Feeling stuck with your old smartphone? Do you covet new releases like the iPhone 5S that boast niftier features like fingerprint sensors?
There's good news. A growing number of options allow you to trade in your old phone for cash or credit so you can buy a new one.
- MORE CHOICES: Online site Gazelle.com helped pioneer the trend toward recouping cash on your old smart phone or other gadget.
But a number of merchants have followed suit, including newcomer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which announced a trade-in program in recent weeks. Apple Inc., which had offered a trade-in program online, launched one at its stores in August.
But if you're looking to upgrade your smartphone, act quickly, because resale values are dropping now that Apple's new iPhones -- 5C and 5S -- have been on sale for several weeks.
"Shoppers have a lot more options than ever before. But you have to be savvy," said Jeannette Pavini, consumer savings expert at Coupons.com. "It's worth it to take the time to do your due diligence."
- ONLINE VERSUS IN STORES: Doing trade-ins online may be more convenient than walking into a store. But remember you won't know for sure how much you'll get for your phone until the company checks it out and makes sure your assessment meets theirs.
For example, Amazon will deposit a gift card into your account assuming it agrees with your assessment of "like new," `'good" or "acceptable." If it doesn't, then you can receive a gift card for a lower amount or have the gadget returned.
One perk: Amazon just extended its lock-in program for trade-in values. That means you can create trade-in orders online but don't have to send in the phone until you receive a new one, as long as you ship it by Oct. 31.
At Gamestop, you can trade more than 600 devices at any of the GameStop's 4,400 U.S. store locations. You can also get estimated values at http://gamestop.com/DeviceTrader.
- ALL THINGS IPHONE: Apple has perhaps one of the most stringent trade-in programs among retailers.
Apple's U.S. stores will now take working iPhone as old as 3G. But you will only be able to receive a gift card that must go toward the purchase of an iPhone on contract with a carrier. And you can't trade in several phones at a time. Company officials declined to give price estimates, only saying that the prices depend on condition.
- HOW MUCH YOU'LL GET: Pavini and others say that you should evaluate how stringent the program is and determine whether you want store credit or cash. (continued...)
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