Before I share my experience with Pucatrade, let me give you a little background on my habits. I've never traded before locally, other than with friends and that is usually us giving each other cards that we need. So I don't have much experience with trading. I buy and sell quite a bit of cards on eBay, and am very familiar with the rules and expectations there.
I dabble in finance once in a while, mostly for fun and to support my MTG habit.
When I first heard about Pucatrade, I was skeptical. Especially after hearing how some YouTubers allegedly kinda-sorta-maybe abused the invite system for their own benefit I was even more skeptical to use the service. After reading about some other players trading away lots of bulk on the site, I decided I'll give it a try for myself.
The way you trade cards on Pucatrade is by using Pucapoints. You get points by sending cards to players who want them, or you can buy Pucapoints with real money. Then you use those points to get cards you want, and the person sending them to you gets points for it. The amount of points the card is worth is connected to the current value of the card, so these numbers fluctuate depending on the card and demand for it.
Up to today (5/16/16) I've sent over 20k worth of cards. Or about $200 worth. I mention this because I want it to be known how much (or little) I've used the service.
Let's talk a little about Tiers.
An Common membership is free. Uncommon will be $5 a month and Rare is $10 per month. Yearly plans are also available.
I went with the Uncommon plan to try email notifications, advanced searches and the Watch List. Is it worth it? Not really.
For Gold the only feature that appeals to me is Price History, but I can get that a few clicks away by going to a site like MTGStocks. So why pay $5 more when it's a few clicks away?
Let's go through some Pros and Cons
- If you're looking for a card or cards and have a collection of cards you don't use, this is a nice way to get what you want fairly easily and straight forward. No negotiations to concern yourself with, whatever the card is listed for is what you'll get or be charged for it.
- Cards you don't want or will never use will add up once you start shipping them out. Instead of selling on eBay and buying more cards this cuts out the middle man.
- Putting cards on your Want list and getting someone to commit to sending to you is usually fast for format staples.
- Overall the service is easy to use and get the hang of. It's safer than trading with other people blind, and if there are problems you can file a claim and hopefully have a fair resolution. You have the safety net just in case things go wrong.
- As mentioned above, sometimes having cards on your Want list can go south if the value suddenly shoots up can be frustrating.
- Many times someone will commit to send a card to you and not send it for several days. In the Rules section of the site it reads that trades should be sent out no more than 48 hours after they commit to send but this should be a strict rule. I've had people commit to send a card to me and message me several days later telling me they can't find the card after all. They should only commit when they have the card in hand.
- Another downside to your Want or Have list is that sometimes players from other countries will commit to send it to you and this could make a couple of days shipping into a week or more. This can be changed in your preferences but something to remember.
- Often cards are sent below standard (for me anyway, check my other blog entry for my expectations). Often people use a small envelope with one stamp and a floppy loader to ship. This is just asking for trouble.
- I didn't have any issues with cards being damaged when they got to me, but some were borderline below NM. The rules on the site should be clear and concise.
- There is no Feedback system! This site desperately needs a Feedback system so people who don't ship their cards out up to par or don't ship them out for several days or weeks can be held responsible and be avoided when necessary. Other than a claim there is nothing these people have to worry about, and this needs to be changed ASAP
If you want to easily trade cards back and fourth then using Pucatrade is worth it. But be careful on what you put on your Have or Want lists. Pay attention to trends and card prices so you don't get taken advantage of. The Rules on the site should be clearer and a little more strict. Pucatrade needs a Feedback system, and because of that I'm giving Pucatrade a C+. (If a Feedback system was in place my grade would be a B+ or A)
Trying Pucatrade? Here are some suggestions
- Remember earlier in this entry when I mentioned I started using Pucatrade to get rid of bulk? This can be tedious. One of the best ways I've found is to go through your cards that you want to trade and search who wants them. Then look at each one of those players want list and see what else they want. Send as many cards to one person as you can, maximize shipping costs. Sometimes even sending that player a PM asking if they were looking for anything else will give you an opportunity to send more bulk out or other cards in your binder they didn't have on their Want list. Shipping bulk just isn't really worth it beyond searching Want lists for other cards in my binder. To spend hours looking over Want lists to get rid of bulk cards just isn't worth my time. I'd be better off buy listing the cards or putting a lot on eBay
- If someone has a card on their list that is a different edition than what you have, send them a PM asking if they are wiling to accept it from a different set. Most of the time they are OK with it. Speaking of sets, always check the different sets of cards you want and set is irrelevant to you be careful which ones you put on your Want list. You don't want to overpay for a card you can get for much less from a different set.
- I don't ship out a card if it doesn't cover the cost of the stamp(s) or cost to send it. I usually don't send it if it's even close. .