How Do Pokémon Code Cards Work?

Here is a complete guide to the Pokémon code cards and how they work.

If you’ve purchased any Pokémon card products in recent years, you probably noticed that there is a code card included with the product and also within each booster pack. There is a popular online game called Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, and these codes redeem cards within the game. But did you know that the cards also have another purpose? Keep reading as we take a deep dive into the Pokémon code cards and everything about them. 

What are Pokémon code cards?

A code card is an extra card that is included in Pokémon booster packs and other products. The card has a code on it that will redeem rewards in the online Pokémon game. 

When you receive a code card, it will have the set name or product name on it, and the code will redeem a reward from that same product in the game.

For example, a code card with Shining Fates on it will redeem a Shining Fates booster pack in the online game. After the code is redeemed, the card can be disposed of.

pokemon code cards
A code card from the set ‘Shining Fates’

White vs. green code card difference 

You may have noticed that some of the code cards within booster packs have a white face, while others are green. But why?

If you’ve ever dived into the world of vintage booster packs, you may know that they are split into two categories: ‘heavy’ and ‘light’. This is because older booster packs were weighable. Holofoil cards are made with a thin layer of metal, which makes for a heavier booster pack.

what are pokemon code cards
A green code card (top) and a white code card (bottom)

This was and is still a real issue for the secondary market. 

To fight this, The Pokémon Card Company implemented the code cards. The difference between the two colors is weight. White code cards weigh less to offset the extra holofoil in the pack. A green code card is heavier, which means the pack will not contain an extra holofoil.

However, it is important to note that this does not carry over to the online game. Even if the code came from a green card, the online booster pack still has a chance to contain a ‘hit’.

The only exception to this is the first print-run of the recent set Sword & Shield- Fusion Strike when The Pokémon Company changed the code cards to a new updated version (still white and green). We do not know for sure what happened, but the community suspects that the white card and green cards were accidentally allocated to the wrong packs, resulting in weighable booster packs. This was, however, corrected almost immediately.

Where do code cards come from?

In 2011, The Pokémon Company launched their online Pokémon game, and shortly after, the code cards. 

A single code card has been included in every booster pack as far back as the Black & White set in 2011. 

Now, code cards are included in almost every Pokémon card product, such as tins, V boxes, Premium Collections, blister packs, decks, and Elite Trainer Boxes.

What are the QR codes for on code cards?

The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online allows you to open virtual booster packs when you redeem a code. The QR code on the card is a quick way to redeem the code using your webcam, so you don’t have to type it in manually. 

Alternatively, there are apps in the Google Play Store and the App Store that can scan the QR codes for you and import them into the game so they are easy to redeem.

How to redeem Pokémon code cards

There are two ways to redeem the code son the code cards:

Through the TCGO game in your browser, or on the official Pokémon website.

To redeem codes via the TCGO

Once you’ve launched the game, go to the shopping cart menu and select ‘Redeem Code’. Now all you have to do is enter the code as it is printed on the physical code card. If you want to use your webcam to scan the QR code, it may also be done here.

If the code card is valid and has not yet been redeemed, you will be prompted to select the reward and click the ‘Claim Now’ button.

To redeem codes through the official Pokémon website (

Click the ‘Play’ button on the top banner and you should see a ‘Redeem Pokémon TCG Online Codes’ option. Next, enter your information and check the Captcha box. Now you can enter your code and click ‘Submit Code’. 

If the code card is valid and has not yet been redeemed, you will be prompted to select the reward and click the ‘Claim Now’ button.

pokemon code cards sell
A stack of code cards

Selling Pokémon code cards

For those of us who don’t play the online Pokémon game, code cards tend to stack up over time. Some collectors have boxes of code cards just taking up space. Did you know that you can make money selling the codes right from your phone?

It’s true, codes are worth money. However, you’ll have to have quite a few saved up to make a few bucks. 

There are apps on the Google Play Store or App Store that will pay you to upload your codes. Simply use the camera to scan the QR code and the app will pay you $0.02-$2.00 per code. The price depends on what products the code cards came from.

We are not sponsored by anyone so we will not name any app specifically. However, if you search “sell pokemon codes” in the app store, you will find multiple results.

If you have a box or two of code cards saved up, you could earn $20+ just by scanning codes from your phone!

Another option is to sell the codes on eBay. The best part is that you don’t have to send the physical cards through the mail. You can just type out the codes and send them to the seller after the purchase.

Final thoughts

If you purchase Pokémon card products, you will receive code cards. Don’t toss them away! Even if you don’t play the online game, or if selling them through an app isn’t worth your time- give them away! So many people, especially kids, play the online game and would love to receive free codes. If you want to give back to the community, post on a forum or on one of the Pokémon subreddits and do a giveaway.

Code cards may be useless to you, but they have the ability to spread joy and say thank you for no cost at all.