The nation’s two largest providers, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, are offering similar trade-in deals: Up to $200 for an older iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c in good condition; and up to $300 for an iPhone 5s.
There are certain conditions that apply to these offers: Verizon’s offer is contingent upon a two-year contract and AT&T similarly requires that a transaction take place — either an upgrade, a new line added or a new customer.
The two smaller major carrier are getting even more aggressive, promising to beat any other carrier’s offer. As part of its pledge, T-Mobile will match any other carrier’s trade-in offer and add $50 on top of it.
Sprint’s offer includes offering a free 16 gigabyte iPhone 6 to any customer who turns in a used iPhone in good working condition and signs up for a two-year agreement.
The struggling carrier will also buy out the remaining contract of any customer who brings a number from another carrier and activates an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on the Sprint Simply Unlimited plan. Sprint said it will issue Visa prepaid cards worth up to $350 per line to switchers.
Retailer Best Buy is pledging minimum trade-in values for older generations of working iPhones. Starting on Sept. 19, when the devices go on sale, any customer who trades in an old phone or activates a new phone will receive a minimum of $300 for an iPhone 5s and $125 for an iPhone 4s.
EcoATM operates about 1,100 kiosks in shopping malls and outside major retailers such as Walmart. The ATM-like device inspects each phone to determine it is in working order, checks with police databases to see if it has been reported stolen and, in case it turns out later to be stolen, gathers information about the person looking to surrender it, collecting driver’s license information, a photo and fingerprints.
Assuming the phone and seller pass inspection, ecoATM will dispense cash on the spot. The trade-in values are typically less than what you’d receive from one of the major carriers, which in some cases subsidize the exchange, an ecoATM spokeswoman acknowledged. The consumer can always reject the offer once it is made.
Other used-phone specialists include Web-based Gazelle.com.
Finally, of course, sellers can test the open market, offering up their phones on sellers such as Craigslist or eBay.