Trade-In Options Abound for Smartphones

Feeling stuck with your old smartphone? Do you covet new releases like the iPhone 5S that boast niftier features like fingerprint sensors?

There's good news. A growing number of options allow you to trade in your old phone for cash or credit so you can buy a new one.

- MORE CHOICES: Online site helped pioneer the trend toward recouping cash on your old smart phone or other gadget.

But a number of merchants have followed suit, including newcomer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which announced a trade-in program in recent weeks. Apple Inc., which had offered a trade-in program online, launched one at its stores in August.

But if you're looking to upgrade your smartphone, act quickly, because resale values are dropping now that Apple's new iPhones -- 5C and 5S -- have been on sale for several weeks.

"Shoppers have a lot more options than ever before. But you have to be savvy," said Jeannette Pavini, consumer savings expert at "It's worth it to take the time to do your due diligence."

- ONLINE VERSUS IN STORES: Doing trade-ins online may be more convenient than walking into a store. But remember you won't know for sure how much you'll get for your phone until the company checks it out and makes sure your assessment meets theirs.

For example, Amazon will deposit a gift card into your account assuming it agrees with your assessment of "like new," `'good" or "acceptable." If it doesn't, then you can receive a gift card for a lower amount or have the gadget returned.

One perk: Amazon just extended its lock-in program for trade-in values. That means you can create trade-in orders online but don't have to send in the phone until you receive a new one, as long as you ship it by Oct. 31.

At Gamestop, you can trade...

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