Photograph by Feng Li — Getty Images
By Jason Cipriani
March 30, 2015

Sick of your Android or Blackberry smartphone? Don’t worry, you can now trade it in for an iPhone.

Apple (AAPL) has expanded its trade-in program to offer store credit to consumers who hand in their non-iOS devices, as originally reported by media outlets 9to5Mac and Buzzfeed.

The company already has a trade-in system that allows users to recycle old Apple devices through its iPhone Reuse and Recycling Program. The expanded version of the program is designed to lure consumers away from competing smartphone makers by including devices from Samsung, BlackBerry and HTC.

Starting today, consumers can now bring in their non-Apple phones for evaluation at retail locations across the U.S., UK and Canada.

Handing over an old device and getting a discount on brand new technology is appealing, but is it worth it?

The short answer is no, not usually. Trade-in programs typically offer less than what you can sell your device for on popular sites like eBay, Craigslist, or Swappa. Here’s why:

Trading in a device through Apple involves clicking through a brief questionnaire online or handing over your device to a store representative to be evaluated.

Afterwards, a dollar amount is seemingly grabbed out of thin air for you to accept or reject. The entire process is over within a matter of minutes.

On the other hand, selling a device on your own requires taking photos, writing an appealing ad, fielding questions from potential buyers and meeting a buyer in person. But, what you lose in time during this process is often gained in device value.

To test the company’s new recycle program, I submitted my HTC One M8 through its United Kingdom website.

Unfortunately, customers in the U.S. must visit a retail store in person for quotes, which wasn’t possible at time of publication.

After indicating online that the device was in working order and free of water damage, I was offered an Apple gift card of $199.82 (converted to dollars from British Pounds).

Apple’s quote wasn’t bad, but after looking at the going rate for the same device on Swappa the offer is a lot lower than the $273 the device is currently selling for online.

With just a little bit of patience, I could sell the device on Swappa and walk away with some extra money in my pocket, even after taking into account the service’s extra fees and shipping costs.

Or, better yet, since I wouldn’t be locked into an Apple Store gift card, I could spend the extra cash wherever I want. Steak and lobster dinner, anyone?

Another great example of finding better deals online happened when I recently sold my iPhone 6 Plus for $680 via Swappa. Competing website Gazelle only offered me $450. My total time invested in listing and selling the device was under an hour.

At the end of the day, selling a device yourself is going to be more profitable than any company’s recycle programs.

Yet, we lead busy lives and don’t always have time to deal with the nuances of selling.

Want my advice? Avoid being impulsive when it comes to trade-ins. Be patient, do your research, and shop around for the best offer.

Not all trade-in services are created equal with each one tailoring offers based on current inventory, upgrade cycle, forecasts and other variables.

Most often convenience is appealing enough to justify giving up a few dollars. However, I find it more convenient to have extra cash in my pocket.

Jason Cipriani is Fortune’s personal technology columnist and the author of its weekly “Logged In” column.


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