The Best Sell Your Cell Phone
Ultimate Buyers Guide

Sell Used Cell Phones

If you have an old or unused cell phone lying around, then you should sell your cell phone. Don't let your old phones gather dust--there's a better way to handle your old cell phones that can make you money and save the environment!

I have researched and analyzed numerous different used cell phone marketplaces online. As a result, I have come up with the five best places to sell old cell phones. If you want to make some extra cash while helping out the environment, read on!

Best Place to Sell Old Cell Phones: What to Consider

According to Gartner, 64 percent of cell phones have more than one user in their lifetime. Figuring out how to sell your phone can be tough, though. There are many components to consider before choosing the right marketplace and locking in your sale. Some of these components include:

  • Quick payment processing
  • Upfront quotes
  • Affordable and/or free shipping
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Offers cash or store credit

You'll want to ensure the marketplace of your choice will process your payments accurately and on-time. It is also important to make sure you're getting paid a fair amount to sell your cell phone.

If you're only getting paid sixty bucks to sell your phone, shipping can take a significant amount of your total. Always check out the website's shipping options to make sure it's cheap or prepaid by the facilitator.

Additionally, make sure to find out whether they offer cash or store credit for used phones. The best places to sell old cell phones will provide instructions that are easy to follow.

According to Gartner, 64 percent of cell phones have more than one user in their lifetime.

Why You Should Sell Your Phone for Cash

1. It can get you paid

This is pretty obvious. If you sell your phone, it puts money in your pocket. Why would you pass up the opportunity for a free lunch or help with the bills?

2. It is a form of recycling

This is also pretty obvious. Recycling is supportive of the environment.

3. It will help others save money on a new phone

It'll make you feel good to know you're helping another person get a great deal on a phone. Selling your phone online for cash benefits everyone involved.

4. It is easy

Every marketplace makes it relatively easy to sell your phone, so why not? Some facilitators will even send you the packaging; so you don't have to worry about how to ship your device.

5. It is better than throwing your phone away

Doesn't helping the earth and helping others while helping yourself sound like a fantastic alternative to trashing your old phone or letting it waste away? I definitely think so.

Best Places to Sell Used Cell Phones

Gazelle Review

  • Pros
  • Collects pre-owned and unwanted devices for cash
  • Instant quotes
  • Free shipping
  • You choose your payment method
  • Risk Free
  • Cons
  • Customer service only available during weekdays.

Gazelle is an e-commerce company who buys and sells unwanted and pre-owned cell phones as well as other electronics. They are a leader in electronics trade-in sites offering instant quotes and quick payments.

With Gazelle, you can choose your method of payment. Choose from PayPal, check, or Amazon Gift Card. These will all keep your personal information private while you get paid.

Gazelle even offers free shipping on all devices receiving more than a dollar for their return. They'll send you a pre-marked package so you don't have to worry about doing it yourself. Just stick your cell phone in the box, send it off and get paid. If you're not happy with your payment or have any issues, Gazelle will send your phone back for free.

Best Buy Review

  • Pros
  • Free Shipping
  • Reliable and trusted
  • Instant quotes
  • Easy process
  • Online and in-store
  • Cons
  • Pays with gift card instead of cash
  • May take a while to receive gift card

Best Buy has an extremely reliable and trustworthy recycling service. They are a big supplier who takes their customers seriously.

The Best Buy site offers instant quotes and prepaid shipping. You can even bring your used smartphone into the store. Just be sure you go to a store that does in-store trade-ins.

The downside to using Best Buy is that they pay you with a Best Buy Gift Card instead of cash and may not offer competitive rates. Additionally, it takes 10 business days after receiving and reviewing your used cell phone to get your gift card.

Overall, Best Buy is extremely reliable with great customer service. I wouldn't hesitate to use their store to sell your old phone online or in person. Review

  • Pros
  • Sell directly to other users
  • Payment before you ship
  • Pre-marked packaging
  • Easy to use
  • Fantastic Reputation
  • Cons
  • Won't buy phones with certain damages
  • Only uses PayPal for payments

Swappa is a trusted user-to-user marketplace. This means you can sell directly to your buyer without worrying about a middle man. An estimated $5,000,000 worth of pre-owned smartphones is sold on Swappa each year.

Swappa has a stellar reputation with its customers and is one of the easiest platforms to sell your phone for cash. They will even pay you before you ship your device and make sure you get pre-marked packaging for free. In my opinion, this makes them extremely trustworthy.

As a seller, Swappa can be tough. They don't accept phones that have been too physically damaged. They especially do not accept phones with water damage or huge cracks on the screen. If you're looking to sell your old phone with significant damage, you will have to use another site. Review

  • Pros
  • Easy process
  • Pre-marked packaging
  • Speed sale
  • Cons
  • Customer service takes a while to respond
  • May take a while
  • Shipping not free

Glyde is an intermediary merchant with a simple process. If you are attempting to sell your old phone on Glyde, you must wait for a buyer. Once your device is bought, you will receive a pre-marked box to send it in. Shipping will be deducted from your total pay accordingly. The buyer's money is held until the phone is shipped and the buyer is satisfied.

This can come as an issue to some sellers. It may take longer to receive money for your device depending on the shipping time and the buyer's satisfaction. For this reason, you should always send promptly when you sell your phone for cash on Glyde. If you're not comfortable with the process, you can always use one of the other best places to sell used cell phones.

One cool thing about Glyde is their Speed Sale option. If you list your item as a Speed Sale item, Glyde will make sure your item sells within a few days.

Glyde's customer service may take a day or so to respond to any questions, though. This could be annoying if you end up with questions or issues regarding your payment. Keep in mind you may not be able to get answers right away.

SellCell Cell Phone Recycling Review

  • Pros
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Price comparison engine
  • Easy to use
  • Trusted
  • Cons
  • Just compares, doesn't handle sales
  • Shipping isn't always free

SellCell is different because it's a seller comparison site. They will ensure you sell your cell phone for the best price on the market. They even offer a unique Best Grice Guarantee. If you make a sale using SellCell and find an offer at a higher price within 24-hours, they will pay you back double the difference.

Just type your used smartphone's make and model into their search engine. SellCell will then automatically compare market offers on your device from numerous cell phone recycling companies to get you the most cash.

All you have to do is choose which deal you like best and click "sell now." You will then be promptly directed to that site to make a deal with your buyer. The downside to Sellcell is that they don't provide payments or hold buyer's money directly. Their purpose is to redirect you to the best site to sell your phone online.

What to Do Before You Sell Your Phone

There are some steps you should take before choosing the best place to sell your used cell phone.

1. Inspect your phone

First, you need to inspect your phone for damages. Be honest. Does your phone have water damage? You can check this by taking out the battery and determining if it has changed color.

You should also inspect the charger outlet and headphone jack to see if there is any damage or discoloration. Certain phones, like iPhones, don't have a battery for you to inspect. Instead, check the tiny sim card slot for discoloration.

If there is obvious physical damage, you should make a note of that as well. Some facilitators will require you send pictures and some won't. If necessary, take pictures of the damage and tell the buyer everything you know about your device.

Phone Assessment Scale

Most companies use the following scale to determine a phone's condition. The outcome usually determines how much you will be paid for your device.

  • Excellent: Phone is in perfect condition both cosmetically and functionally. All components of the device work. There is no water damage, missing buttons, scratches or dents.
  • Good: The device functions perfectly but there are some minor cosmetic flaws or scratches. No major buttons are missing.
  • Fair: The device is functioning but shows significant wear and tear including scratches, dents, blemishes.
  • Poor: A phone in poor condition has quite apparent cosmetic damages and may be impaired functionally. It may have a cracked display, water damage, or issues powering up.

2. Get a quote for your phone

This is important. You should know exactly how much you're getting paid before you decide on where to sell your cell phone. It is a smart idea to get several quotes from several marketplaces.

Then, compare each quote to the price of the newest model of the phone your selling. This will tell you which facilitator offers the most cash for your phone.

3. Back-up and transfer your data and media files

Make sure to back up your cell phone before you do anything. Check to see what old photos and saved information is hiding in there. You may not want to lose these things. If you need to transfer all of your information to a new phone, your cell phone carrier can help you.

4. Terminate the device's service plan and unlock it

You need to end your contract before you sell your old phone. If you fail to do this, whoever receives your phone may have to wait out your contract's termination. This means they cannot activate the phone until your contract is up.

Your phone may also be locked. This means it can only be used on a specific carrier's network until it is unlocked. In order to unlock the phone, you can call and ask your carrier for help.

5. Wipe the device's memory

Erase contacts, photos, music, apps, and all sensitive information. The easiest way to do this is to perform a hard factory reset. Refer to the phone's user manual or contact the manufacturer for instructions.

Don't skip this step. It's your responsibility to remove any information you don't want readily available to your phone's next owner.

6. Remove your SIM card if your device has one

If you don't need your sim card, throw it out like a credit card or bank statement. On older phone models, the SIM card can be found by checking underneath the battery.

Newer models like Apple iPhones use mini, nano, or standard SIM card formats depending on which model. These are usually found on the side of the phone. Don't forget to do this.

7. Make sure your phone has a charger

If your phone doesn't have a working charger, you may want to buy one. Recycling companies can use this as an excuse to give you less money when you sell your phone online. To avoid this, find a cheap charger to put in the box alongside your used smartphone.

Where Can I Sell My Phone?

You should know exactly how much you're getting paid before you decide on where to sell your cell phone.

Some websites offer better rates for iPhones than others. After ample research, I have found that Glyde and Swappa are two of the best places to sell your old iPhone.

Glyde sells iPhones at one of the highest return rates. You can sell an iPhone 5 and receive over $100. You can sell an iPhone 6 for over $400 if it's in great condition.

Swappa is another reliable place to sell your used iPhone. In fact, Swappa sells the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s the most out of all of their smartphones. You can even sell an old iPhone 4 or 4s for a little bit of cash. You should definitely check them out if you're looking to sell your iPhone.

Like the iPhone, some websites offer better rates on the Samsung Galaxy than others. Glyde seems to be the winner in this department as well.

If you want to sell a Samsung Galaxy s3, you can receive up to $40 on Glyde. If you're looking to sell a Samsung Galaxy s4, you can get up to $70. You can even sell your Samsung Galaxy s5 for over $100 and a 6s for over $300. Glyde is known to offer the best rates for used phones.

Cell Phone Recycling - Where to recycle cell phones

According to Gartner, only seven percent of smartphones end up actually being recycled each year. Selling cell phones online is one excellent way to recycle. You can also research your state's legislation and call your carrier to figure out the best places to recycle or donate used phones you're not looking to sell.

E-waste introduces toxic substances like lead, beryllium, nickel, and arsenic into the environment. This is why many states are making it illegal not to recycle. These substances could pose a greater threat to our environment down the road.

The materials found in recycled cell phones can be made into other goods like jewelry, car parts, and other electronics. In my research, I have discovered how important it is not to mix e-waste with household trash.

In an attempt to reduce the toxins in our environment, Twenty-five states have passed e-waste legislation since 2003. Let's take New York as an example. New York state came out with the New York Electric Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act in 2010.

This particular act prohibits all New Yorkers from throwing away electronics in regular trash disposals. It also says all wireless cell phone providers must accept your cell phones for reuse or recycling. The law requires each business to accept up to 10 cell phones from any consumer.

If you call your carrier, they will either let you bring your phone into them or send you in the right direction.

What Happens When I Sell My Cell Phone?

If the used cell phone website of your choice buys phones before selling to consumers, you will send your phone straight to them. Otherwise, you may send it straight to the consumer.

Some facilitators will even send you a pre-marked box to send it in. Then, it will go through one of three redistribution processes. The process depends on your device's make and condition.

  • The first mode of distribution is reuse. This is when your phone is sold to other consumers through retail channels like eBay or Amazon. This method sometimes includes international markets. If so, your used smartphone could end up in the hands of someone who's never had access to a smartphone before; pretty cool.
  • The second process is called refurbishment. This means your cell phone will be disassembled. It will then either be sold for its parts or directly to a refurbishing company to be fixed.
  • Recycling is the last method. If the used cell phone's circuit board is out of date or can't be refurbished, recycling is a last resort. Local and national processing facilities collect and recycle old phones. They must adhere to their state's environmental legislation and requirements in the process.

How should I package my cell phone for reuse and recycling?

You can include bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and wrapping paper to ensure your used cell phone doesn't get damaged in transit. If possible, place the device you intend to recycle in its original packaging.

If you want, you can also have your device professionally packaged at your local UPS or FedEx. It would be smart to ask your recycling center what they prefer. Recycling centers will often provide you with packaging, so you don't even have to worry about it. Make sure to ask about this option.

Can You Sell Broken Phones?

Yes. You can still sell your used cell phone even if it is broken. For all you know, it may be an easy fix. Many used phone facilitators refurbish old phones so they work like new. Some companies will even sell parts of your smartphone that are still useable.

Even if you can't get cash back, you can still get the satisfaction of recycling your used cell phone parts for a better cause.

How I Chose the Best Place to Sell Phones Online

It took a lot of work to figure out where to sell used cell phones online for the best rates. I did extensive research to determine what to consider and everything there is to know before you sell your used phone. As a result, here is what I would do if I were to sell my cell phone online.

The next time I want to sell my phone, I will use Sellcell first. Since they claim to make the best comparisons and offer a price guarantee, they seem like a reliable option.

After using Sellcell to compare pricing, I would research more to determine if they are truly offering the best price for my model. Research would include me checking out sites like Swappa, Gazelle, Best Buy and Glyde for my make and model.

I would see what deals I could find and if they were comparable. Depending on my findings, I would commit to a sale using either Sellcell or one of these trusted sites.

Overall, I truly recommend each one of the five best places to sell your cell phone mentioned in this article. I believe they are all trustworthy and reliable to a legitimate extent. As a result, I would use any one of them to sell my phone online.

Best Place to Sell Your Phone Recap

Cell phones are made from valuable metals such as silver and gold. Americans throw away an estimated $60 million worth of silver and gold every year. Stop throwing away or leaving your old phones sitting around. Do something with them!

Consider selling your used smartphone online. It is a great way to put a little extra cash in your pocket while supporting the environment. The best part is it can be easy. If you go with one of the best places to sell your used cell phones mentioned above, you will experience just how easy.

Even if you don't think your phone is in good enough condition, try anyway. Many used cell phone facilitators collect and refurbish damaged phones. Even if you can't get money for it, you'd be helping out Mother Earth by recycling your e-waste full of plastics, metals, and glass.

Now that you know the ins and outs of selling your smartphone online, you should check out my guide on the best places to buy used cell phones. It will show you how to find the best phones at the cheapest prices.

You can also check out our best bring your own phone plans if you are thinking about buying a used phone online.

Sell Your Cell Phone FAQs

Q Where do I sell my mobile phone?


You can sell your mobile or cell phone either online or in person. Several websites make the process of selling your unwanted phone super easy. For example, in the US and MusicMagpie in the UK give you an instant price quote for your phone, cover the cost of shipping and pay for the phone after they receive it.

Q What is ecoATM?


ecoATM gives you cash on the spot when you recycle your cell phone, mp3 player or tablet. To use ecoATM, you place your device in the kiosk, where it is analyzed and priced. If you like the price offered, you can accept it, trade in your device and get your cash. Kiosks are located across the US.

Q What stores buy used cell phones for cash?


Both Gamestop and Best Buy offer online and in-store trade-ins for your cell phone. The stores give you the option of trading in your old phone for either cash or a store credit/gift card. Often, the value of store credit or gift card credit offered is greater than the cash offer.

Q What stores buy electronics for cash?


You can sell electronics to stores such as Best Buy and Gamestop in person or online. Big box retailers such as Target will also happily buy your old electronics, including tablets, smartwatches and game consoles, online. While Gamestop gives you cash or store credit for your electronics, Target and Best Buy will give you a gift card.

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