How to Do an Automatic Bid on eBay


Going in and out of your eBay account to place new bids whenever someone outbids you can be time-consuming, and you risk losing auctions if you can't rebid in time; luckily, you can use eBay's maximum bidding system to automatically manage your bids for you. eBay will place bids on your behalf to keep you ahead of the game until it reaches your limit or you win the auction.

Place a Maximum Bid

  • Select the Place Bid button on the auction listing. In the window that opens, select either the default bid amount or type your maximum bid in the box. Select Place Max Bid to set up automatic bidding.

    Don't commit to a higher maximum bid than you're willing to pay. You can't lower the bid once you make it, and eBay has strict bid retraction rules, making it extremely hard to cancel bids. For auctions with reserves, eBay starts automatic bids at the reserve price if your maximum bid meets or exceeds it.

How Incremental Bids Work

  • EBay uses an incremental bid system, increasing automatic bids in stages when someone outbids you. For example, if the highest bid was $5 and you set a $10 maximum, your initial bid would be $5.50. If someone bids $6, eBay raises your bid to $6.50. If the auction ends then, you pay $6.50. Once bidding goes over $10, your automatic bid is done and you're out of the game unless you place a new bid.

    Note that eBay changes increments as the value of an auction increases. For example, once a bid goes over $25, the increment switches from $0.50 to $1.

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  • Photo Credit Daniel Ernst/iStock/Getty Images
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