eBay Set To Offer PWE Shipping Option

At long last it appears that eBay will be offering an option for buyers and sellers of trading cards to have an option of plain white envelope (PWE) shipping.


My first inkling of this epic news was the morning of November 5, 2020, when great trade partner and fellow #TeamPWE member, Josh, linked me to a tweet from the hobby famous BrentnBecca.

This is big news for the hobby, as you may have expected from Brent’s usage of 10 exclamation points in that single tweet. The biggest part of this news is for 75 cents you also get tracking. Many sellers have stayed away from selling PWE on eBay out of fear of unscrupulous buyers claiming “non-receipt” taking advantage of the lack of tracking in a white envelope.


Brent also shared a link to an ECommerceBytes article with details of what this new eBay white envelope shipping option entails. Here are the highlights of the alleged spoiler alert by eBay.

  • Trading card value less than $20
  • No more than four raw trading cards per envelope or two cards in top loaders
  • No graded cards
  • Envelopes no larger than 6.125″ x 11.5″ or smaller than 3.5″ x 5″
  • Weighs up to 3 oz.

The only thing that really stood out to me is the contents of the envelope stating four cards or two cards in top loaders. That seems a bit odd since weight (under 3 oz.) covers what the contents can be.

This news gave me different emotions, both good and bad. Here are my thoughts to the potential addition of a PWE shipping option.


The Good

This is great news for the hobby in general. Buyers will have more options to buy cheap trading cards without having to fork over $3 to $4 in shipping costs. Instead of paying $5 for a $1 card, it may only run you $2. With tracking, this will bring many more sellers to eBay offering low dollar cards with this option. Sellers can move more cards, and buyers will have more and cheaper options. It gives sellers security to send cards in a PWE without fearing for non-receipt claims by scammers.


The Bad

Strictly selfish on this one. Over the past two years I have been selling low dollar cards in PWE on eBay. My rate of non-receipt claims is roughly 2 out of every 1,000 transactions. I have also gotten the profit margins down to a science where I buy pre-stamped envelopes at a cost of 38 cents per envelope. One of my most popular eBay Store categories is “99 cents free shipping.” Based on my stamps/envelopes cost, my net profit margin on a single 99 cents card sale is roughly 20 cents.

If forced to use eBay’s PWE option, this will wipe away all profits on my PWE sales and that category becomes a loss. One option I have is to charge 75 cents per card which would require me to manually update shipping charges on nearly 3,000 listings.

In the interim, my plan will be to continue sending cards under $5 in my pre-stamped envelopes. Anything around $5 to $15 will be sent using the new 75 cents with tracking option.

One final negative is the result of something I mentioned as a positive. More sellers will be entering the PWE market, meaning more competition for sales. Good for the buyer, bad for current PWE sellers.

All in all, I believe the good outweighs the bad for the hobby as a whole. I do look forward to having this option added because there are many cards in the $7-12 range that I could benefit selling PWE with tracking.

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