Even though the age limit for selling online varies between platforms, it’s a great opportunity for would-be entrepreneurs to get a taste of how it feels to start their own business.
Our Youth Economy Report shows that a quarter of teens are already earning from selling things on online marketplaces, so never has there been a better time to learn how to make money as a kid. Louise Hill, Co-founder and COO of GoHenry, agrees. "Empowering children to earn money from a young age has a lasting positive outcome on equality and job opportunities in the US."
What is an online marketplace?
An online marketplace, as opposed to an online site, is an e-commerce site that offers products from different sellers. These sellers are known as 'third-party sellers'. The most well-known marketplaces with third-party sellers are Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Vinted and Depop.
What's important to understand is that every online marketplace has its own age limit, transaction fees and processes. If your teen is thinking about selling through one, they need to do their research and understand the pros and cons of each before they sign up.
How old do you need to be to sell online?
The more prominent marketplaces like Amazon and eBay ask users to be 18 because listings on their sites involve entering into a contract, which a minor cannot sign. However, many allow under-18s to sell via a parent's account, so read the terms and conditions to check.
Although eBay's user policy states that you need to be 18 or above, it is possible to start selling if you get a parent’s permission to use their account. As a parent account holder, you’ll be legally responsible for everything that happens on the account. So keep an eye on what your child/teen is doing.
Teens between the ages of 13-17 are permitted to use Etsy's service, but teens who wish to sell on Etsy must use the ‘About’ section of the shop to disclose all members of the shop, including the parent who owns the account. All financial information on the account must be under the parent's name, and minors can’t be listed as shop owners.
Anything sold directly through Amazon is owned by Amazon.com though there's an overlap, and you'll find that you will also be offered goods from third-party sellers through Amazon Marketplace. Under 18s can only use this service with the involvement of a parent or guardian.
TikTok shop is a new shopping feature on TikTok that allows sellers and creators to showcase and sell products directly on TikTok through in-feed videos and LIVEs. TikTok requires users to be at least 13 years old, but you must be over 18 to set up a shop on the platform.
Vinted has a policy that users must be individuals aged 18 years or more. For under-18s, a parent must register and supervise the use of the services.
Users aged 13 and up can sell items on Depop but those under 18 will need a parent or guardian's permission to buy and sell on Depop. The protected payment system is linked to a Paypal account (which requires its users to be aged 18 or over), so this will need to be a parent account.
The world’s largest freelance marketplace, Freelancer has over 1,800 categories to choose from including design, data entry and video/photo editing. You have to be 16 to use Freelancer. But depending on your state’s laws, those under 18 may be able to use a parent’s account with their permission.
This global online marketplace for freelance services connects freelancers to people or businesses looking to hire. Fiverr's Terms of Service require that all users be at least 18 years of age. However, users under 18 and (but over 13 years of age) are permitted to use the site through an account owned by their parent or legal guardian, with their permission.
What can your kids & teens learn from selling online?
Kids can learn so much from entrepreneurship and selling online. "Earning money helps kids to understand both the value of money and the connection between hard work and financial gain,” says Beth Zemble, VP for Education at GoHenry.
Selling online also builds several life skills, including discipline, interpersonal skills when dealing with customers, marketing, motivation and resilience. From a financial perspective, it helps your kids to understand the more significant money issues such as budgeting, tracking their incomings and outgoings and investing in their business.
How can your teen get paid when they sell online?
Many online marketplaces will pay via PayPal, or directly to a parent’s bank account. Parents can then transfer the money directly to their GoHenry teen debit card, complete with a reference, so the child will know where the money has come from.
GoHenry can help kids learn about money management, budgeting and safe spending. The in-app Money Missions will also help kids develop their saving and investing skills through bite-sized, interactive games and quizzes designed to accelerate their financial literacy.