Best tech trade-in programs of 2020

The best tech trade-in service for highest return



Swappa mixes the open marketplace with company-backed guaranteed trade-in models to offer a more DIY option, which will hopefully net people more money without the risk of selling directly to other people.

Swappa is a service for selling your old devices in a way that’s more like eBay because you’re selling (or buying) directly from other people, but still functions similarly to these other trade-in services. Because you’re selling directly to other people and not companies that need to re-sell the devices, you tend to get the most amount back, but with a little bit more effort.

The way Swappa works is that you select your device from a pre-selected list of available options which helps control the inventory and have the correct specs listed for each product. Then you add in your own information about how it’s been used and any flaws.

To try and verify the pictures posted to the site, you’ll need to write your code on a paper that appears in the images. You can then set any price you want, but Swappa does provide helpful information around what the last prices a device like this sold for, what price it suggests to sell the fastest, and other stats to assist in the pricing. If you’re someone who always wishes you could get an extra 10-20% out of your gear when selling to a trade-in service, this may be a way to eek out a few more dollars.

In my experience using Swappa a few times, I had no issues of fraud or non-payment, but your mileage could definitely vary. Swappa has narrowed in focus regarding the devices it allows to be sold as a means of eliminating all the cruft and things that make more general marketplaces susceptible to scam. This includes an employee approving a listing before it goes live. There are also public comments on each product listing so you can see if there’s been an issue with the seller in the past.

The site mostly focuses on selling phones, tablets, computers, smart watches, but does also include other areas of tech like cameras and smart home gadgets, like Sonos speakers and thermostats.

The way the site makes money is by taking a cut for fascinating the sale. Shipping is also included in the price you decide to list an item for. As an example, if an iPhone 11 is being sold for $655 on the site, there’s a $20 Swappa fee making the seller portion $635. The seller also needs to pay for shipping since that is factored in as well. So selling an unlocked, 64GB iPhone 11 will probably net you around $600 on that $655 listing. By comparison, selling the same phone to Gazelle will get you $290 – a sizable difference for a little more work.

There are plenty of ways you can sell a device for a higher amount, but eBay, Craigslist, and OfferUp all come with much more risk, especially those with in-person meetings. Swappa includes a lot of the protections and ease of trading in to a company, but with the added benefit of getting more cash out of the deal.

Pros: Higher payout for your gear, community-based moderation

Cons: Can take longer to sell, more work involved than other services

$0.00 from Swappa

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