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How to Sell Your Android Phone for the Most Money

by on April 03, 2017
in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Tips & How-Tos, Money Savers :: 0 comments

Selling your smartphone online is simple, often just requiring you to pick your product, answer a few questions about its condition, and ship it off with a pre-paid label to get your cash. The only difficult part is figuring out where to sell it and what it's worth. To help you out, we've rounded up the major retailers and checked the price of a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6 and a 32GB Samsung Note5. When estimating costs, we said both phones were on AT&T, in good condition, and were able to powered up without problem. But before we dive into what each retailer offered, here are some general rules of thumb on what buyers will—and won't—pay for:

  • After a new model phone is released, the previous generation's model will fall drastically. If you're looking forward to the next big smartphone announcement, it's best to lock in a trade-in price for your current smartphone beforehand.
  • Phones on different networks may be worth different amounts. Unlocked phones or phones on AT&T or tend to be worth the most.
  • Your phone's current condition has a big impact on its value. Phones in like-new condition earn a premium. Cracked, or otherwise damaged phones, won't be worth as much. Phones that don't work at all may not be worth anything. Though some companies will be interested in buying them for parts, most trade-in programs will say no. Anyone who accepts broken phones will be noted below.
  • The older your phone is, the less it will be worth. Gear that's more than a couple of years old may not be worth anything at all, but you may be able to recycle it for free.
  • Different color items may sell for different values, so be sure to select the right color.
  • Personalization counts against you—a phone with personalized engraving will be worth less.
  • Many trade-in programs want the power cable and sometimes other original accessories. If you don't have these, the phone will be worth less.

Now that you know what to expect, let's look at the trade-in programs available and what they'll pay.

In-store trade-in programs: Immediate credit

In-store programs are the easiest way to quickly get cash for your device. All you have to do is take your phone to the local store and hand it over. You'll get a gift card for the phone's value immediately—or if you don’t agree with their assessment, you can take your phone back and walk away.

The trade-off for convenience is price. These programs typically don't pay top dollar, and all of them pay you via a gift card, meaning you have to spend your money where you traded it in.

In-Store Trade-in Services

  How it works What they'll take What they'll pay for a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6 What they'll pay for a 32GB Samsung Galaxy Note5 When they'll pay
Apple Store Take your smartphone to an Apple Store and talk to a representative to evaluate your trade-in. iPhones, iPads, certain other smartphones $175 towards a new purchase $210 towards a new purchase Immediately, towards the purchase of a new device
Best Buy Take your smartphone—along with all accessories, manuals, and packaging—to your local Best Buy and talk to a representative. Trade-in isn't available at all locations and some locations may only allow you to trade in items purchased at Best Buy, with an original receipt. Smartphones, tablets, ereaders, MP3 players, video games, game consoles, computers, cameras, camcorders, and wearables $120 as a Best Buy gift card $160 as a Best Buy gift card Immediately
Walmart Take your smartphone to Walmart and talk to a representative to evaluate your trade-in. Walmart also accepts some broken electronics. Smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, video games, game consoles, cameras, camcorders, car tech, calculators $98 as a Walmart gift card $126 as a Walmart gift card Immediately
AT&T Take your smartphone to an AT&T Store and talk to a representative to evaluate your trade-in. Smartphones and tablets Up to $120 as AT&T promotion credit Up to $135 as AT&T promotion credit Immediately, towards the purchase of a new device
Sprint Take your smartphone to a Sprint Store and talk to a representative to evaluate your trade-in. Smartphones and tablets Up to $110 Sprint account credit Up to $125 Sprint account credit Immediately
T-Mobile Take your smartphone to a T-Mobile Store and talk to a representative to evaluate your trade-in. Smartphones and tablets Up to $81 T-Mobile credit Up to $127 T-Mobile credit Immediately
Verizon Take your smartphone to a Verizon Store and talk to a representative to evaluate your trade-in. Smartphones and tablets Up to $110* as Verizon account credit for existing customers or a Verizon gift card for others N/A** Within one to two billing cycles
*Prices as of 4/3/2017
*Price for a Sprint 32GB Galaxy S6
**To price an item, you need an IMEI number and we didn't have a phone available.

Which site should you choose? Since all of these retailers pay in gift cards, the choice you make is really based on where you want to spend your money.

Better deals for those who can wait

If you don't need cash right now, a wide variety of online sales sites often give you better pay and, sometimes, options beyond gift cards. However, if the trade-in site disagrees with your assessment of the quality of your device, they may not pay as much as you expect—and you could be stuck with the lower rate or paying extra to get your phone back. Another thing you'll want to be aware of when you sell online is how long the price you're offered is good for: some require you to send in your phone immediately while others lock in your offer for weeks, giving you time to pick up a new smartphone before sending in the old one.

Online Trade-in Services

If you're looking to move to an iPhone, Apple is the winner for the Note5 trade-in. For cash, Glyde looks like your best bet. But read the fine print below to find out the trade-offs that come with these offers. 

  How it works What they'll take What they'll pay for a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S6 What they'll pay for a 32GB Samsung Galaxy Note5 When they'll pay* When do you send in your item: If they don't think your device is worth the quoted value
Amazon Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then print a prepaid shipping label to send your item in. Smartphones, tablets, cameras, books, video games, wearables, MP3 players, movies, music, and more $120 as an Amazon gift card $160 as an Amazon gift card Within 12 business days of receiving your gadget Within 7 days When you submit your trade-in, you can choose what you want to do if it’s worth less than you thought — either have it returned, free of charge, or sell it for the evaluated price.
Walmart Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then print a prepaid FedEx shipping label to send your item in. Walmart also accepts some broken electronics. Smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, video games, game consoles, cameras, camcorders, car tech, calculators $98 as a Walmart gift card $126 as a Walmart gift card 2-4 weeks after receiving your item Immediately Accept the evaluated price or have the device returned to you free of charge.
Apple Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, and Apple will ship you a prepaid shipping kit or let you print a prepaid shipping label to send your item in. iPhones, iPads, certain other smartphones, laptop and desktop computers $175 as an Apple gift card $210 as an Apple gift card 3-5 days after receiving your item Within 14 days Accept the evaluated price or have the device returned to you free of charge.
Best Buy Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then print a prepaid UPS shipping label to send your item in. Smartphones, tablets, ereaders, MP3 players, video games, game consoles, computers, cameras, camcorders, and wearables $120 as a Best Buy gift card $160 as a Best Buy gift card 7-9 days after receiving your item Item must be received within 14 days You'll be paid the evaluated price.
Gazelle Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then Gazelle will ship you a prepaid mailing box to send your item in. iPhones, iPads, Macs, and select other tablets and smartphones $95 by check, PayPal or as an Amazon gift card $105 by check, PayPal or as an Amazon gift card 3-5 business days after receiving your item for Amazon and PayPal or 7-10 business days for check Within 30 days Accept the evaluated price or have the device returned to you; you'll pay for shipping.
Glyde Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, and Glyde will suggest a price to sell it at auction on its website. Glyde takes 15% of the final sale price and charges a few dollars for a shipping kit (including packaging and shipping label), but the auction format will often still get you a better price.  Smartphones, MacBooks, tablets, video games. Glyde accepts some broken smartphones. $154 to your bank, by Bitcoin, or by check (for a $2 fee). Or $124 for a guaranteed sale. $254 to your bank, by Bitcoin, or by check (for a $2 fee). Or $138 for guaranteed sale. 4 days after your item has arrived After you receive your shipping kit If someone buys your item and finds it isn’t in the condition they expect, they can return it to Glyde who will return it to you, free of charge, so you can relist it. If your item is repeatedly returned, you will be charged part of the cost of shipping.

 

USell

Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then Usell will show you the best offers on its network of professional buyers. Once you accept an offer, Usell will send you a prepaid shipping kit or let you print a prepaid shipping label to send your item in. Smartphones, iPods, iPads, textbooks, game consoles, gift cards. USell accepts some broken items. $112 by PayPal or check  $157 by PayPal or check Within 5 business days of receiving your device After you receive your shipping kit Accept the evaluated price or have the device returned to you free of charge.
AT&T Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then print a prepaid shipping label to send your item in. Smartphones and tablets $120 as AT&T promotion credit $135 as AT&T promotion credit As soon as they confirm the value of your item Withing 30 days You'll be paid the evaluated price
Sprint Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then print a prepaid shipping label to send your item in. Smartphones and tablets Up to $110 Sprint account credit Up to $125 Sprint account credit Within 3 Sprint billing cycles Within 45 days You'll be paid the evaluated price
T-Mobile For new customers, trade in your old phone within 14 days of receiving your new T-Mobile phone. Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then print a prepaid shipping label to send your item in. Smartphones and tablets Up to $81 as credit for your T-Mobile bill Up to $127 as credit for your T-Mobile bill Within 3 T-Mobile billing cycles Immediately You'll be paid the evaluated price
Verizon Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then Verizon will send you a prepaid shipping kit or let you print a prepaid shipping label to send your item in. Smartphones and tablets Up to $110* as Verizon account credit for existing customers or a Verizon gift card for others N/A** Within 2 billing cycles After you receive your shipping kit You'll be paid the evaluated price.
Prices as of 4/3/2017
*Price of  Sprint 32GB Galaxy S6
**To price an item, you need an IMEI number and we didn't have a phone available.

Before you sell

Before you ship your gadget off, back up your documents, photos and videos to your computer or an cloud storage service. Then, encrypt your device. Follow the step-by-step directions in our story How to Enable Encryption on Your Smartphone or Tablet. Then, disable "Reactivation Lock"  and reset your phone to factory settings. For step-by-step directions, consult our story 6 Things You Need to Do Before Selling Your Android Phone. Remove cases, screen protectors, the microSD card and your SIM card.

[smartphone and money via Shutterstock]



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