Know Before You Go: Your ecoATM Checklist

To say that cellphones, tablets, laptops, and other comparable electronic devices are expensive is an understatement. For many people, the newest smartphones are as much as, if not more than, a mortgage payment, and the cost of a decent laptop is equivalent to a month’s worth of wages. It makes sense, then, that many people are hard-pressed to get rid of devices they no longer use, even if that means those devices do nothing more than collect dust in a junk drawer for the rest of their existence.

If you, like so many others, hold onto your outdated electronics out of some sort of financial guilt, you may have thought once or twice about trading them in for cash. However, the typical process of doing so — wiping the memory, packaging the device, shipping it in, and waiting for a monetary determination — may have deterred you. Fortunately for you, ecoATMs are far from typical, and their process requires little effort on your part.

An Overview of ecoATMs

If you’re like most consumers today, you may wonder, what is ecoATM? Fairly new concepts, these machines accept “deposits,” so to speak, of electronic devices. A machine assesses everything from the age to the condition of a device and gives the user a monetary value in the form of a trade in quote. The user can then choose to accept or decline the quote. If the user accepts, the machine will spit out cash. From there, the company that owns the kiosk will either repurpose the device or recycle it in a responsible way.

Preparing Your Device

There is significant appeal to recycling your device via an ecoATM, including the ability to receive cash for a used device with minimal effort on your part. However, “minimal effort” does not mean “no effort.” Before you take your device to the nearest kiosk, there are steps you should take to prepare it. Failure to take those steps can cost you money and even compromise your identity.

Assess the Condition of Your Device

Depending on the kiosk you use, condition classifications can range from “New” to “Good” to “Fair” to “Broken.” Though definitions for what constitutes a given condition vary from brand to brand, you can get a good idea of what condition your device is in by asking the following questions:

  • Does the device power up?
  • Does it light up?
  • Do the buttons work?
  • Are there any cracks or noticeable damage?

Be honest with your assessment to possibly receive more than you expect rather than the other way around.

Research the Price

Research the fair salvage value of the particular make, model, year, and condition of your device. Then, look for an “ecoATM near me” and compare the average trade-in value across the kiosk brands in your area. This latter step is important, as some brands offer nearly twice as much as others for the same devices in similar conditions.

Remove Accessories, the SIM Card, and MicroSD Card

Accessories such as screen protectors, phone cases, pop sockets, and the like can interfere with a machine’s assessment and cause it to come up with a below-market value. To prevent this from happening, remove any and all accessories before depositing the device.

Also, don’t forget to remove external hard drives such as a SIM or microSD card. Both can contain sensitive data that, if stolen, can cost you money and possibly your identity.

Perform a Backup and Factory Reset

Finally, back any files you want to preserve and transfer them to another device you plan to keep. Only after doing so, perform a hard factory reset to wipe the device of everything from private photos to passwords to emails. This single precaution alone is the best way to prevent identity theft.

ecoATMs take the hassle out of recycling old devices and make it easy for you to receive quick cash. To maximize your earning potential, prepare your phone accordingly before visiting a kiosk.

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