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What’s the Best Place to Sell Your iPhone? A Comparison of Selling Options (2018 Report)

Apple sells more than 200 million iPhones annually, and many Apple customers have old iPhones they can sell to help mitigate the cost of new flagships that have crossed the $1,000 threshold.

However, the sheer number of used iPhone selling options is overwhelming. Where can you sell your iPhone for the most money? How long does it take to sell your iPhone, and to get paid? How much work is involved, and which option offers the best payout for the effort?

You can make an informed decision about the best place to sell your iPhone with this report, which compares metrics like:

  • Total payout
  • Payout type
  • Time to sell
  • Time to receive payout
  • Guaranteed sales
  • Shipping policies
  • Convenience
  • Trust

This report also discusses the role depreciation plays in iPhone values, and how you can use price locks to maximize cash value.

It’s a good idea to set priorities before you sell: do you want a quick and convenient sale? Are you willing to wait to see if you can get more money? Would you prefer to sell to a local buyer or ship to an online buyer? The answers to these questions will help you decide which iPhone selling option is best for you.

How much can you get for your iPhone?

ModelKiosksCarriersOnline Marketplaces, after feesOnline Buyback Stores
iPhone X$340 cash$565 credit$643 cash$587 cash
iPhone 8$200 cash$340 credit$459 cash$419 cash
iPhone 7$120 cash$185 credit$270 cash$250 cash
iPhone 6s$50 cash$110 credit$170 cash$132 cash

Retrieved 9/14/2018, base models compared

Online marketplaces offer more money for used iPhones, and buyback stores are a close second. Carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile come in third, with ecoATM kiosks paying the least. But total payouts don’t tell the whole story.

Other iPhone selling factors

Selling price isn’t the only consideration to make when selling your iPhone. Payout type, time to receive payment, shipping fees, convenience and trust are all factors that might influence your decision.

iPhone Selling Options Scores

Kiosks (ecoATM) – Overall Grade: C

ecoATM kiosks have the lowest payouts of any option, but those payouts are instant and in cash. You must travel to an ecoATM kiosk, which lowers its convenience grade to a B. Kiosks do warrant an A grade for trust, since there is no risk of returns or customer service issues. Despite high scores for trust and instant cash, low payouts net kiosks an overall C grade.

  • Payout Type: Cash
  • Time to Sell: Instant
  • Time to Receive Payment: Instant
  • Guaranteed Sales: Yes
  • Free Prepaid Shipping: No (you must visit a kiosk)
  • Payout Grade: D
  • Payout Time Grade: A
  • Convenience Grade: B
  • Trust Grade: A

More on ecoATM kiosks

Carriers – Overall Grade: C

Carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are convenient, especially for those who trade in when buying new iPhones; however, they pay an average of 30% less than buyback stores and they only pay in store credit, which is often delayed up to three billing cycles. Though trustworthy and convenient, delayed payments that are limited to store credit result in an overall C grade for carriers.

  • Payout Type: Credit
  • Time to Sell: Instant
  • Time to Receive Payment: Within 2 to 3 billing cycles
  • Guaranteed Sales: Yes
  • Free Prepaid Shipping: Yes
  • Payout Grade: C
  • Payout Time Grade: D
  • Convenience Grade: A
  • Trust Grade: A

More on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile trade-in programs

Online Marketplaces – Overall Grade: B

Online marketplaces like Swappa, eBay, Craigslist and Amazon may offer higher payouts, so they can be worthwhile options for those willing to wait. However, they also require more work than other options: you must create a detailed listing, and you might need to deal with customer service issues like returns and shipping issues. Sales are not guaranteed, and you might wait a long time for your iPhone to sell (if it sells at all). For those reasons, online marketplaces were assigned a C for convenience.

Trust is another factor, since you run the risk of dealing with unscrupulous buyers who return your iPhone or, even worse, attempt to scam you. Though they offer good payouts, for all the work involved you’ll only end up getting $20 to $80 more than a buyback store will pay for your iPhone, after fees. Even though online marketplaces might pay more, low scores for convenience and questions about trust result in an overall B grade.

  • Payout Type: Cash
  • Time to Sell: Undetermined
  • Time to Receive Payment: Dependent on time to sell
  • Guaranteed Sales: No
  • Free Prepaid Shipping: No (shipping must be included in selling price or buyer can pay shipping fees)
  • Payout Grade: A
  • Payout Time Grade: C
  • Convenience Grade: C
  • Trust Grade: B

More on Swappa and eBay

More on Amazon

Online Buyback Stores – Overall Grade: A

Online buyback stores pay more than carriers and kiosks, and slightly less than online marketplaces. They offer guaranteed sales, free prepaid shipping labels, and two-day cash payouts, resulting in an A convenience grade.

Many buyback stores boast stellar reputations; in particular, those that are Trust Verified by Flipsy.com, which vets buyers for quick payments, positive reviews, and excellent customer response rate, lending an A grade for trust. Though buyback stores pay a little less than online marketplaces, they’re an attractive alternative since they offer high payouts, guaranteed sales, and quick cash payments. Thus, they score an overall A grade for convenience, speed-of-sale, and cash payouts.

  • Payout Type: Cash
  • Time to Sell: Instant
  • Time to Receive Payment: Within 2 days of receiving your phone
  • Guaranteed Sales: Yes
  • Free Prepaid Shipping: Yes
  • Payout Grade: B
  • Payout Time Grade: A
  • Convenience Grade: A
  • Trust Grade: A
Looking to sell your phone? Find top-dollar offers from Trust Verified stores here:

Local Buyback Stores – Overall Grade: B

Local buyback stores and phone repair shops tend to pay more than carriers and kiosks, yet less than online buyback stores and online marketplaces. They earn an A grade for trust since they offer same-day cash and a B convenience grade, since you must travel to their location to complete your sale and it can take work to compare offers from multiple stores. Lack of convenience and lower payments than online buyback stores net local stores an overall B grade.

  • Payout Type: Cash
  • Time to Sell: Instant
  • Time to Receive Payment: Instant
  • Guaranteed Sales: No
  • Free Prepaid Shipping: No (sales are completed in store)
  • Payout Grade: B
  • Payout Time Grade: A
  • Convenience Grade: B
  • Trust Grade: A

iPhone Selling Options, Total Scores

iPhone value depreciation

iPhone values depreciate at different rates, based on market conditions like supply and demand. The buyback value of a 64GB iPhone X, for example, has decreased by 36 percent over the past year (from $999 to $635). The 64GB iPhone 8 value has decreased by 35 percent over that same period (from $699 to $454).

Similarly, the 128GB iPhone 7 depreciated by 38 percent one year after it launched (from $649 to $403); with a total two-year depreciation of 50 percent ($649 to $320). However, the 64GB iPhone 6s only lost 10 percent of its value one year after launch ($649 to $583), with a total three-year depreciation of 73 percent ($649 to $177).

MODELORIGINAL PRICEVALUE 1-YEAR1-YEAR DEPRECIATION (dollars/percent)VALUE NOWTOTAL DEPRECIATION (dollars/percent/years)
iPhone X 64GB$999$635$364/36%$635$364/36%/1 year
iPhone 8 64GB$699$454$245/35%$454$245/35%/1 year
iPhone 7 128GB$649$403$246/38%$320$329/50%/2 years
iPhone 6s 64GB$649$583$66/10%$177$472/73%/3 years

Retrieved 9/12/2018

Depreciation often accelerates when a new iPhone is announced. The 64GB iPhone 6s, for example, depreciated by 10 percent from September 2015 to September 2016; but it lost an additional 16 percent in value during October 2016, one month after the iPhone 7 was released (a 13-month depreciation of 26 percent, from $649 to $482).

iPhone 6s Depreciation

 

In fact, prices for old models can drop by as much as 15 to 40 percent in the weeks surrounding a new flagship release. Such rapid depreciation means it’s important to consider taking advantage of price locks. They allow you to lock in your price now, yet wait up to 30 days to sell your iPhone so you can beat the price drops and maximize cash value.

How to find the best deal

Flipsy.com makes it easy to get high payouts and fast cash for used iPhones with its suite of free tools, including:

  • Instant price comparisons from Trust Verified buyback stores, which compete to pay top dollar for used phones
  • Smartphone blue book prices based on real-world sales data
  • Price lock information, which allows you to lock in prices, yet wait up to 30 days to sell your iPhone (so you can avoid the 15 to 40% price drops that occur around flagship releases)

You can see what your iPhone is worth and who is paying the most for it at Flipsy.

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