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How Old Do You Have to Be to Pawn Something?

In today’s day and age, pawn shops are featured all over social media, television programs, and more. So, the chances are that people of all ages—including kids—are familiar with pawn shops and how they work. This means that children and adults alike are interested in pawning their rarities and Knick Knacks, to make a buck.

Sure, pawning something is a great way to get cash, fast. However, there are many rules and regulations around pawning, so you have to be a certain age, in order to pawn something. You might be wondering: how old do I have to be to pawn something? And if you are thinking this, then you’ve come to the right place, because we’re going to walk you through the basics of pawning and the age requirements that come with pawning. Let’s get into it.

What is Pawning?

When you pawn something, you are entering an agreement with a pawnbroker. This means, that when you pawn an item—say, a bracelet—then you’re giving your bracelet away as collateral, in exchange for money. You’re receiving a loan, in exchange for your item, and when you pay back your loan, you’ll get your item back. However, if you don’t pay back your loan, then you won’t get your item back.

Why does Pawning Have an Age Requirement?

As we’ve discussed, pawning is a contractual agreement, so in order to make sure that each party involved in the agreement can consent, you must be old enough to agree to the contract. Plus, when you’re pawning something, the chances are that the pawn broker will not check your credit, so, young people might think that pawning is a great way to get a loan because they wouldn’t need to pass a credit check. However, in actuality, there are risks to pawning that young people can’t handle—like losing their item due to unexpected circumstances. So, for both of these reasons, and more, pawning has an age requirement, to ensure that pawning is as ethical and as safe as possible.


How Old Do You Have to Be to Consent to Pawning?

 Because a minor cannot enter into a legal, binding contract, it is a requirement that you are at least eighteen years old, if you want to pawn something. This age has nothing to do with each individual pawn shop, instead, this is a regulation that is enforced by the law. So, if you’re a minor who’s trying to pawn something, do not think that this rule is unique to a singular pawn shop, because this rule is ubiquitous, no matter where you go.

What if a Minor Does Pawn Something?


If you’re in a situation where you think that a minor has pawned an item, then the chances are that a family member or a friend has pawned it for them. If a minor were to ask someone over the age of eighteen to pawn something, then that older friend or family member could pawn the item and give the minor the money. So, although it is unlikely that the minor pawned the item in their own name, it is always a possibility that someone else did the pawning. 

The chances are if a minor is pawning something off, under someone else’s name, that they might not be pawning an item that belongs to them. Although people of all ages do this, and this is not a problem that is exclusive to minors, many pawn shops take extraordinary precautions to avoid this fraudulent activity from occurring.

 For example, when someone brings an item to a pawn shop, the people working there are going to ask a series of rigorous questions, to ensure that the person pawning the item is the rightful owner of the item. This might mean that the person will be asked: how to use an item, how long they’ve had an item, where they got the item from, or how the item was obtained. These questions will help to prevent fraud, because if the customer is hesitant or unsure of an answer, then the person working at the pawn shop will often decline to purchase the item.

However, if something slips through the cracks, and an item is pawned off by someone who does not own the item, pawn shops will often return the item to their rightful owner if the rightful owner comes looking for it, because pawn shops do not want to sell stolen items. 

So, although minors cannot pawn items because they are too young to enter a binding contract, many times minors pawn items that do not belong to them, with the help of someone over the age of eighteen.

How Do Pawn Shops Prove that Someone Is over Eighteen?


Like the precautions that are taken with the purchasing of cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, and more, pawn shops require buyers to show their government-issued IDs. So, if a minor were to come in, to pawn an item, then they would have to have an authentic, state-issued ID, which proves their legal age.

This is an incredibly strict precaution because even if someone over the age of eighteen has an expired driver’s license, they will not be able to pawn their item. So, any minor that comes into a pawn shop will be turned away, because their ID will not be sufficient for them to complete the pawn.

Final Thoughts: How Old Do You Have to Be to Pawn Something

In comparison to other forms of loans, pawning is a great option, but because of the risks involved, it is not a good idea for young people to haphazardly pawn, because they are not privy to the specifics of the process. So, to avoid young people pawning off their belongings, their parents’ belongings, and more, it is against the law for people under the age of eighteen to pawn things.

Kids might watch a lot of television programs about pawning, but they cannot pawn things themselves. So, although it is fascinating and fun to see what other people are pawning until they are over the age of eighteen, kids are going to have to stick to watching pawning on television, before they complete a pawn themselves. Pawn America is committed to performing ethical pawns, so contact us if you have any questions about the restrictions and age requirements that come with pawning.