“Where can I sell my phone for cash?”
“Who buys used cellphones near me?”
I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked questions like these.
If you are wondering whether you can get some cash for your old phone and avoid the “forgotten old/broken phone in a drawer” scenario, read on to find out the best places you can get the most money for your smartphone.
According to Pew Research, 90% of American adults have a cell phone.
It is also known that the average lifespan of a cell phone is about 18 months, at which point owners will replace it with a new phone.
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It is estimated that in the United States alone over 500 million old and unused cell phones are stashed in junk drawers, with every household averaging about 4.
Most of us, unfortunately, tend to just stash our old cell phones away never to be seen again.
And in doing so, we’re basically overlooking free money.
Granted, the brand or the model you have will ultimately decide how much cash you can get.
Some old phones are worth nothing more than $10-$20, yet there are others that can fetch a few hundred dollars.
Either way, it’s easy money if you know how and where to sell your old/broken phone.
What will I learn?
Websites that Buy Cell Phones (Instant Purchase)
In the last few years, cell phone (and electronics in general) buy back sites have been popping up left and right.
That should tell you something about the value of old and unused phones.
Normally, these sites will send you a prepaid shipping envelope you can use to ship your phone to them.
You’ll get an estimate of how much they are willing to pay for it.
Once they receive the device, they’ll inspect it and if everything checks out, they’ll pay you.
That’s the general rule of thumb. But as you can imagine, each company has its own rules and regulations. So it’s best to check with each one to make sure you understand everything before you hand over your device.
After all you, want to get the most money for your old phone.
1. Gadget Gobbler
This company offers cash for over 1,000 small electronics including cell phones, Mp3 players, tablets, game consoles, cameras, and more.
Gadget Gobbler also offers fundraising options by collecting a variety of electronics and trading them in for cash.
They’ll also take care of shipping labels and packing materials.
This company offers payment within 3 business days via check or PayPal.
This is a smaller company compared to many others listed here, which is why I would recommend you go with them since smaller companies tend to be much better at speed and customer service.
Gazelle is a much more known site because of their many TV and online ads.
Again, shipping is free as they send you prepaid envelopes.
What I like about Gazelle is that if everything goes smoothly, there is a chance you may get paid the very same day.
Payment options include Amazon gift card, PayPal, check, or if you prefer, channel it as a donation to a charity of your choice.
USell functions more as a marketplace where potential sellers can connect to a network of potential buyers.
You set the price that works best for you (naturally there is going to be a range but the company usually includes recommended prices).
From then on, wait for a prepaid envelope sent out by uSell.
As for payment, they pay in both cash and PayPal credit.
According to the company website, you can expect payment to be in not more than five days from the time the buyer receives the device.
4. eBay Instant Sale
Not to be outdone by the popular and successful Gazelle, eBay got into the game with their eBay instant sale on February 2011.
Free shipping labels are provided from the company, but it does not come with a free box mailed to you.
In a way, it operates very similarly to what Gazelle does, but the service is probably a tad complicated with 4 tiers of quality to let you define the state of your own cell phone.
5. Amazon Electronics Trade-In
Amazon is famous for offering trade-in programs like their gift card trade-in program.
Just like eBay, Amazon gives you a free shipping label that does not come with a box.
You will be responsible for all packaging materials including the box.
Other Places for Selling Smart Phones
There are also other places you can try.
These are not exclusive cell phone trade or buy-back sites, but you can use them to do that.
If you hate paying fees, Craigslist is your friend.
Although Craigslist’s interface still looks like they just came out of the 90s, it still is one of the best places to buy and sell anything, including electronics.
With CL however, you most likely will have to meet up with the buyer in person, and therein lies the danger.
So please be careful.
Pick a public and busy place to meet the buyer.
There are a lot of creeps out there, so you want to be very careful.
The good thing about selling stuff on Craigslist is that you set the price. That can work against you since people are always looking for bargains on Craigslist.
You will almost definitely get counter offers.
To make sure you get the amount you actually want or at least close to it, it may be a good idea to do what retailers do – set the price 10% or so higher than you’re willing to let the device go for.
That way, even with a few counter offers, you may still be able to get a decent amount for it.
7. Facebook Marketplace
Think of Facebook’s marketplace as Craigslist but on a different level.
And like CL, there is no fee. So there is no cost in putting up your device for up sale here.
If somebody comes along and buys it, great. If not, at least you didn’t have to pay any fees.
One of the greatest advantages of selling your phone on Facebook marketplace over Craigslist is that you have the ability to make your sale private so only your friends can see it.
Of course, that can also limit your pool of potential buyers.
But if you don’t feel comfortable meeting with a stranger (buyer), this is a good option.
8. Local electronic stores
If you’d rather sell to a local store near you, this option is for you.
Most electronics and big box retailers have some kind of used electronics buy back program.
They either pay cash or give you store credit.
Nevertheless, they represent a convenient and useful source to sell your device for cash.
Here are some of the brick and mortar stores that do buy old phones:
- Best Buy
9. Pawn Shops
If you are not crazy about selling your old cell phones over the Internet, local pawn shops represent another excellent avenue.
Consistent with the way the offline world works, there is no consistency in prices across different pawn shops.
So, be ready to do your research and compare prices for your device if you want to secure the best price.
10. Garage sales
Selling electronics at garage sales is probably not the best option in term of the price you can fetch.
But its value comes in the form of convenience and capacity to draw a crowd.
If you are organizing one, or know somebody who is, this could be a decent option.
There is a test kiosk called ecoATM.com set up by Coinstar.
If you want to get cash for old electronics instantly, this is the best and fastest option.
Here is how it works:
- First, you need to find a local kiosk. You can do so by going to ecoatm.com and entering your zip code.
- Take your device down to the kiosk and insert it into the designated spot.
- The machine will check the device and give you an offer.
- If you accept the offer, you get cash right there and then.
- If not, take your device back.
How Much Money Can I Get for My Old Phone?
Obviously, exactly how much your phone is worth depends on many factors – manufacturer, model, condition, etc.
Newer phones tend to go between $150 to $350.
Now, if you can sell to people directly (eBay, Craigslist, etc) you may be able to get even more.
Another factor is whether the said phone is still under contract with any telephone carrier. Those that are not bound by contract usually fetch more money.
Estimated price for used cellphones
These are not set-in-stone numbers.
But they should give you a good indication of what kind of number to look for.
- iPhone 4: $95 – $125
- iPhone 5: $260 – $300
- Motorola DROID: $90 – $135
- BlackBerry Bold: $60 – $90
- HTC First: $50 – $60
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many different options for selling your unused/old/broken phone(s.)
Just which one you should go with depends on you, how fast you want to get rid of it, and how much money you want for it.
Either way, these are some of the best places, both online and offline, to sell your old cell phones for cash.
Hi, just wanted to thank you for writing this article. I am always glad to see people bring awareness to the fact that anyone can make a little extra money from selling their cell phones. This is an act that is good for the environment (finding a second home for your cell phone), and for your pockets as well.
Another company you should consider is mailinmobile.com. I founded the company hoping to keep as many electronics devices away from our landfills as possible. Right now we are paying over $450 for the latest smartphones so give us a look.
Thanks for the addition, Miguel.
When did you launch the company?
Hey, Great article!
Being one of those people that just has to have the latest phones, I am always looking for the best value for my older device.
I have actually used Gazelle – great experience with them. Sent my phone in and got paid via Paypal.
My most recent trade in was with swopsmart.com – Great experience with them as well. I choose them because they offered me the most for my iPhone 6s.
I will be giving gadget gobbler a try on my next trade in(Can’t wait for the Galaxy s8), so thanks for the share.
Hadn’t heard of SwopSmart. That’s good to hear they gave you the most money for the iPhone 6S.