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How Do Pawn Shops Work, Pawn Shop Loan Interest Rates And Quick Cash Alternatives In Singapore

How Do Pawn Shops Work, Pawn Shop Loan Interest Rates And Quick Cash Alternatives In Singapore

Sometimes, we need cash urgently. You never know when there could be a medical emergency or if you will be retrenched.

In Singapore, there are many ways of sourcing for cash. Some Singaporeans prefer to apply for short-term loans, others take out credit cards, and still, there is a group that prefers to go to pawn shops.

How Pawn Shops In Singapore Work

  • You need to pledge a valuable item such as jewellery, gold, electronics or even branded bags. Gold jewellery, Cartier, Nikon cameras, Kate Spade wallets and Hermès handbags, ring a bell?
  • The pawn shop will do their valuation of your item, after which they will lend you cash of up to 80% of the value of the asset that you have pledged. For example, if you have a watch valued at S$12,000, the pawn shop may place it at S$8,000 and issue you with a loan amount of approximately the same figure.
  • You will have six months to repay the loan. Interest will get charged on 1% per month for the first month and 1.5% per month for the following months.
  • Whenever you make a payment on the loan, your repayment period will get extended by another six months.
  • After six months, if you have not made any single repayment on loan, then the pawn shop will auction off your asset.


Pawn Shops In The Past Vs. Pawn Shops Today


In the past, pawn shops were not very popular in Singapore because they were associated with people who had severe financial problems. Most pawn shops had metal bars between the staff and the customers. This was to keep the shopkeepers safe from robberies.

However, in more recent years, pawn shops have become very popular and more accepted as an alternative way of getting a loan. The pawn shops in Singapore now display their gold and jewellery without any barriers. Today, pawn shops look more like jewellery shops with glass windows and display panels. They advertise their brand aggressively and can be found at many shopping malls and MRT stations.

If you are planning to visit a pawn shop, there are a few vital facts you should know.

1. Interest rates charged

Pawn shops charge an interest rate of 1% per month for the first month and after that 1.5% per month for the following months. It means that the longer you take to repay your loan; the more interest you will be charged.

2. It is a good option if you are unable to make repayments

If you know you will have significant challenges in making repayments on loan, the best option will be to visit a pawn shop.  Once you have pledged an item, the pawn shop will auction off your item to settle the debt if you fail to make any payment within six months. The consequences would be more devastating if you defaulted on a loan taken from a bank or licensed moneylender.

3. Do not liquidate your valuables through a pawn shop

Pawn shops are helpful if you need some quick cash and you have a challenge accessing funds from a bank or a licensed moneylender. However, you should not get into the habit of liquidating your valuable items through pawn shops. There is a high chance that you will run into a loss since the pawn shop will only extend a loan of up to 80% of the value of your item. You will get a much better price if you choose to sell off your valuable objects to any other interested buyer.

4. Personal loan interest rates are lower than pawn shops

Much to the surprise of many, personal loan interest rates are actually lower than the interest rates given by a pawn shop. The average interest rate offered for personal loans is 1% per month which is lower than the 1.5% per month that is provided by pawn shops. However, it is essential to note that the interest rate given by licensed moneylenders is much higher because it can go up to a maximum of 4% per month.

5. Pawn shops have fewer restrictions as compared to banks

To get cash from a pawn shop, you only need to have proof of identity as well as a valuable item to be pawned. However, if you approach a bank or any other financial institution, you will need to come up with a list of documents before they approve your loan. These include documents showing proof of income, tax compliance, and even your credit history. Many times, if you fail to submit one or two of the documents required, your loan application will be declined. Pawn shops do not need all these documents, and they will give you the cash upfront once you have pledged the item and shown proof of identity.

6. You will receive any surplus cash after your item gets auctioned

If it gets sold at a price that is higher than its given valuation, then the pawn shop will hand over the extra cash to you after deducting interest and fees.  The law in Singapore does not allow pawn shops to keep this extra profit for themselves. Therefore, there is still a possibility of you receiving some cash even after losing your asset.

7. It is an excellent outlet to purchase gold

The price of gold at pawn shops is usually lower than what you would find at a goldsmith. Therefore, if you are looking for reasonably priced second-hand gold, it would be advisable for you to visit a pawn shop.


Evaluating The Pros And Cons Of A Pawn Shop


There are both pros and cons of getting a loan through a pawn shop. You need to consider both sides before making a final decision carefully.

Let’s have a look at the advantages first.

  • Quick and easy cash

If you have a financial emergency and you are unable to access a loan through a bank or a licensed moneylender, then a pawn shop will be of great help. You can get some cash very quickly by merely pledging your valuable item and giving proof of identification. There is no waiting process involved, and you will receive the money immediately.

  • Fewer restrictions

Pawn shops do not require documents showing proof of your income. Their only interest is the value of the pledged item and the evidence of your identity.  Therefore, you will not get subjected to the restrictions that are usually given by banks and other financial institutions.

  • No credit checks

Pawn shops do not carry out any credit checks. If you have a bad credit rating, you still be able to access funds from a pawn shop as long as you have a valuable item that can get placed in as a pledge.

  • No long-term accumulated debt

If you are unable to make any repayments for six months, then the pawn shop will auction off your item, and your loan will get settled in full.  It is a contrast to some other types of debt, such as credit card debt or personal loans where you can end up with a large amount of accumulated debt over a long period.

  • Can receive surplus cash after auction

According to the law in Singapore, pawn shops are obligated to give the borrower any extra amount collected if the pledged item gets auctioned off at a price that is higher than its stated value. It will be an added benefit to you because it is uncommon to receive extra cash after losing an asset.

Despite the above pros of pawn shops, there are also some cons to be considered. 

  • Interest charges

The interest charged by pawn shops is slightly higher than the rates charged on personal loans in Singapore. Therefore, if you choose to get a loan from a pawn shop, you should be prepared to pay higher interest costs.

  • Loan amount

The loan amount you will receive from the pawn shop is limited to between 60% and 80% of the value of the pledged asset.  Also, the value of the asset will be determined by the valuation experts at the pawn shop. Therefore, you may end up getting a relatively low loan amount, depending on the value of the asset that you have pledged.

After carefully evaluating both the pros and cons mentioned above, you can make an informed decision on whether it will be advantageous for you to approach a pawn shop.

If you are seeking to increase your collection of valuable assets, you can purchase gold or silver coins in Singapore at Bullionstar. The gold coins have an average price range of between $200 and $3,000, while the silver coins have an average price of between $20 and $800.


Alternatives To Pawn Shops In Singapore 


If you prefer to avoid the risk of losing a valuable asset, then there are always other options apart from pawn shops where you can source for funds in Singapore. Some of these are listed below.

  • Personal loans from banks and licensed moneylenders 

You do not always have to resort to pawning your valuables. Some might even hold sentimental value. You can choose to apply for a personal loan from a bank or from a licensed moneylender. In this case, you will need to have a good credit rating as well as some proof of consistent income.

  • Credit cards

Credit cards often offer rebates and free gifts, making it very tempting. It is a source of funding that can easily create vast amounts of debt if you are not well disciplined. However, if you organised enough to pay off your credit card in full every month, then this is an option that you can consider.

  • Friends and family

Borrowing money from friends and family is yet another avenue that you can use to source funds. One significant advantage of using this particular option is that you may not get charged any interest because the lenders are your friends and relatives. However, relationships might be ruined if money matters are not handled properly.



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