A Beginner Seller’s Guide to eBay Fees

With two or more types of fees charged for every successful eBay transaction, it’s not surprising that many people are confused about how much it costs to sell items on eBay. Luckily, mastering the basics is not so difficult as there are no hidden fees or tricky small print. Here’s the breakdown, starting with fees charged directly by eBay.

Fees charged by eBay

There are three main types of selling fees charged on eBay – insertion fees, listing upgrades and Final Value Fees (FVF).

Insertion fees

Much like a newspaper, eBay charges a fee to list an item on their website.

The insertion charge is typically a flat fee with no relevance to the starting or potential selling price of the item. Note that sellers with Store/Shop subscriptions will receive a discount off the standard fee.

A few free listings are usually available for sellers every month, but again the limit is dependent on region. eBay.com, for example, offers 50 free listings to all sellers while eBay.co.uk is a little less generous with only 20 free listings.

The cost of additional listings over and above the free limit is also dependent on region.

Auction-style and Fixed Price listings

In most eBay regions, insertion fees for auctions-style and fixed price listings are the same unless the seller has a Store/Shop subscription.

Insertion fees are usually charged to the seller whether an item sells or not. There are however a few exceptions to this rule, the first being periodic eBay specials that may waive insertion fees. In some regions, such as on eBay.com, auction-style listings that result in a sale are eligible for an insertion fee credit. Final Value Fees and listing upgrades will still be charged, as detailed below, despite the insertion free credit.

Listing upgrades

Listing upgrades are effectively marketing enhancements to help the listing stand out and attract more customers. Paid in addition to the basic insertion fee, listing upgrades are optional. Sellers can pick and choose which features to use on their listing or avoid them altogether.

Examples of listing upgrades include:

  • Gallery Plus – larger pictures, ‘enlarge’ link, access to multiple pictures in search results
  • Bold – Displays title in bold text
  • Subtitle – Descriptive text below the main title to add detail
  • Listing Designer – An easy way to add a theme to a listing
  • Scheduling – Control the time when the listing posts

Choice of listing upgrades varies between eBay regions. Fees are also very much region dependent but are typically based on the starting price of the item. The length of the listing can also be a factor. All listing upgrade fees are charged at the time of each individual listing insertion and cannot be cancelled later.

Final Value Fees (FVF)

When an item sells, a small cut of the sale price is taken by eBay. This charge is called a Final Value Fee and is based on a percentage value. The basic fee is usually around 10% of the sale price.

eBay sellers with a Store or Shop receive an automatic discount on the Final Value Fees, always paying less than the basic (10%) percentage. Sellers with Top Rated Plus listings are also eligible for a discount on their Final Value Fees.

Final Value Fees are capped, which means sellers will never have to pay over a specific maximum limit. This limit varies between eBay sites, from $750 on eBay.com to £250 on eBay.co.uk.

Fees charged by PayPal

Paypal charges sellers a fee to receive payment from buyers. A small fee is charged from the amount of money received in each transaction. The amount charged includes both a percentage of the transaction amount in addition to a flat charge. For sales within the US, the fee is 2.9% plus $0.30 USD.

How to pay eBay and PayPal fees

A running total of incurred fees is tallied up and totalled in a monthly invoice. The timing of invoices is dependent on when a seller created their eBay account but is either the middle or end of the month.

Payment method and type varies between eBay regions but most commonly, sellers can either pay with an automatic payment method (held on file) or ‘one-time’ payments.

As mentioned above, PayPal fees are taken directly from the transferred payment sent from buyer to seller.

Understanding eBay’s fee system

All eBay sellers, not just first-timers, should have a solid grasp of eBay’s fee system. As with any business, an understanding of expenses is important to be able to turn a profit and also for filing taxes. While it may not be the most exciting part of selling on eBay, understanding how much it costs to sell an item is crucial for success.