Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Sell your Old Cell Phone and Get Cash

How to Get Cash for your Used Cell Phone

If you have an old cell phone that you are not using, you can quickly and easily get cash for it.  It is easier than ever to sell a used cell phone, with more businesses buying used cell phones to sell in secondary markets.  Prices offered by phone buyback companies are competitive since they want to buy your cell phone and resell it for a profit.

There are four ways to get cash for your old cell phone.  The best method for selling your cell phone will depend on how quickly you want to get your cash .  Also, the condition of your phone and the local demand for your phone are factors to consider.  If your phone is in excellent condition, you may get more selling it yourself to an individual buyer through craigslist or eBay.  If your cell phone is in average or worse condition, you may be better off selling it to a buying company rather than an individual.  If your phone is a few years old, you may have trouble finding a local buyer unless it is a very popular model such as an iPhone.

Pantech cell phone
Sell your used cell phone and get cash!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Piincher

How to Sell A Cell Phone

Get Money for your Cell Phone from ecoATM

This is an interesting way to get money for your cell phone.  ecoATM machines are artificial intelligence kiosks that use automatic image analysis to examine the condition of your cell phone.  ecoATM uses electrical diagnostics to make determine whether it is in good working order- you are offered a connector so you can plug your phone into the ecoATM for evaluation.  ecoATM will offer you a price for your phone and you can decide whether or not to sell it.  As you might expect from the ATM part of the name, you can get instant cash for your cell phone.

ecoATM does use a remote human operator to compare the photo on your ID with the video feed from the ecoATM.  The identity of sellers is tracked carefully to allow investigation if stolen cell phones are cashed in at ecoATM.

a machine that evaluates your cell phone and dispenses cash
ecoATM: an intelligent kiosk that buys cell phones
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Sell your Phone at an Electronics Store

Electronics stores such as Best Buy and GameStop will buy your used cell phone at the store.  Best Buy calls their program a trade in, but you don’t need to buy a new phone in order to sell your old phone.  At the service counter, they will look up your phone in a database by make, model, and condition and offer you a price.  They will also power up your phone and check that it is good working order.  You can get instant cash for your phone by selling it at an electronics store.

Best Buy store sign at night
Electronics stores such as Best Buy will buy used cell phones for cash
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Ship your Cell Phone to a Buyback Service

There are a number of buyback services that will buy your used cell phone by mail.  Here’s how it works:
  1. On the website, enter the make, model, and condition of you phone to get an estimate.
  2. If you are satisfied with the estimated price for your phone, ship your phone to the buyback service
  3. The buyback service receives your phone and evaluates it
  4. You payment is issued

Many cell phone buyback services offer free shipping if your phone value is over a certain amount.

Some popular cell phone buyback services to consider:
Best Buy mail service:
buymytronics (part of GameStop network):

An advantage of using buyback services is that you can quickly check offers for your phone on websites and pick the best offer.  However, it may take a couple weeks to ship your phone, have it evaluated, and receive your payment.  If you are looking for fast cash, you'll want to consider another method.

I checked out the value of my 2 year old BlackBerry Torch 9800 (AT&T).  I expected the value to be around $100.  The phone is in good working condition and has no water damage.  Here are the offers I received to buy my used cell phone:
  • Gazelle: $40
  • Best buy trade-in: $70
  • uSell: $27
  • recellular: $61
  • buymytronics: $50
  • casholdphone: $85

As you can see, there is a big difference in the value of a used cell phone depending on which buyback service you get an offer from- it pays to look at multiple offers and pick one of the best offers.  

I took my phone to the ecoATM at the local shopping mall.  ecoATM examined the BlackBerry and gave me a generous offer of.... $36.  I declined the offer from ecoATM since I should be able to get $70 at the Best Buy store if the offer at the store is the same as from the Best Buy on-line service.  However, I learned that the offer from Best Buy is for store credit at Best Buy- not cash.

I checked out the highest cash offer from casholdphone again.  I found that Casholdphone received an F rating from BBB and has complaints listed.  Maybe a $70 gift card at Best Buy is the best of these deals after all... 

After considering my offers, I decided to sell my BlackBerry myself on eBay.  This brings us to another way to get cash for your phone.

Sell you old cell phone yourself on craigslist, eBay, etc. and get cash

You might be able to get the most money for your cell phone if you’re willing to sell it yourself.  However, selling your phone yourself is a lot more work than selling it to a buyback service.  You'll want to check the market price for your cell phone on a couple of the buyback service websites above.  For it to be worth the effort, you'll want to set the asking price higher that the offers from buyback services.

One drawback of selling the phone yourself is that there is no way to predict how long it will take to sell.  It could sell in a day, or it may take one week, or it may take longer.  

If you sell on a eBay auction, you will know when the auction ends, but you will not know if you will get any bids.  If you offer a Buy It Now option, your phone could sell at any time.  Check some listings for phones of the same model and condition that you are selling to get an idea of the market price.  You will be able to see how high the bidding has gone on auctions that are near the ending time.

I ended up listing my BlackBerry with wall charger and USB cable on eBay with a starting price of $51 and Buy It Now price of $100.  The phone sold within 2 hours for $100.  eBay turned out to be a good way to sell the phone myself.  The payment was received through PayPal and was very easy- the money just showed up in my account.  I printed my own shipping labels through eBay and dropped the package off at the post office.

Penny Pinching Tips:
  • Get at least a couple offers for your used cell phone to consider.  Check offers from mail-in buyback services on their websites so you can compare offers.
  • The convenience of getting instant payment makes selling your cell phone at a local store or ecoATM kiosk appealing.
  • If you have a relatively new phone, or a popular model, you may be able to sell it yourself on craigslist or eBay and get the most money for your phone.  But it will take some work to advertise your phone.  With craigslist you'll need to meet with buyers to close the deal.  With eBay, you'll need to pack and ship your phone.
  • My pick if you're getting a new phone: get a Droid RAZR M free

Recommended reading:

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  1. Selling your old phone is a smart and practical thing to do. Instead of keeping the old phone for sentimental purposes, better get some cash out of it. It would be ideal to check how reliable (read:honest) your buyer is. You want to get the right amount your treasured phone deserves. Anyway, thank you for sharing the ideas!

  2. Hi, you can also check Blazing Electronics at www.blazingelectroni​ , they buy newer and older phones (used or new) and smartphones at the best prices (iphone samsung, even ipad). Get a quote in seconds and always free shipping!

  3. Thanks to share useful post for mobile lovers.

    sell used cell phones

  4. An old article but even more relevant today as the recycling industry continues to get more and more popular. Phone, tablet and gadget recycling is a great way to help the environment as well as put cash in your pocket. There are many recyclers online now so I would add to the list above, it compares prices from many of the main recyclers in one place so that you save time when looking for the best price so is the ideal place to start.

    Electronics recycling is a great cause, keep on spreading the word!

  5. Selling your old phone is a savvy and viable thing to do. As opposed to keeping the old telephone for wistful purposes, better receive some trade in for money return. It would be perfect to check how solid your purchaser is. You need to get the perfect sum your cherished telephone merits. At any rate, thank you for imparting the thoughts!

    Sell my mobile


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