Finding out how to find the right pen pal for you isn’t the easiest task. Should you search manually and laboriously via friends’ of friends’ of friends abroad? Or maybe join a local pen pal finder program? – if there is one! Perhaps the best way to find a pen pal is finding a trusted pen pal platform that smartly connects you with someone you’ll actually get on with. We certainly think so…

Discover X top platforms for connecting with new people and pen friends. Whatever you are searching for, whether it’s a traditional snail mail relationship, a digital exchange online or a mix of the two, we’ll list the best pen pal matcher platforms with their pros and cons. Starting with our favorite choice…

#1 PenPal – Connecting you with like-minded pen pals worldwide

An unidentified person looking at pen pal matches on PenPal

PenPal matches you with like-minded individuals based on a combination of language, location, interests and preferences. While matching takes place online, all communication with members is via real, printed postcards sent in the mail.

The process looks a little like this:

  1. Sign up and get matched (or search for a particular person’s username if you know a friend is a member)
  2. Click ‘send a postcard and add your photo or pick a design
  3. Start writing your message. You can check out your pal’s profile at the stage for inspiration, or browse the PenPal blog for how to write your (first) letter to a pen pal.
  4. Pay for your postcard (this includes postage) and click send! The more postcards you send, the more you will receive.
  5. Once your PenPal receives your postcard, they can register it using the unique emoji sequence and leave you a reaction. They can then send you a postcard in return!

Did you notice that you never had to add the recipient’s address? That’s because PenPal offers the added bonus of data security! Each member of PenPal has a username, which hides an encrypted address beneath. So your private address remains private.

So let’s sum up…

Pros

  • Free platform and membership
  • Real affordable postcards – saving you the trouble of finding a postbox. All postcards cost the same small price (at the time of writing, €1.99), regardless of where your pen pal is located.
  • Being matched with international members using an algorithm that makes it more likely you two are a good match. You can then build your relationship by sending postcards back and forth.
  • Verified members located all over the world
  • Security and data privacy

Cons

  • For people looking for a DIY or handwritten snail mail relationship, or a speedy online connection, this isn’t the platform for you, since cards are printed and sent centrally, once you click send.

#2 Postcrossing – Postcards connecting the world

People writing postcards to pen pals they've matched with
Photo source: https://www.postcrossing.com/presskit

You’ve probably heard of this one. We’ve done a full comparison of the pros and cons of Postcrossing Vs PenPal, if you’re split between the two. But for now, here is the overview.

Postcrossing.com is a postcard swapping project that allows anyone to send and receive postcards from all around the world. The idea is pretty simple!

Here’s how find a pen pal works:

  1. Request a pen pal. Once the site approves your request, they will email you the address of a random member, along with a unique postcard ID.
  2. Purchase your letter or postcard materials and start writing your message. Make sure to include the postcard ID somewhere. Add a stamp and take it to the postbox.
  3. Once your postcard arrives, the recipient will register the ID. This leaves you eligible to receive a postcard from others.

So what are the pros and cons?

Pros:

  • If you’re looking for an opportunity to be creative with your postcards, you can craft your letter or postcard before you send it.
  • Free account.

Cons

  • A lengthy process before you are eligible to receive any postcards
  • Direct swaps are not encouraged, leaving you unable to build a relationship with a single pen pal
  • No address security
  • You must buy your stationary and stamps yourself, meaning if a pen pal is located far away, your postcard could cost more.

InterPals – Meet the world

Birds eye view of someone writing a letter on their bed

Next up… InterPals! Aimed at people searching for a foreign language partner to practice with, InterPals is a good choice to find a pen pal if you’re looking for a long term relationship based on a language tandem. Rather than matching you, the site allows you to search for your own partner and its handy search feature helps you narrow down who you’re looking for, so that you have similar expectations. For instance, if you want exclusively platonic partners, you can filter out the people searching for romance.

How to find a pen pal with this site:

  1. Set up your preferences when you sign up (do you want to do snail mail or prefer email?)
  2. Start your search or use the live feed to find someone straight away
  3. Start communicating

Let’s sum up

Pros

  • You can talk to people before choosing them as a pen pal
  • Use snail mail or digital communitcation
  • Designed for long-term connections and can be used for romantic or platonic relationships

Cons

  • No guarantees of matching or receiving postcards
  • No security for your private details
  • A manual search is required to get started
  • Has been associated with spammers and inappropriate messages

Compatipal – Letting everyone find like-minded people

A woman on her laptop using a pen pal finder site

If you’re looking for like-minded people to connect with online, then Compatipal could be the best choice for you. The platform encourages short-term, live connection and for that reason, it has an instant messaging tool available.

Here’s how finding a pen pal works

Search for people and use filters like interest or location. Alternatively, form or enter groups with themes from everything from business to travel to art to foreign languages.

Use the instant messaging to connect with your pen pal or pen pals

To summarize:

Pros

  • Instant messaging and live connection
  • Ability to build groups and talk to multiple people
  • Free to use

Cons

  • Online communication only
  • Long-term friends are not the goal here

Find a pen pal via these top four websites

These four pen pal websites are are great options depending on your goal, and what you want out of penpalling. Our top recommendation for general needs, is PenPal, for mixed reasons. This safe pen pal matcher platform keeps your data secure, guarantees a postcard back if you send one, and is set up to allow you to enjoy the traditional snail mail pen pal relationship, but with the luxury of technology making it easier to match, easier to send, and easier to keep track of your new friendships. All the pros with none of the cons!

Let us know your favorite PenPal sites in the comments and whether we’ve missed any that deserve a spot here! We’d love to hear from you.

Author

Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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