Microsoft is getting with the trade-in program by accepting iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices in exchange for a gift card.

This trumps last week's iPad trade-in program also by Microsoft in which the company was offering at least a $200 (about £126, AU$215) Microsoft Store gift card for Apple tablets.

This new trade-in promotion not only broadens the scope of smartphones and tablets that can be turned in, it also comes very close to giving consumers real money by way of a Visa gift card.

That's much more valuable than a Microsoft Store gift card, and the program is now open to online exchanges so you don't have to step foot in one of the company's few retail locations.

Microsoft's iPad-for-a-Surface trade-in program only applied to the U.S., and the FAQ for this program notes "[any] U.S. resident that's ready to trade up," so for now it looks like the phone trade in is limited to the States.

Fair value

Microsoft is promising up to $350 (about £218, AU$368) through this trade-in program and is suggesting, but not stipulating, that everyone use that credit to upgrade to a Surface tablet, Windows 8 PC or Windows Phone 8 smartphone.

The company is also promising to recycle your smartphones and tablets responsibly through Clover Wireless, which it says has 20 years of experience valuing used electronic equipment.

"Clover Wireless reconditions for resale or recycles all the devices they receive during this program," wrote Microsoft on the FAQ page of its trade-in website.

"Clover Wireless employs a zero-tolerance landfill policy ensuring all electronic waste is shredded and/or smelted in the U.S. to be repurposed in the creation of new material."

Devices not destined for the System-on-a-Chip chipper are frequently sold overseas where there is greater demand for previously-owned electronics. The recycling company said it also reserves the right to donate smartphones and tablets to needs-based services.

So you may be sticking up for a good cause while walking away with some plastic cash.

Via Mashable