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Pawnshops: The Traditional Choice

Pawnshop Appraiser

Most of the time, we Filipinos would choose to pawn off our valuable items instead of borrowing from our neighbors. Traditionally, the latter was a common option amongst people living within a single community, however, things began to change during the occurrence of countless pawnshops, featuring various appraisals that offered a much better deal. You may ask, “What changed? Why do the people go for pawnshops? And why is it a recurring choice nowadays?” All of these questions can be answered by the mere history of pawnshops in our country, its popularity in small towns, as well as the economic stature of the country itself. Buckle up, as we delve deep into the heart of this industrial dragon, an industry that has been etched into the history and culture of Filipinos, the industry known as pawn shops.


A Brief History

Believe it or not, the act of pawning didn’t even originate from the Western world. Various sources traced it back at least 3,000 years to ancient China. This, however, shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Chinese people are some of the most proficient business-oriented people in the world. The mere concept of numbers, sales, and even loans are something that China can boast to execute well, even by today’s standards. Perhaps their proficiency is what lead to its worldwide influence, with written historical evidences of it being found in the Greek and Roman civilizations as well.

But the influence didn’t stop there. The industry of pawnbroking took on a life of its own, evolving its business structure along the way. Old documents would further demonstrate its benevolent rise and influence, particularly in 1462, when the Franciscans set up the Montes Pietatis, which granted interest-free loans to the poor (a preliminary concept of pawnbroking), though they were later forced to charge interest to prevent premature exhaustion of their funds (forming a system that would stand the hands of time).


Its Arrival in the Philippines

During the Spanish reign, Chinese traders would usually traverse Philippine waters to conduct business. It was in this particular stage in our history that the act of pawning may have been passed on and taught to our ancestors. Of course, we were not the only ones to adapt this particular type of business, as pawnshops may be found around the world, however, we were one of the first to definitely learn it.


The Better Alternative

As mentioned before, Filipinos would usually borrow cash from their neighbors in order to pay up their debts, but this brought them another dilemma in the process – more debts. Yes, the mere fact of having the debt collectors next door may have intimidated people into ever borrowing money from others who live nearby, hence why “almost” everyone decided to find alternatives. Pawning would become that alternative, provided that the people pawning off their items wouldn’t be borrowing afterwards, they at least have no further pending balances after. Of course, there are interest rates, but even that is a much better option than having your neighbors knock on your door during the early hours just to collect.

So far, this lead to a total of 18,500 pawnshops (as of 2012) in the Philippines. Take note that that count only represents the different brands of pawnshops in the country, and not their individual branch count, hence, the total branch numbers may dwell into the hundred thousands, so to speak.


A Cultural Phenomena

Believe it or not, pawnshops have somehow become synonymous with the Filipino culture, even going as far as reaching pop culture status. If social media memes aren’t enough, they’ve somehow found their way in your daily teleseryes, in which the strong-willed protagonist would pawn off a valuable family heirloom in order to pay up for a sick sibling’s medical bills. If this scenario sounds familiar, well, it has become a somewhat cliché of a plot among Philippine television, especially programs which deal with dramatic stories and such. Change up the family member angle and you’d still be presented with a similar focal point, pawnshops are solutions that our beloved protagonists would usually look forward to, and why wouldn’t they? They are fast, convenient, and are very practical when it comes to making a few extra amounts.


A Practical Solution

Pawnshops can be found everywhere. Think of them as your local fast food chain, the only difference is, you’ll end up with more cash right after the transaction. Aside from that, your most prized possessions will be handled with utmost care, seeing that every item has an equivalent value. Regardless if you’re going to pawn off your jewelries, your gadgets, your appliances, etc., you can expect a fast and convenient process which, for the most part, would only take a few minutes. Pawnbrokers understand the urgency of gaining extra cash without running into a road block, hence, why they would give an upright computation of the item’s value. An honest appraisal is all that a hopeful customer would ever ask for, and they’ll get it immediately after every item evaluation.

With all of these in mind, you may already have an idea of why people choose to pawn rather than to borrow money from other people. Simply put, it is a much quicker process in earning a few thousands rather than having to borrow money from hesitant people who might just lend a few hundreds.


Factors which May Affect Your Appraisal

Of course, you can’t just simply barge into a pawnshop and expect to automatically get a great deal in one go. There are several factors to consider when trying to get a good appraisal on your items:

1) Are they in good condition? – Simply put, damaged items rate lower than those which are in mint condition. What we’re talking about here is the quality. Make sure to double check your prized possessions before having them validated by the pawnbroker.

2) How much do they currently cost? – Current market value may also affect item appraisal. The older they are, the lower their current market value is, hence, your cellphone of five years (in spite of it still being in mint condition) would definitely have a much lower return than a newer model.

3) What is the reputation of the pawnshop itself? – This is where the honesty and good business practice of the pawnbrokers would come into play. Evaluate your options and choose wisely.


Out of all the pawnshops, is there one you can really trust?

Short answer: Yes! The thing about pawnshops is that, you’ll never run out of options to choose from. As a wise consumer and investor towards this kind of service, you’ll probably run into a well-trusted name with a clean track record. Most of the time, people would get a low appraisal from lesser known pawnshops. Transacting with lesser known establishments would usually yield less than desirable results, which is why you should avoid committing this critical mistake. You may be looking for a pawn shop that would provide you with the most honest return possible. No worries, as Cebuana Lhuillier has got your back. With their Pawning Service you can never go short in any amount, as they accept an array of items, from jewelry to gadgets. Amazingly, they also have a 35% higher appraisal VS other pawnshops in the Philippines. They also lead the pawning industry by offering safety and the highest appraisal rate in the industry in its 2,500 branches nationwide. Visit your nearest Cebuana Lhuillier branch now – we assure a fast, easy and secure transaction.