Tips for Postcard Entries for Mail-in Sweeps

Some mail-in sweepstakes require that you send your entry using a postcard. Remember, sending a postcard through the mail is cheaper. A postcard stamp costs 28¢ (03/09). However, if your postcard is larger than 5″ x 7″ it will require a first class stamp instead.

Note: a postcard never gets put in an envelope.

Standard Postcard Sizes:

  • USPS standard size: 4-1/4″ x 6″
  • Smallest size that can go through the postal system: 3-1/2″ x 5″
  • Common postcard size sold in stores: 4-1/2″ x 6-1/2″
  • Visit the USPS site for more info

postcard entries for sweepstakesIf a sweepstakes tells you to send in a postcard that is 3″ x 5″ in size you have two options. This size cannot go through the postal system because it is too small and will be rejected. For some reason judging agencies STILL have not figured out that this is not acceptable and continue to require it from time to time. You really have no idea what the agency will or will not accept so you have to take your chance and pick one of these options. You can:

  • put your 3″ x 5″ card in an envelope and mail it in
  • use another size like a 3-1/2″ x 5″ which is acceptable

Do you like entering mail-in sweeps and need some free or cheap postcards?

George said:

Would you please recommend an honest dealer or company that sells reasonable priced colorful picture postcards?

Since a lot of sweeps are online now, I don’t need as may supplies as I used to so I try not to pay for anything if I don’t have to. I still enter mail-in sweeps a few times each week and some require that you enter using a postcard.

How to Get Free Postcards

Vista Print to get Free Postcards

You do get like 50 or 100 of the same design but since they are all going to different sweepstakes it doesn’t matter. You get either 100 standard (5.47″ x 4.21″) or 50 oversized (8.5″ x 5.47″). I have ordered them for free several times and they are really good quality. Remember, if you pick the oversized ones you will have to use a first class stamp on them.

Right now there are over 1,900 designs to choose from. I love sunflowers so the last ones I ordered were of a huge sunflower. It is glossy and super eye catching so it makes a perfect choice to send out for a sweeps entry. At Vista Print you design your own postcards so I would pick a very colorful design and just click on the Vista Print logo on the back and remove it. All you pay is shipping.

Make Your Own Postcards

I use cereal boxes and any other sturdy, colorful box that doesn’t have writing on the inside and then I use a postcard I keep to draw around it on the back of the box and then I cut it out. If the inside of the box is a darker brown then use a Sharpie when you are writing on it.

Here are some other places I found to request free postcard samples

Entering Tip when sending postcards for sweepstakes entries:

postcard entries for sweepstakesWhen you enter using a postcard you should turn your postcard to the right so that the short side is facing up. Then write your name, address, telephone, and whatever else they require on that short side. When you turn your postcard back around to write the mailing address your information should appear sideways on the postcard.

The reason I enter this is way is so that the postcard does not have the chance of getting returned to me. If you write you address at the top left where you would usually put the message it has a chance of getting sent back to you if the post office machines read it incorrectly. That has happened to me a few times so now I turn my postcard and write my info sideways. You can also turn your postcard upside down and write it that way.

Disclosure: this sweepstakes listing may contain an affiliate or tracking link but we do not use referral links. Read about our policies for more details.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Thanks great advice!

  2. Anonymous says

    Thanks I think I will have more of a chance entering postcard sweeps cuz not as many people enter.
    What postacard sweeps have u won????

  3. Mike,

    I won a truck on a postcard sweeps. It only took 4 entries 🙂


  4. Jennifer C. says

    Can you use a 4×6 notecard for a sweepstakes that requires any size postcard? Will it go through the mail?

    • Yes, a 4×6 notecard is fine. I would make sure the card is stiff enough because if it is more like paper it might not make it through the postal system and get stuck in their machines.

  5. I think I asked this question on your Wall the other day (minus the detail about the picture)…but maybe I was unclear on what I was actually asking. I have some leftover postcards from when I used to sell Avon. Can I use those to enter a mail-in sweeps or do I have to order new ones? The full color picture is of a bunch of lipsticks.

  6. Is it ok to put the sweep required info on the back of the card? I use blank or light patterns so I can write on back with sharpie. Do I need to write below my address “entry on back” or do you know if they will automatically look on the back. Wondering cause I’ve entered A LOT and am not really winning. I’m mailing out more than most winners state they do and am wondering if I’m doing something wrong. Thanks for any help.

  7. There is one mail in sweeps that calls for a 3×5 postcard. I have 3.5 x 5.5 postcard. Should I trim it down to 3.5 x 5 or just send as it. There is only one entry per person. Thanks

    • You can’t send a 3×5 card in the mail as a postcard. It is too small to go through the postal service. I would suggest either a larger postcard or put the 3×5 card in an envelope

  8. On ebay, you can buy lots of older pre stamped postcards for less than postage with part of the postage already imprinted on the postcard. It won’t be the full and current 33 cent amount so you will have to add postage in small denominations. Use the stamp category and search blank postcard, unused postcard lot and terms like that. Also try discount postage postcard

  9. Can I use a blank postcard and keep the back blank? Or can I wrote my information in the return section and on the back sideways?

  10. If a sweepstakes states that you can enter my mail but with a postcard only and tells you to include your name, address, phone number, date of birth, gender and email address, is it okay to place it in an envelope to mail it? I know that each entry has to be mailed separately but will someone open the envelope or my entry be disqualified since it says postcard only? I don’t feel comfortable sending the postcard only through the mail with all of that personal information. Thanks.

    • Ria, if the rules specifically asks for a postcard then you have to send it that way and should not put it in an envelope. If you don’t feel comfortable sending your information on a postcard you should skip those sweepstakes. Wendy

      • Thanks Wendy. 100 postcards, envelopes & stamps later I learned a pricey lesson. This was my first & only mail in sweepstakes and I am so glad I asked. I appreciate you taking the time to answer.

  11. Iona Jarmond says

    I buy my post cards from the post office, so there is nothing on both sides but a stamp. Can I put my sweepstakes info such as my name address and phone number on the opposite side sense there is nothing on there????

    • Yes, put the “send to” address on the blank back side on the right and then turn the postcard once to the right and write your name, address, etc on the left but do it sideways. The reason you do it sideways is so the postal system’s machines don’t read your address as the send to address and send it back to you.

    • Thuy Vy Vu says

      It’s probably cheaper to buy postcards from the USPS. When you think about it.

  12. If a sweepstakes saids 3 1/2″ X 5″ postcard Can I use an index card or I have to use a postcard? or if it saids 3 1/2″ X 5″ paper would I use an index card or postcard with that? Thanks

    • If it says “postcard” you must send a postcard and not put it in an envelope. If it says paper you have to use paper, similar to printer paper and make sure it measures 3-1/2″ x 5″ and put it in an envelope.

  13. Where can I buy 3.5 x 5 postcards? I’ve looked online and can’t seem to find blank ones in that particular size

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