In the last few months, I have seen a lot of Insiders asking about Cardsphere.com and the advantages the site provides over other platforms. I feel uniquely qualified to answer these questions because I have traded on Cardsphere for most of the last two years. I have used Cardsphere to both pick up investments for myself and help my local customers find cards they want.
Advantages of Cardsphere
The first thing Insiders need to understand about Cardsphere is its fee structure and business model. Cardsphere is a seller-driven platform, which means that buyers put offers on cards and people who have that card can decide whether and when to sell to that buyer. The sender will then receive 99% of the offer from the buyer, with 1% returned to Cardsphere as a fee. Once the buyer confirms that they have received the cards in the proper condition, the seller will receive the credit in their account. The sender can now either add offers for cards they want to get or they can cash out that credit to their PayPal account. The fee for withdrawing to a PayPal account is $10 or 10%, whichever is higher. This business model sets Cardsphere apart from other similar services like PucaTrade.
For sellers, one of the biggest advantages of Cardsphere compared to sites like TCGPlayer.com is that low fee of only 1%. This site is perfect for Insiders looking to get out of speculations that have come to fruition and get into new investments. Another big advantage of Cardsphere is that the site’s currency is directly tied to the US dollar, which gives the currency more stability than a fiat currency like the PucaPoint. Another feature of this tie to the US dollar is that instead of just sending cards to increase their balance, users can deposit funds directly from a credit card.
For buyers, there are also advantages. To make an offer on a card, they choose a percentage of a card's index price. The index is a combination of a few different MTG pricing tools like TCGplayer and Channel Fireball. The exact way the index is calculated in not publicly available. This index percentage allows you to prioritize different cards and make offers on a broader array of cards. When you create an offer on a card you can choose what conditions you are willing to accept. The total index is then discounted 10% for slightly played cards, 25% for moderately played cards, and 40% for heavily played cards. These discounts for played cards are much better than most buylists from other sites.
Currently, Cardsphere is a buyer’s market, so most good offers on staples don’t last very long. This means that by creating a broad somewhat competitive want list, you can get cards similar to a personal buylist. Most cards trade between 66% and 87% of the index price. This presents excellent cost savings compared to buying on TCGplayer or other vendors. Senders will also sometimes bundle cards that have lower percentage offers with cards that have higher percentage offers on, so you can get some even better deals.
Cardsphere also presents an excellent opportunity to sell cheaper cards because of the low fee model. Unlike TCGplayer, there is no flat fee, which makes getting good prices for your low-end cards much more achievable. Also, you can choose a minimum amount to send out a package so that you can manage your postage costs. In addition, you can send packages outside the US and, if you do, people may have excellent offers on many cheap cards, sometimes above TCGplayer low. Lastly, the site also has a “Send” page, which shows you the best offers for the cards you have. You can optimize your send page for offer percentage, total value, or card quantity. This can also let you group cheaper cards to get even more value from your postage.
While Cardsphere is excellent for moving low-end cards, it can also be a good place to move more expensive items like duals or masterpieces. The supply of these cards is quite low compared to the number of people who want them, so many people are willing to offer pretty close to TCGplayer low in order to pick up these high end items. For example, I was able to get almost $500 for a NM Underground Sea, which is only 40$ less than TCGLow. These high offers on duals and masterpieces don’t last long, so when you see them you should snap them up.
Downsides to Cardsphere
Cardsphere does have a few downsides compared to marketplaces like TCGPlayer.
The most glaring issue is how long it can take to get people to send you stuff. Even if you have a solid offer for a card, it could take a few days or weeks in order to get just one copy. Hopefully, this will change as the site expands and adds more users.
Another problem users may run into is card condition. Even though the site has a condition guide, there ends up being many disputes over condition from users who might be a bit more strict on what they consider near mint. If cards arrived not as promised and the admins agree, the buyer can choose to adjust the price paid or return the cards at the sender's expense.
That said, the site has great admins who respond quickly to deal with any disputes that may arise. These admins act as impartial parties that grade solely based on the condition guide, they also help weed out any users that may be abusing card condition in order to make more per card.
Overall, Cardsphere presents an excellent platform for Insiders. The most important thing to remember about Cardsphere is that the site requires patience. If you want to execute on a card quickly, you are probably better off buying directly from a vendor. But if you want to get the most mileage from your dollar and you don’t mind waiting a bit, Cardsphere could be the perfect platform for you.