What Are Different Types of Pawn Shop?

Most people have a good idea of what a pawn shop is, but there are subtle variations to the concept as a whole. This includes online pawn shops, specialty pawn shops, pawn shops that offer auto title loans, and more.

Which is right for you?

Here’s everything you should know about different pawn shop types.

Generalist Pawn Shops

When most people hear the term ‘pawn shop,’ they typically imagine a non-descript building with an assortment of items randomly strewn about on shelves or standing on their own along the floor. They can often feel a little cluttered, depending on the shop and how they run it. However, they can also inspire a bit of adventure in looking to see what hidden treasures wait to be found.

This is known as a generalist pawn shop. As the name implies, they sell a general assortment of items – ranging from expensive and deluxe, to average and unexciting. If you’re looking to browse for interesting items or household objects, a generalist pawn shop has you covered.

These pawn shops buy and sell items, as well as offer loans with items used as collateral. If the loan isn’t paid in time, the collateral is kept and sold.

Online Pawn Shops

Online pawn shops vary only slightly from the typical kind. They function similarly, but allow customers to conduct business from their homes. Whether it’s to sell or offer an item as collateral, the customer will ship the item and receive their payment or loan if the sale/loan is approved.

Items collected by these shops will then be showcased online to potential buyers, similar to any other e-commerce website. This allows for pawn shops to keep up with the online shift of retail and cut back on expenses (such as a store front). Buyers may also appreciate an easier way to browse through a pawn shop’s content.

Specialty Pawn Shops

Most pawn shops take any item as collateral for a loan, but, occasionally you’ll find pawn shops that have a specialty. Generally, the owner is an expert or they employ an expert in a certain field to verify the legitimacy of items.

This is often seen with jewelry. Why? Because it takes special tools and a trained eye to tell real from fake, or natural from synthetic.

You may also find the occasional gun, classic car, or antique pawn shop. These varieties are more popular in larger cities, which can support such specific pursuits.

Auto Title Loans

Pawn shops are very different from banks when it comes to passing out loans. Customers don’t need a credit score to secure a loan – just something to offer as collateral.

An auto title loan from a pawn shop is like taking out a second mortgage on a house, where you place your car up for collateral, but you can continue to own and use it.

This can be appealing to those without many valuable items. However, it has the downside of potentially losing your mode of transportation if you default on the loan.


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