A pawnbroker will lend you a sum of money where you provide an acceptable item as security on the loan. Jewellery is the main item that pawn brokers accept.

How pawning works

You give your item to a pawnbroker in exchange for a cash loan and then you reclaim the item by repaying the loan amount, along with interest and any other charges.

The pawnbroker must provide the loan in cash. Cheques or other forms of payment are not allowed.

You will receive a pawn ticket for your item detailing:

  • Your name and address and that of the pawnbroker
  • A description of the item
  • The amount and duration of the loan
  • Interest and any other charges due

The ticket should be signed by both you and the pawnbroker.  You must keep this ticket in order to get your item back.

The item you pawn must be held by the pawnbroker and cannot be sold for the loan period. If the interest is paid, this period may be extended.

The only way a pawned item can be sold is at an auction by a licensed auctioneer.


Interest rates vary from one pawnbroker to another. The rates must be displayed in the pawnbroker’s premises along with any other fees and charges that are applied.

Other fees and charges

Pawnbrokers may apply a charge for:

  • Storing the item
  • The pawn ticket
  • Getting the item valued
  • Inspecting the sales book

What if you can’t afford to pay back your loan?

If you can’t pay back your loan in full within the loan period but you can pay the interest due, the pawnbroker may give you more time to repay the loan – with further interest.

If you are unable to pay back your loan, the pawnbroker has the right to sell the item you pawned – at an auction by a licensed auctioneer.

If you are able to pay back the loan after the loan period has expired but before the item reaches an auction you can still reclaim your item.

If the item goes to auction, you can claim the difference between the price the pawnbroker receives for it and the total amount of the loan you received, including all interest and charges, as well the cost of the auctioneer. The pawnbroker does not have to contact you to inform you if and when your item has been sold and the price paid.  It is up to you to ask the pawnbroker for this information.

If you are having problems with debt, the most important thing is to take action straight away. Use our debt action plan to get started and help you tackle your debt.

Check your pawnbroker is licensed 

Pawnbroking is a regulated financial service and must be licensed by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.  Pawnbrokers should have their licence displayed prominently in their premises.  The three pawnbrokers currently licensed in Ireland are:

  • John Brereton Pawnbroker Limited – 108 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • Kearns Pawnbrokers and Jewellers Limited – 69 Queen Street, Dublin 7
  • Carthy’s Pawnbroking Limited – 84 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1

Last updated on 27 September 2022

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