Now and then, emergencies come up – and you need cash fast. What are the best ways to secure a loan on a tight deadline?
Though these aren’t highly recommended, due to their high fees, a payday loan may be necessary. They best suit people in time-sensitive emergencies, like making sure you have enough to afford your copay for medicine.
Otherwise, it’s best to avoid this method. It can spiral into getting a payday loan every pay period, as you’ll need a payday loan to get to your next payday. As such, you’ll be working with less money until your next pay check; so on and so forth.
This method should only be used in emergencies and if you have no other way of getting a quick loan.
Friends and Family
Though not an official loan, you can sometimes rely on friends and family for a quick loan.
Only do this if you know you can pay them back fast and completely. After all, you don’t want to sour personal relationships or burn bridges you may need for support later in life.
Create a spreadsheet and keep track of everything you have borrowed. Add entries for every time you’ve paid them back, whether it’s in full or in small amounts, and keep track of everything. That way, you can ensure you’ve paid them back – and avoid the friend or family member feeling like they’re bothering you for repayment.
Cash Advance on Credit Cards
Depending on the limit of your credit card, you can receive a good sum of cash using your credit card – such as at an ATM to get a cash advance.
Though this has a fee attached to it, you won’t incur a high rate of interest, like other loans. At least, it won’t be higher than the current interest on your credit card.
If you choose this method, be sure you can pay back this loan quickly. Keeping a large balance on your credit card for too long can severely damage your credit score.
Banks are good places for receiving an official loan. However, this method isn’t the fastest – often taking one to three days to get processed before you have access to the funds.
While this isn’t the fastest method, it is one of the safer options. It does require a credit check, but you avoid higher APRs, like those found in other fast loans.
Additionally, these loans are generally more than a couple hundred dollars – not a fast, small loan you need to access quickly. Depending on your needs, this may be a great option.
Pawn Shop Loan
Pawn shops can provide a loan the day you bring in your collateral. If you’re not in too much of a rush, you can shop around and compare different pawn shops for the best deal.
Pawn shops are a safe, fast, low-interest way to receive a loan. The interest isn’t based on a credit score, in case you have poor credit. Just ensure you have something expensive enough to set up as collateral.
While everyone knows about pawn shops, online pawn shops are less frequently talked about. As such, their benefits aren’t discussed as openly. Don’t get it wrong – there are many benefits to choosing this version over a physical location.
Let’s take a look at five reasons you should head to the internet instead.
Shop on Your Own Time
You aren’t bound to a physical location’s opening hours or your own schedule when you shop on an online pawn shop.
You can scroll through their website at midnight, on the toilet at work, or while you’re at a physical pawn shop and comparing prices. This convenience is why so many people have turned to online shopping in general. You can get the same convenience with secondhand, too.
Wide Range of Choices
When it comes to shopping, an online pawn store isn’t limited by a physical space, where they’re forced to showcase the items they think will sell fastest. Instead, they can show off everything in their inventory and make it clear how much of every item is available.
Maybe it’s the difference between two similar-looking rings, or maybe it’s the option between differently-sized furniture. Because there’s so much stuff to sort through, online search systems make it easier to find what you’re looking for – without having to ask staff for help.
Niche Objects and Antiques
The best part of an online pawn shop? It doesn’t rely on proximity to people with interesting items or exceptional antiques.
Because items can be sent in from anywhere, online pawn shops can accept everything they think is interesting or might sell well to the right audience. This is beneficial for both collectors and the pawn stores themselves. They can take on riskier, more niche items, because they’re not reliant on a collector wandering through their city or town and completely touring their location.
This isn’t a guarantee, as some online pawn shops may sell their items at the same rate as physical locations (and pocket the difference). However, online pawn shops are in a better position to offer better prices. They don’t need a physical location or employees on-location in order to make sales.
Items are typically stored in a warehouse while they’re listed online. As such, they can fit more inventory into a given space than a store would – where items are spaced out so customers can meander and see everything properly.
No matter where you are, you can always check online pawn shops and compare the best deals. You’re not limited to what’s physically in your area, especially if you’re after a quick, easy, small loan.
There are enough online pawn shops to compare loan details and interest rates, so you can pay off the loan and get your stuff back ASAP.
At the very least, it can give you a better bargaining position with your local pawn shop, should you be determined to negotiate a deal with a brick and mortar store.
It’s a long struggle of which is better: the big-city or small-town lifestyle? While it may be similar to the old adage, pawn shops and many other stores that stock secondhand items are going to differ greatly based on where they are. That’s not to mention their populations and the local economies, making this debate a lot more quantifiable than general preference.
Which should you pick? Let’s take a look.
Big City Pawn Shops
The biggest advantage of big-city pawn shops? Their access to a larger population, with a wider variety of items. They may have more to sell on any given day.
Bigger pawn shops and specialty pawn shops are more likely to be competitive in these environments, so they can stand out from the rest. This allows for precise shopping and selling, like jewelry specialty pawn shops.
Additionally, prices are likely to be in the customer’s favor. You can have more options for pursuing a pawn shop loan by shopping around.
Any strange or interesting finds are more likely to be scooped up very quickly by collectors. That’s not to mention people looking to resell to a targeted audience, rather than the general population that a pawn shop serves.
This can also exasperate the issue of a generic inventory, with repeat items that just aren’t desirable to collectors or general populations. You can always find the same thing anywhere else.
In bigger cities, you run the risk of accidentally buying stolen goods. While pawn shops don’t set out to resell stolen items, some stuff may fall under the radar. Finding reported items is difficult, as the description may be generic or it may lack any kind of identification number.
Little City Pawn Shops
Though lacking the variety of big-city pawn shops, a little-city or small-town pawn shop is far more likely to reflect the local culture. As such, it’ll include niche items that the local population isn’t interested in buying or can’t afford. This ensures collectors touring around may find some rare items.
For local residents, this lack of constant turnaround can also be a boon. In case of a loan being defaulted or not paid back in time, you have a better chance of returning later and buying back your stuff, rather than returning to find it already gone.
Based on statistics alone, a town may not have many pawn shops. This gives them the upper hand in any negotiations, especially regarding loans. After all, you don’t have the ability to walk away in favor of a better deal or the possibility of a better deal.
You’ll also find the prices slightly higher, since they have to cover expenses while selling fewer items.
With all that said, the biggest con of a little city pawn shop is the lack of variety in their stock. While you might find those rarer items or come across more antiques, these pawn shops generally lack a broad inventory. Things just get shuffled around a smaller community.
Online reviews are a great place to start when hunting for the best pawn shop. Whether you’re selling, pawning your stuff, or finding a good bargain, they can help you vet out contenders and gain insights.
However, the anonymity of the internet can be a cover. It’ll bring out the worst in people, or allow fake positive reviews to be left without contest. How can you know which to trust?
Let’s take a look at five ways to keep from getting bamboozled.
Misery Loves Company
Most reviews are left by people who have strong feelings about their experience. They feel compelled to write it out for others to see, whether it’s singing praises or warning people away.
Because most people expect a good experience to be the norm – and thus not worthy of praise – this means that most of the extreme reviews are negative.
So, you shouldn’t be dismayed by a handful of negative reviews. If there’s an overwhelming amount of negative reviews compared to the positive or neutral ones, however, then you should be concerned.
Reviews that expect a pawn shop to be something unlike a pawn shop (such as a furniture store with consistent inventory) should be taken with a grain of salt.
Even though they come in with unrealistic standards, they may still have some legitimate complaints.
For example, a pawn shop isn’t going to have extra stock of a certain item, because they work with secondhand items. However, if a pawn shop doesn’t have a good inventory at all, then it means not many people want to pawn their stuff there.
A basic review, which says something small, is oddly your best bet for an actual experience that isn’t exaggerated or falsified.
Things like “great selection, friendly staff” is definitely written by someone that’s trying to fill their time at a restaurant while waiting for their food, or hanging out in the car as their partner finishes shopping. As such, they’re accurately recalling their real, lived experience.
Check the Account
Whether you’re on the fence about the review’s authenticity, or it seems too good to be true, the next step should be to check the account itself. Does it have other reviews for other websites? If not, it may be a fake account made by the owner – especially if the review is positive.
It gets a little trickier when it’s a negative review. As stated before, people feel more compelled to review a place if they’ve had a poor experience. So, it’s possible that someone created the account solely to warn people of their experience at that pawn shop.
Not every business owner will monitor all the different sites where people leave reviews. However, it shows good faith when they respond to negative reviews and take criticism well.
The downside? If all the replies are a copy-pasted response without variation. This means they’re more concerned with the appearance of looking like they care, rather than taking the time to actually improve their customer’s experience.
When you’re looking to pawn jewelry, what types pawn the best?
In general, avoid pawning anything you bought for twenty dollars at Target, as the resale value isn’t worth much to the pawnshop. Because of this, you won’t receive a great loan.
While you can still try to sell that cheaply-made, costume jewelry necklace, you might also want to dig to the back of your jewelry drawer. These five types of jewelry will receive much better loans:
Gold is valuable even when it isn’t made into jewelry. As such, it’s usually a safe bet for pawnshops to take on as collateral for loans. If they can’t sell it directly, gold is still lucrative to sell for cash to a gold company or other precious-metal-recycling companies.
For you, pawning gold jewelry means you can get a better loan or sale, and you can walk into the pawn shop knowing they’re unlikely to turn you down.
While silver is also a precious metal, it’s not worth quite as much on its own. So, if sold for parts, it isn’t likely to recuperate its losses well. This means the worth of the piece is in the design, not in the metal.
Diamonds are very sought-after and can be sold at a high price.
You might get a better deal at a jewelry specialty pawnshop, where they can confirm the worth of the diamond setting in the jewelry and give you an appropriate deal or loan.
Without someone to confirm the karat, you might not get the best deal. If the diamond turns out to be a fake, the pawn shop will have to factor that into the possible loss.
A good watch can still fetch a good price at the right pawnshop. Depending on the metals it’s made with, how good the machinery is, and the design or brand name, you can get a good pawnshop loan with a watch.
This, however, really only applies to jewelry-type watches, not to purely functional and reliable plastic or polymer watches. Depending on how good it is and how much you originally paid for it, you might still be able to get a good price, but you shouldn’t expect too much.
Pawnshops can always go for a good wedding ring, since many people these days turn to secondhand rings to save on the cost of a wedding or engagement. A well-styled ring (nothing too gaudy) is going to be more attractive, and if you have the engagement ring and wedding band set, you’ll have a great deal on your hands.
A well-made pair of earrings, especially those with precious metals or gems, can be worth a lot. Perhaps not as much as wedding rings or bands, but you can still get a good deal or loan from a pawnshop for the right pair of earrings. This is especially true during peak jewelry seasons – like Valentine’s Day or Christmas.
Before you pawn an item, there are five simple questions you need to ask.
Why? Why not just barrel in without the answers?
Taking a deep breath, looking at the situation, and making a thoughtful decision before going through with a pawnshop loan can save you time and hassle. Even if money is tight, you shouldn’t approach loans in a way that you’ll regret. As a plus, choosing the right timing can help you get a better loan!
Make sure to tick off these five questions before pawning your stuff.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Can I Live Without This Item?
While this can also be a literal question (don’t try pawning your medication – that’s illegal), this question should be asked more generally.
If you can’t get your stuff back, will you regret it? Did it have sentimental meaning? Will losing it make you feel like your life is lesser without it?
Even if you’re indecisive on the answer to this question, asking it will let you examine why you like it or would like to keep a certain item. It’s better than deciding it after the pawn!
How Much is This Item Worth?
You may need a certain amount of money from a pawnshop loan. So, you need to pick the right item to get you what you need.
If you need a hundred dollars to tide you over until the next paycheck arrives, pawning a TV you bought three years ago might only fetch you fifty dollars at best.
When Am I Expecting Money?
If your goal is to pay back the loan and retrieve your collateral, ask yourself: when will you get your next paycheck, how much is that paycheck, and how much do you have to pay off the loan once you subtract your expenses (like rent, food, and transportation costs)?
Figure out how quickly you can pay back the loan. From there, you can decide whether or not pawning your item is a safe bet.
Questions to Ask the Pawnshop
How Long Do You Have to Repay the Loan?
Know the terms of your contract with the pawnshop. You need to know how long you have to pay back your loan in order to retrieve your collateral.
The last thing you want is to finally scrape together the money, head to the pawnshop, and realize that you no longer have claim to your item. If it’s already sold or is being sold for more than the money you owed, you’re out of luck.
What is the Interest Rate?
Loans aren’t free, so you’ll need to figure out what the interest rate is from the specific pawnshop you’re going to apply to.
This will also help you calculate how much you’ll eventually owe. Better yet, it can let you shop around and see if there are other pawnshops in the area with lower interest rates. Don’t just go for the first option – find the best option for you. Otherwise, you’ll pay more later.
Pawning isn’t for everyone. What are good reasons for not going through with a pawn store loan?
We have you covered.
Here are five simple questions to think over before you commit to pawning an item for a loan. They may be simple, but they’re enough to ensure you know what you’re doing before stepping foot into the pawn shop.
Can You Part with It?
When you pawn an item for a loan, there is always the possibility you’ll never get it back.
Some people feel the need to get a pawn loan because of unexpected expenses, while they’re between paychecks, or because of a gap in their income. Keep in mind that loans come with interest, so if you pawn something for a $200 loan and you know you’ll have an extra $200 at the end of the month to pay off the loan, understand that you won’t be paying off the whole loan.
If the item has a lot of sentimental worth and you have other items you can pawn, consider pawning those instead – or reconsidering pawning altogether. The last thing you want is to lose a family wedding ring because you thought you could pay back the loan in time.
Is It Worth Enough?
Looking up the worth of an item before you go to pawn it is integral to the process if you want to come out satisfied with your loan. If you need $100, pawning a glass terrarium you bought for $80 isn’t likely to cut it as collateral. When it comes to the loan, you need to find something of equal or greater value to the money you want to borrow.
Are You Expecting Money?
If your goal is to pay off the loan to get your collateral back, make sure you have money coming in before the time your item is forfeit. Whether it’s an upcoming paycheck or collecting money a friend owes you, making sure you know you’ll have the money in the future can go a long way to ensure you don’t lose your item.
Can You Prove Authenticity?
If you’re going to pawn a historic or antique piece, you’ll be at a disadvantage to argue for a good deal unless you can prove what it is. This is extremely important for pieces of art like paintings or sculptures. Proving it was made by the actual artist as well that you bought or inherited it can go a long way in getting you the best loan.
Do You Want to Sell or Get It Back?
You can sell an item at a pawn shop instead of using the item as collateral for a loan, and if you’re not interested in getting the item back, it can be better to outright sell than to opt for the loan as you could possibly get more money for selling.
If you’ve taken into consideration all five of these ideas and still decided to pawn an item at a pawnshop, by all means, you should do it. Sometimes things get tight and a pawn shop loan is the only available recourse to help you and your needs.
There are some items that a pawn store owner may outright deny, whether you’re bringing it to sell or pawn for a loan. Among the weird and interesting things they might turn down, items that are too big commonly get rejected.
What’s too big?
Let’s find out.
What is “Too Big”?
When talking about “too big”, most people think of the actual size of an item. With physical pawn store locations, the idea is to ensure it can fit into their place of business. Often, this may mean fitting through the front door. While some pawn shops might have a back door or garage for larger items, using a door frame as a general reference would be a good idea.
For online pawn shops, shipping costs are the big problem for large or unusual sized items, as postal services upcharge for such items. Thankfully, online services often take this into account and have size and/or weight restrictions for what they will take.
Weight also plays an important role in understanding what “too big” can mean for an individual item. Is the thing you’re trying to pawn only movable with a large team of people or special equipment? Then it might be too big for a pawn shop to consider a safe or practical investment, in case you default on a loan.
For online pawn shops, weight plays almost as much of a role as size does. Trying to send them five heavy-weight bowling balls in the mail might be too much for what it’s worth to ship them around.
What You Can Pawn
Way Too Big
Despite the ambiguity of what a pawn shop might or might not consider too big, there are some items you could reasonably assume they won’t want to take. This includes:
- Industrial fridge.
- A 20-foot-tall iron sculpture.
- A stalled or otherwise broken car.
- Portable sheds.
Just Big Enough
Some large items might fall into an iffy area, but it’s alright to assume these items will be taken by most pawn shops.
- China cabinets.
- Industrial shelving (especially if you can take it apart).
- Bed frames.
- A tool cabinet.
Don’t forget to ask the pawn shop themselves if what you want to pawn is too big for them. All pawn shops are different and may have different standards for what they will consider too big. Pawn stores that deal in loans on cars may be willing to use a car as collateral, and an art specialty store might be interested in the aforementioned 20-foot-tall iron statue, so long as you can transport it to them at your own expense.
A good rule of thumb is: if you can fit the item in question into the back of a truck reasonably and safely, you’ll be fine. When in doubt, give the pawn shop owner or manager a call just to save yourself a trip.
Before you enter a pawn shop, it’s wise to understand how you can receive the best deal, whether you’re pawning an item for a loan or looking to buy or sell.
Pawn shops are one of the last few places in modern commerce where you can haggle and are expected to protect your own interests. As such, going in without all the information leaves you at a disadvantage.
Before walking in, here’s what you should know:
Research Market Value
- What is the going rate for an item you’re trying to pawn, sell or buy? If you don’t remember what you originally purchased the item for, look up similar items and how much they’re selling for now. Don’t go into a pawn shop unaware of the price you should expect, or you’ll be at a disadvantage.
- Once you have a good idea of pricing, start the haggling process with a slightly higher figure than the general market value. This is done with the expectation of coming down in price and reaching a compromise later.
- Be suspicious if they try to convince you it’s worth a fraction of the price. Even a used or secondhand item shouldn’t lose all its value, so long as it’s in good condition.
Understand Flaws and Fixes
Are you trying to buy something that might have a few flaws in it? Are you trying to sell something that needs to be fixed?
Knowing its flaws and possible fixes helps you understand the item’s value. An unfixable item isn’t worth buying or selling to a pawn shop owner. However, someone may convince you to buy an unfixable item, saying that the flaw is totally fixable. Likewise, they could haggle you down to a lower price by convincing you a minor flaw diminishes the total worth.
Learn How They Operate
What is the interest rate at the pawn shop? How long do you have to pay back the loan before your collateral is forfeit?
Read their rules carefully and completely before engaging in any business. When negotiating, this will help you avoid any confusion and seem knowledgeable to the pawn shop owner.
As a plus, when you don’t have to reiterate the basics, it saves time and makes business go a little smoother.
Know Your Options
Before walking in, you should decide: Can you get a loan, sell your item, or buy a particular item somewhere else?
Whether it’s at an official store or a different pawn shop, it’s wise to shop around. Places that have multiple pawn shops or other venues for buying and selling used goods give you options. You also have the upper hand; if you don’t like their offer, you can take your business somewhere else.
The difference isn’t always significant or drastic. You can’t get away with unreasonable demands just because they have competition. However, you can feel safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to accept the deal; you can go elsewhere
Are online pawn shops better than the brick and mortar kinds?
Yes and no.
Each of these pawn shops have their own pros and cons – which could make them ideal or annoying for you. Which should you choose?
Let’s take a look.
Physical Pawn Shops
Physical pawn shops and locations are easy to access. Taking your stuff to them or buying from them is relatively easy and cheap, if you have the right kind of transportation.
For example, buying an old piano from a physical pawn shop is far easier and cheaper if you own (or have a friend who owns) a truck. Paying for the shipping costs would be unreasonable. Even renting a truck to drive for a couple of miles is often cheaper than buying a large, oddly shaped item from an online seller.
Bigger Collection (Literally)
For this reason, many online pawn shops might not accept large items to buy or sell. A physical pawn shop will have a more varied collection, with furniture, heavy tools, and even vehicles to choose from.
A physical pawn shop may also be a faster experience. If you walk in, find something you like, and buy it, you can walk out with it immediately. No waiting for shipping time or bank processing. The same applies to selling and loans.
The cost of renting or owning a physical business is often passed down in the prices, how much they’re willing to pay sellers, and the loans they’re willing to give. In addition, a physical shop needs at least one employee at all times in order to operate, so those expenses add up fast.
Online Pawn Shops
Lower Base Prices
There’s no need to hire full-time employees, there’s no rent to pay, and there are generally fewer licenses to have. All this adds up, so online pawn shops can save on operating costs – and therefore lower their prices.
The novelty of the internet is accessibility. You can visit an online pawn shop from anywhere, at any time – even from the comfort of your home! You can browse at your leisure, explore different online pawn shops without moving from one locale to the next, and save items for later viewing.
Can’t Physically Assess Items
For the consumer, an online pawn shop might not always be the best option. If you’re attempting to buy jewelry or clothes, you don’t have the luxury of trying something on.
Can’t Double Check Quality
For other items, like paintings or antique furniture, you’ll have to rely on the assessment of the online pawn shop. They will say what the value of the item is; you can’t get up close to inspect the hinges, check for any chips in the paint, or assess the general construction.
While they may be incentivized by the fear of bad online reviews to be as upfront as possible, this may also encourage them to exaggerate items’ quality. After all, they have to rank well on Google – not just please their customers. If they don’t have a return policy, you may feel cheated out of your money.