Pawn Shop Guide: How to Turn Stuff into Cash

Posted on 09/27/2011

Hardcore Pawn, Pawn Stars and Pawn Queens are three popular reality shows entertaining viewers with the ins and outs of the pawn shop world. There are more than 12,000 pawn shops in the US, according to And believe it or not they didn’t originate in Vegas as a way for gamblers to score more cash for the casino. says the first pawn shops emerged in Ancient China more than 3,000 years ago. And still to this day it’s a good way to turn stuff into cash.

Know the Ropes - Pawn shops are a great place to go if you’re in need of a good deal or quick cash. Typically pawnbrokers provide a cash loan equal to around one-third of the resale value of your item. You can choose to repay the loan plus interest and get your stuff back. Or the pawn shop can sell your items to another buyer after a set amount of time.

Make Sure a Pawn Loan is the Way to Go - If you need quick cash and you’re able to pay the loan back in a short amount of time, a pawn shop could be the right fit. But if you need more than a few hundred dollars, you may want to consider another option, according to experts. While pawn shops fees and interest rates are state regulated, they can be high.

Choosing What to Pawn - According to MSNBC, the hottest items to pawn include jewelry, flat panel TVs and power tools. Another popular pawn shop item for cash strapped consumers seems to be musical instruments. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to repay your loan and get your item back, it’s better to choose an item with less of an emotional connection.

Review Pawn Terms - When you pawn an item you will receive a copy of the pawn terms. Make sure you review these and ask any questions before completing the loan transaction. Everything is in writing so disputing anything after the fact will be difficult. It’s best to make sure you understand the terms up front.

Research Pawn Shops - You can spot pawn shops in just about every town in America. They can serve as mini-banks for the millions of Americans who don’t have checking accounts. But just like banks, interest rates and services can vary depending on the location. Check out to review pawn shops in your area. Ask trusted contacts if they can recommend a location before settling on a site.

By Alison Storm

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