3 Big Misconceptions About Pawn Shops That Singaporeans Still Have

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Pawnshops don’t have the best image in Singapore. Blame it on old drama serials, but the stereotype of pawnshops as a place where desperate aunties and uncles trade their valuables for a pittance is still very much alive.

But by now, you should know better than to believe every stereotype the media feeds you.

The truth is, pawnbroking businesses have actually evolved significantly since the days when Channel 8 dramas were still relevant. And if you know how real pawnshop customers use them, you might even realise that you too can benefit from visiting one.

Here are some myths and misconceptions surrounding pawnshops in Singapore, and what the truth is really like.


Misconception #1: Pawnbrokers are out to cheat you of your money

Fact: It’s actually in the best interests of pawnshops to give you high valuation for your items rather than lowball you. In fact, pawnshops actually compete with each other to offer attractive prices, as those who offer the best prices are better able to obtain a steady stream of customers.

TV dramas tend to portray pawnbrokers as ultra dodgy types who are just one step above loansharks on the social ladder, always taking advantage of their customers’ desperation to offer ridiculously low prices on the valuables they’ve scraped together to pawn.

In real life, pawnshops are actually sophisticated, professionally-run businesses.

Pawnshops like ValueMax have an entire team of experienced in-house appraisers who assess the quality of goods you would like to pawn, and ensure you receive the maximum value for your pledged limit.

You can even use ValueMax’s Online Valuation tool to get an idea of how much your items are worth without ever having to set foot in the shop. Simply fill in an online form and upload photos of your valuables, and ValueMax will contact you within three working days with an estimated offer. If you are satisfied with the valuation, you can then make an appointment to visit a ValueMax store and have your item appraised in person before a final offer is made.


Misconception #2: People go to pawnshops only when desperate

Fact: Pawnshops are actually useful to regular people with well-managed finances, as they offer a quick and easy way to convert belongings to cash.

If you’ve got an excess of valuables at home that you wish to get some cash value for, pawnshops can be a good and convenient option, especially if your items are not that easy to sell on the open market.

Luxury goods are one example of items that can frustrating to sell on, say, Carousell, due to the number of lowballers, scammers and non-serious inquiries you have to field.

This might sound surprising, as drama serials make it look like the only people who go to pawnshops are the down-and-out, like that middle-aged uncle who’s gambled away his life savings. In real life, pawnshops are businesses that serve regular people like you and me.


Misconception #3: Pawnshop items are inferior

Fact: Pawnshops are actually a treasure trove of high-quality and like-new items, and can be an excellent option when shopping for pre-loved items.

You can find a wealth of pre-loved goods including watches, jewellery and even writing instruments like Mont Blanc pens at pawnshops. Buying items second hand is not only good for your wallet, but also for the environment, as fewer resources have to be extracted and fashioned into new items.Many people think buying from pawnshops is a taboo or that the quality of the items is poor. But buying pre-loved items from pawnshops is not that different from buying them on Carousell, with the added advantage of being able to inspect them in person and the assurance that you are not being scammed, since the items have already been vetted by professionals.

ValueMax goes one step further by making the effort to refurbish and polish all items to restore them to their best condition possible. No need to worry about used items bringing “bad luck” when they’ve been lovingly refurbished!

Check out ValueMax’s online store and its Carousell account to see their range of products online.
Here at MoneySmart, we’re all about getting good value for our money and existing belongings. If you’re like us, you’ll want to seriously consider pawnshops as a place to sell valuables and buy pre-loved items. And if you’re looking for even more generous offers on your second hand shopping, browse ValueMax’s products to get even more bang for your buck.

Check out ValueMax’s website here, or see their list of stores here to find the closest one to you.

Do you have any questions about pawnshops? Leave them in the comments!