What Is Mercari and How Does It Work?

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There are so many places to make extra cash by selling your stuff online that it’s hard to choose which one to use.

Perhaps you’ve seen ads for Mercari lately. I have, so I checked out the platform. In this article, I’ll show you how to use Mercari, and I’ll share my review of the service.

4 Things You Need to Know About Mercari

To start making money on Mercari, there are a few things you need to know:

What Is Mercari?

Mercari is a marketplace platform where you can buy and sell almost anything, provided the item can be shipped.

This app sets itself apart by restricting in-person meetups and requiring that sellers ship the merchandise to buyers. Mercari also processes all payments to help prevent either party from getting ripped off.

The platform uses identification verification and reviews to help ensure all parties are fully informed during each transaction.

Mercari charges a flat 10% sales fee. You may incur other charges, but I’ll have more on that later.

In my experience, Mercari was upfront about all of its fees, and it showed me in advance exactly how much I’d earn from my sale.

How Do You Sell on Mercari? 

To sell on Mercari, you’ll have to follow a few steps either online or in the app. You can read the steps below or watch our video to learn more.

1. Establish a Mercari Account

Create an account to start using Mercari. Once you’ve signed up, you can go to your profile any time by clicking your profile picture at the top of the screen.

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Where to find your profile at the top of the Mercari app.

On your profile, you can get a lot of information. You can see who you’re following and who’s following you. There’s a running total of the money you’ve made, coupons and a “trust and verification” bar.

This indicates how much identifying information you’ve shared with Mercari (some of which is optional). If you’ve provided at least three pieces of identification, you get a purple shield next to your name.

If you provide a government ID, you can also qualify to get any money you make more quickly. (More on that later).

You can customize settings about you and your items on your profile page, too.

Information on selling, buying, help center, and settings in your Mercari profile.

Back on the homepage, you’ll see popular offerings and examples of what’s sold recently. You’ll also see “trending” categories. They’re there mainly to tempt you into buying something, but they can inform you as a seller, too. The more popular an item or the category, the more likely your item will sell quickly.

You can also search the platform if you aren’t sure how much you should charge for an item. Any item with a truck icon next to the price offers free shipping.

Free shipping truck icons on items for sale in the Mercari app.

2. Create a Listing

To list an item, click the orange “sell” button in the app or the “Sell on Mercari” button at the top of the homepage.

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Orange sell button at the bottom of the page in the Mercari app.
Mercari App
Sell on Mercari button at the top of the Mercari homepage online.
Mercari Homepage

Now you’ll enter the listing details. Start by uploading photos of the item you’re selling.

If the item is used, clean it up so that it’s more appealing to buyers. When taking the photos, take care to adjust your lighting so potential buyers can see the item well.

After you upload your pictures, type in your information for the title, description, category, brand, size and condition of the item. Mercari may auto-populate some of these fields, but you can change them.

Information to input when creating a listing to sell on Mercari.

If you notice that a field is incorrect later, you can always edit the post.

After that, you’ll adjust your shipping preferences for the item. When you enter your ZIP code, Mercari will create a shipping cost estimate based on the other information you’ve entered. To see the estimate, click on the “Nationwide Shipping” box under the “Delivery” section.

The delivery section of the listing process on Mercari.

At the top of this page, Mercari displays a recommended shipping label. You should review the label and then consider whether to offer free shipping.

That can be a tricky decision. You can pass the expense onto the buyer, but you’ll likely have to charge much less for the actual item to attract people. If you do decide to offer free shipping, be sure to factor that into your sale price.

Then, Mercari asks if you want a prepaid label with $200 shipping protection. If you choose it, you can file a claim if the item is lost or damaged in transit and still get paid. The postage price will be deducted from your sale.

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Shipping label options to choose from on Mercari.

After that, you’ll enter the weight of the item (don’t forget to include the packaging). You’ll also have the option to enter the dimensions of the package. Check out this guide for detailed information on shipping your item.

Select “Calculate Shipping” and choose the best deal. If you aren’t sure where the nearest shipper is, just click “Find.” Once you make your selections, press “Save.”

Carrier options for an item on Mercari.

Now it’s time to set the price. Depending on your item, Mercari may show you a scale of what the platform considers a realistic price for your item. Or you can set the price manually.

Once the price is set you can choose whether to enable “Smart Pricing.” Mercari claims this option increases the chances of a sale because the price fluctuates based on demand, and the platform will notify potential buyers (people who “liked” your item) when the price changes.

If you leave Smart Pricing turned on, you can set a floor price — the lowest price you’ll accept. If you decide you want to disable Smart Pricing later on, you can. When you’ve chosen a pricing option, hit “Save.”

Enabling the Mercari Smart Pricing option and setting a floor price for an item for sale.

Under the price you’ve set, there’s a breakdown of the fees and your potential earnings. But remember, if you have Smart Pricing turned on and Mercari lowers the price, you’ll earn less.

There’s no cost to list an item, but once your sale goes through, Mercari collects 10% of the sale price. Keep that 10% in mind so that you charge enough to make the effort worth your time.

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Under the selling fee, you’ll also see the shipping fee and whether you opted for the Mercari shipping label. The final number is what you’ll make if the item sells at the price you set. Once you’re happy with the numbers, click “List.”

Pricing and fees for a Mercari listing.

3. Wait for Buyers

Now you just have to wait for buyers. Unless you change your settings, you’ll be notified when someone “likes” your item, makes an offer or sends you a message.

It’s easy to customize notifications, so you won’t see anything outside the app that you don’t want to see. You can choose whether to get notifications by email or on your mobile device.

Under each listing, you can see how many views and likes the item has gotten. You can also edit a listing at any time before the item is sold.

Likes and views on a Mercari listing for floral sandal wedges.

If you’ve been waiting a while for a buyer, you can promote the item by reducing the price. Many other platforms charge you for promotion. With Mercari, there’s no fee: all you have to do is lower the price.

You can choose whether your promotion displays publicly or is limited to people who liked the item. Either way, the “likers” will get a notification and may be enticed to buy.

Public and private promotion options on Mercari.

People can also send you offers. You’ll see how much you’d earn under the offer price. Offers expire in 24 hours. You can decline, counter or accept the offer.

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4. Ship the Item

Once your item sells, Mercari will automatically mark it as “sold” in the app so that people know the item is off the market.

All Mercari sales are final unless they fall under their Buyer Protection Guarantee.

Pack your item carefully and if it’s breakable, be sure to cushion it. You have three business days to ship the item.

Mercari shipping timeline showing the shipping and packing step to the seller with the create shipping label button.

If you chose a prepaid label, you must click “Create Shipping Label” in the app or click “Print Shipping Label” in the sale confirmation email.

Then, just print the label, attach it to the box and take it to a shipping center or post office. If you under-weighed your item, you may be charged additional postage.

If you’re mailing the item with your own label, you’ll need to provide the shipping information to Mercari so the company can track it.

Time to send the item off and wait to be paid! Don’t worry, you’ll be able to track the package in the app.

Delivery and shipping information on the Mercari package tracking timeline.

When the item arrives, the buyer has three days to confirm that the item arrive as described and to rate you as a seller. These ratings can help future buyers decide whether you’re trustworthy.

If the buyer doesn’t rate you or fails to submit a return request within those three days, Mercari gives you an automatic five-star review for the transaction.

5. Get Your Money

When the review process is complete or the three-day window is up, the money from the sale should appear in your account.

Mercari will try to get you to spend your balance on the platform, but resist the temptation and save your money! You can even set up earnings goals right in the app.

How to set your goal feature in the Mercari app.

You can see your balance on your profile. Click it to see more details about your sales earnings, deposit history and to transfer your cash.

Where to see your sales balance at the top of your Mercari profile.

Click “Transfer” under the balance to get your cash. You can choose to transfer via direct deposit or instant pay.

You’ll be charged a $2 flat-fee for direct deposit requests under $10 and all instant pay requests. You won’t be charged a fee for direct deposit requests over $10, but it will take a few business days for the money to appear in your account.

“Instant pay” is available only if you have a verified government ID linked to your Mercari profile.

Is Mercari Safe and Legitimate?

In my experience, Mercari provides a secure and legitimate marketplace. But keep in mind it faces the same security limitations of many other online sales platforms.

Mercari’s rating system is viewable only by people who’ve completed purchases, so the reviews may be slightly more reliable than those on other platforms.

If you have any issues you can always contact customer service at Mercari via the form at the bottom of this page or by phone at 1-888-325-2168 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. PT).

When I tried to contact customer service by phone, I got a recording that instructed me to leave a brief summary of my reason for calling as well as my name, email address and item ID. The recording then said that a Mercari team member would follow up with me.

After waiting for a little over an hour (on a weekday afternoon), I had gotten no response from customer service.

My Mercari Review

Overall, my experience as a seller on Mercari has been positive. The information provided in the app is extremely detailed and easy to understand.

The fact that Mercari lets you set an earnings goal in the app can be really encouraging. You can easily set a target and track your progress.

Mercari also lets you expose your item to more people without promotion fees. Plus, you get notifications and emails to ensure that you complete your duty as a seller correctly.

Tracking the item in transit was easy to do in the app and gave me peace of mind during that part of the process.

Consider the 10% selling fee, shipping label cost and potential cash transfer fees when making your selections as a seller. You can eliminate the transfer fee by accumulating $10 in sales and using direct deposit for the transfer.

While there wasn’t the instant gratification of making a sale and getting paid right away, you don’t have to meet anyone in person or arrange the payment yourself. The only other negative is that when you ship, you are disclosing your address to a stranger.

Mercari is a great way to make money online because it takes a lot of the hassle out of making sale arrangements.

One last tip: Listing your item on multiple platforms like Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp will give you a better chance of selling your stuff quickly. Just be sure to take an item off all of your marketplace profiles once the item sells.

Have you used Mercari or another online marketplace? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

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