5 Easy Ways To Get Free Pokemon Cards

There’s no point in trying to hide it, everyone who has ever collected Pokemon cards has thought if not googled the same thing: “how can I get some Pokemon cards for free?”. Chances are, that exact thought and/or Google search is what brought you here today. Well, lucky for you, there are ways you can get a hold of Pokemon cards for free and we’re going to cover the best ones right here.

Freecycle.org logo


If you’ve never heard of Buy Nothing, it’s an awesome app that, like a lot of the other apps on this list, allows its users to either give away an item or service or find any item or service for completely nothing. That’s right, no cost at all. As you could probably guess, this means that you can just jump on the app and search for Pokemon cards and find someone selling Pokemon cards near you. So, if you’re looking for 100% free Pokemon cards that are literally just a few clicks away, BuyNothing is likely your best bet.


OLIO is a service, much like BuyNothing, designed to share and redistribute goods and share things that you may no longer have a use for but other people could have a use for. This may be in the form of old furniture, mattresses, toys, and in some cases Pokemon cards. Once again, a lot of people have Pokemon cards just strewn about their house that they don’t know what to do with, they can feel like a waste of space to someone who doesn’t know much about Pokemon cards and is therefore a great opportunity for collectors who may be trying to complete a binder or maybe even actual players of the TCG looking to expand their newest deck.

The Freecycle Network

The Freecycle Network is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 that now has a whopping 10 million members as well as 5300 local towns of freecycling. Of course, this doesn’t cover the entire world and therefore means this method isn’t accessible to the whole world, but it’s worth checking whether or not one of your local towns comes under The Freecycle Network. Their mission is to “build a worldwide sharing movement” in order to reduce the extreme wastefulness we are currently facing. It just so happens that a lot of people using this service aren’t willing to just throw away their Pokemon cards that they have no clue what to do with so instead they offer it to anyone who is willing to take it off their hands through this service.

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Free Stuff App

You may be noticing a pattern with the methods of getting free Pokemon cards and that’s likely because sharing services are the most effective method of getting free Pokemon cards. However, we promise this is the last one. Free Stuff App much like the three entries before is a service that allows its users to list their unwanted belongings for free. Once again, much like the entries before it, many people happen to list Pokemon cards on this and as a result, acts as a great method of getting some free Pokemon cards.


Ask Around

Probably one of your first ports of call, if you’re looking for free Pokemon cards, would be to ask friends and family if they have any. It might sound like a no-brainer if not really silly but you’d be surprised by the number of people that have just bought Pokemon cards on a whim with no intention of collecting them. There are thousands of people who just have miscellaneous Pokemon cards lying around that they bought like 5 years ago and may have completely forgotten they ever purchased.


Are Free Pokemon Cards Usually Worth Anything?

This is a bit of a “beggars can’t be choosers” situation as unfortunately, it is unlikely that Pokemon cards that people are just trying to get rid of are going to be worth anything. Pokemon cards are pretty intuitive in the sense that typically you can tell just by what the card looks like whether or not it is valuable even if you do not collect Pokemon cards. As a result of this, people aren’t really giving away cards any better than non-holographic rares.


However,  even if someone is giving a card away that is worth something, it would be better if you informed the person that they are actually throwing away a valuable card rather than just taking it from them because they are unaware of the card’s value. If they are still content with just giving it away then it would be fine to take it, but it is unfair to exploit people’s ignorance of Pokemon cards.


How Do I Get Rid Of My Pokemon Cards?

So what about those of you who are on the opposite end of this situation? People who aren’t looking to clutter their house with more Pokemon cards but instead get rid of the random, miscellaneous Pokemon cards that are just taking up space in cardboard boxes. 


One great option that will pretty much always work is giving them to charities. There are plenty of charities that accept unwanted toys and you can probably guarantee that there are thousands of children out there who’d love to get their hands on any Pokemon cards at all. 

Of course, all of the services listed above are also great options for both people trying to give stuff away and people who are looking for free stuff, so, by all means, also use any of those to get rid of your Pokemon cards.


How Can I Get Cheap Pokemon Cards?

Maybe you’re a collector who is fully aware that you’re not really going to get any cards of value from people giving away free Pokemon cards and you’re looking for cards that you can get for an affordable price that may one day be worth something or may increase in value if you can get it in a good grade. So, what’s the best way to get Pokemon cards for an affordable amount? Well, one of the best ways is to look at the ungraded cards on eBay.

Let’s get one thing straight, some cards are just going to be unequivocally expensive and there’s not really much you can do about it. Most vintage cards, any first edition card, any moderately rare Charizard, these are all going to be expensive no matter what you do. The skill of finding cheap Pokemon cards lies in finding cards that are in fairly good condition that seems as though they will only go up in price. “Well, how can you anticipate whether or not a card is going to go up in price?” you may be asking yourself, and we’re here to reassure you that there are a few ways you can tell. 


For one, you should take into account the exclusivity of the card. By this we mean is the card obtained in a unique way that isn’t just pulling it from a pack. Japanese-exclusive promo cards are notorious for shooting up in price as they can only be obtained in Japan whether it be through a Pokemon center or a box collection they may offer. This not only means that there are fewer of them in the world but it also makes them harder to obtain as you have to have them shipped from Japan if you don’t live there. 


As well as this, you should be keeping an eye out for Pokemon that are collectible or Pokemon that are just generally nostalgic as nostalgia sells more than anything when it comes to Pokemon cards. It’s the reason some of the most collected Pokemon are Charizards, Pikachus, Gyarados, Gengars, etc. Because of this, you should be looking for relatively unique versions of these Pokemon such as the Kanazawa Japanese-exclusive Pikachu or the Celebrations reprint of the vintage Shining Magikarp. 


One thing you should avoid however is when a card’s price tag seems a little too good to be true. In a situation like this, you should be checking the card’s condition with a fine-tooth comb. You should be looking out for everything like whitening around the edges of the card,  scratches, and scuffs, any warping to the shape of the card, and probably the most discrete of them all, the centering of the card. If the card is exceptionally poor in any of these departments, the seller is likely aware of this and has listed it for a lower price in hopes of getting rid of it for some cash. The issue is, this decreases the chances of the card ever going up in value in the future as it would be hard to get in a good grade. 


Alternatively, you can open $1 packs which aren’t super easy to come across outside of the United States but are definitely a means of getting cheap Pokemon cards. Be warned, however, there are only three cards in these packs and there is also no guarantee of a rare in them. This means that you could spend copious amounts of money and not even get a holographic card. It’s not the most cost-effective way of getting the cards you want but it’s certainly a method nonetheless.

What About The Online Trading Card Game?

If you’re looking to get some free virtual cards, on the other hand, there are actually some pretty effective ways of getting hundreds of cards for little to no cost. One method of doing this is just going on eBay and buying unredeemed code cards in bulk. You’d be surprised by the number of people who do not care at all about Pokemon TCGO and are only interested in collecting physical copies of the card, most of the time not even to play the game. 

One of the best ways of going about getting these cards would likely be tuning in to pack opening streams and redeeming the codes as they throw the code cards aside. Obviously, if you are watching a big streamer then there are likely hundreds of other people trying the same thing so try to show some smaller streamers some love.

Alternatively, you can try and be there for the ground zero of a Pokemon YouTuber’s videos and redeem them when the video uploads but this is a lot more difficult.


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