The average consumer will keep a smartphone for nearly 3 years before upgrading to a new device. But that still means that you’re investing hundreds of (or even more than a thousand) dollars in new devices every few years. Even with lease programs and equipment installment plans, that’s a significant cost.
Because the average cost of smartphones continues to rise, finding the most value for your current device in trade-in programs is more important than ever.
Selecting the right trade-in program can significantly reduce the amount of money you have to spend on an upgraded device. And if you’re like most consumers getting ready to trade a device, you start by doing a quick Google search for the best smartphone trade-in options.
But some of the most popular advice regarding device trade-ins could lead you astray. Before you start dealing with online merchants for trade-ins, consider the value of working through your carrier, retailer, or OEM as you are purchasing your new device.
Consider Potential Trade-In Risks
One CNET article gives consumers 13 different options for vendors that will offer you cash for used smartphones. And while Apple makes the list thanks to its iPhone trade-in program, major carriers, OEMs, and other retailers are nowhere to be found.
But there are a few risks to taking trade-in routes outside of carriers, retailers, and OEMs. If monetary value is your sole focus, you risk:
Compromising Data Security: Simply hitting the factory reset before shipping your phone into an online vendor or selling a device in person doesn’t guarantee security. There’s so much sensitive data on your smartphone and you need to make sure your trade-in process properly wipes the device.
Misinterpreting Device Value: In many cases, the quoted value you receive from online vendors comes from a self-evaluation of the device. If you ship the device in and it has more damage than you portrayed, you might get less money than expected.
Struggling to Balance Time and Value: Especially when selling a device in person, it could take you days to get someone to accept the price you’ve set for a device. You could sell it faster by compromising value, but then you have less money to put toward a new device. It’s a fine balance that you don’t have to worry about when trading in at the point of new-device purchase.
Rather than struggling with some of these common issues, you should work with a carrier, retailer, or OEM that has put a modern trade-in program in place.
What to Look for in a Trade-In Program
If a carrier, retailer, or OEM has the right technology in place, convenience becomes their biggest strength. You can trade the old device in at the same time you’re selecting a new device and get a very competitive trade-in rate too.
But not all trade-in programs are created equal. Look for some of these key features to a modern trade-in program:
Omni-Channel Device Collection: Just because you’re working with more traditional companies doesn’t mean you’re limited to in-person channels. Carriers, retailers, and OEMs can offer remote device assessment and collection with the right solutions.
Mobile Assessment: Modern trade-in programs have integrated applications that can quickly assess a device’s value. That means running through diagnostics to provide accurate quotes, so you know exactly what your used smartphone is worth.
Advanced Data Sanitization: You want the trade-in program to work with an R2 certified company to guarantee that your data is properly wiped before it’s sold into the secondary market. In addition to security, R2 certification ensures you aren’t contributing the growing e-waste problem due to irresponsible recycling.
These are just a few of the essential pieces of a strong mobile device trade-in program. And for consumers they all come down to a simple idea—finding a convenient and secure way to maximize the value of your current device.
If you want to learn more about trade-in value trends when working with carriers, retailers, and OEMs, check out our quarterly trade-in data trends infographic.