How to sell your items on eBay with an international money transfer

A competitive rate can help you maximize your profits.

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Moving into the international market can make it possible to sell more items at a better price. But you’ll have to deal with taxes, customs — and finding the best way for your customers to pay.

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How to accept international payments on eBay

When selling items in another country, you have two main options:

  • Send your money to a local bank account and repatriate it when exchange rates are favorable.
  • Accept PayPal for immediate conversion to US dollars.

Open a foreign account

If you find that your sales in a particular market warrant it, you can maximize profits by setting up an international bank account. Such an account allows you to receive payments in euros, pounds and other local currencies for your top-selling markets.

With an international account in the local currency, you choose the best times to transfer money back to US dollars based on fluctuations in exchange rates.

If you find that your sales in a particular country warrant it, you can set up an international bank account for your top-selling markets. Online money specialists like TransferWise and WorldFirst specialize in moving money across international borders, offering exchange rates that typically beat those of PayPal and banks. Many charge more reasonable transfer fees, and some waive fees altogether on large transfers.

Use PayPal

PayPal is eBay’s top choice for payments. But PayPal’s unfavorable exchange rates and high fees can make it an expensive option when you’re accepting money from overseas, which can affect your bottom line.

However, because it’s easy to use, PayPal is a good option for payment from countries you don’t often do business in.

PayPal vs. an international money transfer

Ben sells a range of essential oils online to eBay customers in the UK. He accepts payment for his sales in pounds sterling and deposits his profits into an account with a leading UK bank.

After accumulating a £1,000 balance, Ben decides it’s the right time to transfer his earnings back to the US. He gets quotes from PayPal, his bank and an online money transfer specialist to see which offers the cheapest transfer solution.

PayPalBank transferOnline money specialist
Transfer amount£1,000£1,000£1,000
Exchange rate1 GBP = 1.2320 USD1 GBP = 1.2045 USD1 GBP = 1.2571 USD
Transfer fee4.4% + $0.20$15$10
Processing time2–5 days1–4 days1–2 days
USD received$1,177.59$1,219.20$1,272.10

The online money specialist offered not only the most competitive exchange rate, but also the cheapest transfer fee, allowing Ben to beat the bank by more than $50 and PayPal by more than $90.

How to list items on overseas eBay websites

Choose from two ways to list your item for sale on eBay’s international websites:

  1. List the item with worldwide shipping. To make your item easier to find for shoppers in other countries, make it available for worldwide shipping and pay a small fee for international site visibility.
  2. List the item individually on different websites. To list your item on sites in languages other than English, tailor your listing to specific regions, countries or markets.

Qualifying to sell internationally

Before you can sell on an international eBay website, you must meet eligibility that includes:

  • An eBay account in good standing, without a lot of negative feedback or account investigations.
  • An account that’s PayPal Verified and offers PayPal as a payment options.
  • 10 or more feedback points earned as a seller.
  • At least 90 days as a successful seller.
  • Shipping availability to the UK, Europe or worldwide.

What to watch out for when selling overseas

When selling your eBay items internationally, look out for potential drawbacks that include:

  • Duties and taxes. Learn how much your international customers might be out for duties and taxes, and make those fees clear to potential bidders.
  • Customs. Make sure your item is legal to import into your target market countries, and find out whether your shipping service provides customs forms or you’re responsible for affixing your own printed forms to your packages.
  • International shipping exclusions. If you don’t want to or can’t ship to a specific country or region, exclude your item from shipping to that area before putting it up for bidding. Consider insuring your items shipped internationally to protect your business against loss.
  • Fraud. To avoid potential fraud, opt for a secure money transfer company that allows you to track the progress of your payment. And never accept a transfer that’s more than the price of the item — fraudulent buyers may ask you to send back the extra money directly from your bank account, which gives them access to your account details.

Bottom line

Selling your eBay items internationally can help you grow your business and increase your profits. But payments can be complicated.

PayPal is an easy way to reach new customer worldwide. However, after you’re established in a target market, look into an international bank account and save money by relying on an international money transfer to repatriate your profits.

Frequently asked questions

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