Done with your cell phone? Here’s how you can get money for it

FILE-Used mobile phones for sale are seen on inside a store on January 12, 2022. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As consumers, we’re always looking to upgrade our personal items and one of the common shiny new toys some of us covet is a new cell phone. While buying a new phone is easy, the hassle of determining what to do with your old device can be a challenge.

If you don’t want the hassle of having an extra cell phone, several options exist to get money for it. Here’s your options:

RELATED: Got old phones? Here's how to reuse, recycle or sell them

Selling your old cell phone

Most of the major cell phone companies offer trade-in programs that provide consumer credit toward the purchase of a new cell phone, including Samsung, Apple, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

Online sites like BuyBackWorld, Gazelle, Smartphone Recycling. and eBay give individuals selling their cell phone a quote for the device. Once you accept the offer, the last step is to ship your gadgets to them with a prepaid shipping label. 

BuyBackWorld will allow people to sell a new, used, cracked or broken phone. The company will give you a quote for your phone and they will mail you a free shipping kit or package your cell phone with your own packing materials.

RELATED: Old tech: Sell donate, or recycle?

Once BuyBackWorld receives your phone, the phone is inspected for damage. If there is a disagreement on the price between the company and seller, a revised price quote offer is provided, which you can accept or reject. If you agree with the offer, BuyBackWorld will send you a cash payment either by check or PayPal within 1 to 2 business days. 

Sellers seeking another option to get rid of their phone can visit Gazelle. Their process for selling a phone is also simple. You can visit their website to see if they have the phone you’re selling. Once you ship your device to Gazelle, they will inspect it and make you an offer for the phone. If you accept Gazelle’s offer for your home, they will pay you. 

Smartphone Recycling will pay a seller up to $400 for their old cell phone. If the device is damaged or in decent condition, Smartphone Recycling will buy it from you at a price between $50 and $300 depending on the model of the device. If you’re selling an "outdated" flip phone or smartphone, the company will pay between $.10 and $2.00 for it. Individuals selling "budget and discounted" cell phones can receive up to $20 for each device. 

eBay has a different process that’s slightly complicated. There is a page on their site where you can enter the information for the phone you’re selling, including the model, color, and condition to get what the website calls a "trending price" of similar or recently sold phones.

After providing a description of your phone, eBay will request the seller to upload a couple of photos of the device. Once you offer a price, choose a shipping method for the phone. eBay uses a fee calculator to help the person determine how much they can make off the sale of their phone. 

GameStop also accepts old cell phones for trade-in, offering either store credit or cash. Sellers can stop by any GameStop location and bring in their device. The video game retailer accepts cell phones from a variety of carriers, including Apple and Samsung.

Donate your old cell phone to charity

If your preference is to donate your old phone instead of selling it, there are charities accepting the devices. But these groups likely won't physically give your old phones to people in need. Instead, they'll often sell your phone to recyclers and keep the money.

A nonprofit group called Cell Phones for Soldiers will take "gently used" phones and sell them to a recycling company. It will then use the proceeds to buy international calling cards for soldiers so they can talk to their loved ones back home.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence works in a similar manner. About 60% of the phones it collects are refurbished and resold. The money goes toward supporting the coalition. The remaining 40% of the phones are recycled, according to the group's website. It pays for shipping if you are mailing three or more phones. The group also accepts other electronics such as laptops, video game systems and digital cameras.

Recycling an old cell phone

Recycling your phone is another option instead of selling or donating the device. Earth 911 has a recycling program for electronics that’s simple with instructions on their website. 

FOX 6 Milwaukee and FOX 10 Phoenix contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.