Just In Time For New iPhones, Walmart Launches Its Smartphone Trade-In Program

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If you’re hoping to pick up one of Apple’s new iPhones next Friday, but you need a little cash to put towards it, then it might be worth heading down to your local Walmart with your old smartphone. The retailer is set to launch its own smartphone trade-in program, which will give you between $50 and $300 when you hand over your old device and sign into a new plan.

The program will kick off on Saturday, September 21, at 3,600 Walmart stores and 500 Sam’s Club locations across the United States — going up against similar services from Best Buy, GameStop, and now Apple.

It’s unclear exactly how Walmart’s trade-in valuations will work at this point, but Steve Bratspies, its EVP of general merchandise, told ABC News that customers will get between $50 and $300 for their old device. He said an AT&T iPhone 5 with 16GB of storage and in good condition would qualify for the full $300, with a 16GB Galaxy S III would be valued at around $175.

“We think what is different with ours is our simplicity,” Bratspies told ABC News. “We are not going to get into the scratched or it is nicked and you get it right away. Online you go through the process and there is the time to wait and those sorts of things.”

Walmart will accept any working handset, and in return, it’ll provide customers with store credit. But like a lot of these smartphone trade-in programs, there is a catch. To qualify, you need to sign up to a new two-year smartphone plan with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon there and then — or agree to one of Walmart’s prepaid wireless plans.

Bratspies admitted that Walmart thought this “was a good time” to launch its new program with new iPhones expected on September 20. “We thought it was the right time for the customer perspective and we thought we could deliver a program in the Walmart way: simple for the customer.”

But is Walmart best for the customer? You may want to shop around and see where you can get the best deal for your old smartphone before you trade it in, with so many retailers and carriers now offering similar programs in the U.S. Amazon usually offers some of the best prices, with a 16GB iPhone 5 fetching as much as $375, but of course, it’s all online.

Gazelle, a company that specializes in gadget trade-ins, also offers over $300 for an iPhone 5 on AT&T, as do NextWorth and GameStop. Apple itself will give you up to $315.

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