Popular phone brands like iPhone and Android come out with new models about once every two years. And, if you’re like half of the U.S., you’re probably looking forward to upgrading. One quick way you can raise money — whether you’re saving up for a new phone or just looking for extra cash — is by pawning or selling your mobile phone at your local pawn shop. Here, you’ll learn how to pawn cell phones and the answers to some of the FAQs pawn shops often get about pawning.
What Are Pawn Shops?
Pawn shops are regulated businesses where you can exchange goods for instant cash. You have a few options at a pawn shop:
- Receive a collateral loan: When you need fast cash but don’t want to lose your item, your best option is a collateral loan. “Collateral” is the item you temporarily exchange for a short-term cash loan. Loan amounts vary depending on the item’s worth, valued by the pawnbroker. The loan extends over a standard 30-day period, charged a standard interest rate until you pay it off. Once your loan is paid off, you get your item back.
- Sell your item outright: A simpler option is to sell your item outright. If you’re 100% sure you’re comfortable not getting your item back, you can sell it directly to the pawnbroker. Likely, the pawnbroker’s value estimate won’t change, so whether you pawn or sell is entirely up to you. However, a pawnbroker may step up and pay more for an item that is a quick sale.
- Browse and shop merchandise: Aside from pawning or selling, you can shop at a pawn shop, too. They’re known for having selective merchandise and competitive prices, saving you money compared to if you shopped at other businesses.
You can pawn, sell or buy many different types of items at a pawn shop. Some things your local pawn shop may consider include items like sporting goods, jewelry, firearms, precious metals and electronics — like cellphones.
How to Pawn a Cellphone
Pawning your cellphone is much easier than selling your phone through other methods and earns you more money than storing it away for years. You don’t have to worry about haggling prices with prospective buyers or dealing with the burdens of false offers and answering tons of questions.
When you’re ready to pawn your cellphone, follow these steps:
1. Find a Pawn Shop That Buys Cellphones
Not every pawn shop will accept cellphones, and some may be more particular about the ones they accept than others. Before visiting your local pawn shop, consider contacting them online or over the phone and inquire if they’re willing to buy yours. Discuss things like the type of models they accept, if they’re willing to buy locked phones and any other qualifications they may have.
2. Set Reasonable Expectations
Set reasonable expectations before pawning your cellphone. Like most things, you won’t receive the full amount you paid when selling or pawning at a pawn shop. Rather, you’ll receive a percentage of the current market value — the amount it can be resold for. Some factors that contribute to your cellphone’s market value include:
- Model: Newer models are more sought-after than older models. For example, the iPhone X is more valuable than the 2012 iPhone 5. The same goes for other brands, like Android or Samsung models.
- Carrier: Some phones are locked, meaning they’re restricted to a certain carrier. If yours is locked, the carrier plays a role in how much it’s worth. Common carriers include Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.
- Storage limit: Phones also come with different storage limits. The higher your storage capacity, the more desirable your phone is, therefore more valuable.
3. Back up and Clear Your Personal Information
One of the most important steps to complete before pawning or selling your cellphone is to clear any personal data. Start by backing up all of your files, contacts, music, movies, photos and apps to an external hard drive or computer. You can add all of your personal information onto your new phone once you get it. After you’ve backed up your files, completely wipe your phone by performing a factory reset. A factory reset is unique to the phone model, with most found in your settings. If you don’t do this before bringing your phone in, then the pawnshop will factory reset it before putting it out for sale.
FAQs About Pawning Cellphones
If you’re looking to upgrade your phone or trade in an old one for cash, you might have some questions about pawning your device. Some frequently asked questions pawn shops often get about pawning cellphones are:
1. Can You Pawn a Contract Phone?
Contracts make buying phones more affordable for many people. Instead of paying the phone’s amount in full all at once, contracts allow you to pay a monthly fee over a fixed period, usually a year to two years. A phone under contract must be paid off before pawning or selling, as listed in the terms and conditions of your contract.
2. Can You Pawn an Old-School Flip Phone?
At some pawn shops, yes, you can pawn an old-school flip phone. But you’ll get the most money by pawning smartphones from reputable brands. That’s because smart phones are more sought-after, while flip phones are more outdated and have a lower market value.
3. Do Pawn Shops Buy Locked Phones?
When you buy your phone from a wireless operator — like Verizon or AT&T — it’s likely going to be locked. A “locked” phone has a software code put on by the manufacturer that limits the phone to only be used on that operator’s network. For example, a Verizon-locked phone won’t work on an AT&T network. You can unlock phones using a software code, however, but it costs time and money.
Unlocked phones are usually worth more when pawning because buyers don’t have to worry about unlocking or matching providers to use the phone. Other factors play a role in value, like how recent the model is and the carrier, but the general rule still stands.
Pawn Your Phone at The Vault Jewelry and Loan
The Vault Jewelry and Loan is the leading pawn shop in Virginia. With a passionate team of experts, our goal is to reinvent the pawn shop experience.
We welcome many items, from cars to cellphones. If you want to pawn your cellphone, we offer short-term loans at a low interest rate. Or, if you’re ready to part with your phone, we are willing to consider making an offer today. We’re open to negotiation to finalize a fair price for both of us.
James (Jamie) F., is the manager of our Centerpointe Way location in Woodbridge, VA. With over 14 years in the pawn business, he is an expert in Diamonds, Gold, and Luxury Watches. He is fluent in Spanish and English and enjoys helping customers’ find the item they want at a great deal. Banks and Big Box stores have convinced many that new and expensive is the only way to buy. He aims to change that paradigm and provide exceptional service and quality products at a bargain price to every person who walks through our doors.