How to Get the Most for Your Android

January 24, 2020 - Electronics

 Is it better to sell or pawn a cell phone? Which gets you the most money? For that matter, do pawn shops take phones?

Trying to get money for your old phone may seem complicated. But don’t worry. We’re here to answer all your questions and maximize your profit.

Read on to learn the best way to get cash for your cell phone.

Do Pawn Shops Take Phones?

It depends. Different pawn shops have different policies regarding what items they accept.

Certain items, like jewelry, gems, and gold, have a somewhat standardized rating system that makes it easy to determine their value. As such, most pawn shops have no problem accepting these items.

But more complex items, like electronic devices, are trickier evaluate. Specifically, cell phone value decreases very quickly since new phones come out so often. Even if your phone is only one year old, it may not be worth enough to pawn.

Also, since they’re so easy to steal, many pawn shop clerks refuse to accept cell phones to avoid legal trouble. For these reasons, your phone might not be accepted at your local pawn shop. Your only way to know for sure is to ask.

Before Selling or Pawning Your Cell Phone

For maximum value, and safety and security, follow these steps to prepare your phone for sale.

For Security

Back up all personal data and files on a different device. Disable “Find My Phone” or any other phone-locating function. Perform a full factory reset.

For Value

Unlocked phones are much more valuable, even if they’re older, because they can be used with any provider. Be warned, however, that unlocking a phone purchased after 2013 is illegal in America. You don’t want to get into legal trouble over your phone and neither will pawn shop owners.

Phones are also worth more as a complete package. Bundle any cords and accessories you can and sell them with the phone.

Lastly, do your own research to get an idea of your phone’s value. Check out what your exact phone model, in the same condition as yours, is going for on various online marketplaces.

Pawn a Cell Phone With PawnGuru

The best place to pawn a cell phone is PawnGuru. And it’s usually your best option overall, especially if you need cash fast.

PawnGuru lists your phone for sale only to local pawn shops in your area. These shops bid on your phone and you can accept the best offer or decline them all.

Best of all, it goes to a local shop in your area. When the sale is over, you hand-deliver the item yourself. That means no shipping time and cash fast.

Selling a Cell Phone

There are many sites set up specifically to buy used cell phones, like Glyde, Gazelle, and NextWorth. uSell pays good rates for damaged phones.

On these sites, you input your phone type and condition. Then, you either wait for a buyer or the company buys it from you directly.

Typically, they either pay instantly via PayPal or send you a check. Lastly, they’ll usually provide you with a prepaid shipping label so you can ship it.

You can also try eBay or Amazon, though fees and shipping are sure to lower the amount you end up with.

You can also sell on Craigslist, but beware. Craigslist is your least secure selling option. Some people use Craigslist to lure people away from safety to prey on them.


There are many places to trade in your old phone for store credit, including AT&T, Apple, and Best Buy. Pretty much any phone store or electronics store will accept your trade-in. Phone stores will usually give you a decent value so you’ll buy a new phone and become a monthly customer.

David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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