Swappa: 5 Things To Know Before Selling Your Phone

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If you have an old cell phone lying around or you’re ready for an upgrade but not eligible for a trade-in, consider selling your phone online.

In this article, I’ll take a close look at Swappa. This website can be a great option for selling your used electronics directly to a buyer. I’ve checked out a few different popular websites for selling and buying used phones to find out how Swappa compares.

Selling Your Phone on Swappa

Compared to other companies that buy used phones, Swappa offers some of the highest returns. This is because you set your own asking price and are able to interact with interested buyers. There is a trade-off to that, though: Because you’re selling directly, you can list only technology that’s fully functional with just minor cosmetic damages.

Swappa is widely recognized as safe and trustworthy. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. As of March 2022, Swappa has a B rating along with an average of 4.41 out of 5 stars from nearly 250 customer reviews. On Trustpilot, Swappa has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating from more than 22,879 reviews, earning the company an “Excellent” rank.

If you’re thinking about selling your phone on Swappa, here are five things to know before posting:

Below, you’ll find more detailed information about how to get started on Swappa, how to list your device and how to earn the most money. 

What Is Swappa?

Swappa was founded in 2010 with the goal of building a better way to buy and sell quality used mobile devices. 

According to the company’s website, it’s is a “user-to-user marketplace for gently used technology.” 

Basically, it’s a way for you to sell your phone (or tablet or laptop) directly to someone who’s shopping for a used device online.

Unlike a lot of other companies that buy used cell phones, Swappa cuts out the middleman with its user-to-user approach. Instead of selling your phone to a company that’s going to flip it for profit, you can list and sell your phone for closer to what it’s actually worth.

Buyers and sellers use PayPal, which provides protections to keep both parties safe. Plus, according to the Swappa website, you’ll receive payment before you ship


How To Sell Your Phone on Swappa

If you’re ready to sell your phone on Swappa, there are a few things that you can do to streamline the process. Before you create an account or a listing on Swappa, follow these steps:

  • Create a PayPal account if you don’t already have one.
  • Have the phone you’re selling with you.
  • Make sure the phone’s buttons, ports, backlight and battery are all working. The device should be fully functional.
  • Make sure there’s no cracked glass or water damage.
  • Factory reset the phone so that it’s ready to be activated. If you aren’t sure how to do this, Swappa has a great list of resources on how to reset nearly any smartphone.
  • Know that a phone can’t be sold if it’s been reported as lost or stolen or if it hasn’t been paid for in full.

Once you’ve completed the checklist above, you’re ready to list your phone on Swappa!

Getting Started

To get started, visit Swappa’s website and click “Sell with Swappa.”

Screenshot of Swappa's website when a seller first creates a listing.

From here, you’ll be able to browse through popular iPhone and Android devices or search for your specific phone. You’ll be able to see the average price each device is bringing in on this page even before you create an account. This can be a great way to get an idea of how much you should list your phone for as well as how much you can expect to make

After you find the device you want to sell, you’ll have to create an account to post your listing. You can log in with Facebook, PayPal, Yahoo, or you can register for an account using your name and email address. 

Creating a Listing

Once you’re signed in, you’ll be able to select the carrier your phone is registered with and create your listing. First, you’ll be prompted to connect your PayPal account in order to receive payment. Then you’ll be able to fill out additional details about the device you’re selling. 

You’ll also need to enter your asking price. Swappa assigns a fee for the buyer to pay; you’ll be able to see the total price before you publish your listing. 

The pricing information given by Swappa when a seller is creating a listing to help determine an asking price

Based on the details that you’ve entered, you’ll be able to see the lowest current listed price for your device as well as the price it sold for most recently. These numbers are a great way to help you hone in on your asking price. Still, it’s important that you take the time to search for a few used phones of the same model and condition on Swappa and on other online marketplaces. Additionally, be sure to consider the cost of shipping and include this in the asking price.

Before publishing your listing, you’ll be asked to describe any damage the phone has. According to tips on Swappa’s blog, buyer satisfaction should be your goal, so be honest when it comes to the condition of your phone. Any imperfection, no matter how small, should be described in detail to avoid a buyer returning the item.

You’ll also need to enter the ESN/serial number for your phone, the area from which you’re shipping the device, a headline and a detailed description of the item. When you’re ready, click publish.


Adding Verification Photos and Publishing Your Listing

After you’ve clicked “Publish,” you’ll have to verify your listing before it goes live on Swappa. As soon as you create your listing, you’ll see a unique listing code. Write your listing code on a sheet of paper and take a picture of it next to the device you’re selling. This is one way that Swappa verifies listings before they’re actually published. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while taking verification photos: 

  • The entire phone and the whole code should be visible in the picture. They should be side by side and not covering one another. 
  • Unless you’re selling a brand new phone that hasn’t been taken out of the box, the phone’s screen should be turned on in the photo. 
  • If you’re listing a phone as “mint condition,” you’ll need to take several photos showing every angle of the phone. 
  • If the phone you’re selling is still in the box, you’ll just need a picture of the box showing the verification code. 
  • Your phone’s private ESN/serial number information should not be in the verification photo. 
  • If you’re including any additional items in the listing, such as cell phone accessories, you should also include pictures of those items. 
  • Take the photos in good lighting (try next to a window or outside) and know that the more pictures you take, the better!

After you’ve added your verification photo(s), click “Request Review.” Once your listing has been reviewed by a Swappa staff member, your listing will be posted. 

Your listing will be up for ten days. If your item doesn’t sell in this time, you can extend it for another week. You can also share your listing on social media platforms to increase your chances of finding a buyer.

Getting Paid and Shipping Your Phone

Once your post is live, hopefully, you’ll begin receiving offers. People may ask for additional details or offer a lower price than you’ve listed. Of course, you can choose whether or not you want to accept or decline these offers. Just know that if you agree to a lower price, your listing will be edited to reflect the new offer

Buyers are required to pay you via PayPal at the time of purchase. Once you’ve received the notification that your phone has sold along with the payment, you’ll have two days to mail your item to the buyer. For this reason, it’s important to check your listing regularly once it’s live.

You can ship the phone with any courier you choose as long as a tracking number is provided. You can visit the “Sales” page when you’re logged into your Swappa account to see your recently sold listings. Once you’ve found the listing, you can click “Add Shipment” to enter the tracking number. You can also add photos of the device once it’s packaged for shipping.

What Is Swappa Local?

In addition to listing your phone on Swappa’s website, you may also consider listing it on Swappa Local. If you live in one of the 43 cities that have introduced Swappa Local, you may be eligible to list your device here to find a local buyer and avoid shipping fees. 

Swappa Local offers the same verification and payment protection while making face-to-face meetups for same-day pickup available. This could be one way to sell your phone quickly to someone nearby who needs it right away. 

When you’re creating a listing, simply check that you’d like to list your device on Swappa Local and then choose a safe meeting spot for local pickup. As a seller, you’ll still avoid paying fees.


For more information on Swappa Local including a list of where it’s currently available, check out this blog post on the company’s website.

Is Swappa the Best Place To Sell Your Phone?

The best way to decide where to sell your cell phone is by collecting prices from a few different places and choosing the route that will net you the most cash.

I tried this by gathering quotes from seven different companies that buy used phones. I looked at offers for an unlocked iPhone 11 Pro Max in average condition with 64GB of storage. Here’s what I found: 


Generally speaking, you’ll find the highest offers available at Swappa. Of course, just because this is the average price doesn’t mean that’s what you’re guaranteed to make. Unlike other websites, Swappa can’t give you an exact quote, as you’ll be selling directly to a buyer based on the price you set yourself. 

While other companies may offer additional payment methods, Swappa exclusively works with PayPal. This may be a benefit or a drawback depending on how you look at it. You will have to create a PayPal account if you don’t already have one, but you will also be protected.

Compared to other companies that buy used phones, Swappa seems to be exceptionally safe especially considering its buyer-to-buyer platform.

For these reasons, I think Swappa is a great way to sell your cell phone. You can always create a listing here first to see if you can sell your phone at your target price. If not, you can compare lower offers to the quotes you get from competitors’ websites.

Tips for Selling Your Phone on Swappa

If you’re thinking about selling your phone on Swappa, here are a few tips to keep in mind to get the most out of the sale:

  • Be accurate, honest and detailed in your listing. When you create your initial listing, make sure you’re honest and detailed when describing your phone’s condition. No matter how much you sell the phone for, if the product isn’t as advertised, you won’t be able to deny a return. For this reason, it’s important to be descriptive and provide as many clear pictures as possible. 
  • Post in Swappa Local. If you’re in an area that offers Swappa Local, allow your post to be listed there as well. This can be a great way to get a buyer sooner. You’ll be able to pick a location for same-day pickup without having to worry about shipping. 
  • Price your phone based on what others are paying. When it comes to pricing your phone, it’s best to check out how much phones of the same model and condition are selling for on Swappa and other online marketplaces. Don’t forget that you’ll be responsible for any shipping fees, so be sure to include these in your asking price. A small sales fee will be attached to the asking price that the buyer will cover, so also consider how this will affect the total price. 
  • Check your listing regularly. Once your phone has been purchased, you’ll have only two days to provide a shipment tracking number. Plus, you don’t want to miss any interested buyers who have additional questions or good offers. Still, don’t be afraid to turn down lower offers. Remember that once you accept a lower offer, your listing will be edited, and anyone will be able to purchase your phone at the new price.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, Swappa is a great place to consider selling your phone or any other used technology that’s fully functional and in good condition. Swappa offers some of the highest returns for used phones and prides itself on seller and buyer safety. 

Before you get started, be sure to create a PayPal account, factory reset the phone you’re selling and have it nearby so that you can get the ESN/serial number and take photos for verification. While you’re creating your listing, don’t forget to post in Swappa Local as well if you’re in an eligible area.


After you’ve created your listing and it goes live, check back regularly to respond to interested buyers. If your phone sells, you’ll want to ship it within two days. If it hasn’t sold within seven days, you’ll need to extend the listing for another week. Once someone does purchase your phone, you’ll be paid instantly via PayPal. 

Have you sold a phone using Swappa? Let us know about your experience in our Clark.com Community!

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