Starfield: Where to sell contraband

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Being a pirate pays well in Starfield, and a big part of why that's the case is the fact that selling illegal pieces of contraband loot — items marked with a yellow icon — is incredibly lucrative. Whether you've stumbled across a crate of harvested organs, packages of illegal drugs, sensitive AI components, or another type of forbidden hot commodity, you can look forward to exchanging those items for a big paycheck from the black market.

However, given the nature of what you're selling, contraband can't just be traded with anyone. You'll need to fence it to a group that doesn't mind a little shady business, and sadly, Starfield doesn't tell you where to look. Don't worry, though, because we're here to help with a full rundown of everything you need to know about the sale of contraband. This includes details on the organization you can exchange it to for credits, as well as where these fences can be found throughout the Settled Systems.

Starfield: Where and how to sell contraband

Trade Authority shops like this one are always clearly marked, making them easy to spot. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Since owning, buying, and selling contraband items is illegal, nearly every merchant and shop you'll find across the Settled Systems will refuse to pay you for them. However, there's one notable exception to this: the Trade Authority. This conglomerate of vendors is willing to deal in anything and everything that you bring to them, and this includes contraband. You can find a Trade Authority shop at all of Starfield's major cities, the specific locations of which we'll go over in the section below.

Note that these are separate from the Trade Authority kiosks that are typically found near landing zones and spaceports. Only Trade Authority shops, not kiosks, will accept contraband items.

The Wolf system is located right next to Alpha Centauri, meaning you can easily visit it from the start of the game. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Most places where you can find a Trade Authority shop are patrolled by UC Vanguard or Freestar Collective vessels, meaning that you'll be scanned for contraband upon entering their airspace. Even if you've gotten yourself a shielded cargo hold to smuggle contraband, there's a chance your illegal items will be detected before you're able to land, which means that trying to sell your loot in these settlements is risky. 

Thankfully, though, there's a Trade Authority vendor you can reach without having to deal with contraband scans. They're located aboard The Den space station, which you'll find in the Wolf system that's directly northeast of Alpha Centauri (check the image above for the exact location). Specifically, The Den is in orbit around the planet Chthonia. While this station is technically controlled by the UC Vanguard, the lack of nearby patrol ships means there are no scans to worry about.

Starfield: All Trade Authority locations

You'll find a Trade Authority location in every major settlement. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Generally, you'll never have to travel far to find a Trade Authority vendor in Starfield, although the game doesn't point you in their direction and largely leaves finding them up to you. You're in luck, however, because we've discovered them all and have listed each of their locations below.

  • New Atlantis, Jemison, Alpha Centauri system: At the Spaceport, head down to The Well by taking the elevator between Jemison Mercantile and Terrabrew Coffee. There, you'll find the Trade Authority shop directly next to the House of the Englightened.
  • Cydonia, Mars, Sol system: The Trade Authority shop on Cydonia is located on the very first lower level, found directly to the right once you walk down the ramp that leads to the settlement's central plaza.
  • Akila City, Akila, Cheyenne system: Immediately turn right after entering Akila City's main gate and continue forward until you see the Trade Authority structure to your right.
  • Neon, Volii Alpha, Volii system: Found to your immediate left after you pass through the city's security checkpoint and take the elevator.
  • The Den, Chthonia, Wolf system: The Trade Authority vendor aboard The Den can be found on the left side of the space station's top floor.
  • The Key, Kryx system: There's a Trade Authority shop at The Key, though this area is controlled by an extremely powerful force of Crimson Fleet ships. Unless you've joined the faction, you won't be able to reach it.

Starfield is finally here, and it's undoubtedly one of the best Xbox games and best PC games for lovers of space exploration, deep RPG gameplay, and the sci-fi genre as a whole. 

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.