The day I first tried to use Magiccardmarket (commonly abbreviated to MKM) to buy singles, I was looking for a new Commander deck. I’d written up a list, excitedly finalised my 100 cards and was hyped up and ready to place a large order for the singles I still needed. The usual sites I went to didn’t have the cards I needed in stock, so I asked around my friend group for suggestions and they all recommended MKM. It’s the best, they said; it’s so cheap, and convenient, you’ll love it. So, on their advice, I ended up shopping for half an hour, adding plenty of things that looked like they had great prices and feeling great about it. By the end, though, I had quit halfway through checkout, miserable, confused and frustrated at the price of postage. I didn’t understand where all the extra charges had come from, and though all my friends recommended this website, it seemed to me that it was simply a confused mess.
I didn’t go back to MKM for a long time, not until I decided it was time to foil out one of my Modern decks, and the rarer cards were impossible to find on most traders’ websites. Begrudgingly, I made myself an account on the site and began to shop for what I needed. I got to the checkout once again and found myself in the same situation as before – somehow, the postage costs had racked up to huge numbers, and I found myself thinking that I’d made a mistake somewhere because there was no way my friends would all use such a website if the extra costs came to this much every time.
I went back to the drawing board and this time, took my time, carefully selecting each article, checking the language, the condition, balancing the cost with the quality and trying to choose sellers who had multiples or playsets in order to reduce the postage. Slowly but surely, I built up a new basket and when I checked it, it was almost half the cost of the previous attempt with the same cards at checkout. Since then, I have used MKM many, many times and fully endorsed it to anyone who asks, because once you have the system figured out, it really is a fantastic place to shop.
The website has many handy widgets on the front page, including a “bargains” section for cards trending under their usual price point and links to the newest released cards as well as a beautiful alter-only section. Mostly, though, people know what they want and can search for the card name; MKM also lets you specify foil or non-foil, altered, signed, even down to which set symbol you’d prefer. Once you have the list, you simply add the item you want to your cart and check out at your leisure. It allows you to find exactly the cards you’re looking for in exactly the right condition, quantity and price point, which is something that the bigger traders sometimes cannot match; certainly the signed and altered card market on MKM is huge, and they are often more likely to have rarer foils available too.
Here I have compiled a list of things I felt are the most important facts to know when using MKM and which will hopefully benefit any other poor frustrated readers stuck in the position I was in. My experience of MKM has led me to understand the following…
5 Things You Need To Know Before Using MagicCardMarket
1. Magiccardmarket is a marketplace, this means you’ll get singles at the most competitive prices
The first and most obvious thing to point out is that MKM serves only as a forum in which sellers can advertise their goods. Much like eBay, there are no listings from the website itself, and it exists only to host the individual sellers, process transactions and act as a mediator between buyer and seller in the case of a discrepancy. This is a good system because it results in very competitive prices with each seller listing their cards slightly cheaper than the posting beforehand, and therefore you can find very good deals on the site. Additionally, due to the fact that MKM has no margins on the cards themselves, you will normally be able to buy cards at or near their market price, as sellers will be individuals trying to sell the card simply for what it’s worth – sometimes less if you can snatch a bargain!
Of course, the fact that there are individuals selling is a cause of concern for some people, as they fear they might get ripped off, or not have the cards sent, or have them arrive and be in the wrong language or condition. While this is a valid concern, the advantage of using a site like MKM is that they will take responsibility should the sale go wrong; if a card doesn’t turn up with recorded postage, they contact the seller to ask for a replacement, and if the seller doesn’t respond then MKM can launch further investigations. Usually, though, as sellers want to protect their reputation on the site (and each order prompts you to evaluate it afterwards) if you have a query or a complaint you can message them directly and they are happy to solve the problem privately rather than getting MKM involved.
Pros: Cheaper prices in a competitive marketplace
Cons: Potential discrepancies with individual sellers
Top Tip: Try to avoid using sellers with lower reputations to avoid encountering problems. The best sellers have icons beside their name to indicate fast postage or 1000+ sales, and those are the ones you should try to stick to, if you can help it.
2. Order in bulk and get the most value!
What I mean by this is, when you are trying to order a lot of cards from MKM, try to order them all from one or two sellers if you can. There is a very useful interface which indicates the quantity of cards available from each seller on every listing, and sometimes there will be an icon indicating a playset of a card is available. The problem I was having when I first used the site was that I just clicked on the cheapest available option at the time without checking who was sending it or where it was coming from, and that was causing me to have shockingly high postage costs. Though posting cards is quite cheap (often 1.30 for regular, 2.70 for recorded) when you have a lot of them coming from different sellers it will stack up quickly.
There is also a search function, if you click on a seller’s name, and you will be able to see which, if any, of the other cards you need he has in stock. This was very useful when ordering commons for my fiancé’s original Innistrad cube – we managed to find a seller who had almost everything we needed in playsets and ordered about 150 commons from him for 10 euros. In this way, you can really cut down and save on postage – and the best sellers usually have the biggest range of cards as well, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are buying from a highly rated individual.
Pros: Saves postage, which can be the biggest MKM expense
Cons: It’s not always possible to get everything you need from one or two people
Top Tip: Start with the rarer items you’re looking for. If you find a seller with a few thousand listings who has a rare card you need, then you will probably find he has a few more of the things you’re after as well, and you’ll be able to use the search function on his profile to find them. This is by far the best method of finding sellers who can ship the most in one go.
3. Take your time, and be mindful of shipping from outside of the EU
Since MKM is a worldwide site, there are many people of different nationalities who post cards on there. Mainly, these are EU countries, but there are occasionally people from places as far away as Canada or South America who post listings on the site. First and foremost, avoid these people at all costs. Not only will they charge you a year’s salary for the postage, but because Magic cards are taxable imported goods, you will have to pay import charges for them when they arrive which can amount to more than what you paid for the cards themselves. If you can, stick to European nations as most of them are within the EEA single market and therefore you can import cards tariff-free.
Secondly, when you are buying cards there is an interface which displays the condition of the card, set symbol and language. Be very careful when selecting cards that you are ordering in the language you want, as many of the cards listed will be in continental languages. The condition of the card is a sore spot as it is at the discretion of the seller, and MKM do not like to get involved in disputes over condition – but you are better off ordering Excellent or Good quality cards just to be on the safe side, as anything below that may be difficult to argue if it arrives and is not in the desired state. If a seller sends something in the wrong language or with the wrong set symbol and refuses to refund you or send another, those issues can be raised with MKM.
Finally, be careful buying any packaged product. Booster packs are easy enough to doctor and reseal, and you can never be sure that someone hasn’t gone through it and taken out anything worth value. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t do so at all, but be wary of people selling cheap boosters from old sets not available anymore, unless it consists of boxes or premium sets still in the Wizards cellophane.
Pros: Great card selection and a range of conditions
Cons: Potential issues with card condition/language/set
Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask! Most sellers will send you a scan of the card if you message them to ask for it before you buy, and that way you can double check it’s exactly what you want. If a seller refuses to do this for some reason, then you can be safe in the knowledge that they were probably not selling a good condition card. If a card arrives and it’s not what you wanted, most sellers are very reasonable and will listen to your complaint as they care about their reputation and won’t want bad feedback.
4. Confused about Checking Out? Here are your options…
On MKM, there are two different ways to pay, and both have their own challenges. Of the entire system, this is the one area which frustrates me the most. Once you have confirmed you are buying your cards, much like on eBay, you are prompted to pay, and the sellers will not be informed of your postal address until you have done so. You will have a balance on your account, and you can use that balance to pay immediately, but if you don’t have enough then you will have to top it up. Here are the options:
1. The easiest way by far is to use PayPal to top up your balance, because the payment goes through instantly, but beware that they will charge you a 5% fee on however much you are spending. Unfortunately, that is where the (rather expensive) convenience of paying immediately comes to an end.
2. The only other option to pay is to use your bank account to set up a new recipient and directly transfer the amount into MKM’s own account; this process then takes a few days to clear as MKM allocate the money to your username and confirm the funds. This option doesn’t cost anything and is not recommended if you need your items quickly, as the sellers can’t post until the payment has gone through to MKM.
The choice between these two is ultimately up to you, but beware that if you try to send too much through either, the anti-fraud measures kick in from MKM and the payment has to be confirmed to be received by a member of their staff. This could take any amount of time from minutes to days in my experience, and is quite frustrating when you are trying to order a bulk lot of cards.
Pros: Uh… you can buy your cards, I guess
Cons: Expensive for fast payment and glacial with large transactions
Top Tip: Just… make it as painless as possible for yourself. Try to keep the money in your MKM account topped up if you intend to use it a lot, or sell cards and add the credit to your wallet. It’s much easier than attempting to try and add it at the checkout.
5. Be a good member of the community
After you order cards, there is a process that takes place. Your order will be paid (eventually) and the placed into a “Paid orders” tab on your account. When the seller ships the card, they have to press a button to confirm that the cards have gone, and then you get a notification so you know they are on their way. When the cards arrive, you have to then press a button in return to notify MKM that they have come. Until this notification comes through to them, MKM do not release the money to the seller – so please, if you use the website, be a good member of the community and ensure you confirm as soon as possible, because the seller will not have access to the money until after you do.
Additionally, when you confirm the order has arrived, there will be a popup to evaluate it. If it has come quickly and is in good condition, it’s good to take just a moment to submit the evaluation, as the seller will get more stars from good feedback and people can read the comments you write on his profile page. Alternatively, if you have had a bad experience, evaluate and give bad feedback in order to warn others that the seller might not be trustworthy. If someone gets too many missing letters, they are forced to send recorded every time, and can face serious consquences from MKM if they continue to not live up to their end of the bargain.
By contributing to sellers’ reputations you can help other buyers to make the best choices.
Pros: Makes it easier to figure out good sellers from bad ones
Cons: Not everyone gives feedback or confirms orders on time
Top Tip: There is a personal message system within MKM that you can use to contact sellers. If someone has been particularly good, or has fixed a problem for you, it can make a real difference to let them know you appreciate it. They are, after all, just players like us.
So would we recommend buying cards from Magiccardmarket?
Absolutely! MKM is generally a fantastic place to buy your cards. It is one of the cheapest places around and you have incredible amounts of selection as to what you are buying and how much – it’s very rare that something on MKM is out of stock completely. In addition, you can filter for altered cards, specific artist signatures you want or other criteria which are generally not available on the large trader websites. There are very few downsides to the site as long as you are careful when choosing sellers, or ask for pictures first – but do try to keep your wallet topped up in advance if you intend to use it a lot, because the 5% on PayPal for immediate checkouts can be a painful experience sometimes!
Have you ever used MKM before? What was your experience like?
I hope this guide has helped to elucidate a little about how MKM works and what the potential benefits and pitfalls of the website are. Please do comment below and let me know if you have any further thoughts or questions on the topics raised here!
Bonus Tip: The postage in Germany is super efficient, so if you have a choice between a German seller and someone from elsewhere that are relatively the same price and condition, I would recommend the German simply because the postal service is very fast and sometimes you can get your cards within a day or two.
Community Question: Have you ever used MKM before? What was your experience like?
Thanks for reading,