When you‘re just starting out as an e-commerce seller or planning to expand your business, choosing an e-commerce platform to sell through is undoubtedly one of the important questions you face. Many people start their e-commerce journey with eBay, as it’s one of the most popular platforms.
Selling on various e-commerce platforms has advantages, disadvantages, and nuances a seller needs to consider when starting a business. As with any business, there are fees associated with selling a product, and eBay is no different. In this article, we’ll go through the basic types of fees that you can come across while listing and selling on eBay in 2022.
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What are eBay seller fees?
Let’s start with the definition of seller fees and why sellers must know which selling fees apply to them.
Like many other platforms, eBay may charge sellers for the services they receive: from listing and selling products to promoting listings and processing payments. These charges are called eBay seller fees (or selling fees). While some of the fees are obligatory – you can’t run your business on eBay without paying them, some are optional – you can choose whether you need additional services and only pay the fees that apply to you.
Whatever you choose, it’s vital to know the scope of the charges you’ll face. This knowledge can help ensure you’re making a profit out of your sales. Understanding how much eBay charges for listing each product might help set your pricing wiser and impact the profit margins you should expect to earn. Without a grasp of the basic fee structure, it’s easy to make a mistake that may result in losing money on each sale.
Understanding your fees can help in your eBay accounting and taxation because certain fees can be deductible expenses (insertion or final value fees, for example), which is definitely worth knowing about when preparing for tax filing.
Ultimately, knowing how and what eBay charges sellers may help them find a way to reduce the number of fees to pay..
Now, let’s dig deeper into eBay selling fees and look at each in more detail.
eBay seller fee #1: Insertion fee
Amount: starting at $0.35 per linsting
The first fee every eBay seller has to deal with is an insertion fee. It’s one of the two basic obligatory fees everyone pays to place and sell products on eBay, and there’s no way to get around it. Simply put, an insertion fee is a sum eBay charges you to list a product. And this fee is nonrefundable even if your product doesn’t sell. So every time you place an item for sale, eBay bites a little chunk of your profit.
The chunk size typically depends on whether you have an eBay store subscription and the number and type of categories where you want to list your items. Since the fee applies to auction-style and fixed-price listings, it’s essential to factor the charge into your pricing.
The good news is eBay offers sellers a handful of free listings called zero insertion fee listings, and their number renews monthly. This way, sellers with no store subscription automatically get 250 zero insertion fee listings each month. It might be enough for smaller eBay sellers; however, if a seller wants to list more items, each successive of those 250 free insertions will cost $0.35.
For sellers subscribed to an eBay Store, the costs will differ and depend on the subscription level. For example, the Starter plan subscribers will have 250 zero insertion fee listings available, and each following insertion will cost only $0.30 per listing. And the higher the level is, the more free insertions you get and the less you pay for each listing over the free limit.
Insertion fees can also differ depending on how many categories you want to list your products in. Usually, you pay a standard insertion fee to place a listing into a second category (even if you used a free insertion to put it in the first category). Moreover, listing products in some categories may cost more than a standard fee or go without any insertion fee at all (we’ll get to some examples later).
eBay seller fee #2: Final value fee
Amount: % of the total amount of the sale + $0.30 (payment processing fee) per item
As the name implies, the final value fee is the fee eBay charges you as soon as you convert a sale and is calculated as a percentage of the total amount of the sale plus $0.30 for processing the payment.
Usually, eBay defines the total amount of the sale to include the following components:
- Item price;
- Handling charges;
- Sales tax;
- Cost of shipping service as selected by the buyer;
- Miscellaneous applicable fees.
It’s good to remember that the fee is charged regardless of whether a seller received a payment. At the same time, eBay protects sellers from potential issues by offering a possibility to cancel the sale, should a buyer never pay for it (or demand a refund) and receive a fee credit.
In the majority of categories, selling an item typically goes with a 10% final value fee. However, for some categories, this figure will be different. eBay provides sellers with a table that breaks down these groups and their associated final value fees.
Beware: Additional final value fees!
If a seller violates eBay’s off-site trading rules, or if the listing doesn’t meet minimal standards of performance, additional final value fees may apply. These fees can drastically affect profit margins, so sellers should be careful not to violate any eBay policies.
Additional fees for selling or buying outside eBay
This fee can be imposed when a seller and a buyer exchange contacts intending to close a deal off-site. In this case, eBay will charge a final value fee based on the total amount of the sale, even if the item doesn’t sell. This total will consider the highest of the prices set for the auction-style listings (the start price, the Buy It Now price, or the reserve price). For the fixed-price listings, it will be based on whichever the highest of the prices is – set by the seller or agreed by both the seller and buyer.
Additional fees for the sellers not meeting performance standards
These fees usually apply in two cases:
- Seller fails to meet the set minimum performance level for the US (in the evaluation on the 20th of the month). In this case, eBay will charge the seller an additional 6% on the final value fees.
- The seller’s listing gets a high rate of returns in one or several categories because it appears to be not as described (in the evaluation on the 20th of the month). At this point, eBay will charge a seller an additional 5% on the final value fees for sales in those categories.
eBay usually gives sellers an overview of their performance and signals when any of their listings are subject to additional fees. Sellers can find this information in their Account Summary.
eBay seller fee #3: Optional Listing upgrade fee
Amount: depends on the selected upgrade options
The listing upgrade fee falls into the category of optional eBay seller fees, which means a seller is charged a fee only if they order the corresponding service from eBay. Based on the name, you pay for selected listing upgrades. Why would a seller need to upgrade their listing?
With millions of items sold on eBay every year, it can be difficult for new sellers to get their products in front of buyers. At this point, the platform offers its sellers help to improve their chances of making a sale by optional listing upgrades.
These eBay listing upgrades provide a set of enhancements helping seller listings to stand out this or that way, including font changes, adding to more categories, subtitles, and more. You can find the associated price of each optional listing upgrade in the following charts.
Fixed price listings
|Listing upgrade option||Cost for items priced $150 or less||Cost for items priced higher than $150|
|List in two categories||Additional insertion fee||Additional insertion fee|
|International site visibility||$.50||$.50|
|Listing upgrade option||Cost for items priced $150 or less||Cost for items priced higher than $150|
|1 or 3-day duration||$1.00||$1.00|
|List in two categories||Additional insertion fee||Additional insertion fee|
|Reserve price||$5.00 or 7.5% of the reserve price||$5.00 or 7.5% of the reserve price|
Which listing upgrades will increase the odds of product selling?
It can be challenging to say which listing upgrades are worth it and which ones aren’t.
Depending on the category you’re selling in, buyers may want to see a photo in the gallery when searching for items to buy, while others may not.
Overall, a cost-benefit analysis of the fees and your expected sales price will help you determine which upgrades make the most sense. Over time, you can try out different promotions to see which one leads to more converted sales or bids on your listings.
eBay seller fee #4: Optional Promoted listing fee
Amount: starting at 1% of the assessed final value fee
Promoted listing fees usually apply to sellers that select an option to increase their listings’ visibility on eBay: in search results, the related items section of other sellers’ listings, or both. A seller will only have to pay an optional promoted listing fee if an interested buyer clicks on their promo ad and purchases the advertised item within 30 days.
These promotions are a great way to help your items stand out from the competition. However, to be eligible to use the option, sellers and listings should meet some criteria, such as reaching the Above Standard or Top Rated level, being a fixed-price listing with at least two images, and more.
The option includes three different levels of promotion, and the final cost will depend on the selected level, such as promoted listing standard, promoted listing express, and promoted listing advanced.
eBay seller fee #4: Subscription fee
Amount: $4.95 – 2,999.95/mo depending on the plan
Depending on the type of eBay seller you want to be, you may need to pay a subscription fee. The free standard plan should suffice for individuals who don’t want to have an online store and only plan to sell a few items on the platform. However, if eBay is a significant part of your e-commerce business strategy, then you might want to consider one of the following eBay store plans:
- Starter – Subscription costs $7.95 (monthly renewal) and $4.95 (yearly renewal);
- Basic – Subscription costs $27.95 (monthly renewal) and $21.95 (yearly renewal);
- Premium – Subscription costs $74.95 (monthly renewal) and $59.95 (yearly renewal);
- Anchor – Subscription costs $349.95 (monthly renewal) and $299.95 (yearly renewal);
- Enterprise – Subscription with yearly renewal only available at $2,999.95.
Each plan offers different benefits and comes with a different fee. Before selecting the plan to go with, it’s important to understand the number of listings you expect to have every month and compare the amounts of fees and other benefits within each plan to make a wise choice and ensure a bigger profit from your sales.
eBay seller fee #6: Payment processing fee
Amount: $0.30 fixed fee per order
eBay helps sellers receive payments through their managed payment system. It was introduced several years ago and is aimed at enhancing the experience with eBay for sellers and buyers by simplifying the fee structure and eliminating third-party payment processing fees.
For sellers, it means that they only pay $0.30 per order for processing the payment. Please note that for the users’ convenience, eBay adds this payment on top of the final value fee, consisting of a category-based percentage of the total sale amount, thus, charging the payment processing and the final value fees together.
Users can profit from more enhancements that eBay managed payments offer:
- A wide range of payment methods available to customers, such as credit, debit, and gift cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and PayPal Credit;
- Faster payouts (within two business days);
- Automatic deduction of the final value fee;
- Automatic deduction of expenses from refunds, claims, or disputes from pending payouts.
eBay seller fee #7: Real estate listing fee
Amount: $35 – 300 per listing + $35 notice fee
Real estate listings stand aside from other types of listings on eBay and have their own fees that apply to real estate sellers. These fees include the insertion fee, the amount of which differs depending on the type of listing selected and a type of property advertised, plus a notice fee (in some cases). Let’s break them down:
- The insertion fee is a fee eBay charges a seller for placing a real estate listing.
- Notice fee is a fee eBay charges when the auction-style advertisement is over, regardless of whether the real estate sale was completed.
Fee amounts for real estate listings are listed here:
|Listing type||Duration||Insertion fee||Notice fee|
|Land, Manufactured, and Timeshare homes|
|Auction-style||1, 3, 5, 7, or 10-day listing (1 and 3-day auction-style listings cost an additional $1)||$35||$35|
|Auction-style or fixed price||30-day auction or Good ‘Til Canceled||$50||$35|
|Commercial, Residential, and Other Real Estate|
|Auction-style||1, 3, 5, 7, or 10-day listing (1 and 3-day auction-style listings cost an additional $1)||$100||$0|
|Auction-style or fixed price||30-day auction or Good ‘Til Canceled||$150||$0|
Real estate listings differ from other listings – there’s no binding to close the sale, unlike other listings. With real estate, eBay rather helps sellers to find the most interested buyers and provide their contact information. After all necessary checks, the seller and buyer can proceed with closing the deal following local legislation. This way, the purchase takes place outside the platform.
Can you reduce eBay seller fees?
With this variety of fees associated with selling on eBay, one may wonder whether it’s worth it and whether there are any means to reduce the amount of the selling fees. Let’s try to answer these questions.
Is eBay worth it?
Obviously, if you pay for some services, you want to know whether the investment will pay off. While eBay charges sellers for many things, some fees are smaller compared to other e-commerce platforms and marketplaces. In return, the platform offers a range of benefits:
- Great exposure. With its audience of 183 million active users, eBay offers sellers an incredible opportunity to sell in the US and globally.
- High level of customer satisfaction. eBay puts a lot of effort into protecting customers against scammers and sellers providing a low level of services. As a result, customers trust the platform, feeling safe buying from eBay sellers. The customer satisfaction rate on eBay is close to 80%.
- Flexibility for sellers. eBay allows sellers to choose whichever type of listing they feel convenient with, be it an auction or fixed-price listing, or even promo ads.
- Priority in search results. As a trusted marketplace, results from eBay are more likely to occupy the top positions in the search for most popular queries.
- Shipping costs. eBay offers sellers access to substantial shipping discounts from carrier partners, allowing them to cut shipping costs up to 52%. Moreover, its Global Shipping Program simplifies shipping for US users selling abroad.
It’s not an exhaustive list of eBay benefits for sellers, but you can see the most prominent eBay advantages on it.
How to reduce eBay selling fees?
Knowing what eBay may charge you for, it’s easier to see the ways of reducing the scope of the fees to pay. Here’s some advice you can consider:
Leverage store subscription
If you plan to sell on eBay regularly, you might want to consider subscribing to eBay Store. This way, you can profit from lower insertion fees and more free insertions as compared to non-store users.
eBay offers zero insertion fee listings available each month for all sellers. However, for subscribed users, the number of free insertions increases from 250 to 100,000 following the subscription level.
At the same time, the cost of each listing above the zero-fee threshold within the subscription decreases. It starts from $0.30 per item for the Starter to $0.05 for the Enterprise plan subscribers.
The final value fees are also significantly lower for sellers with a store subscription (4% – 9.15% compared to 10% for non-subscribers).
Carefully choose categories for your listings
Insertion fee for listings, as previously mentioned, is category dependent. At this point, eBay will additionally charge you for placing your item into more categories – a standard category insertion fee per placement. So you might want to carefully consider which category suits your item best not to overpay for placing it in multiple categories.
Category type can also impact the amount of insertion fees. Thus, for some categories, such as musical instruments or shoes (under $100), there’s no insertion fee at all, while placing your items in categories for heavy equipment or food trucks may cost you up to $20 per insertion.
You can also leverage listings with multiple items to cut down on insertion fees. eBay offers a special tool sellers can use to create multi-item listings.
Be wise about listing upgrades
You might want to upgrade your listings to make them stand out from the competition. However, presuming you pay for each upgrade, it’s better to approach upgrading carefully. Not all the upgrade options may work for you and, thus, can be a waste of money. So before you decide to upgrade or promote your listings, test different options to see whether they work for you and which works best.
Request fee credits
eBay charges the final value fee on the sold items regardless of whether a seller received the payment. However, if a buyer isn’t paying for the item or the seller and buyer agree to cancel the purchase, eBay allows sellers to request fee credits. It also applies to missing or damaged items for which a buyer requested a refund. So, don’t neglect this opportunity to get your money back.
Become a Top-Rated Seller
eBay likes sellers that perform above average and that people love to buy from. You can leverage it and get rewarded with significant cost-cutting, such as a 10% discount on your final value fees, becoming a Top-Rate Seller (TRS). To reach this level, you’ll need to invest some effort and fulfill several requirements, such as:
- Be an active eBay seller with a live account for at least 90 days;
- Reach at least 100 transactions and $1,000 in U.S. sales within the previous year;
- Comply with eBay’s policy on selling practices;
- Keep a defect rate at a less or equal to 0.5% mark, not exceeding 3 defects per unique customer;
- Ensure you have cases closed without seller resolution not higher that 0.3%, and no more than 2 cases;
- Your late shipment rate shouldn’t be higher than 3%, and make sure you have up to 5 late shipments.
How to control and manage your eBay fees?
With eBay automatically deducting fees from your earnings, it can be tricky to figure out how much you paid in total. However, you need to account for and control eBay fees and enter them correctly into your accounting. This will allow you to create accurate financial reports, such as more informative P&L, and more. In addition, some of these fees are deductible expenses, which should be considered when filing a tax return.
Synder Sync helps eBay sellers accurately bring their sales transactions into accounting, putting fees in the right categories. And with Synder Insights, they can have a full breakdown of the fees they paid whenever they want to see it, together with a comprehensive overview of their eBay sales performance, most profitable customers and products, and many more.
Sign up for a free demo to find out more about how Synder products help streamline your eBay e-commerce business.