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eBay Fees vs. Amazon Fees

Published at Aug 08, 2017.

The contest of eBay fees vs. Amazon fees has a winner: most of the time, eBay charges less. Amazon generally charges 15%, while eBay and PayPal usually charge about 12% + $0.30 per transaction. But selling on Amazon can occasionally save you money.

How High Are eBay Fees vs. Amazon Fees?

Antique Scale

eBay Fees

U.S. Transaction, No eBay Store

 U.S. Transaction with an eBay Store

Note that all of the above fees apply to both the cost of the item and the cost of shipping. See “The Full Cost of Selling on eBay” for a detailed explanation of eBay fees.

If you get an eBay Store account, fees are often lower than 9.15%, but you can expect to pay that amount for most categories.

If you accept credit cards directly rather than using PayPal, you will likely pay a different (and often higher) payment processing fee.

Amazon Fees

Individual Account

  • Standard Amazon referral fee: 15%.
  • Per-item fee: $0.99.

Professional Account

  • Standard Amazon referral fee: 15%.

Referral fees vary widely between categories. As with eBay, they apply to both the item price and shipping charges. See “The Full Cost of Selling on Amazon” for our excruciatingly detailed analysis of their fees.

When Is Selling on Amazon Cheaper Than on eBay?

Discounts

The great thing about Amazon’s fee structure is that it covers payment processing. In some cases, that can cause Amazon’s 15% to be lower than the total fees charged by eBay + PayPal / credit cards.

International sales can get complicated, so we’ll stick to fees for domestic sales between U.S. sellers and buyers for the sake of sanity here.

Fees for an Amazon Individual Account vs. an eBay Account with No Store

In this case, using the standard fees outlined above, it’s always more expensive to sell on Amazon than on eBay. 15% plus $0.99 is always higher than 12.9% plus $0.30. Even if you accept a more expensive credit card rather than PayPal while selling on eBay, you’ll probably pay much less.

Categories Where Amazon Charges Less

Stacks of Tires

There are a few Amazon categories that you are allowed to sell in with an Individual account that have lower fees than a standard eBay account with no Store. These include:

  • Personal Computers: 6% + $0.99 Amazon fee.
    • Cheaper than selling on eBay when sold for more than $10 (where both charge $1.59).
  • Camera and Photo, Cell Phone Devices, Consumer Electronics, Unlocked Cell Phones, and Video Game Consoles: 8% + $0.99 Amazon fee.
    • Cheaper than selling on eBay when sold for more than $14 (where both charge $2.11).
  • Base Equipment Power Tools: 12% + $0.99 Amazon fee.
    • Cheaper than selling on eBay when sold for more than $77 (where both charge $10.23).

There are also two categories with tiered fee structures that Individual sellers can participate in:

  • Electronics Accessories
  • Major Appliances

To see an example of how these complex pricing structures can work in your favor, see “Really Expensive Watches” below.

Fees for an Amazon Professional Account vs. an eBay Account with a Store

The point of equilibrium between standard Amazon Professional fees and eBay fees with PayPal and a Store occurs at $10.25, when it costs the exact same amount to sell on Amazon and on eBay:

Amazon: $1.54 on a $10.25 sale.

  • 15% referral fee on $10.25.

eBay: $1.54 on a $10.25 sale.

  • 9.15% eBay FVF: $0.94.
  • 2.9% PayPal fee: $0.30.
  • Fixed PayPal fee of $0.30.

Anything much less than $10.25 will cost less to sell on Amazon than it will to sell on eBay. However, if you’re like most sellers, you’re going to be selling mainly items worth well above $10.25—meaning it will cost you less to sell on eBay.

Also, note that an Amazon Professional account costs twice as much as a yearly eBay store membership.

Categories Where Amazon Charges Less

Produce Organized by Categories Diagonally

In general, if Amazon offers a lower price than usual on one of their categories, then eBay will go even lower for their Store-owning members.

For some categories, eBay charges Store owners less than Amazon—but after you factor in PayPal fees, Amazon is often more affordable. Here are a few examples:

  • Most Personal Computers: 6.9% + $0.30 with eBay/PayPal, 6% with Amazon.
  • Most Consumer Electronics (including cellphones/smartphones), Cameras and Photos: 9.05% + $0.30 with eBay/PayPal, 8% with Amazon.
  • Automotive & Powersports tires and wheels products: At least 11.05% + $0.30 with eBay/PayPal, 10% with Amazon.
  • Other Automotive & Powersports, 3D Printed Products, Base Equipment Power Tools, Industrial and Scientific: Generally 12.05% + $0.30 with eBay/PayPal, 12% with Amazon.

As mentioned above, many Amazon categories have tiered pricing structures, with a portion of the fee being charged at a lower rate as the price goes higher. It may be cheaper to sell such items on Amazon than on eBay if the item is extremely valuable. These categories are:

  • Collectible Coins
  • Entertainment Collectibles
  • Fine Art
  • Sports Collectibles
  • Electronics Accessories
  • Major Appliances
  • Watches

Let’s take a look at one of the occasions in which an item that’s normally cheaper to sell on eBay would be less expensive to sell on Amazon thanks to the tiered pricing structure:

Really Expensive Watches

Rolex Dive Watch

Amazon has a tiered pricing structure for watches:

  • Any amount up to $1,500 has a 16% referral fee.
  • Any amount over that has a 3% referral fee.

That means really expensive watches have a chance at having lower fees on Amazon than on eBay.

However, at the same time, eBay has a maximum fee of $250 that applies to most categories, including jewelry and watches. PayPal has no maximum fee.

It turns out that at the point of hitting eBay’s maximum fee, you could save over $50 on your fees by selling on Amazon rather than eBay. That maximum fee point is hit at $2,742.24.

Amazon: $277.27

  • 16% referral fee on the amount below $1,500: $240.
  • 3% referral fee on the last $1,242.24: $37.27.

eBay: $329.53

  • 9.15% eBay FVF: $250 (maximum).
  • 2.9% PayPal fee: $79.23.
  • Fixed PayPal fee of $0.30.

You could save on fees by selling on Amazon if the price of your watch (including shipping) is over $2,200 or so. Much lower than that and Amazon’s 3% fee on the higher end of the value won’t have had time to average out with their 16% on the lower end.

Above $2,742.24, PayPal’s 2.9% fee gradually catches up to the 3% Amazon fee. Eventually, somewhere well into the five figures range, it becomes cheaper to sell on eBay again.

Where Should I Sell?

Football Referee Flipping a Coin

If lower fees are your only concern, then eBay is generally better, but there are quite a few exceptions for Amazon as explained above. Be sure to check how much you would have to pay to sell each item in your inventory on Amazon and on eBay before jumping to a conclusion. Use these resources:

Note that eBay fees vs. Amazon fees isn’t the only criteria to consider. See Selling on Amazon vs. eBay for the pros and cons of each platform. Alternatively, just sell on both at the same time!


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