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OfferUp co-founders Arean Van Veelen (left) and Nick Huzar (right). Credit: OfferUp

OfferUp today announced several new features for its buying and selling app designed to make transactions safer and more transparent, as the mobile marketplace works to stem safety concerns.

Here is a rundown of all the new features, which are designed to give buyers and sellers more information about each other, allowing them to better trust the process.

  • Several of the new safety and transparency features displayed on an OfferUp profile. (OfferUp Photo)

    Verification badges: These appear on profiles when users verify their phone number and email address and connect their Facebook account.

  • Positive review attributes: OfferUp users could already rate people on the other end of transactions, but now the app displays ratings for attributes like timeliness, friendliness, reliability and whether items matched their descriptions.
  • Average response time: OfferUp profiles now display how long it usually takes sellers to respond to ongoing conversations with other users.
  • Trusted connections: If an OfferUp profile is integrated with Facebook, users will be able to see if they have any friends in common.
  • Personalized background image: Users can add a background image or banner photo to further enhance their profile, allowing people to get a clearer sense of what that user likes, where they’re from and/or what they sell.

OfferUp launched as a mobile-first, user-friendly alternative to Craigslist, but the six-year-old company has found itself mired in some of the same challenges faced by its competitor. In the Seattle area (where OfferUp is based) and other cities around the country, criminals have used the app for robberies.

In recent months and years OfferUp has put out a variety of new features and initiatives, with a common goal of making buying and selling on the app more transparent.

“Building and establishing trust with consumers has been a priority since day one, which is why we’ve built products, features and programs with a focus on safer transactions,” said Nick Huzar, OfferUp’s co-founder and CEO said about the new features. “Trust is at the heart of every marketplace transaction, and therefore central to the machine that fuels the business. Removing anonymity and increasing transparency can only benefit our community, helping buyers and sellers make more informed decisions.”

Last month OfferUp debuted its Community MeetUp Spots program, a network of more than 450 meeting places for users to exchange goods. The Community MeetUp Spots are at police stations and participating Ralphs supermarkets, allowing OfferUp users to pick up and hand off items in well-lit, surveilled locations.

The TruYou member program displays a badge on profiles for users who confirm their phone number and provide an image of an ID and a selfie in the app. OfferUp also has a secure chat function that allows users to communicate with the other party without having to share their personal information.

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