5 Ways to Get Money From Your Old Phone

Somehow we’ve entered a world in which our $700 phones have become somewhat disposable. We replace them at least every few years, if not much more frequently than that. After all, why wait for your phone to become slow and kludgy when you could sell it and buy the best new piece of smartphone tech on the market? That’s what we’re going to discuss below: The best ways to make money from your old phone before you buy a new one. You have plenty of options, so the best advice is to check all of the routes below and take the course of action that makes the most sense for you.

1. Trade it in when you buy the new one

Hipster using a touch screen smart phone hands close up

Trading in your old phone can save you a lot of money on a new phone | iStock.com/demaerre

Many places that can sell you a new phone are more than happy to buy your old phone from you at the same time. This includes all the major carriers, as well as retailers like the Apple Store. Of all the ways to turn your old phone into cash, this is probably the most convenient, because it happens at the same time you get your new phone.

The downside to trading in is that you’re probably not going to get as much money from the transaction as you would if you were to sell it one of the other ways listed below. Then again, money isn’t everything. If you value convenience over a higher percentage of cash, trading in your old phone could be the best route for you to take.

2. eBay

Designer sitting at a meeting table

Don’t forget about eBay, a tried and true platform for selling your used items | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

eBay is one of the oldest and most secure platforms for selling something you own to a stranger. If you have an eBay account and are familiar with the ins and outs of posting, it could be the best way for you to sell your phone.

To use eBay, just go to the site, jump through the hoops to create a listing, and hope someone buys it. If they do, you’ll have to ship the phone to them while PayPal handles the transfer of money. It takes a good deal of work to go through the process, but it can yield higher prices than some of the other options listed here.

3. Craigslist

The new iPhone SE seen at Apple's headquarters

Craigslist is another good option for selling your phone | Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

The biggest benefit of selling your phone on Craigslist is that it eliminates the money-grubbing middle man. Every other method of selling your phone involves a company that wants a monetary slice of the transaction. So if you don’t mind taking the risk of meeting up with someone in real life to exchange your phone for cash, then posting on Craigslist is the best way to do it.

For an idea of how much to ask for your phone, look on the other sites to see how much money other people are charging for the same phone. To make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, be sure that the phone listings you’re using are identical to yours in terms of color, size, storage, and condition. The biggest downside with using Craigslist is that you generally have to interact with the buyer in person.

4. Amazon

man's hand using smartphone

Try selling your phone to Amazon — you could get quite a bit of money for it | iStock.com/Pinkypills

When it comes to using Amazon to get cash (or credit) for your old phone, you have two options. One is to deal directly with Amazon itself. To do that, just find your phone on the site and click a button that says “Trade in now.” Answer a few questions about your device and its condition, ship it to Amazon, and you’ll get Amazon credit in return. This is a good option for people who buy lots of items from Amazon.

The other option Amazon offers is to sell it directly to someone else over the Amazon Marketplace. To do this, find your phone on Amazon and click “Sell on Amazon.” Then you’ll have to create a seller account and whip up a listing for your device, much like eBay. If someone buys your phone, you’ll have to ship it to them while Amazon handles the transaction (and takes a cut for the convenience, of course).

5. Gazelle

iPhone 7 Plus

Gazelle offers a newer way to sell your old phone | Apple.com

Gazelle is one of the many more recent websites that have cropped up to help you sell your old phone. Selling is easy: You just go on the site, pick your phone, answer a few questions, and it’ll tell you how much it’ll give you for it.

One of Gazelle’s key selling points is that it offers a month-long price lock feature. If you’re planning to sell your old phone in order to get the new model, you can time it so you get a price lock on your old phone before the new one comes out. This is useful because the value of older models is guaranteed to dip once the new one is available. So the best way to use Gazelle is to lock in your price a couple of weeks before the new model comes out, buy the new model, and ship your old phone once the new one arrives.