Browsing the greeting card aisle at your local store to find the perfect card can be a hit or miss proposition, especially if it’s a holiday and you’re on the late side of buying a card. And that’s just the beginning. After selecting the card, you still need to fill it out, put a stamp on it–if you have stamps–and pop it in the mail.
Fortunately, there are a number of great sites online that take the hassle out of finding and sending the perfect card. Whether you want to send an ecard by email or by postal mail, or use your home printer for hand delivery, these sites cut out the legwork and let you focus on what you’re trying to say—rather than remembering where you put that book of stamps.
You’re probably familiar with American Greetings from their paper greeting cards, but they also have a great website. They have lots of options: many of which include sound, animation or video. And if you have a more DIY attitude, you can select cards which you can personalize and print from your home printer.
Despite some high-tech features, these are pretty traditional greeting cards: don’t expect to find anything you wouldn’t see on the shelves at Hallmark.
Card types: Ecards sent via email or through Facebook, cards you can personalize and print at home and printed cards (not personalized) that can be shipped to you
Cost: Printed cards cost $3.99 each (including shipping); memberships to send ecards or print cards at home start at $4.99 a month (or $20 for a year or $30 for two years)
Blue Mountain is a lot like American Greetings, but with a focus on digital: the only cards they offer are ecards or cards you can print at home. Their cards are animated or include video and feature sound and songs—some of them will even talk!
The main difference between American Greetings and BlueMountain is content: though they’re both pretty Hallmark-appropriate, you may find cards at one or the other catch your eye. And, as these are your only options for animated cards, if that’s what you want, you should check out both.
Card types: Ecards and cards you can print at home
Cost: Membership (which includes ecards and printing at home) starts at $4.99 a month (or $20 for a year or $30 for two years)
Watch out, because Some eCards are ecards with attitude, some of which carry an R rating. Their sarcastic slogans and simple art are popular online and you’ll frequently find them shared on social sites like Facebook.
If your recipient has the right attitude, these free, funny ecards may be just the thing—but we wouldn’t recommend sending them to your mother. At least not unless your mother has a very peculiar sense of humor.
If you want a printed card—or a coffee mug—with one of Someecards slogans, you can also buy a variety of physical goods for a variety of costs, shipped directly to you. Imagine the surprise when you send a friend a paper copy of a digital card!
Card types: Ecards
Though Punchbowl’s cards are all digital, they have the aesthetic of mailed cards—even including envelopes and stamps with your virtual card. They’re easy to customize with almost every aspect of the card editable: so you can add your own photos, change the text, switch the pattern of the envelope liner or even change the design of the stamp on the envelope. And if you want to give a little more than a card, it’s easy to add a digital gift card as well to retailers like Amazon, Sephora, Home Depot, Zappos, and Hotels.com.
The downside? The cards have ads, unless you subscribe to the premium service for $3.99 per month. The service includes 500 premium cards and the ability to schedule delivery of you ecards.
Card types: Ecards
Cost: Some ecards are free; others require membership starting at $24 per year for 10 cards per month. To go ad free, you’ll need to step up to $48 per year for 500 cards per month
Paperless Post—which offers both ecards and printed cards, and so is not entirely paperless—offers highly customized cards with the ability to tweak cards to perfection by adding your own text and images. But we’ve seen these features elsewhere: where Paperless post sets itself apart with stylish, not-just-another-greeting-card designs from Kate Spade and The New Yorker. And in addition to the style value, cards from Paperless are fairly economical: starting at the easy to buy price of free for many of their digital ecards, it’s hard to say no.
If you happen to want paper cards, they’ll also print custom cards (starting at $1.05 each if you buy in bulk, but going up in price the fewer you print) which they’ll mail to you—due to their pricing (and the fact that they won’t mail directly to your recipients), we wouldn’t recommend this for single cards. But if you want a box of custom cards—like party invitations or holiday cards—Paperless is a great option.
Card types: Ecards
Cost: Some ecards are free, others cost $0.30 and up each
As you can see, there’s a card somewhere for every occasion and every budget. One of these card sellers will help hook you up with the perfect card!
Updated 2/13/2017 with new options and pricing
[Image credits: American Greetings, Blue Mountain, Some eCards, Punchbowl, Paperless Post}