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The Best E-Greeting-Card Services (for When Snail Mail Isn’t an Option)

Photo: Retailers

Even before the pandemic, the process of going to the drugstore to find an actually great greeting card, procuring a stamp, and dropping the card in the mailbox was laborious. But now the prospect of leaving the house just to find, buy, and send a card is even more of an impossible task, especially when you consider the all-too-frequent delivery delays with snail mail. Electronic greeting cards make the process so much easier. Not only can it be done from the comfort of your couch, but there’s also something for everyone out there — no more settling for a just-okay card because you need to get it into the mail stat. Some e-card services will even physically send out your “handwritten” card, without you ever having to touch it. Below, the ten best e-greeting-card services, from free to fully customizable.

From $19

Greenvelope launched in 2008 as a way to send more environmentally friendly invitations. It offers hundreds of designs that you can fully customize — from the card to the envelope to the stamp — and send via email or text, as well as greeting cards for specific occasions like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and anniversaries. You can add your own text or even upload images and videos to send along with it. They also give you the option to throw in a gift card to retailers like Nordstrom and Uber Eats. In the trial mode of Greenvelope, you can send your card to up to ten people for free; after that, packages start at $19 for 20 recipients.

From $5
Photo: retailer

If you’re looking for maximum customization, Smilebox offers plenty. You can change the text, change or upload your own music, change the color scheme, and add photos. You can create an unlimited number of designs monthly at no cost — but without the $5 a month premium version, you won’t be able to share them with anyone. The premium membership allows you to share via email, Facebook, and Twitter, add your own music and remove the watermark, while Smilebox Pro, priced at $12 a month, will allow you to download the card, remove the logo, and give you an embed code for your website.

Photo: retailer

Punchbowl is one of the original electronic-greeting-card services. At the most basic level, you can customize one of its designs and send it via text message or email to the recipient at no cost, although there will be a banner ad at the top of the page. If you’d rather send an ad-free card, you’ll have to opt for a monthly payment plan. Starting at $3 a month, you can add a video message or a gift card to your greeting and send up to ten cards a month. At the highest level, currently discounted to $5 a month, you can send up to 500 cards and schedule delivery. Punchbowl is also known for its electronic invitations, which it offers at no cost and can be used for everything from a small dinner party with your pod to a Zoom wedding.

Like Punchbowl, Evite made a name for itself in the electronic-invitation world long ago, but you can now send sweet just-because e-cards too. Evite allows you to design your own card or choose from its selection of premade ones, which you can further customize by adding a message or attaching a photo or video up to three minutes long. You can even choose to send a gift straight from Amazon. Another nice feature: Evite’s Invitation Package allows you to send up to 750 premium cards for free during the pandemic (this offer automatically applies at checkout).

Photo: retailer

Paperless Post is another electronic service known for its invitations, but it also offers really beautiful greeting cards. The company partners with design-y brands like Vera Wang, Marimekko, and Rifle Paper Co., meaning many of the options are much nicer than the name e-card suggests. Some designs are free for up to 50 recipients, but most cards are priced by the “coin”; coins start at $10 for 25, with many cards priced around two coins.

From $4

If you want the experience to be virtual on your end, but still want your recipient to receive a physical card, Postable is the perfect solution. You can choose a card or upload an image of your own, and it’ll send it out — you just have to pay for the price of the card and the stamp. We first learned about this service from comedian Sarah Cooper, who is “horrible” at sending cards and says this company makes it easy. “It manages all of your addresses and also has a feature where you can save a birthday and then it will send the person a card for their birthday,” she adds. Inspired by Cooper, I used the service to send my mom a birthday card last year. The card arrived in perfect condition, but it arrived well after her birthday, so plan ahead.

Like Postable, Culture Greetings will print and mail the card for you. Unlike Postable, this one’s a Black-owned business featuring cards with Black people and diverse themes. You can further personalize them by adding your own images or by choosing a scriptlike font that will look like you actually signed it. You’ll also have the opportunity to include a gift card from places like Amazon, Target, and Starbucks.

If you’re in search of a religious greeting card, Christian company DaySpring has you covered. It offers e-cards for a variety of occasions, from birthdays to anniversaries to sweet “thankful for you” type of cards. The cards don’t offer any further customization, but they are all free. You can either download the card or send it via email along with a thoughtful message.

For a monthly membership fee of $5, you’ll get access to all of American Greetings e-cards and printable cards. You can slot in someone’s name to personalize many of the cards — even the video ones featuring celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal, Dolly Parton, and Smokey Robinson. The vibe is similar to that of the brand’s physical cards, so there are plenty of funny, colorful, and kitschy cards to choose from.

Hallmark has an entire site dedicated to e-cards, and, like American Greetings’ offerings, all of these cards are animated. With a $5 monthly subscription, you can send an unlimited number of cards. When customizing your message, be sure to click the “Make It Handwritten” button to pick a font that looks closest to your own penmanship for a personalized touch.

U.K.-based illustrator Jacquie Lawson launched her e-card business with five designs back in 2002, and now she and her team offer an entire collection of cards for all occasions. For $20, you can send an unlimited number of cards each year. Many of the cards are animated, and some even include original music. Like many of these services, you can also attach a gift card for your recipient.

Photo: retailer

GroupGreeting launched back in 2009, but the concept feels tailor-made for a pandemic. The company has digitalized the experience of passing around a card at the office. Once you select a card, you can electronically send it to an unlimited number of people to sign and then it’s sent directly to the recipient’s email on a date and time of your choice. Cards are $5, but there are annual plans available, bringing down the price per card. Beyond offices, this is also ideal for long-distance friendships and coast-to-coast families.

This free e-card service allows you to send your thoughtful notes via email or Facebook. You can customize the designs to include an image on the inside or back of the card, and you can also add a personalized message. If you’re interested in having multiple people sign your card, like GroupGreetings, Open Me gives you the option to electronically pass around the card to be signed before it’s sent to the recipient.

From $25

Tribute is less of a card and more of a virtual gift, but the sentiment is similar. As with GroupGreeting, which allows people anywhere to sign the same card, Tribute helps you collect video messages from family and friends near and far and compiles it into a video. One person is in charge of sending around a link so people can upload their clips. Then you can edit the video yourself or pay extra for the folks at Tribute to help out.

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14 E-Greeting-Card Services When Snail Mail Isn’t an Option