Cash in your old mobile phones and tablets

The more popular the handset is with the general public, the greater the longevity of it’s reuse value to buyback businesses, says Mazuma Mobile managing director Aid RawlinsSource: News Corp Australia

AUSTRALIANS turn over electronic devices at one of the highest rates in the world, leaving most households with a stash of old mobile phones and tablets that can easily be turned into cash.

In the last half of 2014, we bought almost 6 million mobile phones and 2 million tablets, most which will be discarded to top drawers within a few years.

There’s a smarter alternative — selling them.

Depending on your hoard or how savvy you are at selling, the dollars could really add up.

As well as the broader marketplaces of Gumtree and eBay, specialised web-based services will pay for your used electronics such as smart phones and tablets. Most will even pay money for damaged items.

Spent devices can also be traded at pawnbrokers such as Cash Converters and Money Lent, but these outlets require the devices to be recent models and in good working condition.

What to sell

Smartphones, iPads and laptops — particularly from Apple — tend to get the highest prices. Digital cameras and MP3 players are among the hardest to sell.

To get the greatest resale value later, keep the original box, cables, manual and software intact.

And before you sell, remember to delete your personal data even if you’re sending it to a service that promises to do the same. This can generally be done through the device’s general settings, choosing a factory reset to wipe the data.

Online traders

Online buyback businesses display an immediate quote for unwanted gadgets, send packaging so you can mail your device to the company and transfer funds within a few days.

At Mazuma Mobile which pays cash for working and damaged mobile phones and tablets, devices are repaired if required, cleaned, tested and placed for sale.Those that can’t be repaired are sent to recyclers such as MobileMuster to be disposed of ethically.

This week, Mazuma was buying the Apple iPhone 5S 64GB for $180, Apple iPhone 4S 16GB for $50 and Samsung Galaxy Tablet S 10.5 for $110.

The more popular the handset is with the general public, the greater the longevity of it’s reuse value to buyback businesses, says Mazuma Mobile managing director Aid Rawlins.

“Customers may get disappointed that their handset is only worth $20 or maybe nothing,” Rawlins said.

“But if a product wasn’t taken up by the masses when it was released, it will have very little resale value.”

He refers to a 2006 N-series Nokia smartphone which now has no value on the buyback market.

Gumtree, eBay and social media

If you don’t mind meeting up with strangers, Gumtree is another fast option for selling items. Gumtree recommends including sufficient product details in your ad including the model, memory, and a picture. Setting a fair price that is in line with similar items being sold on the site will help you achieve a quicker sale.

You might also consider less formal channels of exchange online, such as advertising through Facebook or informing your Twitter followers.

If you’re already an eBay user, selling electronics on the site may return a higher price than what you can get elsewhere.

However, eBay may be a fiddly option if you’re a first-time user who hasn’t learned the ins and outs of online auctions.


A spokesman for Money Lent recommends people search Gumtree and eBay for an idea of a product’s fair market value before going to a pawnbroker.

“That gives the broker a starting point for the price they pay for devices,” he said

Pawnbrokers only take electronics in good working order, and advise sellers not to wipe their data so that they have proof of ownership.

Trade-in programs

If you’re a brand loyalist, trading in a product through the company that made it can help you afford a same-name upgrade.

Apple Stores around the country will allow customers to trade in their iPhone and iPads for credit on new models, however only a handful of devices are eligible. At the moment the company is also offering 10 per cent to trade in your unwanted iPod for a new one.


If you can’t get cash for your preloved gadgets, you can dispose of them wisely by donating to an ethical recycling program or taking them to a TechCollect tip. The web has dozens of these type of recycling options to choose from.