Apple may soon offer trade-in credit for iPhones

Apple may be joining the ranks of Gazelle, AT&T, and NextWorth by letting customers trade in their existing iPhone for a credit toward buying a new model, Bloomberg says.

Gazelle and NextWorth offer cold hard cash for trade-ins but it would be surprising to see Apple follow suit. Instead, Apple would probably prefer to keep the money in the company, possibly offering an instant discount on an upgrade or even an Apple Store gift card.

There’s no word on what Apple will value your iPhone at or what kind of damage they’ll accept, but your best bang for buck will likely stick with a service like Gazelle – currently offering $300 for a 16gb iPhone 5 on AT&T in “good” condition. The downside of these services is that you must first ship (for free) your device, wait for an inspection, and then wait to receive your payment.

Apple may be able to offer instant gratification by allowing customers to trade in their devices in an Apple Store, instead of having to mail it in and wait for the payment to be mailed back.

This isn’t Apple’s first foray into paying for old Apple hardware. Just last year the company launched their recycling program, using a third party, PowerOn, to exchange your used Apple products for Apple Store gift cards.

Bloomberg’s report claims that Apple has teamed up with Brightstar Corp. – the same company that handles AT&T’s trade-ins. If you were thinking of trading in your iPhone now, it might be smart to hold out and see what Apple will offer. If prices are comparable to the $262 AT&T will give you for a 16gb iPhone 5, taking it in to an Apple store for an immediate deal might be worth the wait.

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