Turn old cell phones, electronic devices into cash

Want some quick cash? A recent study by MCE Systems found 66% of cell phone owners are leaving $50 to $60 billion worth of old phones sitting in drawers.  

"Every household in the U.S. has more than four phones in drawers," said Robert Hackl, President of MCE Systems, a mobile device intelligence platform.


You can turn them into quick cash or gift cards.

On average, Hackle says, "Each of those phones is worth $140."

The MCE Systems study found 66% of people who bought a new phone didn’t trade in their old one.

"Older version phones can go for anywhere from $50 to the higher, newer stuff going for $300 or so," said Patricia Maddux with Experimax, which buys, sells, and repairs computers, tablets and phones in Houston.

But how old is too old?

"The iPhone 6 for instance, because you can’t put any updates on those phones anymore," said Maddux.


While older tech, such as flip phones, may fetch pennies on the dollar, some first generation iPhones, like the iPhone 2G, Nokia 3310, and Ericsson T28 are going for $50 to $1,000 on eBay.  

How about laptops, computers, and tablets?

"For something that is from 2014 to 2019, you’re looking at between $100 to sometimes $600," said Maddux.  

Most major cell phone companies offer trade-in credits when you buy a new phone, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.  

You can also sell to online buyers, such as BuyBackWorld, Gazelle, and Smartphone Recycling. Amazon and eBay offer electronics trade-in programs. All of these come with free shipping.  

Or walk into local buyers, like Experimax, GameStop for gaming tech, and cell phone stores.

"We did a lot of mystery shopping and funnily enough, you go to a store, you get the best price," said Hackl.


Staff in a store can also help you wipe your device to keep your personal information out of someone else's hands.

"Some people aren’t quite sure how to do that. So when they come here, we do want to make sure all their information is cleared from the phone," said Maddux.  

To wipe a phone, first back up your data, including your contacts. Then go into Settings, click General, then Reset, and Erase all Content and Settings.

You can also encrypt data on your phone by going to Settings, Security, Encryption & Credentials, and tap encrypt phone.  

You can remove the SIM card as well.