How to Get Credit for Your Old Cell Phone

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Trading in your old phone for a new one is an excellent way to save a bit of cash when upgrading to a newer phone model. It can also be better for the environment than throwing away your old phone. But there are a few important steps to consider before trading in your phone. Here, find Optimum's quick step-by-step guide to helping you trade in your phone quickly and securely.

Is It a Good Idea to Trade in Your Phone?

In short, it absolutely can be a good idea. A 2020 Statista report highlights that electronic waste, or e-waste, reached almost 54 million metric tons in 2019 and is forecasted to rise to 74.7 million by 2030. This type of waste refers to discarded electronic devices, including computers and mobile phones. Concerning mobile phones specifically, the WEEE Forum has stated that a staggering 5.3 billion phones were thrown away in 2022. And this can have a significant, global impact on the environment. One way to help reduce your environmental impact is to recycle or trade in your phone. This can also provide financial benefits, as you can earn credit for trade-ins and use it to buy a new phone.

How Does a Trade-In Work for a Cell Phone?

Get an estimate

Phone trade-ins are simple: You trade in your old device to get a new phone at a discounted rate. Depending on the provider, you can either pop by a store or receive an online estimate for the phone you'd like to trade in. Factors including the phone's model, age, and brand will affect how much your device is worth.

Prepare your phone

We recommend taking a few important steps to ensure your old phone is ready to hand over. First, you should ensure all of your important data-like emails, passwords, and favorite pet videos-is backed up. Then, you can clear your data by removing any SIM or SD cards from the phone. You should also disconnect your phone from other devices, like your car, WiFi, and multi-factor verification. Once you've completed these steps, you can reset your device so that you'll be ready to trade it in.

Receive a credit

Once you have confirmed your trade-in value and handed in your old phone, usually you'll receive the payment as a credit to your mobile service account. If using Optimum Mobile, this will happen within the next two billing cycles, and the credit will be applied to the cost of your new phone.

How Can I Get the Most Money for My Old Cell Phone?

A couple of factors will impact how much money or credit you can get back from trading in your old cell phone. The original retail price is one. Some of the more prominent and expensive brands will initially have a higher retail value than others and, thus, a higher trade-in value. But this isn't the only thing that impacts the price. The value of your cell phone drops as it gets older, so you're likely to get more credit for a newer model than one you've had for a decade. You can get an idea of our price range for different models on Optimum's phone trade-in page. Keep in mind, your cell phone's current condition also plays a role in its value—some providers will not accept phones with accidental damage to them.

What Condition Does My Cell Phone Need to Be In?

As discussed, different companies have different criteria for phone trade-ins. Some may accept broken models, whereas others may insist the phone is in good working condition. Some may also require your phone to be within a specific age range, unlocked, or deactivated. (If your phone is too damaged or not eligible for trade-in, you can recycle it for money or donation instead.)

Regardless of the company and its requirements, it's a good idea to ensure that you have reset your old phone and cleared all the personal data before trading it in. Also, it's essential to confirm that the cell phone is your personal property and not an old work phone.

Which Cell Phones Does Optimum Accept?

Optimum Mobile accepts several phone models and brands, including Apple, Samsung, Google Pixel, and Motorola devices. You can explore Optimum's estimated trade-in values, but as a general rule, the newer the phone, the more credit it's worth.

You must be an existing Optimum Mobile customer for at least six months or an added line subscriber to be eligible. We'll also only accept one suitable phone for trade-in per each new phone purchase. If you need clarification on whether your phone is eligible or have more questions about the trade-in process, you can visit us at one of our stores near you.

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