Individual vs. Professional Amazon Seller Accounts

A common question I get asked from new sellers, is about what type of Amazon seller account they should setup. Specifically, they ask if they should setup an individual seller account or a professional seller account.

Each type of selling account has its respective benefits, and it really depends on your specific needs. To figure out what type of Amazon seller account you need, let’s start by looking at how Amazon describes each account type:

The Amazon Individual Seller Account

Here’s how Amazon describes the individual seller account option:

“The Individual selling plan is for sellers who don’t need access to inventory tools and reports for volume selling. Under the Individual selling plan, you don’t pay a monthly subscription fee. You pay a per-item fee in addition to applicable fees.”

The Amazon Professional Seller Account

Here’s how Amazon describes the professional seller account option:

“In the Professional selling plan, you pay a nonrefundable monthly subscription fee regardless of whether you list or sell anything. You don’t pay a per-item fee when an item sells. All other fees are charged as applicable. The Professional selling plan gives you access to inventory tools to upload batch files and manage your orders through feeds and reports. These tools are beneficial to most medium- to large-size businesses.”

Key Differences between the Amazon Individual Seller Account and the Amazon Professional Seller Account

Below is a chart that shows the key differences between the 2 account types:

 

The above chart is directly from Amazon, and does a nice job of comparing the two account types. That said, there’s a lot here, and it’s important to drill down to the details that are most important:

  • The Amazon professional seller fee rings in at $39.99 per month. However, that $39.99 monthly fee removes the individual seller fee of $0.99 per item. So, if you are selling more than 40 items it almost always makes sense to get the professional seller account.
  • Only Amazon professional sellers are eligible to have their items featured in the “buy box.” The buy box is the featured seller on a listing within Amazon. For example, on this listing “Windy Castle Gift Shop” is the seller in the buy box:

This means that if the seller clicks the “add to cart” or “buy now” buttons (red arrow), they will be purchasing from Windy Castle Gift Shop, as they are the seller in the buy box. If you are selling this item and are not in the buy box, you will show up as one of the sellers featured below the buy box, or in the list where it says used & new (37) by the blue arrow. As you can see if you aren’t in the buy box it’s a bit more difficult for customers to buy from you.

  • Only professional seller accounts have the ability to have sales tax collected on items they sell. Sales tax for FBA sellers is a bit of a tricky issue, but if you want to collect sales tax you need the professional seller account.
  • Amazon requires an additional level of approval to sell in certain categories on the platform. Below are examples of categories that require you to have a professional seller account to seek approval:
    • Automotive & Powersports
    • Jewelry
    • Watches
    • Sports Collectibles
    • Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
    • Collectible Coins
    • Entertainment Collectibles
    • Fine Art
  • The final major difference that I will point out is the ability to use product data feeds, and granting access to other users. These features are only available on the professional selling plan. If you want to use 3rd party apps and tools, then you will need a professional seller account. In my case, the tools that I use to help run my business require me to be signed up through a professional seller account.

Which Amazon seller account type is best for you?

The individual Amazon seller account is best for someone who:

  • Wants to get their feet wet selling on Amazon and keep costs as low as possible at the beginning
  • Is selling less than 40 items per month
  • Doesn’t have the need for the additional features of the professional seller account.

The professional seller account is best for:

  • Any sellers selling over 40 items per month
  • Any seller wanting to collect sales tax on their items
  • Any sellers who want to use 3rd party apps and tools
  • Sellers who want to be displayed in the buy box
  • Sellers who want to sell in certain restricted categories

Can I start off as an individual seller account and then switch to a professional seller account later?

Yes you can switch at any time you would like.

This is the route I took when I first started selling on Amazon. When I was doing it part-time as a hobby I used an individual seller account. Then, once I was selling over 40 items per month, I upgraded to the professional seller account.

Here’s how to upgrade your Amazon seller account:

  1. Login to your Amazon Seller Account
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Account Info under Settings
  3. In the Your Services section click Manage
  4. Click Upgrade next to the account type

Note: If you want to switch from a professional seller account to an individual seller account, steps 1 to 3 are the same, and in step 4 click downgrade.

Conclusion:

This post walks through the main decision factors that I would look at when determining which account type is right for you. If you are in doubt as to which option is right for you, and you are selling less than 40 items per month, I’d start off with the individual seller account. Then, once you are selling 40 items per month or need additional features, upgrade to the professional seller account.

Want to learn more about getting started selling on Amazon? Here’s a general overview of my recommendations for getting started selling on Amazon.

You can also take my free email course where I share some of the tips I’ve learned from operating my own multi-million dollar business to help you get your first sale on Amazon.

55 thoughts on “Individual vs. Professional Amazon Seller Accounts”

  1. i have already individual seller account in middle east can i open Seller account USA marketplace by same bank statement

    1. Hi Zahid,

      You may need a US bank account for a US account, but I’d try it out and see if they accept it with your current bank statement.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  2. Ahmad Alzeitawi

    Hi Rayan,
    Do I need a open a company or have license to open professional seller account at Amazon? Or using my name only ?
    Thx

    1. Hi Ahmad,

      Amazon will let you open up a professional seller account using your name and social security number.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  3. Hi Ryan,
    You mentioned students in your program who ran into the problem of getting locked into a Professional account when they wanted the Individual one. Do you know if they have been successful in getting their refund after completing registration? The same thing happened to me and I wish I had read your article before. It would have saved me a lot of hassle. Right now I’m going back and forth with their automated replies trying to resolve the issue.

    1. Hi Mariam,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes there have been past students who have been able to get that resolved. Others who signed up as a professional account right away have decided to just downgrade the account, and not go through seeking reimbursement as it can be a bit time consuming.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  4. If at first, I had an Individual account and then decided to switch, would this be considered as me having two seller accounts?

    1. Hi Kris, this would not be considered as two accounts. Your Individual account would be “upgraded” to a Professional account.

    1. These are separate accounts. You can be both an Amazon Associate and a seller.

      The Associate program is their affiliate or referral program.

  5. Should I need to register my brand before going to advertise my products on Amazon? As you explain advertising on amazon does need a professional account, can you say am I able to advertise only with a professional account without a brand registry?

    1. Hi Pooja,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes you can advertise your products on Amazon without being brand registered.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  6. I will open a business company before I switch my account from individual to professional.
    Question:
    Should my new company be only in my name?
    Or can I have my new company with my son and my wife as partners?

    1. Hi Sergio,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’d recommend consulting a lawyer on these questions so they can get into the specifics of what’s right for your personal situation. As either option could be fine depending on your goals.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  7. Why do Amazon ask for your bank account when signing up for this? What if you don’t have bank account or credit card. They don’t accept PayPal debit card. Just a past Amazon seller, who want to join Amazon again.

    1. Hi Kim,

      The bank account is required so you can be paid by Amazon when you sell items on the platform. It’s also likely used for identity verification as well.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  8. When signing up for pro seller account, do we just use same email as our affiliate account?

    I have had regular buyer account for years, and use same email for my affiliates account. Now want to add pro seller.

    Just use same email?

    Thank you,
    Jon

    1. Hi Jon,

      That’s up to you, either using an existing one or creating a new one works just fine.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      1. Hi Tasha,

        Yes they can. If you use the FBA program for your inventory then your items will be sold with the Prime delivery options for the customer.

        Best Regards,
        Ryan

    1. Hi Matthew,

      It doesn’t have to be a business bank account, you can use a personal account if you’d prefer.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  9. Thanks for your explanation
    I am living in Canada. I want to try selling on Amazon by using my name like Legal Name.
    1- can I begin directly with Professionnal account without business registration in my country?
    2- if I begin To have good revenues and decide To create a registrared business, can I update my informations about legal name?

    Thanks

    1. Thanks for your comment. On your question:

      1. Yes Amazon will still let you sign up as a professional account.

      2. Yes you can update the account information on file later.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

        1. Hi Kay,

          I wouldn’t recommend paying someone to setup your account for you. It’s a quick process and should take less than 15 minutes.

          Best Regards,
          Ryan

  10. Jean Jacques Amella

    I want to sell from Indonesian as an individual. I do not have a tax file number as I am not working , can I register, also I will be sending the item sold from Indonesia, can I do it?

    1. Hi Jean,

      Thanks for your comment. I don’t have personal experience with this, but my understanding is that you will need to setup a tax ID number to register for an Amazon.com account. As long as you do that, then you would be able to sell on Amazon.com from your country.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  11. Hi there,

    I have looked in a few places, but cannot seem to find if it is possible to be an individual seller and use FBA program. Would you know? I would like to start selling between 20-25 items, but would like to use FBA. Do I need to go the professional route instead?

    Also, when I try to set up a seller’s account, it only offers me a professional one. Am I missing something?

    This is a wonderful site. I am sure, though, you have heard that many times. Thank you for providing information of substance.

    Regards,
    Val

  12. I am going to sell Leather Jackets on amazon and going to open a store within couple of days. Since the demand is predicted to be low due to upcoming summer season, I am thinking to start with Individual account, and later, in the last quarter of this year i.e. in winter season, I would switched to professional account.

    I really appreciate if you provide me your valuable feedback on this strategy.

  13. could i swicth from individual account to a professional acc any time? if i going to sell a few items, could be available the option to send this items on amaon centers and got the service to storage and after a purchase delivery by you?

  14. If you have a pro account with approval in certain categories and switch to personal do you lose the ability to sell in those categories that you got approval for as a pro seller?

    1. Yes, you lose the ability to sell in categories that you were ungated for if you switch to an individual account.

  15. Sadly Amazon’s now leads people to confusion. There is no clear option to signup (from scratch) for an Individual Account, all signup roads seems to lead to a Professional Account (and the $40 signup fee and giving CC and banking info). One discovers this dead-end only after entering the email address for the new account, so at that point the setup wizard has locked that email address for signup, and there is now way to blackout and say, hey wait, I want an Individual Account. Most of the posted info I have seen describes how to downgrade from Professional to Individual, AFTER the $40 has been paid. These types of modern (lock-in) marketing tactics, intended to wear one down, are not very inducing for new sellers.

    1. You have to use some number so that Amazon can report your earnings. An EIN is one way people do this. Many people who are just starting out as sole proprietors use their SSN though.

  16. This is great information and it does help answer my question about the restricted categories which I really want to get into. Thanks so much!!!

  17. Can we retain reports and history if we switch back and forth from a Pro account?

    We recently liquidated our 2nd Amazon (book) store due to the new fee structure and hope to repurpose the account in the near future.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Tom,

      I would ask Amazon this question just to be safe, but as far as I know you’d still have the report history.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

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