Pawn shops might be one of the oldest forms of lending, but thanks to the internet there are now online pawn shops that offer a quicker and easier way to borrow.
If you really need a loan and you’re struggling to get one through the conventional channels, this might be a safer and cheaper alternative than nasty payday loans.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus our attention on two online pawn shops in particular – Borro.com and 62days.com. Each one offers a slightly different service, as we’ll explain. But first…
- What you should be asking yourself if you need to use an online pawn shop
- Borro.com – how does it work?
- 62days.com – how does it work?
- Are there other alternatives to an online pawn shop?
Do I really need the money, and is it just for a short term solution?
While for some people pawnbrokers offer a really useful service, for others they aren’t necessarily the right thing. As a quick fix it can work really well, but for borrowing over a long period it’s a very costly process.
You need to make sure the money you’re borrowing is going to be used for something essential and worthwhile, not just paying for that extra holiday you fancy taking. It also should be seen as a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution. And we mean short-term – a few months at the absolute most. Because otherwise the interest you’ll be charged is HUGE.
Remember that long-term debt problems are not going to be fixed overnight – if it’s a longer term loan you need, and you want to pay it off gradually then using a pawn shop isn’t the answer. You need to look at your debts more carefully – go to our debt pages for loads of help and advice.
How would I feel if I didn’t get the item back?
For whatever reason, there may be a chance you end up forced to say goodbye to whatever it is you decide to pawn – so remember never borrow money on something you can’t afford to, or don’t want to lose.
What are the advantages compared with high street pawn shop?
This one’s a no brainer as far as the MoneyMagpies are concerned.
If you’re going to use a pawnbroker, then those online offer a far superior service to those on the high street.
The interest rates are lower, you’ll get your loan much quicker, and there are no penalties for repaying the loan early and retrieving your item before the agreed date.
Of course in theory you can pawn just about anything, but look at what is currently valuable at the moment to get the most for your item.
If I have gold, shouldn’t I be selling it instead?
If you don’t need a loan, but want to make money out of your gold then selling it in a good market could make you some serious cash. Check the gold prices before selling though. It’s possible that just when you want to sell, gold is low. Try to wait until it has gone up again. Check prices here
However, we recommend you steer clear of all those postal gold-buying companies. While it is more of an effort, going to a proper jewellers is the best thing to do – they will give you the most competitive price. See what we say about selling gold here.
In fact, a Which? survey found that even online pawnbrokers offer much better value for money than TV-advertised gold buying services. Pawnbrokers lent nearly three times the amount that buying services were prepared to pay.
Borro works in the same way as a normal pawnbroker would, lending (they say) between 40-60 per cent of the value of your item. For jewellery that is, it varies for other items.
To use the service you can fill in a simple online application (which doesn’t involve a credit check) or call their freephone number. You can also request a call-back at a time that suits you.
They don’t carry out a credit check because the loan they will offer you is secured. I.e. they have the security of your valuable item, and will sell it if you don’t pay off the loan.
Your item will then be collected and delivered using an insured service at no cost to you. Once Borro receives your item it will be valued and they’ll provide you with a loan offer – at this point you can choose whether or not you want to go ahead. Once you agree and accept your contract your money could be with you in just 24 hours.
The loan you are offered will be for six months. You can pay this off early with no extra charges, and you will only pay back the amount of interest accrued until the month you redeem in. You can request to extend the loan, but try to avoid doing that at all costs.
Remember that you don’t have to pay back any of the loan until the six months is up, but that doesn’t mean it’s interest-free for that time. It’s still the case that the quicker you pay it off, the less it will cost because you are charged interest on the loan for each month that you have the money. The interest rate varies between a flat rate of 2.99% and 6.99%. The interest is not compounded, it is a fixed amount per month, but still, the more months you borrow the money for, the more you will pay overall.
Not strictly speaking a pawn shop, 62days offers a slightly different, and we think better, service. Instead of getting a ‘loan’ as such, you sell your item to them and they give you cash for it.
You then either decide to keep the cash or you buy back your item within 62 days – for exactly the same price.
The beauty of this is that it’s like you’re getting a short-term interest free loan, and as well as that, if gives you time to decide whether you really do need the money, or if in fact the item is precious enough for you to want to keep it.
All you need to do is upload a photo or write a description of your item and 62days will send you a quote. There is no obligation to sell at this point, so you can have your item valued elsewhere to get a gauge of what it’s worth.
Of course if it’s jewellery they aren’t going to offer you as much as jeweller would – but then you have to be sure you want to sell the item with a jeweller.
If you decide to sell, your item will be collected and delivered using a secure, insured courier service at no charge to you. On receipt of your item, 62days will transfer the agreed amount to your account and you’ll have up to 62 days from then to buy it back should you choose to.
In the meantime, you can do whatever you want with the money – but remember if you want your item back, you have to treat the cash as a loan.
Remember that pawn shops aren’t the only alternative to a traditional bank loan – far from it. Here at MoneyMagpie we’re big fans of the financial exchange website Zopa, which Jasmine herself invests in. See how to borrow from them here.
And don’t forget credit unions, which often have much lower interest rates on their loans than the big banks.