Insider: Puca Trading – The Basics of Pucatrade and Why to Make It Part of Your Trading Repertoire

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Today's article is built on my recent success with the site The basic idea is that you trade cards to players who have "pucapoints" which are used as currency. Each point is equivalent to 1 cent.

Points can be purchased via their website, but they are also given for accomplishing certain tasks (like sending out your first card, receiving your first card, inviting friends) and of course by sending off your cards to members who have the appropriate number of points.

At first the premise just sounds a little risky...


But I figured I would try it out, as the QS members in the forums seem to have little issue with it.


Account setup was pretty easy.

1. You simply go to the site, input the necessary personal information and create an account (no credit card is needed unless you're actually buying points). If you want to join after reading this article, please feel free to use this link as it will give me some points for inviting you, if not that's ok.

2. Once you've activated your account, hover over the "My Cards" selection and click on the "Haves" and begin to put in your cards under quick add. You can also import a list, but I got a lot of errors with the import. It only seems to work if you import cards that have only a single printing, but if you are uploading cards that have only been printed once, it's very easy to simply put in the number you have available, x, and then the card name.

3. Once you have the cards you're willing to trade up, hover back over onto the "My Cards" and select "Wants" and then simply add the cards you want. The only catch is that you can't "want" foils unless you're a premium member--currently I am not, but I've never been that big on foils so it's not an issue. You can still trade away foils, you just can't ask for them.

4. Click on the "Send Cards" button in the top right and it'll bring you to the page of everyone else's "wants". You'll likely want to click on the "Auto-Matching" option so that it hides everyone who wants cards you don't have listed. You also can "filter countries" and eliminate trade options to countries in which you don't trust the post service (as many of us already do with our eBay selling options).

5. When you find someone who wants what you have, you click a button to send the card and then verify that you'll send it. For some cards this is a bit of a "race" between you and anyone else on who has the card available to trade.

The Benefits

One major point of note is that cards are all valued at their TCG-Mid price. This means there is room for arbitrage for people who try to sell online. You can trade a card that's worth 1500 pucapoints ($15 on TCG Mid, but say $10 on TCG Low) and buy three cards that are 500 pucapoints ($5 tcg Mid, $4 TCG low). If you then sell the three cards, you're actually up $2 in potential profit (assuming you sell at TCG Low in order to sell quickly).

This site is a great way for stores to trade into cards they keep running out of and unload cards they can't. It's always important to remember that one area's demand often won't mirror another's. A lot of stores in our area have trouble keeping blue-white lands in stock (both fetch and scry) because we have a lot of players on the Jeskai Tokens deck in Standard. Using this site they can convert their extra Sorins and Siege Rhinos into the cards they can sell instead of just stockpiling them and trying to swap them into stock at a big event.

Another major benefit to this style is that you can "lock in" the TCG Mid value of a card and wait to spend the points until later. I've been using this a lot to move cards I am concerned will be reprinted in the upcoming year, ones I feel are over-valued, or ones whose value is heavily tied to another card's legality. (Right now that means cards like Thought Scour, Forked Bolt and Fatestitcher that recently shot up due to Treasure Cruise and Jeskai Ascendancy--I wouldn't be surprised to see either get banned).

My current plan is to pick up as many of the Khans fetchlands as I can, though I'm only targeting the ones I feel have the most room to grow (mainly Polluted Deltas at the moment). Thus, I can turn every "trade" into a Polluted Delta (or towards one). This site is an amazing tool for speculation targets as it allows you to hone in on just what you want without actually spending money on it outside of postage.

Another aspect I like a lot (and one I've been pushing my LGS to focus on) is that this style of trade allows you to convert cards with low liquidity  into ones with high liquidity. I am always a fan of unloading the cards I was going to buylist for 60% of their value anyways for cards I expect to go up. This is similar to trading into a major store for store credit, except instead of getting buylist plus 25% towards your purchase you actually just get straight TCG-Mid.

Now, the only downside to using it to speculate is when there's a large range in a card's value (i.e. the difference between TCG Low and TCG Mid is sizable enough that sometimes buylist plus 25% might actually be a better value, so it's something to consider before blindly unloading all your cards towards pucapoints).

There are plenty of players who aren't as stringent on NM condition as many buylists, and being able to trade an LP card for full value is a huge boon. There are plenty of players on there that are NM-only though, so it's important to check each potential trade partner.

The Risks

Obviously, there are risks associated with this site as well.

Like all "trades" that aren't done in person, there is always the potential for people to claim they never got your cards. Reading over the FAQ, they've kept it somewhat ambiguous as to who would get refunded in the event of a "claim of no receipt", but the implication is the buyer would likely be refunded. However, this is no different than any other form of internet sales/trading (eBay, TCG Player, etc.)

Also, by using a "new" type of currency there is always the potential risk, especially one that in theory can be created by the site owners. However, doing this on any sort of mass scale would cause people to quickly lose faith in the system (as we've seen occur throughout history when governments just start printing money to pay off debts it leads to hyper inflation and usually the collapse of said currency).

Actual card condition not matching claimed card condition, however, is the same risk with any purchase through a third party (in this case the internet). The Pucatrade site admins (from what I've heard, as I haven't had any issues yet) are very quick to respond to any issues that arise, and my guess is that they will likely side with the buyer (most sites do).

My Trades So Far

I wanted to show everyone how easy/successful (at least I think so) I've been using Pucatrade as a speculation tool in the past two weeks.

So similar to our Trade Forum:

Pile A:

outgoing trades


Pile B:

cards recieved

in the mail

11 thoughts on “Insider: Puca Trading – The Basics of Pucatrade and Why to Make It Part of Your Trading Repertoire

  1. Maybe it’s good to mention that many people WANT cards, but don’t have the points. The people with points always want the same cards: fetchland.

    I needed some more crappy cards for my collection, 1 minute after I updated my want list, all my puca points were gone. Like everyone was waiting for that and tried to send as much crap as possible. It felt like I got attacked by sharks. 5 minutes later I had 3 messages of people who were too late to grab my points with the question when I will have more points so they can ship me the cards I want.

    This gave me the feeling that this economy is sliding towards a very unbalanced one.
    I can’t predict the result of this, but I have a bad feeling about this.

    Also, the function: auto match is not that great, because if you have some uncommons in your have list, people with 100 points will show up with the message that they need lots of the uncommons, but you can only send one or two because of the low amount of points. Not worth the shipping costs of course.

    1. O I definitely agree that you don’t want to just put “everything” up on your want list immediately. I have to disagree with your statement “the people with points always want fetchlands”…I sent out pile A and the only fetchlands on those were Scalding Tarns…I think it’s awesome that you can have your “want” list filled so quickly and I feel like stores should use this as a tool to refill stock they are constantly running out of. I also don’t go for any orders that won’t break 150 points because you are 100% correct regarding the cost of shipping.

    2. Brecht, I recently signed up at Pucatrade and after looking at which cards were wanted, got a similar impression as you. However, it would be a rare thing for the features of the MTG economy to be radically different somewhere as if stepping onto another planet where our trash suddenly becomes treasure. After browsing the site a few minutes I quickly deduced the site is great for trading modern staples for cards I want or, much less frequently, standard staples for cards I want. I’ll have to check it out again when Fate Reforged is released as I heard players on the site tend to want standard cards much more if they are newer and scarcer. The site is certainly not what I fantasized it would be since I don’t see how I can turn my undesirable cards into better stock. Maybe I’ll find a use for the site but you won’t find me stalking the site for hours or days looking to trade $15 dollars of near bulk for a single fetchland!

  2. Speaking a storefront’s behalf, I just cut the middleman that is Puca Trade and sell directly on TCGplayer. I’ve seen Becvar and others lament the implementation of TCGplayer Direct as the downfall of the small store’s ability to sell on TCGplayer, but I have to disagree with them. Simply out of experience, people are still out there buying. The Cart Optimizer is the best thing that happened to us. I find it easier and more profitable to just sell straight on TCGplayer than trade into stuff to sell via PucaTrade. And since they use TCGmid, it doesn’t even make sense for us to buy points to buy cards on there.

    tl;dr Your article was decent, but definitely not something any LGS employee should use for the purpose of the store. PucaTrade is great for backpack grinders and casual traders, but not much else.

    1. Brett,
      I definitely appreciate the store owner input and I can definitely understand that selling on TCG is going to be more lucrative, however, I think that if you (as a store) have difficulty maintaining certain cards in stock (as in your local player base doesn’t want to trade/selll them in) then I think Pucatrade is an excellent source for rotating stock. If you’re store is large enough/successful enough that you don’t have to turn people away when they request the hottest standard cards because you’ve run out then I definitely think you don’t need Pucatrade. I just know that the smaller local stores in my area often run out of certain cards (currently Flooded Strand and Temple of Enlightenment) and nobody is really trading them in….but they have a lot of Polluted Delta’s.

      1. As a B&M store owner myself, this is exactly why I am considering trying out Puca. The ability to relatively smooth out my inventory would be a huge boon. Currently, almost every week I mail off hundreds of cards to various buylists for store credit to use on the cards I run low on. I pride myself in always having every standard card in stock at all times, and whenever I have fewer than 10 copies of any standard card, I use my online credit to pick up a few playsets (going into the holiday rush, I had a minimum of 20 copies of every single standard card).

        I have 2 concerns though:
        1) How easily will it be to get a couple of playsets of the cards I need? For example, here are the cards I need to pick up 6-8 copies of each:
        Brimaz, King of Oreskos
        Chandra, Pyromaster
        Courser of Kruphix
        Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
        Goblin Rabblemaster
        Hero of Iroas
        Stormbreath Dragon
        If I put 8 copies of each of these cards on my want list, assuming I had enough puca points, how long would it take for me to get all these cards?

        2) Is Puca a huge Ponzi scheme (or will it be)?
        The fact that new puca points can be created/purchased is terrifying to me. It just seems like the kind of thing where 5 years from now we find out the owners of the site were creating thousands of points for themselves. It would be stupidly simply for the site owners to do this on a small scale – enough for them to run an online store stocked solely by cards ‘purchased’ with puca points they created.

  3. The hiccup I see with this is that it is a passive-buyer, push model. Points cannot be redeemed back for cash, and effectively as the buyer/long-points side I’m sitting waiting for cards to be pushed to me before I can effectively unwind my open position.

    Being outside of the US means sellers have less incentive to choose me versus a domestic buyer because our bid price for the cards are the same (TCG mid) but I would cost the seller higher postage.

    1. Those are very valid arguements. I do apologize that my viewpoint is always biased towards American readers in that I often forget the additional challenges non-US speculators face. You are correct in that points cannot be directly redeemed for cash, but if you have an upgraded account you could theoretically sell your points for cash using a 3rd party (the seller can give the points to the buyer after being paid).

  4. i agree with most of the people here as far as cards wanted its mostly fetches,shocks,duals and the such. most people that have points are looking for the same stuff as everyone else.

    1. I agree that there are a good number of people on there looking for that, there are still plenty of random oddball things you can find people looking for as well…Granted you might have to dig a bit, but there’s still plenty of tradeable things on there.

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