If your next phone upgrade is approaching you're probably looking for the best cell phone trade-in deals.
Is your carrier's trade-in program really such a great deal though? And do you actually need a brand-new phone, and the high payments that come with it?
The best thing to do is hang onto your phone after it's paid off. You'll save a bundle and break out of the trade-in cycle. If you are ready for a new phone, MoneySavingPro is here to help with that too.
In this guide, we'll explore your options - including how to get the best offer for your phone plus save 50% on your next one. Stay tuned!
Table of Contents
Sell Your Phone Online
When you trade in your device you're leaving quite a bit of money on the table. Sell your phone online for cash instead - it's easy and convenient thanks to a wide variety of reliable buyback companies.
Benefits of selling your phone online:
- A higher offer than through your carrier's trade-in program.
- Money to spend on anything you wish - not account credit.
- Shipping and insurance covered by the buyer in most cases.
- The payment as fast as the day after the buyer gets your device.
- Easy to compare the best offers from multiple buyers all in one place.
There are buyback sites - like Gazelle - that buy your phone directly from you. These sites handle everything, right down to sending you a free shipping label and sometimes packaging too.
Trade vs Selling
Price Comparison: Cell Phone Trade-in vs Selling Online
|iPhone 8 Plus (64GB)||$420||$331||$360||$370||$410|
|iPhone 8 (64GB)||$340||$289||$300||$310||$406|
|iPhone 7 Plus (32GB)||$285||$192||$225||$260||$330|
|iPhone 7 (32GB)||$185||$136||$170||$165||$274|
|Galaxy S8 Plus||$265||$194||$285||$210||$255|
|Galaxy S7 Edge||$130||$80||$70||$110||$135|
How Much Is My Cell Phone Worth?
Now we get to the big question - how much is your cell phone worth? The answer lies in a couple of factors:
- Condition of the device - the better the condition, the more you'll get for it. Buyback sites accept devices in anywhere from excellent (like new) to poor condition. Obviously, if your cell phone has functional or structural damage you'll get a much lower offer.
- IMEI status - your phone must have a clean IMEI number. This ensures that it hasn't been reported lost or stolen.
Another big question you may have - "Can I sell a phone with a broken screen or water damage?"
See the highest offers on your cell phone from multiple buyers right now.
Selling Online for Cash
No need to be intimidated - the process is actually very simple. Basically, you just follow the company's instructions.
- Find your specific device on the buyback website.
- Answer a few questions about the condition of the device, etc.
- Get an instant offer.
- Request your prepaid shipping label by email or postal mail.
- Ship your phone in and wait for payment.
Your offer is locked in for about a month. If your phone is in worse condition than you indicated, the buyer will adjust your offer.
Options for getting your money include PayPal, check, and sometimes gift cards.
You want to protect your personal information. It's pretty easy to do so with a few simple steps before mailing your device off.
- Do a backup: Use iCloud or your Android cloud app to do a full backup. Grab photos or videos you haven't saved from text messages, back your music up through iTunes, etc.
- Log out of accounts: Sign out of Google Play, iCloud, iTunes, etc. If you're going from Apple to Android go into your iMessage settings and deregister your phone number.
- (iPhone only) Unpair your watch and deactivate Find My iPhone: Use the Apple Watch app to unpair your device, then go into iCloud settings to turn off Find My iPhone.
- Perform a factory reset: Go into your Settings menu to do a complete reset to factory defaults. This wipes all your private data off the phone.
- Take your cards out: Remove your SIM card and your memory cards.
Money Saving Tips
Selling your phone for cash won't leave you high and dry for a new device. Buy refurbished and get a high-end smartphone for 50% or less of the retail price.
1. Buy a refurbished phone:
- Savings of half or more over new
- Up to 12 months of warranty coverage
- Protection via return policies
- Free shipping
Smartphone models don't change much from year to year. You don't need to spend $1000 to get a reliable device in good working condition.
Compare refurbished cell phone prices from multiple sellers to get the best deal available on top devices.
2. Switch to an MVNO
Since you're breaking free of the trade-in cycle with your carrier, why not cut ties altogether to save even more money?
MVNOs - Mobile Virtual Network Operators - are smaller wireless carriers that operate on the very same networks as the big four providers. They have lower overhead, operating mostly online, which means lower prices for you.
- Reliable nationwide coverage on the same network your big carrier uses
- Savings of about $600 a year on your cell phone plan
- Custom plans - only pay for what you need
- Bring your own phone and keep your phone number
- Simple online signup and activation
See your potential savings with our cell phone plan savings calculator.
Then compare cell phone plans from alternative carriers to find the best deal for your needs.
Get the most value out of your used phone as you can when you sell it online for cash.
Next, hook yourself up with an incredible deal on a used or refurbished cell phone.
Finally, get thee to a cheaper cell phone carrier. Use our cell phone plan comparison engine to instantly see the best deals available from multiple MVNOs!