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Determining When Should You Trade-In Your Phone

Trading in your old phone will often give you credit or cash towards a new device, presuming the old phone is in good condition. How much credit you get depends heavily on when you choose to trade the phone. Wait too long, and you’ll only get a fraction of the phone’s original worth. Here we’ll explore how to trade-in your phone at Verizon in a way that gives you the maximum value in return.

What is the Benefit of Trading-in Your Phone?

New phones can be expensive. By trading-in your existing phone when buying a replacement you can either get instant credit applied to your purchase or account credit that will be applied to your payments for the next two years.

If you don’t want to apply your trade-in value to a new purchase, that’s okay too: you can receive the trade-in value either on a Verizon gift card or as a PayPal account credit.

Types of Phones You Can Trade-In

You can trade-in a wide range of phones to Verizon, including:

  • Basic phones
  • Smartphones (5G or 4G phones)
  • 3G prepaid phones (after being active for at least six months)
  • 4G prepaid phones (after activation and at least one month’s payment)

In addition, you can also trade-in tablets, netbooks, jetpack devices, and smartwatches.

The trade-in condition matters with Verizon, and it will determine what your phone is worth. Broken devices or phones with cracked screens may be accepted as trade-ins, but for a fraction of the value of a working phone in good condition. Phones with damaged batteries that get hot to the touch, are swollen, or which leak cannot be returned unless the battery can be removed first.

Trade and Upgrade

You can trade and upgrade your phone in one of four ways:

How to Trade-in Your Phone at Verizon During a Promotion

If you wait for a trade-in promotion you can often get more value from a trade-in. Such prompts usually offer a set amount you’ll save on your new phone based on the condition and model of your new phone.

Best Time to Trade-in Your Phone

When should you trade-in your old device for a new phone? Like a new car, your new phone’s value drops as soon as you buy it, and continues to depreciate in value as time passes. While Verizon’s iPhone trade-in value tends to be 40 percent after a year’s use, few people are eligible to trade-in a phone for an upgrade after twelve months.

The best time to maximize your trade-in value is usually after two years. After 24 months you can usually still get 25 percent of the phone’s value through a trade. In comparison, a two-year-old Samsung Galaxy will typically be worth 20 percent as a trade-in. Other models of phone have much lower trade-in values, with Blackberries and Motorolas only worth five percent after two years.

How to Trade-in Your Phone at Verizon

So how does a Verizon trade work? Once you receive your new phone you’ll be asked to mail your old phone to Verizon. Just send the phone: Verizon does not offer trade-ins on charging cords, SIM cards, or other phone accessories, and if you send them you won’t get them back.

You can mail in your old phone in one of two ways:

  • Print out an online return label, pack the phone carefully with bubble wrap in the new phone box, and attach the  return label. 
  • If Verizon sends you a trade-in recovery kit, put the phone in the kit’s envelope, then put the envelope in the new phone box and return using the included peel-and-stick return label. Keep the tracking number for your records. 

Either option works, but make sure the phone is securely and safely wrapped so it isn’t damaged in transit, which could reduce the device’s trade-in value. 

When Verizon receives your old phone, you’ll get a confirmation email. About three to five days later you’ll get a second email verifying the phone’s inspection and informing you of it’s trade-in value, which will be applied to your monthly bill for the next 24 months. 

Thinking about trading in your old phone? Check out what you can get in terms of great deals when you upgrade!


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