What Is a Bid on eBay? (All You Need to Know)

eBay is one of the oldest and most popular online stores in the world, and has had lots of time to improve and perfect its services and abilities. However, is bidding on online auctions an easy task to do on this page?

Well, continue reading the article below to find out this answer and more, as we will discuss how to be a successful eBay bidder!

What Is a Bid on eBay in 2024?

Placing a bid on eBay is a way of bidding on a live auction for an item.  Furthermore, all you need to do is enter your maximum bid amount into your account, then slowly start raising your bid as the auction progresses. However, be careful, as once your bid is placed, you won’t easily be able to retract it without good cause.

Continue reading to learn information about eBay bids, how to place and retract them, how to set up and use automatic bidding, and more!

How Can I Place a Bid on eBay?

Bidding on eBay is very simple to do. However, you must be prepared, as it can get very competitive quickly. This can especially happen if you are wanting to bid on a popular item.

Therefore, continue reading below for steps on how to place an eBay bid and how to win:

  1. Login or create an eBay account – having an account will allow you to see and monitor how the bidding war is going during the whole process.
  2. Locate the cheapest listing of the item you want to buy – do this by typing your desired item into the search bar, or keywords of the item, and scroll to find the listing that best matches what you would like.
  3. Review the listing you would like – by going over the listing you would like to bid on will ensure you aren’t getting scammed. So, check to see if there are any imperfections on the item, if its picture matches the description, and which ratings the seller has (how many are positive compared to negative).
  4. Click the “Place Bid’ button – After doing this, you will be prompted to put in your maximum bid amount. This amount should be within the budget you’re willing to pay, as each bid eBay takes as a binding contract. This means that if your maximum bid won, then you will have to pay that full amount.
  5. Incremental bidding – After putting in your maximum bid, eBay will match your starting bid with the seller’s starting amount and then you can slowly raise it to stay on top of the competition throughout the auction, until the final seconds of it.
  6. Confirm your bid – Lastly, check over what you chose for your maximum bid, and any other information prompted, and if all looks good, click on the “Confirm Bid” button.

What Is Automatic Bidding on eBay?

What Is Automatic Bidding on eBay?

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Automatic bidding allows eBay to help the highest bidder out bid everyone else throughout the auction.

Furthermore, it does this by keeping the highest bidder always a little bit more in front of everyone else.

To set up automatic bidding, enter the maximum amount of money you’d like to pay for the item and click “Confirm”.

Then, eBay will slowly up your bid throughout the auction to keep your bid on top.

However, if you are outbid immediately, that likely means another person also has automatic bidding enabled, but their maximum amount is higher than yours.

So, to get back on top, you will have to manually make another bid higher than theirs.

Keep in mind, though, that eBay’s bidding increments depends on the price of the seller’s item.

For example, if the price is low then your bid won’t be too expensive, and if it’s a high-priced item, then your bid will be bigger.

Can You Cancel eBay Bids on Items You’ve Already Won?

On eBay, placing a bid on an item is the same as signing a contract.

Therefore, before bidding on anything, triple check it’s exactly what you want and within your price range.

If you do make a mistake and really don’t want the item, contact the seller, explain you no longer want their item, and ask them to cancel your bid.

Furthermore, to contact the seller, click on their profile, navigate to their page, find their contact member link, then follow the prompts to email them.

However, if you’d like to phone the seller instead, you can go to eBay’s customer support center and request to get their information from there.

However, if the seller will not give you a refund, eBay will log an “unpaid item’ notation on your account.

This can negatively affect you and your account, because if you get too many of these warnings, your account can be suspended or even terminated.

Can You Cancel eBay Bids on Items You Haven’t Won?

Fortunately, canceling bids on items you haven’t already won is a lot easier than for items you have won.

However, there needs to be a reason in order for you to cancel your bids, as canceling without reason is classified as a “invalid bid retraction.”

For example, this would occur if the seller changed the description of the item, you accidentally bid the wrong amount, or if the seller is being suspicious (not answering messages, etc.).

To know more, you can also read our posts on what is the final value fee on eBay, eBay insertion fee, and eBay UPC.


Making bids on eBay’s online auctions is a very easy process, allowing buyers to make as many purchases as their heart desires. However, these auctions can become very competitive very quickly, so be prepared to make bids right away to make sure you stay on top.

Additionally, in eBay’s eyes, bids are a binding contract. Therefore, before placing a bid, make sure the item is exactly what you want by reviewing its description. Further, once you place your bid, you will have to pay for the item no matter what, unless the seller is willing to refund you.

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Mackenzie Jerks

Mackenzie is a freelance writer and editor, published author, and music enthusiast who holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. When she’s not writing, Mackenzie is either wrapped up in a book, discovering new music, or introducing herself to a new fitness regimen.

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