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When you place a bid, eBay bids on your behalf an amount just high enough to beat the high bidder's maximum bid. See How Bidding Works. The bid increment is the amount by which the current high bid is raised each time someone places a higher bid.
Here are the standard bid increments:
Note: A bidder may be outbid by less than a full increment. This would happen if the winning bidder's maximum bid beats the second highest maximum by an amount less than the full increment. Here's an example:
You're the first bidder and you place a maximum bid of £20.00. The bidding system will automatically bid on your behalf up to £20.00 against other bidders. When a second bidder places a maximum bid of £9.00, your bid will automatically be raised to £9.50. When a third bidder bids £20.01, this bidder becomes the high bidder because your maximum bid is only £20.00.
It might seem that the third bidder should be required to bid in 50-pence increments, which would be £20.50. But not in this case, because the third bidder needs only to exceed the next allowed bid amount of £10.00 (£9.50 plus £0.50). Since £20.01 is more than £10.00, the third bidder satisfies the bid requirement. Experienced bidders often use this technique of bidding a few pennies over the bid increment.
A bid increment will go higher than the standard increment in two situations:
If you were bidding against another bidder's maximum bid, your bid had to meet the other bidder's maximum bid to become the current high bidder on the item.
Sometimes the item page will show that there are 2 bids, yet there is only one bidder. This happens when a member places more then one bid to increase their maximum bid amount. For example, if you are the first bidder on an item and you place a second bid to increase your maximum bid amount, the item page would show the current high bid at the opening bid amount, but would show that two bids have been placed on this item.
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