they haven't signed up for Postcardly yet.)

How many words fit on a postcard?

The short answer is about 100 words, and even more if you don't use many line breaks. The long answer is that there isn’t an exact number of words that will fit, since each letter varies in size—for example, an m is wider than an i—and the number of line breaks matters much more than the number of words.

The first line of a postcard is always the subject line of your email, which appears in bold, and if it exceeds 40 characters, it will wrap to the next line.

You can always see what your postcard will look like before you send it by emailing it to We’ll automatically email you back with a pdf preview, and it won’t count against your monthly limit.

(If you’re really curious, the maximum number of characters is close to 500, including spaces, with each postcard holding roughly 14 lines of 40 characters each.)

What do I put in the subject line of a Postcardly email?

The subject line of your email will be the first line of your postcard, which will appear in bold type above your message. If it runs over about 40 characters, it will wrap to the next line.

We usually use it like a headline on our postcardlys—like "Happy Birthday, Uncle John!" or "Look, mom, no training wheels!" You can also leave the subject line blank if you want to jump right into your message.

What size are the postcards?

We use the standard U.S. Postal Service size for postcards: 4.25" x 6". This coincides closely with the image size produced by most digital cameras.

Since we print right to the edge of every postcard, some very slight cropping will occur with your image. This is a standard practice for all photo printing services. (Point-and-shoot digital cameras shoot a 4:3 aspect ratio image, and we trim 1/8 inch off each side. Professional digital cameras shoot a 3:2 ratio, the same as 35mm film, and we trim 3/16 inch off the left and right sides of those images.)

If you're designing a card on your computer with cool borders, text, and things like that, good for you! Postcardly is great for custom-made invitations, cards, and announcements. Just make your image 4.5" x 6.25", and assume that we'll trim 1/8" off all four sides, down to a final size of 4.25" x 6".

If you want to see what your image looks like before you send it, email it to for a pdf preview.

What size image should I use?

When in doubt, the bigger the better—up to about 4MB. Most modern phones and digital cameras can easily give you a photo-quality image for a 4.25" x 6" postcard. For older phones and cameras (under 3 megapixels), you should just send the largest, highest quality image possible.

Note that Postcardly won’t print images under 20K, to avoid accidentally printing images from sig files and the like. If you want the absolute maximum possible image quality, send an image that’s 4.25" x 6" at 300 dpi, which means an image that’s probably several megabytes if you’re using jpg format. Of course, image size and quality can vary greatly depending on factors like file format and image complexity.

It’s worth remembering that most grandparents love even low-resolution pictures of their grandkids.

How long does it take for a postcard to arrive?

That depends on where it’s going, but somewhere between tomorrow and within a week. We try to send everything as soon as possible, but depending on how cards are batched at our printer, printing and mailing can take one to three days. We currently mail from Seattle, but as Postcardly grows we plan to send out cards from multiple printing locations across the country.

Can I send postcards internationally?

Yes! International postcards count as two postcards against your monthly limit (or the number of postcards on your account, in the case of pre-paid plans). Additional international postcards cost $3.98 each.

Note that postcards sent to overseas locations that receive U.S. domestic mail (such as Puerto Rico and Military Post Offices with APO or FPO addresses) only count as single postcards against your monthly limit. Internet access for troops, especially in Afghanistan, can be unpredictable but the military postal system is reliable and fairly fast—so Postcardly can be a great way to stay in touch.

Note that you can also send postcards from anywhere in the world, as long as you have access to your email.

Is Postcardly secure? Will my grandpa start getting postcards with Viagra ads?

Not unless you send him a picture of a Viagra ad yourself. (At least one of our granddads would find that pretty funny.)

We know that email is easy to spoof, so we’ve set up multiple safeguards to make sure that your friends and family only get postcards from you and anyone else you add as an Approved Sender, such as other family members. We will only accept and print emails that come from addresses you approve.

Also, when you sign up and give us your email address, we will only ever use that address to contact you directly. We won’t share it with anybody else, ever.

Can I use emojis?

Sadly, no. :( We love emojis as much as anyone, but our printer can only handle either 1) emojis or 2) international characters in the same print run. International characters have to take precedence for our customers who send using non-Latin alphabets. If we get bigger and have more print volume, we should be able to solve this problem someday!

Note, also: in the meantime, you can still use "old-school" emoticons that use traditional characters, just make sure your email client doesn’t auto-correct them into emojis. Not a great solution, but hopefully better than no emojis at all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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"I used Postcardly to send a postcard to my husband in Afghanistan, and even though I email him pics all the time, postcards are tangible. And a big hit at 'mail call,' to show off the babies and all that. And it was so easy, click click, done!"
Cori V.

"I sent my dad a Postcardly from Kauai, and he said, 'How do you do this magic?'"
Rob D.

"My son sent a postcardly from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin—so great to have a real photo on real paper with a message. It went right up on my bulletin board at work to be shared with all. So much more meaningful than a purchased postcard! And, quick. He was still in Berlin when his postcardly arrived. Then another arrived from someplace called Curry 36."
Janet H.

"Postcardly has been the greatest thing since sliced bread. My grandmas who don't have Internet rave every month to get a postcard from my 9-month-old son with a new photo."
Lesley K.

"Thank you postcardly for making my life easier. I love to send postcards to my family and friends of my so cute baby girl. I have lots of people in the family that need help even opening an attachment, but now I just send a quick email to Postcardly and days later they have a real postcard with Jessica's wonderful face."
Davita K.

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