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Costco will give you free groceries in exchange for your old electronics — here's how to give it a try

The Costco Trade-In program accepts a variety of electronics.

Costco's trade-in program

Photo Credit: iStock

If you're a card-carrying Costco member, then you know the store is all about those eye-popping deals. One deal you won't see on the warehouse shelves, though? The Costco electronic devices trade-in program. But even though you can't toss it into your cart, it might just be one of the best Costco deals of all time.

How does the Costco Trade-In program work?

The Costco Trade-In program accepts a variety of electronics, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and gaming systems. To participate, you can visit the program's website (run in association with Phobio) and select the device you wish to trade in. 

The website will then provide a quote based on the condition of the device and its current market value. If you accept the offer, you can print a free shipping label and send the device to Costco for evaluation. Once the device is received and inspected, Costco will issue a Costco Card — either digitally or there's an option for a physical card to be mailed — for the agreed-upon value.

Not all items are eligible for the trade-in program. For example, Costco does not accept damaged or non-working items. Additionally, some products may have specific trade-in requirements, such as a certain minimum storage capacity or device type. Check the site for your exact item and model number to be sure it's acceptable.

Why should I use the Costco Trade-In program? 

The Costco Trade-In program offers several benefits to consumers. 

First, it allows you to earn store credit for those electronics piling up in your home, which you can use to make a purchase at Costco online or in-store. The program is simple and convenient, as it can be completed entirely online with no cost to ship items to Costco for appraisal.

Second, using a trade-in program for used devices provides an easy way to declutter and get rid of unwanted electronics, reducing the amount of e-waste both in your closet and in landfills.

Are there programs similar to the Costco Trade-In program? 

Yes, there are several similar trade-in programs available to consumers. For example, Target takes back old electronics for store credit. So do Best Buy and GameStop

All of these programs work similarly to the Costco Trade-In program, allowing customers to receive a quote for their used devices and credit based on the item's condition.  

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