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How Much Is Your Used iPhone Worth? As of Today, Probably More Than It Was WSJ

Apple today launched a new program that could translate into money for owners of iPhones. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company just kicked off its eagerly anticipated iPhone trade-in program at U.S. retail stores.

The move is the latest in a series of efforts by Apple to gain and retain customers for its line of smartphones.

"The Cupertino, Calif. tech giant said its 'reuse and recycling' program emphasizes the value of iPhones, even after they’ve been used," WSJ reports.

A company spokeswoman said: “In addition to helping support the environment, customers will be able to receive a credit for their returned phone that they can use toward the purchase of a new iPhone."

Apple is offering as much as $280 in its retail stores for a used iPhone.

WSJ adds: "To get a credit, customers have to show that their trade-in iPhone works by powering it on. Customers also have to be in wireless carrier contracts when they leave the store, Apple employees said.

"Trading in and buying a new phone through the program won’t re-start a customer’s contract, a person familiar with the process said. Additionally, if the cost of phone they’re buying is lower than the trade-in credit they receive, they’ll get a gift card with the remaining balance."

Other companies have previously offered money for used iPhones. "A cottage industry has sprung up around recycling used gadgets, or reselling them on sites like eBay," the story reports. "Gazelle, which offers to buy used iPhones from customers through its website, indicates it will pay as much as $350 for a like-new device."

WSJ adds: "Apple store workers will offer the program to customers as an option to help pay for a new device, and as an alternative to sometimes costly repairs, employees familiar with the program said. In its training for store employees, Apple emphasized that its partnership with Brightstar for the trade-in program will also focus on creating recycling jobs in the U.S. Most [of] the phone’s components will be reused or recycled, one person said."