Your Guide to Buying a Wedding Ring from a Pawn Shop

Your Guide to Buying a Wedding Ring from a Pawn Shop

If you are in the market for an engagement ring, congratulations! Take a moment to celebrate your good fortune in finding your soulmate. Then, take a deep breath, because you now face another significant decision: where to buy your engagement ring. There are many choices of where to get your ring, each of them with pros and cons. However, an option many people overlook is their local pawn shop, like Central Mega Pawn.

A pawn shop of the size and community history of Central Mega Pawn is bound to have a wide selection of engagement rings, of every style and type. From vintage rings to modern pieces, there’s bound to be a huge selection that can only be believed by visiting in person. Before you visit your local mall and wind up spending the exorbitant markup at a chain jewelry store, or taking your chances elsewhere, check out our guide to buying your engagement ring at your local pawn shop.

First, here are some excellent reasons to make your local pawnbroker your one-stop shop for your engagement ring:

  • You can save money by avoiding retailer markup. Start your new life on a healthy financial foot. This is especially helpful when planning a wedding because expenses will pop up and pile on before you know it.
  • You can negotiate with your pawnbroker. Retailers would laugh you out the door if you tried this one on them. Your local pawnbroker, on the other hand, is likely to work with you if you do your research and are willing to do the work to reach an agreeable price.
  • Your pawnbroker wants to help you; they are members of their community and are not beholden to the interests of a massive corporation like chain jewelry stores are. When you buy from your local pawn shop, you support your community.

Now that we have gone over some of the undeniable benefits of buying your ring from your local pawn shop, here is your step-by-step guide to finding the right ring at the right price.

1. Figure out what you are looking for before you visit the shop.

If you walk in hoping for inspiration to strike, you may be in for a shock. There are usually a vast variety of rings to choose from, and you could quickly find yourself overwhelmed. No matter how friendly and helpful your pawnbroker might be, he or she can’t help you if you don’t have an idea of what you want. Take some time to look at the types of rings your fiancé likes, or already wears, and proceed from there. You can even begin the process months in advance and ask questions to give you an idea of what they would want. For the truly bold, you can also visit the shop as a couple.

2. Do your homework.

Once you know what you are looking for, go online and find out what is an average price for the kind of ring you want. Learn about the different variations of the style you want, and how that affects the price. You want to know exactly what to look for when it comes time to handle the rings.

Extra credit: buy (or borrow) and learn to use a jeweler’s loupe. This might seem a bit overboard, but don’t forget that you are shopping for a piece of jewelry that your fiancé will keep for the rest of their lives.

3. Be prepared to negotiate.

This is where all your homework will pay off. When you know what you can expect to pay for the type and style of the ring you want, you will be in a position to negotiate with your pawnbroker to reach a deal that works for everyone. While many people shy away from settling on price, it does not have to be complicated.

4. Keep an open mind.

The longer an item sits in a pawn shop, the more willing your pawnbroker will be to negotiating a price. So, that means you should consider looking at rings that may have been sitting in the case for longer than others. In some cases, you may find the perfect stone, but in a less than ideal setting; if this happens, you can negotiate for a reasonable price and plan to use your savings to have the stone reset in a different setting.

Many times, especially in dated ring designs, the diamond or stone is beautiful and takes on a whole new life when reset in a design more suited to the wearer’s taste.

5. Don’t be afraid to walk away.

It’s understandable to want to get the ring taken care of right away. After all, you are no doubt excited to start this new phase of life with your loved one. However, if the ring or stone doesn’t feel right, or if the pawnbroker helping you is pressuring you in any way, don’t be afraid to give another local pawn shop a chance. One of the many great things about pawn shops is that they are as individual as the communities they serve. You will find a whole new set of pawnbrokers and inventory at each shop you visit.

It may be helpful to visit a few shops before you decide to purchase anything. Your community likely has a handful of quality shops to choose from. When you find the right one, you’ll know, just like you knew it was time to pop the question.

After you buy your ring, be sure to insure it and have it professionally cleaned before you get down on one knee and take care of business. When it comes down to it, buying an engagement ring at a pawn shop is a smart move. With a little preparation, it could be an enjoyable experience that you will remember forever. Come visit us today so we can congratulate you, then show you what we can do for you!

The Military Lending Act and Pawn Shops: What Vets and Active Service Members Need to Know

The Military Lending Act and Pawn Shops: What Vets and Active Service Members Need to Know

It is a sad fact of life that military members and their families are often targeted by predatory lending practices, sometimes paying up to 300% interest on various types of loans. However, there is a little-known rule, called the Military Lending Act, that seeks to protect military veterans and their dependents from predatory lending practices. If you are a veteran, active service member, or the family of one, keep reading to find out what you need to know before you consider taking out a loan from your local pawn shop.

What is the Military Lending Act?

Established in 2006, the Military Lending Act (or MLA) is a federal regulation that provides many protections for veterans, active service members, and their family. Protections include:

  • Capping annual percentage rate on consumer loans at 36%, including all fees, finance charges, and credit insurance premiums
  • Prohibiting prepayment penalties for paying loans ahead of schedule
  • Allowing service members to seek arbitration for disputes related to loans

Since the inception of the MLA, the Department of Defense has added additional rules that apply to credit cards and other types of loans, such as pawnshop loans. The rules are constantly evolving, and it is up to lending institutions, such as banks and pawnshops, to keep themselves up to date.

How does the MLA affect loans from pawnshops?

To stay compliant, your local pawn shop must confirm your military status before originating or closing your loan. This means that they must run an additional background check on you that they do not run for other customers. For example, a pawnbroker may confirm your status directly from the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), or one of the nationwide credit reporting agencies. However, your credit rating will not affect the status of your loan from the pawnshop, because your creditworthiness is based on the items you put up as collateral. Also, you can rest easy knowing that your pawnshop loan will not go on your credit report, nor affect your credit rating.

In fact, in all other respects aside from the additional information your pawnbroker must confirm before granting your loan, the process is precisely the same.

Here’s how a pawnshop loan works, for everyone:

Pawnshop loans are a great alternative to other forms of borrowing. Loans from banks, for example, go on your credit report and can take a long time to process. Plus, not everyone will qualify for a bank loan, especially as borrowing restrictions get tighter every year. Personal loans are always an awkward situation and are also not available to everyone.

With a pawnshop loan, quick cash is easily accessible. Even with the extra check of MLA compliance, you can walk out of the shop with cash in hand in minutes.

Loans from pawnshops are unique because they work on collateral. Meaning, the loan is secured by something of value that you own. If you happen to default on your loan, your pawnbroker takes ownership of your item, and you call it a day. However, most people tend to get their items back.

So, you would bring your item into the pawnshop, and your pawnbroker will evaluate it.
The amount of the loan varies depending on the value of the item.

Your pawnshops will base the value of your item on three things: its appraised value, current condition, and the pawnshop’s ability to sell the item. Pawnbrokers have lots of tools to help them determine the value of your item.

The appraisal process itself varies depending on the type of item you bring. For example, jewelry is evaluated differently than power tools. All items we buy or pawn at Central Mega Pawn are tested to ensure that they work correctly.

The amount of your loan will also be determined in light of other factors like local demand and condition of your item. Every pawn shop is unique and goes about the process in their way.

Then, they will make an offer of how much they can lend you against the value of your item. If you have a relationship with your pawnbroker, you can negotiate things like repayment terms and interest rates, even if the MLA already protects you.

If you pay off your loan by the end of the repayment period, you get your item back. If you don’t entirely pay it off or end up defaulting on your loan, your pawnbroker offers your item for sale, with no legal consequences to the borrower. A bank loan, on the other hand, comes with stiff penalties and punishments than can follow a person around for years, ruining their credit score and making it difficult to get jobs and even housing opportunities.

A pawn shop loan is also beneficial to borrowers because they make it impossible to go into debt. You will not be lent more money than you can afford to borrow. You will not overextend your credit with a pawnshop loan.

How does the MLA protect my family and me?

There are severe penalties for lenders who violate the MLA. In addition to fines, lenders in violation face damages and “appropriate” punishments, which mean that the consequences of violating the Act can be far-reaching.

As a vet, service member, or family of a service member, your pawnbroker must ask if you qualify for the MLA before getting your loan started. As we previously mentioned, they will run an additional background check on you, but it will not affect the terms of your loan, will not show up on your credit report, and will not affect your credit score in any way.

A short-term pawn loan can be a lifeline for anyone in need of some quick cash. Central Mega Pawn will always comply with all state and federal regulations. It is our honor to not only serve our communities but to also give back to our brave service members and their families. Visit us today and find out how we can help you.