Pawn for cash

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Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

The electric bill is due in a few days, but your remaining funds are set aside for the weekly groceries. What do you do? I’m Katie Doyle with the Personal Finance Minute.

With banks drastically reducing lending, more people are turning to pawnshops when they need quick cash.

Pawnshops have typically specialized in small loans of less than $100. But now they’re giving out larger loans and receiving higher-end items, such as iPads, and even cars, as collateral.

High-end electronics and digital cameras are desirable, but computers aren’t. As for brand names, Apple is best because its products retain their value.

Pawnshops generally charge between 20 percent and 25 percent to loan you money and loan periods vary by state but are usually between one and four months.

Interest rates are hefty compared to standard bank loans, but there’s no detailed application, credit check or questions about your net worth. All you need is a valid photo ID and a legally owned item of value.

Overall, pawning is a money-losing proposition. Don’t do it on a regular basis. For more on this and other personal finance topics, visit I’m Katie Doyle.