Walmart launches smartphone trade-in program ahead of iPhone unveiling

Walmart said it will launch a smartphone trade-in program to give customers credit for bringing in their old smartphones. The program's announcement comes just ahead of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) expected unveiling of new iPhone models.

Under the Walmart program, which starts Sept. 21 at more than 3,600 participating Walmart stores and Sam's Club locations nationwide, consumers will get an immediate credit ranging from $50 to $300 for trading in their smartphones; more than 100 smartphone models are included in the program. Best Buy and Apple itself have launched similar programs.

Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, said examples of trade-in values for working, non-damaged smartphones include: $300 for a 16 GB iPhone 5, $175 for a 16 GB Samsung Galaxy S III and $52 for a 16 GB Samsung Galaxy S II.

"We think what is different with ours is our simplicity," Steve Bratspies, executive vice president of general merchandise for Walmart U.S., told ABC News. "We are not going to get into the scratched or it is nicked and you get it right away. Online you go through the process and there is the time to wait and those sorts of things."

As ABC notes, under Apple's "iPhone Reuse and Recycling Program," consumers will be able to bring in an old iPhone to an Apple Store and get credit via an Apple gift card. Apple store employees will reportedly assess the condition of older iPhones and determine the value of the phone. A 16 GB iPhone 5 in good condition would be valued at close to $300 under the Apple program.

Although Apple had previously offered a recycling program for iPhones, iPads, Macs and PCs, it had never offered customers a trade-in option where they can get the fair market value on the recycled equipment. However, online sites such as Gazelle, Glyde and NextWorth have established clear business models around trade-in programs for smartphones, and often resell the traded-in gadgets to customers in emerging markets.

For more:
- see this release
- see this ABC News article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article

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