How to Pawn a Phone for the Most Money

February 24, 2020 - Electronics

Want to know how to pawn a phone for the most money in 2020?

Pawning your phone is a great option for receiving quick cash for your phone, as opposed to selling it through sites that devalue your phone and/or take eons to wire you money for it.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of pawning your phone is that you receive cash in hand on the same day you need it!

If you’ve never pawned a cell phone, there are some things you need to know to make sure you get the most money possible and save time. We break down what you should expect when you go to pawn your phone, as well as tips to help you prepare for pawning the phone so that you get the most value out of the transaction.

Want to get started with pawning your cell phone as soon as possible? At PawnGuru, we make the pawning process convenient and easy, even for first-time pawners. There’s no need to feel intimidated—the process is simple.

Sign up for PawnGuru for free, post your phone for sale on our site, and watch your local pawn shops bid on your phone today with no obligation on your part.

It might surprise you to learn that the preparation of pawning your phone is actually more work than pawning it. Thankfully, pawning your phone is easier and takes less time than the more well-known methods of selling a cell phone or smartphone.

How to Pawn a Phone Effectively: Prepare

1. Know Your Cell Phone Inside & Out

We know your eyes are fixed on the cash, but if you want the largest chunk of cash for it possible, put in a couple extra minutes to become acquainted with the type of phone you have. This might sound trivial, but it is crucial for getting the best offer.

  • Find out the model. Is your iPhone the S or X Max? The Galaxy S10 or S10 Edge? It matters in terms of value.
  • Be mindful of your carrier (e.g. Verizon). The prices you are offered can be more or less depending on what the carrier is.
  • Know your phone’s storage capacity. 16GB will get you less than 64 GB or 128 GB. Check the surface of your phone for any damage or wear and tear.

2. Assess the Value

Use our data on phone pawn prices and keep this price range in mind when you go to pawn your phone. Keep these articles on hand for reference:

3. Transfer Your Data (Files, Contacts, Music, Photos, Apps)

Before you pawn your phone, make sure to transfer your personal data. Safely back it up elsewhere for your future phone. You don’t want to lose all your contacts, media and apps!

The method for backing up data can vary from phone to phone, so do a quick Google search for the instructions and make it happen.

For iPhone, you will connect your phone via USB to your laptop and open iTunes. Sign in with your Apple ID (or other ID) in iTunes on the computer, then go to File>Devices>Back Up.

4. Disable “Find My iPhone” or “Device” & Restore Factory Settings

When you disable “Find My iPhone” (or “Find My Device” for Android), this may actually increase the value of the phone you’re pawning.

To disable Find My iPhone, go to Settings>iCloud>Find My iPhone. Disable that feature using the toggle. To perform a factory reset on your phone, go to Settings>General>Reset>Erase All Content and Settings.

5. Unlock It

Since unlocked smartphones typically get the highest offers, you might try to unlock it prior to selling or pawning it. Follow these instructions from Apple for unlocking your iPhone.

6. Gather Any Original Components

If you have any of the original boxes, manuals, charger, USB that came with your phone, include those with your phone in the transaction. This could get you a better offer.

How to Pawn Your Phone for the Highest Price

1. List Your Phone Online

Use PawnGuru to advertise your phone for sale online to your local pawn shops. It’s free and only takes a couple minutes.

2. Receive Bids from Pawn Shops

Once your phone is listed on PawnGuru, you’ll start to see local pawn shops bid on your item that same day. Sometimes, it’s almost immediate. You won’t be obligated to accept any offers, but you can get great deals from these shops. Knowing what you know from our advice on preparing your phone for sale, you are equipped to get the best offer possible.

3. Get Cash in Hand

After you accept an offer from a local pawn shop, bring your phone in to the shop and get cash in hand that day.  It’s that easy!

David Stiebel
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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Avatar for Alice Gest

Alice Gest

June 24, 2017, 1:04 PM

What if small crack in phone?

Avatar for Afton Jackson

Afton Jackson

July 3, 2017, 6:50 PM

Soon, my sister is going on a vacation. She’s looking for ways to get a little extra cash to ensure it is a special time. I never knew that gathering all of the original components that come with the phone could get you a better offer from a pawn service. I’ll be sure to share this tip with my sister.

Avatar for Kayla


October 9, 2017, 3:00 PM

Thanks for these tips. My brother is planning to pawn his phone and use the money to have his car fixed. He’s now looking up at some local pawnshop to help him with it.

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