Kiwi takes pawning online

Photo credit; Joel Kramer on Flickr

Photo credit; Joel Kramer on Flickr

Kiwis no longer have to leave the comfort of their own homes when they want to pawn possessions, thanks for Queenstown resident Samantha Bell.

Bell has opened New Zealand’s first ever online pawn shop.

These online versions of the classic brick and mortar money lenders have already been successful in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

And now Bell’s company, Plej, has successfully brought the practice to the islands, acquiring a physical premises in Queenstown last April after having successfully launched its website prior to that.

Plej offers short-term loans of $100 to $10,000, secured against things like jewellery and watches, sports gear, collectibles, art and antiques, offering three-month loans, which incur monthly interest of 10-20%, depending on the amount borrowed.

That works out to a total of $300 of interest on a $1000 loan, or $60 on the smallest available $100 loan, for the three-month term.

“There were online pawnbrokers in the UK, States, Canada- but nobody was doing it in New Zealand,” Bell says.

After proving their identity, customers are sent courier bags to ship their items to Queenstown, where they are valued and securely stored. At the end of the three months they repay the loan to have their items couriered back to them.

By law, anything that isn’t reclaimed has to be sold either at an auction house or through sites like Trade Me.

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