Do you ever get tired of looking at that drawer full of old cell phones?
Me too. These phone models are not quite current enough for a service provider trade-in program, but they're still in good condition. Let's face it: you're never going to use them again, yet you just can't bring yourself to throw them away. That's a good thing! Throwing electronic devices into the trash is terrible for the environment. There's got to be a better way, right?
Right - there is. Rather than letting them continue to collect dust, you can sell your cell phones. What's better than protecting the environment while picking up a little bit of extra cash?
I know what you're thinking: where do I start? I've researched and analyzed numerous different used cell phone marketplaces online. As a result, I have come up with the five best places to sell smartphones. So if you want to make some extra cash while helping out the environment, read on!
Table of Contents
Our Top Picks
- Payment via check or direct deposit
- Payment the day after they receive your items
- Simple and fast to use
- Customer service can be atrocious
- Depending on phone, you may not receive much
If you have a phone that is simply lying around as clutter, why not declutter your room with Decluttr? Decluttr is an app/website that allows you to sell your unwanted CDs, physical copies of video games, DVDs, cell phones, tablets, and more. However, while the website is efficient, the app focuses on ease and expanding your space, not value, so don't expect to receive a lot for what you clear out, unless you have certain phones collecting dust.
Using Decluttr, you need to either scan the barcode of the item or manually input the item (depending on the item), find the value of the item, build a basket, ship your items, and receive payment. That simple!
The app itself is easy to navigate and emphasizes simplicity. You either "Add Items" or check your "Basket" in the main hub, but if you tap on the menu icon on the top left-hand corner, you'll find:
- Sign In/Register
- My Profile
- Order History
- Saved Orders
- About Us
- More Info...
Finding the value of your item is also a breeze. Once you reach the "Get Value" screen, you only need to tap on "Get Value," and you'll be able to find the value of your items in less than a minute.
When it comes to the items, you may find that some items are more valuable than others. For instance, a 64GB Note 8 in good condition would only net you $260, when its MSRP is $960. However, you would nab a better trade-in deal if you have certain other phones, like the 64GB-version of the Apple iPhone X. At the time of this writing, that would nab you roughly $650, when the phone is valued at close to $1000.
Sometimes you will earn less (or more) if you unlock your phone before trading in the item.
In other words, this app is highly useful if you need to dispose of your items quickly (e.g. if you're in the process of moving), but depending on the phone you have, you can earn back a hefty amount of cash. Beware, however, of the customer service, as - according to users of the app - representatives have been known to ignore complaints.
- No junk devices
- Will review device if you ask
- Makes sure device is not stolen
- Accidental protection option
- Seller can edit listing after approval
- Absolutely no guarantees
Swappa is a no-nonsense place for you to buy used cell phones. Swappa is a facilitator who advertises no junk devices and will even re-review the product you're looking at for your peace-of-mind. Just ask them!
Since they are simply a facilitator, you will have to rely on the owner of the device to send it on time and in the state described. Fortunately, Swappa has excellent customer reviews and seems to have no problem with ensuring devices get to their customers on-time.
Unfortunately, none of what is offered on Swappa is guaranteed, especially because you buy directly from the owner. Swappa can ask for pictures and be as thorough as possible, but there is no way to know for sure without the item in hand. The seller can even edit their listing after its approval, potentially changing feature and damage details.
- Collects pre-owned and unwanted devices for cash
- Instant quotes
- Free shipping
- You choose your payment method
- Risk Free
- Customer service only available during weekdays
- Used phone payment is average in value
Gazelle is an e-commerce company that buys and sells unwanted and used 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. You'll be able to select 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 free of charge.
Additionally, if you have a business that collects used phones and other electronics, then you'll be happy to know that you can sell these items in bulk to Gazelle. You'll simply need to complete the information Gazelle provides, and the company will follow up with a quote. After, you'll receive a free shipping box. Finally, you'll receive payment.
In terms of products you can sell, you'll be able to sell a wide variety of used phones, including the latest phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the iPhone X.
However, what you receive for offers may not be the most appealing. For instance, if you decide to sell your Samsung Galaxy Note 8, you'll be quoted an offer of $385 - less than what you'd receive with BuyBackWorld.com but more than the value quoted at Decluttr. However, with the iPhone X, you'll receive a quote of $475 - less than what you'd receive at both BuyBackWorld.com and Decluttr. With that being said, according to Gazelle's FAQ on whether there is any cost or obligation to use Gazelle:
"There is no cost to having a Gazelle account or setting up a transaction with us."
So there are no transaction fees of any sort either. Transaction fees, otherwise, can offset the actual value of the used phone you're selling.
There are also incentives for using Gazelle. For instance, if you refer a friend, you'll earn $10. Furthermore, if you accept payment in the form of an Amazon gift card, you'll receive an extra amount of money.
Overall, you cannot go wrong with Gazelle.
Key Considerations When Selling Your Old Cell Phone
According to Gartner, 64 percent of cell phones have more than one user in their lifetime. Figuring out how to sell your mobile 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
- Cash offers 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 $60 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 that the facilitator provides a prepaid shipping label.
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. Easy Extra Cash
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's 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's Simple
Every marketplace makes it relatively easy to sell your phone, so why not? Some facilitators will even send you the packaging complete with shipping label; so you don't have to worry about how to ship your device.
5. It's 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.
Read More: Cell phone insurance may be a useful asset when you're considering trading in your phone.
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 the LDI (Liquid Damage Indicator) has changed color.
You should also inspect the charger outlet and headphone jack to see if there is any damage or discoloration. Certain devices, like the Apple iPhone and iPad, don't offer a way to check the battery. 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 buyers will require you to 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: The phone is in perfect condition both cosmetically and functionally. All components - including the charging port, buttons, and headphone jack - of the device work. There is no water damage, missing buttons, scratches or dents.
- Good: The device functions perfectly when in good condition, 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, and 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.
Pro Tip: It's typically only worth the effort to sell smartphones, like an iPhone or Android device. Feature phones and other basic models won't bring much on today's market. It's best to simply take your flip or feature phone to a recycling facility.
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 you're selling. This will tell you which facilitator offers the most cash for your phone.
3. Back Up & Transfer Your Data
Make sure to back up your cell phone before you do anything. Fortunately, there are several fantastic online backup services for you to choose from. Check to see what old photos and saved information are 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 & 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 to provide an unlock code or rely on our guide to unlocking your phone.
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 personally identifiable information you don't want readily available to your phone's next owner. Identity theft is a very real problem today, so it's crucial to perform the factory reset. For more on identity theft, check out our guide to protecting yourself from this common cybercrime.
If you nabbed an iPhone after trading in your previous device, you can use our guide to restoring your personal information, documents, photos, contacts, and more.
6. Remove your SIM Card
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. If you'd like to learn more about the SIM card, we offer a comprehensive guide.
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. If you have an Android device, remove the SD card as well. You don't want to lose any valuable photos or other information you've kept stored on your Android phone's mini-SD card.
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 You Sell Your 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 around $55. You can sell an iPhone 6 for over $196 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. Another fantastic site that favors the iPhone is Decluttr. You should definitely check them out if you're looking to sell your iPhone.
Read More: Consult our buyer's guide to iPhone deals if you're considering buying a new iPhone.
Like the iPhone, some websites offer better rates on the Samsung Galaxy than others. Glyde and BuyBackWorld appear to be the winners in this department as well.
If you want to sell a Samsung Galaxy S3, you can receive roughly $31 on Glyde - at least, at the time of this writing anyway. If you're looking to sell a Samsung Galaxy S4, you can get up to $54. You can even sell your Samsung Galaxy S5 for over $80, an S6 for $172, and an S7 edge for $285. Glyde is known to offer the best rates for used phones.
What about your wireless service provider?
If your Android device or iPhone is new enough, your service provider may offer a trade-in program when you purchase a new device. A word of caution: if you're hoping to get a generous trade-in price by using this option, you may not get the best possible deal. According to BGR, you can earn as much as 53 percent more by selling your phone yourself when compared to the carrier trade-in price.
The tech site did a comparison on an iPhone 6 Plus locked to Verizon Wireless. They found that Verizon Wireless offered a trade-in price of just $270 compared to a $455 value on the private market.
Read More: You can read our buyer's guide to Samsung Galaxy deals for more information.
Where Can You Recycle Your Cell Phone?
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 electronic devices. 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, 25 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 After?
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, which is 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 You Package Your 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. Even though Android phone or iPhone repair may be out of your wheelhouse, it may be an easy fix for an expert. Many used phone facilitators refurbish old phones so they work like new. Some cell phone buyback programs work by selling parts of your mobile phone that are still usable.
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.
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 cell phone buyback programs.
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.
Our Price Comparison Tool
We strongly urge you to check out our price comparison tool, which features a variety of benefits, including but not limited to:
1. You'll find the best price - and thus make the most amount of profit - when you trade in or sell your cell phone.
That's right, folks. With our selling price comparison tool, you'll not only be able to scour through locations of where you could sell or trade in your cell phone, but you'll also be able to find out what you can receive for your device. You'll be able to find how much you'll receive for your device with a simple glance and be able to make the biggest bang for your buck.
2. You will save time.
You know what they say - time is money.
With this price comparison tool, you won't have to go through the mind-numbing process of clicking through various pages just to find your sell or trade-in value. Essentially, you'll be able to save loads of time with this tool.
3. It is much easier on the eyes.
Not only will you feel more organized and be more efficient with our price comparison tool, but you'll also be able to reduce stress on the eyes from browsing through various pages just to find the value of your phone.
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.
We're not quite done yet, you can get a head start on buying your new phone first by using our smartphone comparison tool.