What: Swappa matches individual buyers and sellers of cell phones, ipads, laptops, games and other lightly-used electronics

Expected pay: NA

Husl$core: $$$$$

Commissions & Fees: graduated scale from $0 to $250 (for items worth more than $6,000)

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: electronics for sale and the legal right to sell them


Unlike many of the other sites that offer to buy your electronics , Swappa is not buying your items for resale. It is connecting you with people who want to buy direct. By cutting out the middle-man (or middle-site), both buyers and sellers can get a better deal. 

The disadvantage is that you have to do a bit more work, including verifying that you own the electronics and that your phone, for example, is not locked by a carrier. You’ll also communicate and negotiate with the final buyer. When someone buys your electronics, you get paid through PayPal.

The relatively few complaints we found about Swappa largely were from sellers who didn’t like the extensive verification process. A few buyers also complained that some phones that were on payment plans escaped Swappa’s screen and were later found to be problematic. If you buy on this site, you should do some due diligence on the phone you’re getting.

For sellers, Swappa is our top choice in the category, requiring a bit more work but usually bringing in considerably more money. 

But those who don’t want to go through the hassle of negotiating with individual buyers, you can get a reasonable direct-purchase offer from MaxBack, TheWhizCells or ItsWorthMore. Our spot-checks of phone purchase prices found that you’d get about $100 more with Swappa, if you were selling a late-model iPhone. The differential is less — $25 to $75, when you’re selling an older phone or a less-popular model.

What their users say:  From the Better Business Bureau:

“My experience with Swappa was awesome! I have used them a few times now and I will never go anywhere else for electronics. 

They provide me with assurance by setting strict guidelines for used phones. This makes sure when a phone is listed at a certain condition level (fair, good, mint) know exactly what that condition level means. The sellers must abide by these standards and often exceed these standards.”


“Swappa facilitated the sale of a phone that I purchased which was later found to have a financial eligibility flag on it. Swappa does not allow the sale of financed devices and thus I could not sell the same phone that I purchased. The site provided no remedy…It should NOT be acceptable that Swappa can sell a financed device but turn around and refuse to allow me to [re]sell the phone because financed devices are unacceptable.”

(Company response)

The buyer purchased a phone on Swappa in March 2016 from another user, paying them directly. For the transaction the buyer paid Swappa $10 as a service fee for hosting the marketplace. Nearly 12 months later the buyer has made the determination that the device has an issue. If the buyer was sold a phone that does not meet our marketplace guidelines they have a right to a full refund. However, that refund has to come from the seller (which is not Swappa) and has to come within PayPal’s refund window of 180 days. 

Recommended reading:

Toms Guide also did an extensive review of using Swappa that’s worth reading. 

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