What is a pawn shop and how do they work?
Pawn shops in Reno and Sparks provide a service used by the community or they wouldn't exist. Pawn shops (or pawn brokers) make money by charging interest and fees on money loaned. Loans are secured by personal property (something you own). To obtain a loan, you take an item to the pawn shop and, if they are interested in the goods, you can use it as collateral for a loan. This is usually a fairly small amount and interest rates are high, but it can be cheaper and easier than one of those payday or car title loans.
The amount you can borrow against an item is only a fraction of its value. Once an agreement is reached, the pawn shop gives you the money and a receipt and keeps the item. The receipt (pawn ticket) spells out the terms of the loan (description of your item, interest and fees, expiration date of the agreement, and any other pertinent information). You can then return to repay the loan and claim the item by the expiration date, extend the loan by paying additional fees, or not return, in which case the item becomes the pawn broker's property and is usually put up for sale.
Note that defaulting on the loan does not affect your credit rating. When the pawn shop assumes possession of the property, the loan is considered paid in full.
Despite an unsavory reputation, most pawn shops are well-run businesses and pleasant places to shop (or take out a loan). Pawn shops are highly regulated by federal and state laws. In the Silver State, the rules are spelled out in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 646. Great care is taken to ensure that people who bring in items to pawn actually own the items. Otherwise, pawn shop owners are subject to arrest for receiving stolen property. Get a more detailed description of all this from "How Pawnshops Work."
Pawn shops have gone mainstream on reality television and a Nevada shop is one of the stars. The owner of a Las Vegas pawn shop, Rick Harrison, has been featured on the History Channel "Pawn Stars" series.
What kinds of things can be pawned?
You can pawn pretty much anything you actually own and the pawn shop is willing to take. They will not take junk or things like electronics that don't work. The most popular items (which you'll see if you visit a pawn shop) are jewelry, musical instruments, guns, and tools.
In some cases, you can actually sell items to a pawn shop. My research tells me, however, that this is not preferred by the pawn broker because they make more money with loans.
Reno / Sparks Area Pawn Shops
Reno and Sparks pawn shops all operate under the same state and federal regulations. However, there is some leeway within the law, like allowable interest rates, that may may make it worthwhile to shop around a bit.
Cash America Super Pawn
7530 Longley Lane, Suite 103, Reno, NV 89511 - (775) 332-1144
190 N. Center Street, Reno, NV 89501 - (775) 323-2352
1980 Selmi Drive, Reno, NV 89512 - (775) 324-2188
641 S. Rock Boulevard, Sparks, NV 89431 - (775) 331-4044
Premier Jewelry & Loan
490 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501
346 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501
Horseshoe Jewelry & Loan
229 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501
Pioneer Jewelry & Loan
195 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501
All American Jewelry & Loan
1376 Sullivan Lane, Sparks, NV 89431
Sun Valley Pawn
4880 Sun Valley Boulevard, Sun Valley, NV 89433
Sources: Bankrate.com, HowStuffWorks, National Pawnbrokers Association.