If you’re trying to make money online and break into the world of online resale, one of the most important factors to consider is which platform to use.
With the rise of online consignment websites like Poshmark and others, it can be difficult to figure out which will be best suited to your needs.
The most important factors you’ll need to consider in making your decision are:
- Shipping costs
- Listing fees
- Size and reach of the customer base
- Customer service policies and responsiveness
- Ease of accessing funds
While this may seem like a lot to process, we’re here to break it all down for you.
Keep reading as we break down the Mercari vs eBay debate to help you decide which platform is best to sell online with.
What Is Mercari?
Mercari is a fairly new player in the industry, having only launched in Japan in 2013.
The app was a massive success and soon expanded to the US and UK markets. Since its launch in the US in 2014, Mercari has paid out over $1 Billion dollars to its sellers.
There are plenty of other apps like Mercari, but what makes Mercari so popular is how fast and simple it is to sell and buy on.
Plus, the platform lets you list and sell just about anything, from clothing and household items, to car parts and musical instruments.
It’s recognized as the largest ‘online flea market,’ meaning most of the items circulating on the platform are used.
You can even sell things that are in less-than-mint condition, so long as you’re up front about the state of the item in your listing.
What Is eBay?
eBay, which launched in 1995, is definitely one of the most widely known buying and selling platforms available.
It’s also available globally, allowing its users to sell either domestically or internationally, based on their preferences.
Worldwide, eBays gross merchandise volume was valued at $100 billion in 2020 — which gives you a taste of the massive number of users and transactions taking place on the platform daily.
One of eBays main attractions is their auction feature, which allows a seller to set a starting bid price and a time limit for bidding to end, meaning that the item goes to the highest bidder.
eBay is popular for flipping things for profit, and there’s also plenty of room to resell things like clothing, antiques, collectibles, and more!
Mercari vs eBay – The Features
Now that you have a brief understanding of both platforms, there are some important features that are going to help you decide which is better suited to your needs:
1. Signing Up & Listing
Time to examine how easy it is to create a selling account and list your first products for sale!
Signing up for Mercari is exceptionally easy: all you need is an email and then you can authenticate your account and get started listing. No payments; No hassle.
You can also list all your items in a short amount of time since Mercari doesn’t require you to fill out many fields to upload an item.
Just a few good pictures, a short description, and a price and you’re ready to sell!
You can also add up to 3 tags to your listing to help describe what you’re selling.
To sign up for eBay, just use an email or Facebook account to get started and follow the steps to verify your account.
Listing on eBay is more tedious than listing on Mercari as they require you to include more than just photos and a description.
You also include item dimensions and weight, as well as other specifications.
It’s also recommended that you do this all on your computer, as the mobile app is known for being glitchy and hard to work with.
Winner: Mercari is faster to sign up and list items as a seller.
2. Mercari Seller Fees vs eBay
Another massive factor for deciding which platform to sell stuff online is seller fees.
High fees can take a significant chunk out of your profit margin or even cause you to lose money, so you need to know your numbers!
Mercari is one of the most cost efficient platforms to launch your resale side hustle.
The app only takes a cut of 10%, when and if you make a sale, meaning there’s no risk to list.
There is also a fee of $0.30 with every sale and payment processing fee of 2.9% of the purchase price.
There’s also $2 fees for withdrawing your funds if you’re under $10 or if your bank rejects the direct deposit, but these fees are easily avoidable.
Initially, Mercari caps you at 100 listings, but if you actively sell on the platform this eventually increases.
The platform also encourages you to relist your items frequently to increase their chance of selling, so there is more work involved in that sense.
eBay gives every member 200 free listings per month, with every additional listing costing you $0.35.
The platform also offers a tiered menu of Store subscriptions, where you can pay a monthly fee to get access to more promotional tools, additional free listings, and discounted fees.
Regardless of your account type, the platform takes 10-12% of every sale you make for most categories, up to $750 per item.
It’s also important to note that if your item doesn’t sell, the listing fee is non-refundable and if you choose to re-list an item you’ll be charged again.
Winner: Mercari fees are lower than eBay for most product categories but eBay has lower fees for certain categories.
3. Seller Protection
Another factor to consider when deciding between selling on Mercari vs eBay are seller protection policies.
Sellers can get burned by scams, difficult buyers, broken merchandise, and lost shipments. This is why having a seller protection policy in place is important!
Mercari Seller Protection
Active users of Mercari note that buyers are more valued than sellers in a transaction, although if sales end in a return, they have to be requested within 3 days of arrival and for a viable reason.
The platform also holds your payment until both you and the buyer have rated each other, up to 3 days after delivery.
So, if your buyer forgets to submit your rating, it could be a while before you see the money in your account.
eBay Seller Protection
eBay uses a rating system that is pretty strict on sellers, meaning if you ship late, cancel an order, or receive a bad review, your account will be marked with “defects” and impact your appeal to buyers.
They also conduct performance reviews on every account every 1-12 months, depending on your sales performance, where they will look at the quality of your listings and transactions.
In terms of returns, customers can request one within 10 days of receiving their item, but it’s up to the seller to accept the returned item, unless of course it’s damaged or lost in transit.
If you’re using Paypal to handle transactions, you’re automatically forced to conduct the return, as this is their policy.
In the rare case that the seller doesn’t receive payment for an item and hasn’t done anything wrong, eBay has a ‘Money Back Guarantee’ to ensure sellers still receive payment for the items they’ve shipped.
Winner: Both platforms favor buyers, which isn’t too surprising. However, eBay has a longer return request window, but Mercari sellers might have to wait longer to receive funds. This one is a bit of a tie.
Extra Reading – How to Avoid PayPal Fees.
4. Shipping Fees
One other seller cost that can eat into your profit margins are shipping fees.
In my opinion, if you’re wondering is it better to sell on Mercari vs eBay, this is one area where the two platforms differ quite a bit that could sway your decision.
Mercari Shipping Fees
Mercari lets you decide whether you want to pay for shipping or have your customers pay for it– however, upping your prices a bit to cover the cost of shipping will likely bring in more sales.
You can also choose to handle the shipping yourself, rather than use the printable, weight based shipping labels Mercari provides, which cover packages up to 150 lbs.
The platform also offers shipping protection up to $200 for items lost or damaged in transit, so you’re covered in case anything goes wrong.
eBay Shipping Fees
Shipping through eBay is a more complicated process, as there is more decision making involved in order to get the cheapest rate.
You have to consider things like:
- Shipping weights
- Package sizes
- Selecting classes– something that will get easier the more familiar you get with the platform
You also determine whether you’re selling internationally or not, as this will affect how you ship as well.
You have the option to charge set shipping rates for your items, but you can also adjust based on the location of the buyer or set it comparably to similar listings from other sellers.
Winner: Mercari has a simpler shipping fee structure, although serious eBay sellers can help their profit margin by working towards the cheapest shipping rates possible.
5. Customer Support
Another important aspect of the Mercari vs eBay selling debate is what customer support is like.
If you start generating sales, you’ll inevitably encounter a problem at some point. That’s why it’s important to have customer support assistance when you need it most.
Mercari’s Help Center on their site is designed to answer any questions you may have.
However, if you don’t find a solution, they give you the opportunity to email their support team and have the issue cleared up and more serious issues, like fraud, can be handled over the phone.
eBay has a very clear set of rules and guidelines for both buyers and sellers so most of the issues you may encounter will have an easily accessible solution.
Any problem you have can also be resolved in no time with their customer support team, over the phone or via email.
Winner: eBay has slightly easier phone access for customer support but both selling platforms are similar.
6. Professional Selling Accounts
Both eBay and Mercari let you upgrade your seller account if you’re more serious about selling online.
Each upgrade comes with a set of unique perks, so let’s break down the differences and what’s best for sellers.
eBay Store Subscription
If you want to take selling on eBay more seriously, you can upgrade your store plan to five different account types:
- Starter Store: $4.95 per month
- Basic Store: $21.95 per month
- Premium Store: $59.95 per month
- Anchor Store: $299.95 per month
- Enterprise Store: $2,999.95 per month
Perks of the different eBay store plans include:
- More free listings
- eBay seller fee discounts
- Coupons for free eBay shipping supplies
- Lower insertion fees once you surpass your free listing quota
The main perk of an eBay store plan is that you get lower seller fees. At scale, this can make a dramatic difference for your profit margin.
For example, with a Premium store, some eBay seller fees become cheaper than Mercari, but again, you have to generate enough sales to justify paying $59.95 per month.
Ultimately, do the math to see if your current sales volume warrants upgading your eBay store.
Mercari Pro Seller Program
Like eBay, Mercari also has its own Pro Seller Program that caters to more serious sellers who generate significant sales on the platform.
The program is currently in Beta so you have to apply to join.
Perks of Mercari’s Pro Seller Program include:
- Bulk Import Tool: Import and sync your listings directly from eBay (this is one of the best perks.)
- Inventory Management: Deactivate listings in bulk or use adavanced inventory search tools.
- Enhanced Analytics: Get deeper insights into your best-selling products and profile performance.
- Pro Seller Badge: A pro badge appears on your seller profile and helps increase trust in customers since they know you’re a serious seller.
- Free Promotion: Get your listings promoted on third-party platforms for free, which helps you get more sales.
- VIP Service: This service provides 24 hour support and an account manager, although the feature hasn’t been rolled out yet.
Again, you have to apply to join the Mercari Pro Seller Program, but hopefully this program opens up to all sellers in the near future.
Winner: eBay has more options and more discounts for serious sellers than Mercari.
Selling On Mercari Vs eBay – What Sellers Say
If you look on popular forums like Reddit for what veteran and new flippers alike say about these two platforms, you get quite a bit of insight!
Take a look at this thread I found on r/Flipping:
As you can see, Mercari is beginner-friendly, has low fees, and is just easier overall to get started with.
However, eBay has a larger customer base. Additionally, some niches are more lucrative.
But, at the end of the day, you can always cross list on Mercari and eBay to maximize you exposure. Just make sure you don’t pay for too many listings if you go ove your free amount!
Extra Reading – How To Make $50 A Day.
Pros & Cons
So, is Mercari better than eBay?
Well, let’s break down a list of pros and cons for each platfom so you can spot the differences between each selling platform to decide for yourself!
- Low Cost – Mercari charges only 10% commission on orders and absolutely no listing fee, so you’ll keep more money on the items you sell and you won’t lose any on the items you don’t.
- Easy Listing – You’ll only need a bit of information and up to 12 photos to get an item up and ready to sell.
- Privacy Protections – Interactions between you and buyers will take place in a secure and separate chat, so you can share information about the sale without concern.
- Easy Shipping – The flat rate shipping and prepaid labels Mercari offers makes it easy to send your items across the country for a low cost. Not to mention their shipping protection means you’re covered if anything goes wrong.
Extra Reading – Popular Things To Sell On Mercari.
- Buyer Scams – If a buyer requests a return and the seller doesn’t ask for it to be returned to them, customers can sometimes keep the item after having received their refund.
- Slow Payments – Because of the rating system mentioned above, it can take several days before the funds are transferred to your account and then additional time for it to be sent to your account.
- Relisting – Listings can quickly get lost within search results, especially in high demand categories. In order to have your listings be seen by more people, you’ll have to relist them pretty frequently, which is definitely more time consuming.
- Massive International Customerbase – This is definitely one of the biggest selling points for eBay, as the site has the most traffic and widest reach. It’s inevitable that having more buyers means more money to go around, so you’re likely to make more sales and even sell your items for a higher price than you would on Mercari.
- Brand Building – Since eBay has the option to list your items under a Store subscription, you can easily turn one time visitors into repeat customers.
- Phone Customer Service – Unlike Mercari, eBay customer service is available over the phone 5 AM – 10 PM daily, meaning any issue can be resolved quickly.
- No Relisting Needed – On eBay you can pretty much list an item and then forget about it until it sells. There’s no need to relist items or promote them to make the sale.
- Listing Fees – While you do have free listing monthly, any additional ones are going to cost you– in addition to the commission the eBay takes on the sale. You’ll have to take stock of your earnings and determine if you’re still making a profit once eBay takes their cut.
- Potentially Oversaturated Market – eBay has a lot of people selling slight variations of the same products, so it’s easy to get lost amongst the competition.
- More Complicated Shipping – Your items have to be weighed precisely, as any difference will result in additional charges for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is It Cheaper To Sell On eBay Or Mercari?
Mercari has lower fees than eBay for most product categories and is the cheaper way to sell stuff online for most sellers.
However, eBay does have lower fees than Mercari for some product categories, including more expensive categories like instruments or designer footwear, so it’s always worth comparing seller fees between both platforms.
2. Is Mercari Or eBay Better?
Mercari is more beginner-friendly than eBay, and it’s the perfect platform to list a few items for sale and to turn a quick profit without paying too many fees.
If you want to keep things simple in terms of shipping and seller rules, Mercari is also better than eBay.
Now, as you scale your business, eBay becomes more cost-effective and is a popular choice for serious sellers who sell hundreds or thousands of dollars per month in inventory.
3. Can I Sell On Both Platforms?
You can list products on eBay and Mercari at the same time, and many sellers actually list stuff on several marketplaces at once.
This is known as crosslisting, and it increases exposure on your listings to help you make sales faster.
Just keep track of what sells and remove your listings from other platforms once you make a sale so your sold listings are left active on other online marketplaces.
Extra Reading – Mercari vs Poshmark – Which Selling Platform Is Best?
Verdict: Is Mercari Better Than eBay For Sellers?
Both platforms definitely have notable pros and cons, and the Mercari vs eBay debate is a tough one to answer.
The platform that works best for you will likely depend on who you’re selling to, what you’re selling, and how much you’re selling.
Mercari tends to have a younger audience, and buyers expect things that are second hand, so you can expect to sell things at a lower price.
While eBay still caters to this demographic, there is a better market for higher priced and collectable items.
There’s also the fact that eBay is international, while Mercari is limited to the US. Depending on how large of an audience you want for your products, you may make your decision based on this.
The major swaying factor for Mercari is the free listing and low commission, which make getting started on this platform a risk free opportunity.
If you’re just getting started with resale, it may be a good place to start as you get comfortable with the process, before moving on to the giant that is eBay.
If you can’t seem to decide which is best for you, there is always the option to cross-list your item.
As mentioned before, both platforms have different user bases, so this means you’ll have more potential customers and greater opportunities for sales. Just be sure you’re keeping track of inventory so you don’t sell more than you have!
So, the final verdict?
Mercari: Best for beginner U.S. sellers looking for fast way to sell things online without worrying about tricky listing processes, fees, and shipping rules.
eBay: Best for more experienced sellers who are looking to reach a global audience and know how to keep shipping costs down.
Hopefully this article has helped in your decision making process, so you can get jump into resale and kickstart your side-hustle.
Do you think Mercari is better than eBay? Or, do you prefer sticking with eBay for making money online? Let us know!
You can also read out recent post on selling tricks on Mercari to hit the ground running!
Looking for other ways to make money online? Checkout:
- Blogging Income Report 2020 – Making $22,000+ From Blogging!
- How To Make Money With YouTube.
- Best Things You Can Rent Out For Profit.
Selena Fulham knows how valuable having a side hustle can be. She’s a freelance content writer with a focus on SaaS, B2B technology, social media, and the art of making money online. Currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Selena can usually be found either drinking coffee, hiking up a mountain, or snowboarding down it.