Consumer Electronics Show

An ATM that takes your devices for cash on the spot

A technology representative demonstrates the ecoATM which purchases used cellphones from consumers during CES.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Trading in your old iPhone for cash just got a little bit easier.

EcoATM is a company that sets up ATM-like machines in stores where consumers can trade in their old electronics for cash on the spot. The company showed off how its product works at a pre-CES event on Monday evening called Pepcom.

It works like this: You take your old phone, tablet, or mp3 player to one of ecoATM's kiosks. Then insert your ID into the appropriate slot (this helps prevent fraud) and place your device in the kiosk. The machine will do an examination of the exterior of the device and then prompt the seller to plug a cord into the device for an internal inspection.

EcoATM will then present a price to the seller based on the device's make model and condition and ask the user to scan their thumbprint on the finger scanner. This serves as another fraud prevention measure and is also the seller's electronic signature to sign off on selling the device. Cash will then be dispensed on the agreed amount.

The latest gadgets for you (and your dog!)
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The primary way EcoATM makes money off the old devices it buys is by reselling them. However, the company also buys some of the phones to recycle their electronic parts.

The company, which launched its first kiosk in 2009, now has 1,510 locations in 41 states. Most are in malls and other retailers, including Wal-Mart and Safeway.

Besides the fact that trading in a device at a machine is much simpler than having to mail it in like many device buyers require, including Gazelle, ecoATM also had a much broader selection of devices that it will purchase for cash on the spot.

Unlike some buying programs that focus on just purchasing more high-end smartphones like the iPhone, ecoATM buys about 5,000 different devices.

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