Surprise, surprise. Just ahead of Apple's new iPhone launch, Walmart introduced a smartphone trade-in program in the United States that will launch on September 21. The service will be offered in more than 3,600 Walmart stores and Sam's Club locations, providing immediate credit between $50 and $300 that customers apply to the purchase of a new smartphone.
"Smartphones have become a part of our customers' everyday lives and as new devices launch more frequently, trade-in programs are becoming more popular," said Steve Bratspies, executive vice president of general merchandise for Walmart U.S. "More and more, customers are choosing where they purchase new smartphones based on where they'll get the best value for their trade-ins. Our goal is to give them more value for their old devices and the lowest price for their new one – all part of our promise to be the best destination for wireless."
More than 100 phones will qualify in the new trade-in program, and these used devices will obviously need to be in good working order and undamaged. Customers can even expect up to $300 for an Apple iPhone 5, $175 for a Samsung Galaxy S3 and $52 for a Samsung Galaxy S2. In turn, loyal Walmart patrons could expect to pay $98 for the iPhone 5 and $138 for the Samsung Galaxy S4 after applying the trade-in credit and signing a two-year contract from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Trade-in credit can also be applied to smartphones available on pre-paid plans like Straight Talk.
"Customers should bring their working smartphone to an associate in the electronics department at participating Walmart stores and Sam's Club locations. In partnership with CExchange, the value of the smartphone will then be assessed by answering simple, unbiased questions on the device's condition and specifications," the company said. "Once accepted, the trade-in value will be applied to a new smartphone of their choice."
Customers can also trade-in their used tablets, MP3 players, video games, cameras, laptops and more, and receive the credit on a Walmart gift card. This card can be used anywhere on Walmart's website and physical locations except for purchasing digital movies and TV shows: VuDu only supports Walmart credit cards and other forms of non gift card-type payments.
Bratspies said on Tuesday that this new program not only saves Walmart customers money, but keeps thousands of smartphones from piling up in landfills each year: it's good for the business and the environment. We'll see come September 21.