What is a pawn shop?

A pawn shop is a place where you can loan against an item for on the spot cash, then once the loan has been repaid with interest you get the item back. While you’re paying the loan back your item is kept safe and sound. What pawnbrokers buy depends on what you're selling. Some pawn shops buy Macbooks while others buy car amps and jade.

You need a licence to operate a pawn shop and to be a pawnbroker in Australia.

How does pawning an item work?

Pawnbroking is a centuries-old service that offers secured loans to people using items of value as collateral without selling the item for cash. We'll explain the process.

Here’s how selling to a pawn shop works

So you need instant cash but you don’t have anything in the home that you’d like to part ways with – a pawn shop collateral loan might be a simple solution. Before you start pawning that one item you hardly use at home, it's good to look into the details of a pawn shop loan and how they work.

You bring in your item of value (the pawn) to the pawnbroker, who will then value the item for cash.

If you agree with this value, the pawnbroker will provide you with a secured loan at the value of your pawned item. You can usually negotiate with the team member about a price.

The pawn shop will keep your item safe and secure and give you a copy of your contract with repayment information for when you repay the loan. At Cash Converters, in most states, this contract will also have a QR code so you can link your loan to the My Loans app and pay your loan interest online.

Once you pay off your loan, including the interest, you can redeem your item in-store. Otherwise, if you don’t pay your loan back within the agreed timeframe, the pawnbroker will have the right to sell this item. 

At Cash Converters there is no establishment/set up fee, no minimum or maximum loan amount, and the flexibility to extend your loan if needed.

Do pawn shops do loans?

Pawning is a type of secured loan, also called a collateral loan.

If you need a different type of loan, then it depends where you go. Cash Converters offers instant cash loans, called a Cash Advance, as well as higher value personal loans. You will always be assessed based on the information that you provide to make sure the loan is suitable.

What are the benefits of pawnbroking?

On-the-spot-cash can be convenient for many people. Pawning an item is a quick, easy, and hassle-free option for extra cash.

It’s a great alternative if you’re hesitant to sell an item as you can completely avoid sellers’ remorse by getting your item of value back once you’ve paid back the loan with interest.

All you need to do is bring your item of value in-store and the operator will be able to guide you through the process.

What you should pay attention to when pawning an item

1. Be aware of interest rates

Like any loan, pawnbroking loans involve interest rates. Before you agree to the terms, make sure you read your pawnbroking contract to find the interest rate on your loan and consider whether this is something that you’re able to pay back.

Each pawnbroker's interest rates differ. Don’t be afraid to call the store before heading in with your item of value to ask about their terms and conditions.

2. Make sure you know when you need to have the loan repaid

Take note of when your loan needs to be paid back in full. You don’t want to risk losing your item or paying more than you need to on interest rates. Different states have different loan periods so it’s important to check this.

3. Consider whether borrowing is the right solution to your situation

It’s also worth noting that it can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and that borrowing may not solve your money problems. Check your options before you borrow.

For information about other options for managing bills and debts, ring 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor. You can also talk to your electricity, gas, phone, or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan.

If you’re on government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink. You can visit the MoneySmart website shows you how small amount loans work and gives other options that may help you.

What can you sell or pawn at a pawn shop? 


Pawn shops in Australia provide instant cash for everything from jewellery, watches, phones, laptops, musical instruments, and even bigger items like paintings, jet skis, vehicles, and bikes.

Other popular items include Macbooks, iPhones, car accessories like car amps and speakers, tools, and homewares.

However, you can’t bring in items that are illegal like weapons or counterfeit items.

You’ll generally get great value for items like:

  • Gold
  • iPhones
  • iPads
  • PlayStations
  • Xbox consoles
  • Nintendo consoles
  • Tools
  • Stereo equipment
  • TVs
  • Diamond rings

Depending on the store, it's also possible to get a pawnbroking loan against a car. Simply contact your local Cash Converters to check if they can facilitate a loan against your vehicle.

If you’re unsure and would like to get a quote, use our What’s it Worth tool, give us a call, or head in to your local store.

How to get the best deal at a pawn shop

So you’ve chosen an item that you’d like to bring to a pawn shop for a deal. What's the next step?

Clean and test the item before heading into store, particularly if it’s an electronic item. If it’s a piece of jewellery or a branded item like a Rolex watch, bring any documentation that can back up the brand and/or make up of the item.

The more valuable the item that you’re pawning, as well as the condition that it’s in, the more cash you’ll get.

Places like Cash Converters usually require 100 points of ID, proof that you are over 18, and a document with proof of your current address. Be sure to have these documents ready before heading in-store. This helps to deter anyone wanting to sell stolen goods to a pawn shop, protecting both customers as well as the store.


Cash Converters has stores all over Australia. You can use our What’s it Worth tool to find out the value of your item in advance. Otherwise, feel free to contact your local store or pop in to chat through how pawning an item works so you can decide whether to sell or pawn an item.

Like what you read? We've got more of that.

Money Matters tile_339X212PX.png

Money matters

Answering your questions about loans and staying savvy

Read more

Buy and Selling_339X212PX.png

Buying and selling

Get more bang for your buck with these handy tips.

Read more

Making Life Possible_339X212PX.png

Making life possible

Need some advice that’s not about cash? We can help.

Read more