Where can you sell Starfield contraband? Every time you re-enter a civilized planet, your ship will be scanned and if you’re carrying contraband, you may well be busted if they spot it. And if you don’t have a Shielded Cargo Hold then, well, you’ll get busted every single time.
Designing your Starfield ship to your exact vision is something that will take a lot of Starfield money and time, but there is one specific part you should get as quickly as possible to make smuggling Starfield contraband a much smoother process. Once you’ve smuggled the illegal goods, you can then go on to sell them – here’s what you need to know.
Where to sell Starfield contraband
You can sell contraband at the Trade Authority, one of their kiosks, or at one of the many vendors in The Key.
Here are the places you can sell contraband in Starfield:
- New Atlantis (The Well – Zoe Kaminski)
- The Key
You may also run into Trade Authority ships in outer space, and you can sell your contraband there without having to bypass the planetary security check if you dock with them. But how do you get past the check and sell contraband when planetside?
How to smuggle Starfield contraband
To smuggle contraband, you must have a Shielded Cargo Hold on your ship. This is a ship module that essentially protects the contents within from the scanner when you’re entering a planet’s atmosphere. You’ll know you have contraband on your ship if any item is marked with a yellow icon.
However, there’s a catch – it doesn’t always work. There’s no exact formula, but essentially, you don’t want your Shielded Cargo Hold to be full to the brim of contraband because otherwise, it will still be picked up on the scan. You only want a portion of your cargo to be contraband. Imagine in real life, if you were trying to smuggle some illicit goods in the back of a truck and it gets investigated by the police. If the contraband is hidden behind heaps of other, perfectly legal stuff, it’s much less likely to be identified. However, if the truck is full to the brim of the forbidden item, it’ll be seen straight away. The same theory applies to Starfield.
The way this translates in-game is that Shielded Cargo Holds come in different sizes. If your Shielded Cargo Hold has a 100kg capacity, and you have 80-90kg+ of contraband, there’s a good chance it’ll be flagged. If you only have 20kg of contraband, you should be able to scoot on unscathed.
One way you can increase the chance of getting past a scan is by having Scan Jammers on your ship, but these must be used in conjunction with a Shielded Cargo Hold rather than instead of. They will not work if you have a standard Cargo Hold, but if you do have a Shielded Cargo Hold, stick a few of these gadgets on your ship and the chance of you failing a scan with contraband on-board decreases with each one.
There’s also the Deception Starfield skill, which is in the second row of the social category of skills. Unlocking it requires spending four skill points in social, followed by a fifth to unlock Deception. Each rank of Deception decreases the effectiveness of contraband scans – 10% at rank one, up to 50% at rank four. If you’re planning on being a full-time pirate then this is certainly worthwhile acquiring, but if you’re more of a moonlighting smuggler, there are probably other skills worth investing in first, at least during the early levels.
How to get a Shielded Cargo Hold and Scan Jammer
You can’t buy a Shielded Cargo Hold or Scan Jammer from any old ship vendor, unfortunately. The best way early on is to steal a ship with both modules already installed – Crimson Fleet ships are your best bet to target. Kill the crew on board, register your new ship at a spaceport, and voila. As long as it has a Shielded Cargo Hold, you can start attempting to smuggle contraband.
If you want to buy those ship parts yourself, you’ll either want to join up with the Crimson Fleet or find a Rare Parts Dealer. The former can be done during the quest Deep Cover, which you’ll unlock if you commit a crime in a system under United Colonies control. You’ll be tasked with infiltrating the Crimson Fleet, which will lead you to The Key, where you can find plenty of vendors with Shielded Cargo Holds and Scan Jammers to sell.
Then there are the Rare Parts Dealers, which, unfortunately, are a little unreliable. From what we can tell, these are usually found through random encounters or missions via a Mission Board, rather than scripted quests or locations.
Finally, you can also receive some ships as quest rewards, some of which will come with Shielded Cargo Holds and Scan Jammers already fitted. One example is the Razorleaf, which can be obtained by completing the ‘Mantis’ side quest on Denebola I-b.
That is everything you need to know about how to sell and smuggle contraband, and the ship parts you need to do so. Make sure you read up on our guides to all the Starfield planets and Starfield cities, so you know all about the next destination you’re flying off to.
Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools.