Phone Trade-In Program Showdown: Verizon vs T-Mobile

Which trade-in program pays the most money for used phones? Does Verizon or T-Mobile have the best phone trade-in deal, or is there an even better option? Flipsy.com has the answers!

Not sure whether to trade in your iPhone, Galaxy, or other phone to Verizon or T-Mobile? Both carriers offer similar trade-in programs, but the devil’s in the details.

For example, Verizon is currently offering a free iPhone 7, Galaxy S7, or Google Pixel (among other phones) when you trade in a qualifying device (including late-model iPhones, Galaxy Series phones, LG phones, and the Droid Turbo 2). However, you must commit to a 24-month contract to take advantage of the offer.

T-Mobile offers a similar deal for the Galaxy On5; and if you’re switching to T-Mobile from another carrier, the Carrier Freedom Promotion will give you up to $650 per line via prepaid MasterCard to pay off phones and early termination fees. Unlike Verizon, T-Mobile does not require a contract per se – but if you leave the carrier before your phone is paid off you’ll owe the balance.

Here, we compare the Verizon trade-in program to the T-Mobile trade-in program, plus show how they stack up to trade-in offers found on Flipsy.com, to help you get the best deal for your old phone.

Contents

  • How the Verizon trade-in program works, in a nutshell
  • How the T-Mobile trade-in program works, in a nutshell
  • What’s the difference between the Verizon and T-Mobile trade-in programs?
  • T-Mobile versus Verizon trade-in program: who pays more?
  • How do Verizon and T-Mobile trade-in programs compare to trade-in companies?

How the Verizon trade-in program works, in a nutshell

The Verizon trade-in program is pretty straight-forward.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit Verizon’s trade-in page and follow the prompts to answer a few questions about your phone’s carrier, model, and condition
  2. You’ll receive an instant quote for your phone; if you accept it, Verizon will send you a prepaid shipping envelope
  3. Wipe your phone’s data (here are instructions for iOS and Android), place your phone in the envelope and ship it to Verizon
  4. Once Verizon receives your phone, it will be inspected to make sure it matches your description (if it doesn’t, you’ll receive a counter offer)
  5. You will be paid in credit, either applied to your bill within two billing cycles (for Verizon customers) or via an emailed Verizon gift card sent within two weeks (for non-Verizon customers). Either way, you must spend your credit with Verizon

How the T-Mobile trade-in program works, in a nutshell

The T-Mobile trade-in program is nearly identical to Verizon’s, with a few key differences.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit T-Mobile’s trade-in page and answer a few questions about your phone’s carrier, model, and condition
  2. You’ll receive an instant quote for your phone; if you accept it, T-Mobile will generate a printable prepaid shipping label
  3. Wipe your phone’s data, then package your phone, apply the shipping label, and send it to T-Mobile
  4. T-Mobile will inspect your phone to ensure it matches your description (and send a counter offer if it does not)
  5. You will be paid in credit, applied to your bill within three billing cycles.




What’s the difference between the Verizon and T-Mobile trade-in programs?

Here are the most notable differences:

  • You must be a new or existing T-Mobile customer to participate in T-Mobile’s trade-in program; but you can trade in a phone as a guest with Verizon (however, your payout will be delivered via a Verizon gift card, so if you want to cash in you’ll need to become a Verizon customer)
  • T-Mobile and Verizon both pay via account credit, though Verizon offers the gift card for non-customers. Verizon applies account credit within two billing cycles; T-Mobile, within three
  • Verizon sends a prepaid shipping envelope, while T-Mobile generates a printable prepaid shipping label you will need to print and apply to your own packaging

Since non-Verizon customers can opt to receive gift cards, you can get value for your trade-in without being locked into a plan (though your options are limited to the accessories and other merchandise Verizon sells in its store). That might sway your decision toward Verizon, since you must be a T-Mobile customer to participate in its trade-in program.

T-Mobile versus Verizon trade-in program: who pays more?

Let’s compare trade-in offers to see which program pays more credit for popular phones (as of 12/14/2016; all phones were compared using AT&T as the original carrier for consistency):

PHONE VERIZON T-MOBILE
iPhone 6 Plus (16GB space gray) $139 $165
iPhone 6 (16GB space gray) $139 $100
iPhone 5s (16GB space gray) $64 $50
iPhone 5 (16GB black) $46 $36
Galaxy S6 (32GB black) $125 $118
Galaxy S6 Edge (32GB black) $150 $131
Galaxy S5 (16GB black) $55 $54

As you can see, Verizon trade-in pays more than T-Mobile trade-in for most phones; however, there is one example – the iPhone 6 Plus – in which T-Mobile pays more. Compare payouts from both trade-in programs for your specific device to find out which is currently paying the most.

How do Verizon and T-Mobile trade-in programs compare to trade-in companies?

Both Verizon and T-Mobile operate their trade-in programs as part of their larger service offerings, but some companies are dedicated solely to the trade-in industry. If you’re considering trading in your phone to Verizon or T-Mobile, it could literally pay to explore the benefits of selling your phone to a trade-in company instead.

Here’s why:

  • Trade-in companies pay in your choice of credit or cash, so you’re not locked into contracts or store-specific gift cards. You’re able to spend your money wherever and however you’d like
  • Trade-in companies pay more than Verizon and T-Mobile
  • Trade-in companies pay faster than Verizon and T-Mobile

The process for selling to a trade-in company is similar to that of Verizon and T-Mobile:

  1. Answer a few questions about your phone
  2. Get an offer; if you accept, your trade-in company will either generate a prepaid shipping label or send you a free prepaid shipping kit
  3. Send your phone in; once it’s inspected, your payout will be sent to you

If you select a cash payout, your money will typically be delivered to you in just a few days via check, PayPal, or another payment option you select (options and timelines vary by trade-in company).

The only potential problems: there are many different trade-in companies online, so getting prices from all of them is a time-consuming, tedious process. In addition, it’s difficult to tell which companies are legitimate.

Fortunately, you can use Flipsy.com to instantly compare payout offers from dozens of Trust Verified trade-in companies. Each Trust Verified company has been vetted by Flipsy to ensure they have positive recent reviews, respond to questions within one day, and send payment within one day of receiving your phone.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit Flipsy.com and search or browse for your phone
  2. Answer a few questions about your model and its condition
  3. Flipsy will display the highest-paying offers on a single page
  4. Select the best deal, and Flipsy will connect you with the buyer to complete your sale
  5. Ship your phone to the buyer, and you’ll receive your money in just a few days

Let’s compare the previous Verizon and T-Mobile offers to the highest-paying Flipsy.com cash offers:

PHONE VERIZON (credit) T-MOBILE (credit) FLIPSY (cash)
iPhone 6 Plus (16GB space gray) $139 $165 $251
iPhone 6 (16GB space gray) $139 $100 $217
iPhone 5s (16GB space gray) $64 $50 $105
iPhone 5 (16GB black) $46 $36 $86
Galaxy S6 (32GB black) $125 $118 $181
Galaxy S6 Edge (32GB black) $150 $131 $208
Galaxy S5 (16GB black) $55 $54 $91

As you can see, Flipsy.com finds trade-in companies that will pay significantly more than either Verizon or T-Mobile, and they pay in cash.

To conclude:

  • Verizon usually – but not always – pays more than T-Mobile
  • Both Verizon and T-Mobile only pay in credit that must be spent with their companies
  • Flipsy finds cash buyers who pay significantly more than Verizon and T-Mobile

Regardless of your preferred carrier, if you want a greater payout and cash money that can be spent anywhere, Verizon and T-Mobile don’t make the cut. Use Flipsy to instantly compare trade-in offers for your phone now.