You’ve got a used phone (or a few) that you’re ready to sell. You’re looking to make a decent profit. But, when you start searching online, you realize there are dozens of sites where you can sell your used phone.
So where do you start?
Ultimately, there are multiple types of online marketplaces, all with their own pros and cons in areas such as profitability, fees, and seller protections. Keep reading to learn the details on the best places to sell used cell phones online!
P.S. You’re reading this article on the Glyde Blog. We’re in the business of helping people buy and sell used phones with our online P2P marketplace, which you can check out here if you want to get straight to business.
But, as an online phone marketplace, we know the market better than just about anyone – so here’s our analysis of the selling landscape, and the pros and cons of the marketplaces out there!
The Big Players
When you think of online marketplaces, the first platforms that come to mind are likely Amazon and eBay. These are the big players when it comes to selling anything, including used phones.
Selling your phone on Amazon
The sheer size of Amazon means that sellers get tons of exposure to the millions of customers that browse the site. The site is easy to navigate as a seller, and is especially a popular platform for big enterprise sellers that have large inventories of used phones.
Unfortunately, a recent policy change has resulted in smaller sellers or individuals being shut out as Amazon now only allows authorized sellers of Apple products. While the interface is fairly easy to navigate, the process of becoming an approved seller is time-consuming and the cost of listing on Amazon is steep, including monthly fees, transaction fees, and more.
If you’re just looking to list a few phones and don’t have approval from the smartphone companies to sell their phones, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
Pros: Extremely popular platform, trusted by buyers, easy to navigate
Cons: Small sellers & individuals shut out, high fees, extremely weak seller protections
Selling your phone on eBay
As one of the first online marketplaces to match buyers and sellers, eBay is a well-known site for peer-to-peer selling. It’s most popular as an auction-style marketplace, but fixed-price “Buy-It-Now” sales are also common.
Getting started is easy, simply involving making an account and creating a listing. Once you’ve got a buyer, you’ll also have to handle shipping. Additionally, eBay is a well-known and trusted marketplace with high web traffic, so there’s always a high number of interested buyers browsing the site.
While seller fees aren’t as high as on Amazon, eBay still takes a large percentage of your sales. It’s also extremely competitive, especially for small sellers or individuals who struggle to keep up with enterprise sellers that have more inventory and bigger budgets to buy sponsored listings. Finally, similar to Amazon, eBay tends to side with buyers in disputes, so sellers are left vulnerable to being scammed by unscrupulous buyers.
Pros: Popular site, trusted by buyers, easy to use
Cons: High fees, fierce competition, tough for small sellers or individuals, weak seller protections
In addition to the big players like Amazon and eBay, there are other smaller marketplaces that you can sell used phones on.
Selling your phone on Mercari
Buyers go on Mercari looking for all types of secondhand products, from used phones to other items like apparel. Like many formal online marketplaces, Mercari acts as the intermediary, processing all payments in order to protect both parties and requiring sellers to ship the items to buyers (no in-person meetups).
Compared to the big players, Mercari has extremely low fees, making it easy for smaller sellers and individuals to get started. Unfortunately, it’s also popular amongst low-ballers and dishonest buyers who take advantage of the return & refund policies.
While it’s not as massive as Amazon or eBay, it is becoming increasingly overrun by big sellers, driving up competition.
Pros: Low fees, easy to use & simple interface
Cons: Unscrupulous buyers, weak seller protections, increasingly competitive
Selling your phone on Swappa
Swappa is a marketplace specifically for selling used mobile devices, including phones. Sellers list their devices, which are directly bought by other Swappa users, with payments processed through Swappa’s PayPal-based system.
Like Mercari, Swappa has low fees compared to the big players. Swappa fees are absorbed by the buyer, with the seller being responsible for PayPal and shipping fees. With low fees, though, often comes with poor service, as sellers don’t always receive as much support as they’d like from the platform when they have to deal with unscrupulous buyers.
Like Mercari, Swappa is becoming increasingly popular among large-scale sellers, making it harder for small & individual sellers to compete.
Pros: Low fees, specialized for selling mobile devices
Cons: Unscrupulous buyers, weak seller protections, increasingly competitive
Informal Online Marketplaces
The main difference between formal and informal online marketplaces is that informal platforms are often hands-off, putting all the power in the hands of the buyer and seller to determine payments and delivery of the device.
Selling your phone on Facebook Marketplace
Most people already have a Facebook account, enabling the platform to evolve into a popular marketplace for e-commerce. Selling items on Facebook Marketplace allows you to post a public listing that can be seen and replied to by anyone with a FB account.
Unlike more formal online marketplaces, Facebook Marketplace is free to use. It only charges a small fee for those who utilize its optional shipping feature. Because this platform is designed in a way that leverages local networks, though, most transactions on this platform happen offline with sellers and buyers meeting up locally.
Because of its informal nature, it’s very common to have to deal with flaky or unreliable buyers who demand low prices. Additionally, Facebook Marketplace offers no seller protection or customer service, and the common use of in-person meetups can be a safety concern.
Pros: No fees (or 5% fee if you use shipping feature), local exposure, extremely easy to get started
Cons: Nonexistent seller protections, flaky/unreliable buyers, risky in-person meetups
Selling your phone on Craigslist
As an online classifieds ads site, Craigslist has people posting everything from goods & services for sale to open job positions to local events. It’s organized by geographical location, with different cities having their own Craigslist page. Because of this, most sales made through this platform are through in-person meet-ups.
It has a lot in common with Facebook Marketplace, such as having no fees and being based on location. It does have more risk factors, though, as sellers & buyers can choose to have anonymous accounts. As such, flaky buyers, scammers, and spam calls/emails are quite common.
Pros: No fees, easy to list, can target locally or by geographical location
Cons: Nonexistent seller protections, flaky/unreliable buyers, risky in-person meetups, spam calls & emails
The best place to sell your phone online
Glyde is a used phone marketplace built on transparency and trust. By cutting out middlemen and utilizing innovative technology, we’ve created a better way to sell used phones online.
Better prices for used phones
No middlemen mean better prices for buyers and more profit for sellers.
Free mobile diagnostics testing
Mobile diagnostics testing through the Glyde Connect mobile app helps sellers easily communicate to buyers the condition of their device, with the transparent results allowing buyers to be confident in their purchase.
Glyde’s digital smart contracts are designed to hold both buyers and sellers accountable. Buyer payments are held in escrow and released when diagnostic results are verified through the Glyde Connect mobile app, protecting both buyers & sellers from unscrupulous players.
Our 15% platform fee covers features that other marketplaces lack, including free mobile diagnostics testing and a free 3-month warranty on all fully functional phones, in addition to free ground shipping on all phones sold.
FAQs about selling your used phone online
What do I need to know about my phone before selling it online?
As a seller, you’ll need to know the condition of your phone so that you can communicate it to potential buyers. Pictures can present the physical condition of a device and diagnostics tests can show the internal condition. To streamline the process for you, Glyde offers free mobile diagnostics testing through our Glyde Connect mobile app!
How do I know if my phone is unlocked?
Depending on how you purchased your phone, it may be locked to specific carriers. The process for checking this is based on what phone you have, but you can check out our blog post here that offers a step-by-step guide to the process!
How can I check what carriers my phone will work with?
The carriers that your phone will work with depends on whether your phone is unlocked or locked to an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) or a Big Four carrier. Our blog post here breaks it down easily for you!
Do I need to know my ESN to list my phone on Glyde?
An ESN is an Electronic Serial Number, and it’s the best way of identifying your device and verifying that it is real. No two phones will have the same ESN. On most phones, the ESN is in the form of an IMEI, a 15-digit code that can usually be found in the Settings section of your device.
What is an IMEI number?
An IMEI number, which stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity number, is a 15-digit number that identifies your phone as unique. Think of it as a social security number for your phone! Each phone will have a different IMEI.
How do I factory reset my phone before selling it?
How you factory reset your phone will depend on the type of phone you have! If you have an iPhone, you can check out our blog post here (and don’t forget to backup and transfer important items like photos before resetting). We also have a step-by-step guide for factory resetting a Samsung Galaxy device!