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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013

Get the most money for your old cellphone

By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Ready to upgrade to the latest, greatest smartphone? I want you to be sure you're getting top dollar for your gently used old one!

We’re in the time of year that so many 2-year contracts are expiring and there’s a big push from the wireless carriers to get you to buy the latest, greatest cell phones. That’s only intensified with the new iPhones and the various hot Android models.

People who buy these phones want to be cutting edge, and chances are the phones they already had were pretty fancy. The Financial Times of London estimates there is $5 billion in unwanted phones sitting in people's drawers at home. Don't let those unloved phones gather dust! In addition to old standbys like Craigslist and eBay, you can try these sites when you want to sell an old phone:


But those aren't the only options. Coinstar is testing a kiosk called ecoATM.com that uses artificial intelligence and extreme digital photography to determine a value for any electronics gadgets you want to sell to the machine.

The ecoATM will fingerprint you and make a photocopy of your picture ID before they make an offer. You get cash or cash equivalent on the spot if you accept their offer. But for 30 days, the company holds onto the phone. If it turns out to be stolen, they turn over your image to the police. It's all part of an effort to try to prevent ecoATM from turning into just a high-tech fencing operation.

I plan to test an ecoATM at a mall near me. Maybe we'll shoot a video and put it on ClarkHoward.com to show you how it works.

Meanwhile, Amazon, Walmart, GameStop, and Apple have their own trade-in programs. Though in general, you'll get a better deal from the indepedent players I've listed above. But you'll usually get the most money by selling your phone yourself on eBay.

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