That Used Phone in Your Desk is Costing You Money

Everyone knows that phones and the plans they accompany are expensive. But did you know that the used phone sitting in your desk drawer could also be costing you money? In fact, the longer it waits, doing nothing but gathering dust, the more money you’ve let go down the drain. The good news is it’s easier than you think to trade in used phones and earn a little something in return.

Is My Used Phone Worth Anything?

We know you’re skeptical. After all, who would want your scuffed, or dare we say mangled, old iPhone 5? Especially when so many people are coveting the new iPhone 7? The truth is, there’s a huge market for used phones and individuals, cell phone companies, and electronics stores are all looking to get a piece of the action.

Of course, it helps if your used phone is in reasonably good condition, is not more than a few years old, is a popular brand and sports a popular color. All of these factors could mean more money in your pocket. But even damaged phones could earn you something.

Who Will Buy My Used Phone?

Once you’ve made the decision to finally unload that piece of junk in your drawer, you need to decide whether you want to trade in the used phone to the provider, sell it directly to a buyer, or sell it to a third party or manufacturer. Each of these options has its pros and cons.

Many providers offer deals for traded in cell phones. For instance, you can mail your old Galaxy to Verizon when you upgrade to a new phone for a certain amount off your monthly bill. This can be a great way to save some cash on otherwise costly monthly payments. However, if you don’t do it right away, you’ll lose the opportunity.

Selling your used phone directly to an interested buyer via Craigslist or a similar service is likely your most lucrative option. However, this process can be time consuming. You must post, negotiate, and meet with potential buyers who may very well back out on the process at any moment.

Selling your used phone to a third party or manufacturer may not net you as much as an independent buyer, but it is the fastest and easiest way to make money off your old phone. And we’re not just talking a buck or five. Depending on the model and condition of your phone, you could be looking at more than $50 or even $100. If you factor in time saved, this is probably your best option.

How do I Sell My Used Phone?

Go directly to the website for a company that buys used phones, like Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, or Gazelle.

Each of their websites walk you through an assessment process where you select the model, color, condition, and provider for your phone. They then show you a quote estimate. In some cases, they’ll allow you to mail the phone in and will compensate you with a check or PayPal payment, provided the phone matches your description. In others, they will offer a quote and ask that you physically bring the phone into a store for payment.

Does it Matter Which One I Choose?

There are some significant differences between these companies and what they’re willing to offer. Companies like Amazon and Best Buy won’t compensate you with cash. Instead, they’ll offer you an in-store credit or gift card for the amount the phone is worth. GameStop does either and may offer a little more if you opt for in store credit.

Companies also vary in what they’re willing to accept. Best buy, for example, is unlikely to pay you for a damaged phone. Gazelle, on the other hand, will give you some money (albeit not much) even if your phone won’t turn on.

Some manufacturers, like Apple, will also buy back used phones. Of course, they will only buy back the used phones they manufacture. Apple has no interest in your old android. But what they will buy, they tend to pay a premium for. For example, right now, a 64bit Verizon iPhone 5 goes for between $50 and $60 at most of these companies. However, Apple will pay $100 for it. In fact, Apple goes as high as $265 for an iPhone 6 Plus. However, you’re not likely to see that kind of cash from most places.

What if No One Will Buy My Used Phone?

Thanks to Gazelle’s sister company EcoATM, you can always get something. EcoATMs are in most malls across America and will give you immediate cash upon turning your phone into the machine. EcoATM believes in the safe disposal of electronics and offers at least $1 for any phone (even broken ten-year-old ones). Don’t leave your phone lying around (and don’t throw it away) when at least one company is willing to take it off your hands.