Best Way to Sell Your Old Phone

Each year around the same time, phone manufacturers try to convince you to upgrade to their latest models. Whether you use an Android or iPhone, you have probably heard about the latest model’s revolutionary new features, the likes of which supposedly leave your current phone in the dust.

If you've decided it's time for a new phone, you may be wondering what to do with your old phone. You have several options, from trading it in or selling it to tossing it in a drawer or recycling it. We think the best thing to do with a used phone is to sell it to a certified refurbisher and recycler, but this piece will cover all your options so you can decide for yourself.

Is It Time to Buy a New Phone?

Smartphone upgrades are as worthwhile as you make them. If you are looking for basic functions like the ability to call, text, surf the web, take photos and videos and record your own voice, you might already have everything you need in the phone you purchased 18 months ago, providing it has not been damaged or infected with malware. However, if you have been waiting for features that were non-existent or out of your price range when you were last purchasing a new phone, now could be the time to reconsider.

Think of the last time you bought a new phone. Chances are, it was a major step up from your prior model in terms of features and capabilities. Within the first few days of using it, you probably discovered a whole new range of capabilities that made your old phone seem obsolete. Even if you initially did not like the new phone because it seemed complicated and unfamiliar, you were probably glad that you made the purchase once you overcame the learning curve. Now, two or three years later, just imagine having that same experience with a newer model that could render its predecessor a relic.

New features aside, there are other reasons why you might want to upgrade your phone every year or two. For starters, a phone made within the last 12 or 18 months will generally have greater resale value than a phone from 2013. If you wait too long to sell a past-model phone, the window of profitability for the phone in question could fall by the month.

When you weigh the benefits of the latest model from your phone maker against the depreciating value of last year’s model, it could make a lot more sense to stay up to date with the manufacturer. The key to staying up on the game is to know where to sell your current phone and make the most money. You can then use that money to cover part of the price of your new phone.

How to Sell a Used Phone

Selling your old phone may be the best way to get some of its value back, even after several years of use. With the rising popularity in online sales and purchases, there are more than a few sites you can use to turn that outdated device into cash.

If you opt to go the online-resale route, you have a couple of choices. One option is to use an independent seller site to sell your phone. You would have to describe the piece in full detail, provide photographs of the device and give it a fair value. Also set aside any packaging material and peripherals that came with the phone, such as the box, user’s manual and cords. When and if the item sells, you would also be responsible for direct correspondence with the buyer and handling shipping arrangements.

As you list the phone, describe in detail the functions of the phone as well as basic stats and information from the original product page, as listed by the manufacturer. As you wait for bids on your listing, refrain from using the phone for anything but the most vital daily functions. The worst thing that could happen at this point is an accident that might render your phone unusable, just as someone places a generous offer on your listing.

The other option is to use a buyback site or kiosk. Rather than deal with online auctions and contacting buyers, the company will handle most of the work. With the site option, you would simply answer a few survey questions, receive an offer and drop the phone off at a kiosk or mail it in. The full kiosk version is even easier — you can have the phone evaluated, get paid and leave it in the machine in minutes.

What's the Best Way to Sell?

Once you've decided to sell your old phone, you have to choose between selling it directly or using a third-party buyback program. While you may be inclined to sell the device on your own terms, going through a refurbisher is a better way to get cash for your old phone. You'll have the advantages of:

1. Getting Paid Fast

When you choose to sell your phone online, you have to wait for a buyer to bite. This could take weeks or longer, depending on how desirable your device is and how fairly you've priced it. If you need to put the sale money towards your new phone, it could seriously delay when you can buy. And the longer you have to wait, the more the value may drop. With a third-party company, you can skip the wait. They'll value your device based on several criteria, give you an offer and buy it from you outright, so you can get your cash quickly.

2. Double-Checking Your Data

It's important to clear your phone of any personal data before you begin the trade in process. If you want to sell on your own, it’s recommended to have the device clean before you ship it out or hand it over.

3. Avoiding Scammers

Unfortunately, online marketplaces are not immune to scammers. You may never come in contact with one, but there's still a risk when you're independently selling on a site. Some scammers use buyer protection policies against you — they can purchase an item, claim the item was never delivered or isn't the right order and end up keeping your phone and the money. However, if you sell your phone to a reliable refurbisher, you won't have any risk of encountering a con artist. You get paid before buyers are even involved in the equation.

4. Receiving a Fair Value

When you create an online listing for your phone, you have to give it a valuation. If the price seems unfair to buyers, they won't jump — that is, if you have any interested parties, to begin with. You may be forced to drop your price lower until it sells. A third-party company will provide you with a value based on market prices, the brand and the condition of your device. The evaluation will determine a fair offer, which you can either decline or accept.

5. Convenience

Selling your phone without knowing exactly what to do can be daunting. You have to choose the site with the best audience, prepare the device, take photos, create a listing, deal with a buyer and finalize the sale. Third-party buyback companies do all the hard work for you. In some cases, getting an offer, getting paid and getting rid of your phone is as easy as spending a few minutes at a kiosk.

Buyback companies will provide you with better value and less stress than trying to sell your used phone independently. It may be the easiest way to get money for your device, which means you can move on from your outdated model and get to purchasing a new phone faster.

How Much Will an Old Phone Sell For?

When you set about selling a phone for the first time, you likely wonder how much you'll make selling a used phone. If you still like the phone and use it for various functions, you might even see the prospect of sales or trade-ins as not being worth the hassle.

For some people, it all boils down to their personal use of a given phone versus the advanced features of newer models. After all, why would anyone else want to pay good money for the phone that you have used extensively for the past year or more when they could just as easily purchase a newer, more advanced model for a few dollars more? This can be a very flawed assumption when you consider the number of functions that you get from your current phone.

For example, you might have purchased your current phone three years ago when 32 GB of space was enough to accommodate your photos, videos and music. Now that your files have exceeded that capacity, you probably want to trade up to a phone with double or triple that amount of storage space. While you might feel as though you are the last person on Earth to use 32 gigs, the fact is there are all types of smartphone users, even those who would consider that to be plenty of storage space. Remember, you still get many other great uses from the phone. Otherwise, you would not have been able to amass such a large collection of snapshots and videos up to the present day.

The very fact that you still value the phone in your possession is reason enough to believe in its resale value. Think of it this way — if your current phone has a range of functions that are essential to your way of life, yet you still want more, imagine what that same phone could do for someone with a more limited set of needs. While last year’s model might seem outdated to you, it could easily be an advanced piece of technology to the people looking to buy used phones online.

Will a Sale Cover the Cost of a New Phone?

Before you upgrade your phone, you need to decide on a newer phone and determine how much money you can expect to earn by selling your current phone. Depending on the age, model and manufacturer of your current phone and the condition it's in, an offer from a refurbisher might cover a small or large portion of the final cost.

In general, the value of an older phone will rarely cover the full cost of a new device. Each year, the prices of new phones go up and the value of old models goes down. However, there are a few new smartphones on the market that are meant to be more cost-effective than the top-of-the-line models. If you own one of the more expensive models and sell it before the value depreciates too much, you could potentially have enough to purchase a new phone.

However, most of the time, this is not the case. With the smartphone prices hitting all-time highs, people are waiting an average of about three years to upgrade to a new model. The average has risen from under two and a half years and will likely continue to grow. That waiting period is reflected in the decreased resale value of the device — the older it gets, the more outdated the system is, and the less it is worth.

Despite obsolescence coming into play, if your device is in good, working condition without any major damage to the outer casing or screen, you can still get a considerable offer. Even if it is damaged, getting any money for it is better than throwing it out and having nothing towards an upgrade.

The point of selling is not to walk away with a free new phone in exchange for your old one. Rather, it's to use your current phone as a money-down coupon on your next model. If you make the switch in good time, your savings from this transaction could be huge.

Get Cash for Your Used Phone With ecoATM

If you need to sell a phone for any reason, the easiest place to carry out the exchange is at your local ecoATM.

With ecoATM, you can trade your old devices for cash in three easy steps. All you have to do is locate one of our kiosks using our online search, bring a valid state ID and your charged device, place it in the scanner for evaluation and receive a competitive cash offer.

For your convenience, we have over 4,000 kiosks located across the country. You won't have to worry about shipping your device to us - simply deposit it into the kiosk. If you have any other broken devices or charging cables you want to be recycled, you can leave those in the kiosk, and we'll handle them for you as well.

Once we've got your old phone, we’ll either find it a new home or recycle it properly. Either way, they stay out of landfills and help others find the phone they need.

Trade in your old phone for cash — find a kiosk near you or feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.