When starting out in card collecting, one of the most difficult things is learning the lingo, and understanding the definitions of the terms your fellow collectors are using on a regular basis. In today’s glossary entry, we are looking at the shippig acronyms of BMWT and PWE.
What is BMWT?
BMWT stands for “Bubble Mailer with Tracking,” and is typically referred to when discussing the shipping method of a card. For example, if someone says “$20 BMWT,” it means the price of the card is $20 total, which includes the shipping of the card in a bubble mailer (the package) with tracking (from USPS, etc.). BMWT shipping is the more secure card mailing option when compared to PWE (or the plain white envelope method).
Why do people need to state BMWT? Why can’t they just say $20 shipped or $20 delivered? Because there is another popular method of shipping a card.
What is PWE?
PWE stands for Plain White Envelope, and is used to let the buyer know that the card will be sent in this envelope as opposed to a bubble mailer.
As you can imagine, sending a card PWE is cheaper than BMWT, and is typically reserved for lower value cards where greater risk can be accepted, given there isn’t much protection or tracking available.
Also, some cards are just more susceptible to damage—think thick and chunky patches, or the beautiful gold border frames of 2020 Topps Gold Label. There are just certain cards you wouldn’t want to risk sending (or having sent to you).
Read More: Can You Use an Amazon Box to Ship USPS?
Bonus: When it comes to cards and shipping, you might also see or want to use the term “DLVD” which is shorthand for “delivered.” This means that the quoted price is the total price of the card including shipping. For example, if you’re selling a card for $20 DLVD, that means a buyer will pay you $20 for the card total, and not $20 plus shipping.
What About eBay Card Shipping?
All that said, you might be wondering where the eBay Standard Envelope for cards comes into play. Similar to PWE shipping, the eBay standard shipping option is for lower-value cards, up to $20. Where PWE is a method of shipping, eBay Standard Envelope shipping is a service. Thus, you can select this option to ship cards, and then ship them PWE.
Now, I’m deathly afraid of using PWE, but have found a happy medium, utilizing photo envelopes to send via the eBay Standard Envelope method. There are different restrictions and guidelines, so take special care either way.
Which is Better?
As pointed out, both options server a purpose depending on what you’re collecting, and who you’re buying from.
You should consider using BMWT for any purchase or trade involving a card of significant value. That number is going to differ from person to person, with some thinking nothing over $5 should be sent PWE, while others have a $20 threshold.
Why? Because things happen. A bubble mailer offers added card protection, and is also big enough for the sender to add even more protection like sandwiching the card between two pieces of cardboard.
And that’s just considering what’s in your control. Things happen in the mail too; things get lost, or don’t get scanned. With BMWT, you’ll have tracking to allow you to follow the card’s journey from sender to your mailbox.
Which brings up the last point—how trustworthy is the person sending your card? If there is any question, or if you haven’t dealt with them before and can’t verify their reputation, a BMWT will at least prove something was put in the mail.
So, hope that helps! What other collecting questions do you have?