Pawnbroking comes into 21st century | BusinessNewsDaily.com
Todd Hill took a 3,000-year-old offline business and brought it into the digital age. Hill, a 25-year veteran of the pawn industry, made the leap from running a 30-store brick-and-mortar operation in Colorado and Utah to the online world in 2009 when he founded Pawngo.com, the first full-service online pawn shop in the U.S. To date, Pawngo has loaned more than $7 million dollars in 50 states.
With roots that can be traced back to ancient China, pawnbroking — often called the world’s second-oldest profession — had largely been a cottage industry of neighborhood stores serving as lenders-of-last-resort until Hill leapfrogged tradition and brought the business into modern times. By going online, he also neatly sidestepped consumer resistance to the stigma of physically visiting a pawnbroker by making it possible for customers to make their transactions in private outside of potentially embarrassing public scrutiny.
“It definitely feels much more like the everyday things we do online,” Hill told BusinessNewsDaily.
Pawnbrokers offer short-term loans based on the value of personal items such as jewelry that customers pledge as collateral. At the end of the loan term, the customer can retrieve his or her property by paying off the loan principal plus interest. If the loan is not paid off, the pawnbroker assumes ownership of the pawned items and is free to resell the pledged property.
That’s essentially how Pawngo.com operates, but with a different logistical architecture. Instead of bringing their items to a physical location for evaluation, customers answer a few questions online about the items they want to pawn or sell outright. Pawngo will respond with an estimated offer in an email.
Offers are made up to 75 percent of an item’s value. If the customer wishes to accept Pawngo’s offer, he prints out a FedEx label from the Pawngo website and ships the item at Pawngo’s expense.
When the item arrives, Hill said, a team of certified evaluators inspects the item and prepares a final offer. Once the offer is accepted, the funds are immediately transferred into the customer’s bank account and the item is stored in the pawnbroker’s secure fulfillment center under 24-hour video surveillance.
When the loan is settled, Hill said, the item is shipped fully insured back to the customer at Pawngo’s expense.
Strange Random Pawnbroker Quote:
“A financier is a pawnbroker with imagination” – Arthur Wing Pinero
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