In Brief

How much is your old phone worth?

Research finds that Brits are clinging on to £13 billion worth of handsets at home

Are you hoarding a selection of old mobile phones? According to new research, most Britons are.

A report published by comparison website sellmymobile.com suggests British households could be sitting on billions of pounds worth of old, unwanted phones, which are doing nothing more than collecting dust.

It's not because of lots of old "candybar"-style Nokias cluttering up attics – most of these phones are worthless.

But in recent years, the ever-increasing access consumers have to smartphone upgrades means expensive handsets - potentially worth a few hundred pounds - are becoming common fixtures at the back of cupboards across the country.

Nor is it just the current range-toppers that will pocket you cash. A handset such as the iPhone 5 will still fetch three figures, while iPhone 5 models (S and C included) make up the three most popular recycled phones in Britain.

The average household now has 2.07 old phones sitting around unused. What's the best way to make money from old phones?

Sell it to a recycling firm

The most common option is to use an online "recycling" company. These companies will typically buy your phone from you before selling it on themselves.

More often than not, "the process is simple," according to the BBC. Enter your phone make and model, receive a quote on the spot and then use a freepost envelope to send them your phone and get a cheque on return – it makes using these sites a convenient option.  You can send the phone charged, wiped, switched off or without a SIM or memory card.

"But if customers are not careful, they can end up with a bad deal - or nothing at all", adds the BBC.

If the trade-in company deems the phone damaged or scuffed when they receive it, they will revise the price and give you the offer of the phone back. In this instance, the BBC said they complained and were offered the full price after deliberations.

They recommend using comparison websites for the best deals and reading phone-recycling forums to get an idea of which companies have frustrated customers with bad deals. Always find a trusted company and possibly ignore the freepost jiffy bag and use special delivery if it's an expensive item.

Good prices – especially on recent smartphones – can be found, but be sure your phone is in good condition if you want a good deal. The average price of a phone sold this way was £126 in 2015.

Sell it on the high street

If you're unsure if you'll get a good deal online because your phone is scruffy, the high street may be an option.

Trade in shops such as Cex will buy most things, from phones to cameras and gaming consoles. Seeing someone face-to-face with the product may be a good way to sell an old phone if you're not willing to send it back and forth in the post. Prices will differ from place to place.

Sell it yourself

You could sell your phone yourself, by using an online auction site such as eBay. It could net you even more money than sending it to a mobile phone recycler or taking it down the high street.

Look at the prices of other phones on sale and see if your handset compares in terms of its condition, but also check the price of actually listing the phone – it could render the extra you get pointless.

MoneySavingExpert say you can get around 20-30 per cent more for your phone doing it this way, but there's no guarantee of a sale and it's extra hassle.

Give it to charity

If you'd like to give your phone or its value to charity, there are companies who will do this. Some will take a cut of the phone's value, though, so if you want to give the full donation, selling it yourself before donating the cash and using the Gift Aid scheme is the best bet.

It maybe an option if the handset doesn't land a jackpot price.

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