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Do You Have to Pay to Sell on eBay?

Published at Aug 16, 2016.

Question: Does it cost money to sell on eBay?

Answer: Not up front. (At least, not most of the time.) But you will have to pay if you sell something.

Last updated 6/22/2018.

When Does It Cost Money to Sell on eBay?

Usually, eBay only charges you after you’ve successfully sold something. If you’re using PayPal, then PayPal will also take a small percentage of the customer’s payment when it goes through.


There are times when you have to pay before or when you list something on eBay, such as when you:

You shouldn't have to worry about these exceptions unless you're planning to start an eBay business.

How Much Do You Have to Pay to Sell on eBay?

Money Questions

The cost to sell on eBay usually adds up to about a third of your selling price. That’s because you have to pay the following:

  1. The 10% final value fee eBay charges on most sales.
  2. PayPal fees, generally 2.9% of the transaction plus $0.30.
  3. Shipping and handling costs. You can charge these to the buyer, of course, but many sellers offer "free" shipping and raise the item price to cover the cost.

Imagine you were selling an item for $50 and shipping cost $7.99. You also had to pay $1.50 for packaging materials.

The final value fee would take away another $5.00. Finally, PayPal fees would run $1.75.

In the end, it would cost you a total of $17.24 to make the sale—about 34.5% of your selling price.

How Does eBay Compare to Other Sites?

Online Marketplaces

The fees may sound high, but they’re actually lower than Amazon’s in most cases, and much easier to understand. It’s just one of the many advantages of eBay.

eBay is the ideal place for selling lightweight used goods. The large number of users and the choice to sell via auction also means you can often get the highest price for collectibles or antiques there.

Don't take that as meaning those are the only things that sell well there. With a little skill, you can sell just about anything on eBay. You can even start a business there.

However, you may want to consider the benefits of selling on Amazon instead. Their users are far more numerous than eBay's, and they are generally wealthier. You can often charge a higher price that more than makes up for the higher fees.

If you’re selling something big and heavy and don’t mind meeting strangers from the internet in person, you can always use an alternative like Craigslist. This can save you the ridiculous shipping costs as well as the fees you’d normally pay eBay or Amazon.

There are also niche marketplaces like Etsy, which specializes in handmade goods. These can be worth selling on if you have something that's the right fit.

Should I Try Selling on eBay?

Absolutely! Not only is it a great way to get rid of junk around your house and make a little extra cash, it can be a profitable hobby or even a full-time job. Learn the basics of selling on eBay to get started or check out the six most common eBay business models if you want to get serious.

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