Main Menu

How do I trade?

In order to initiate a trade you need:

  • to be logged into the Steam Community
  • to be connected to your Steam Friends list
  • to have friends on your Steam Friends list

Note: Using a Limited User account might prevent you from accessing some Community Market features. Please see the Limited User FAQ for more information about Limited User accounts.

To create a trade, please do the following:

  1. Open your Friends list, located in the lower right hand corner of the Steam client
  2. Click on the small arrow next to the friend you wish to invite to Trade and click on Invite to Trade
  3. Alternatively, if you are chatting with your friend, you can start a trade from the chat window by clicking on the large arrow and selecting Invite to Trade:

  4. Once accepted the trade window will appear where you can view your items, games, and coupons available to trade
  5. Select the appropriate inventory you wish to view from the dropdown menu on the left
  6. Click and drag the item, game, or coupon you wish to trade from your inventory to your trade window. If you wish to remove an item, game, or coupon simply drag it back to your inventory from the trade window
  7. Click on Ready to Trade and wait for the other party to click on Ready to Trade
  8. Verify the contents of the trade are correct by hovering your mouse over each item and reading the item details
  9. Click on Make Trade - Once you click this button the trade cannot be undone
  10. The trade will finish processing and you will receive a confirmation window with the items, games, or coupons you received in the trade.

What can I trade?

Steam items, in-game items and games (referred to as Steam Gifts) are tradable. To be sure if an item is tradable, please go to your Inventory and select the item and read the item details. The “Tags” section will indicate if it is tradable or not.


Who can I trade with?

You can initiate a trade with anyone in a Group Chat or on your Friends List.


How do I see my inventory on the Steam Community?

After logging in to your account, hover over your profile name in the top-middle of the Steam screen and select Inventory from the drop-down menu. You can also find a link in the right-hand menu of your profile page.


Who can see my items?

You can control who sees your items with Inventory privacy settings. The options are public, friends only, friends of friends, or private. You can adjust these settings through your Inventory or your general Profile settings.


What do you mean by trading Steam Gifts? Can I trade Steam Games?

Any game you’ve purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy, can be traded to other users 30 days after their original purchase. They can be used to trade for other Gifts, or for items in games supporting Steam Trading. If you would like to purchase a gift and save it in your Inventory or use it in a Steam trade at a later time, please choose 'Store the gift in my inventory to send later' when checking out.


What restrictions are there on trading Steam Gifts?

Steam restricts all gifts from being used in a Steam trade for 30 days after their original purchase date. However, you can still use the ‘Send A Gift’ feature to send this game to a friend at any time. Some gifts are also restricted to the territory that they are purchased in. This is noted on the gift itself when viewing it.


Does Steam Trading mean I can sell my used games?

No. Only games that have been bought as a gift, and thus have never been played, can be traded. Once the Steam Gift is opened and added to your game library, you won’t be able to trade it again.


How do I add a game to my library after receiving it in a trade?

Go to the game in your Steam Inventory and click “Unpack gift…” to add it to your library.


How do I purchase a game and place it in my inventory?

Purchase the game you want as a gift. Select the option "Store the gift in my inventory to send later". Once the purchase is complete, you can view the game in your Inventory. Click on the Community tab and then click on 'View Inventory' under the right hand column titled 'Actions'. Select the Steam tab to open the games/gifts that are currently in your Steam inventory.


What if a game I received in a trade is fraudulently purchased?

Please view the Revoked Gifts article for more information.


Why do I have to wait 30 days to trade my gift?

Steam restricts all gifts from being used in a Steam trade for 30 days after their original purchase date. However, you can still use the ‘Send A Gift’ feature to send this game to a friend at any time.


I think I just lost items in a trade! What do I do?

Steam Support will not return any items or gifts that you feel have been traded unfairly. There are no exceptions to this policy.

To ensure that a scammer is appropriately handled, and to prevent them from benefitting from this scam or others in the future, make sure that you report them through the Steam Community:

[link to reporting a scammer article]

Reporting a scammer through the Steam Community will always be better than submitting a Steam Support ticket containing your report. A community report includes the best information about the interaction between the accounts, and is quicker to review and act on.

To learn more about scams and trading, please see the Scam FAQ and the Recommended Trading Practices article.


What's the difference between a scam and a hijack?

A scam is when a user deceives another user into willingly (at the time) completing a trade, market transaction, or sending a gift. After the trade is completed, the person who was scammed either doesn’t receive what was promised, or the items involved are not what was agreed upon.

A hijacking is when an account or a computer is taken over by someone else without the account owner’s permission. This is often done with malware or a virus. In some cases the hijacker will convince a user to hand over their login information by providing a fake Steam or a third-party trading site. Hijackers most commonly steal accounts to gain items or games, and sometimes commit fraud. Hijackers often use stolen accounts to commit more hijackings. In these cases, we lock the account until the rightful owner contacts us about the hijacking.

For more information on hijacked accounts, please see the Reclaiming a Stolen Steam Account article and the Steam Item Restoration Policy.

For more information on scams, please read the Scam FAQ, Recommended Trading Practices article and the Steam Item Restoration Policy.


What happens to scammers?

If evidence exists that the Steam user is a scammer, Steam Support will ban the account from using the Steam Community, including Trading and using the Steam Market. The length of the ban is dependent on the severity and quantity of the scams. In some cases, scammers will be banned permanently. If a scammer has multiple accounts, all of their accounts may be subject to the ban as well.

In some cases, scammers will hijack an account and use it to commit scams, fraud or more hijackings. In these cases, we lock the account until the rightful owner contacts us about the hijacking.


What are the best ways to avoid getting scammed?

  • Ignore pressure and do not rush the trade. A common tactic by scammers is to force you to trade quickly so they can change items/gifts in the trade without you noticing.
  • Ignore the pressure to trust the other user. If you are trading with a user who insists that you trust them, they are probably attempting to scam you. Please note that +Rep comments can be generated easily by malicious groups.
  • Mouse over every item to ensure that the item/gift's properties are correct. Information about the item/gift will be stated here including the quality, name, description and any effects.
  • Pay attention to the trade log while making the trade. All changes, additions, removals and actions will be recorded in this box. You may also use it to communicate with the trader.
  • Do not trade items outside of the trade window. If another user requests that you do, they will likely scam you. Always insist to trade within the trade window in Steam. Wallet credit and money cannot be traded or added to the trade window.
  • Ensure that you are trading with the correct user. Scammers may try to impersonate your friends and other trusted traders. It is your responsibility to know who you are trading with.


What trades should I avoid?

  • Do not trade for anything that cannot be added into the trade window within Steam. The most common examples of these scenarios are the following:
  • Trading items/gifts for money outside of the Steam Community market. You cannot add Wallet credit, PayPal, gift cards or any form of money into the trade window.
  • Trading items/gifts for CD Keys. You cannot add a CD Key into the trade window. CD Keys that are offered can be for a different game, fake, used or region restricted.
  • Trading items/gifts for nothing in return in the first trade and expecting to get an item or gift in a later trade. There is no reason to not trade everything in one trade. You may add unlimited items/gifts to a single trade. A common example of this is using a middleman to facilitate a one sided trade.


What do I do if I was scammed?

If you are scammed, please use the Report feature built into Steam:

  • Go to the profile of the offending user
  • Click the 'More' drop-down located at the top right of the page
  • Choose "Report Violation"
  • Select the violation (example, "Attempted Trade Scam") and hit "Submit Report".


Why will Steam not return items that were scammed?

Our community assigns an item a value that is at least partially determined by that item's scarcity. If more copies of the item are added to the economy through inventory rollbacks, the value of every other instance of that item would be reduced.

We sympathize with people who fall victim to scams, but we provide enough information on our website and within our trading system to help users make good trading decisions. All trade scams can be avoided.


What is a trade ban?

A trade ban prevents a Steam account from using the Steam Community, including trading and using the Steam Market. A trade ban can only be applied by a Steam employee. Trade bans are mainly associated with accounts that commit scams.


What is trade probation?

Upon receiving a trade ban the offending account gets placed into probation as well. Probationary status allows other users to determine if a user has committed scams in the past so they can make better decisions about whether or not they want to trade with previous scammers. Probationary status does not prevent users from trading.


Why won’t Steam Support provide information on why they trade ban or locked an account?

By limiting the provided data, Steam Support prevents malicious users from learning how to avoid getting caught in the future. Steam Support relies on several data points to arrive at a decision to ban or lock an account. Users intent on committing malicious activity, most often done to other users, are constantly trying to gain this data to use in future scams, fraud and hijackings.


I can't trade! Why not?

There are different reasons why you may be unable to trade or use the Market. Please see the following Trading and Market Restrictions article for more information.


I have ideas for other things in Steam that can be traded. How do I give that feedback?

You can post feedback or suggestions in our Suggestions/Ideas forum as it is regularly read by our developers.


Problem with Steam?

Contact Steam Support