Trade in your smartphone for instant cash

Posted at 6:43 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 21:43:51-04

While Apple shareholders lost after the company's iPhone announcement on Wednesday, there is a way you can profit from it and you don't even have to own an iPhone.

Ask just about anyone on the street and they're bound to have one or more old smartphones piling up at home.

"I probably have about five different phones lying around the house and they're all different brands," said Brad Michaels.

"I have at least one old one that's sitting in a drawer," said Peter Ruscitti.

Instead of collecting dust, they can be making instant cash for those old smartphones.

"I have at least a couple. I know where they're hiding right now in a couple of drawers tucked away," said Mimi Abbo.

San Diego-based ecoATM has several e-cycling machines spread out across malls and grocery stores.

Phone owners can bring their old electronics to a kiosk. They select which gadget they want to trade in and provide ID to prove they are at least 18 years old. The machine prints out a serial number to attach to the phone before using multiple mirrors, cameras and cables to take pictures and get information about the phone.

10News tested out an old Galaxy S-3. ecoATM offered $142.

After pressing a few more buttons, you have your cash and the machine keeps your phone.

"You don't want to just get rid of them because there's pertinent information on there too that you don't want just out and about," said Michaels.

Perhaps that's the same reason why you haven't brought your cellphone to one of the machines. A few weeks ago, ecoATM published a simple three-step guide to help you prepare your phone for resale.

If your phone is old or in poor condition, you may not get cash back, but the machine will still keep your phone.

"You can at least feel good about the fact that it won't end up in a landfill and we responsibly recycled it. Because not all recycling is created equal," said ecoATM Vice President of Marketing Charlotte Jones.

She said ecoATM has collected more than 5 million electronic gadgets.

ecoATM says by the end of this year, there'll be an estimated 442 million idle or inactive mobile devices. Out of those, only 99 million will be recycled.