MA & RI Pawn Shop Blog | Empire Loan

What is Empire Loan Doing to deal with the Corona Virus Covid-19

The current health crisis has affected businesses and people around the world and all 8 Empire Loan stores are doing the best they can to cope with the situation and continue to help our customers. Here are a few of the things we are doing at our local pawn shops across New England:

All Empire Loan stores have stopped displaying and selling jewelry to reduce contact interactions between our employees and customers for everybody’s health and safety. We have also limited what is available in hardgoods for sale in our stores for the same reason. Many items that may have been for sale in-store are now available online through our eBay store (

Cleanliness Is Key

Employees are wiping down and disinfecting our retail and pawn counters on a regular basis and instituting safety procedures for the items we take in. Hardgoods such as electronics, tools, instruments and other items are being sprayed with disinfectant before being handled by employees. Employees are regularly wiping down the equipment, counters and other frequently touched surfaces to maintain a sanitary work/customer space.

Renew Your Loan Online

Empire Loan is one of the few (if not only) pawnshop that allows customers to renew their loans online. This means customers can simply log onto our website ( and click the link to “Pay Your Loan”. Once there, you can create an account that will allow you to pay to renew your loan or see when it’s due without having to come into the store. As a result of the current health crisis, Empire Loan is waiving the $2.00 convenience fee for this service. While other pawn shops and businesses may try to take advantage of their customers in times of trouble, Empire Loan works hard to make it easy for our customers.

Waving Late Feets On Loans

Many people are feeling insecure and pressured to keep up with their bills. Empire Loan wants to make it easier to do that and will be waiving late fees on any loans our customers have. It’s just one more way that Empire Loan is trying to make it easy for our customers without piling on.

Modified Store Hours

Although things keep changing by the minute, Empire Loan is striving to make it easy for our customers to come in when they have to. We currently are open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM for our customer’s convenience and hope to add Saturdays back into that as soon as possible. We are available toll-free at (800) 375-PAWN and can be reached by email at during our business hours.

Contact Empire Loan In a Time of Need

Since 1985, Empire Loan has worked to earn your trust and in these difficult times, we will try to work even harder. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to call us. Together, we can get through this.

For questions, please call us today @ 1-800-375-PAWN

What Empire Loan Can Do To Help You Through The Covid-19 Crisis

The Covid (19) Corona Virus is affecting more than just people’s health. The impact on the economy is changing across the globe every day, with uncertainty being the only thing that is certain. Here’s what Empire Loan is trying to do to help.

All Stores Are Open For Business

As of this writing, all eight Empire Loan stores are open for business. We understand that as businesses close their doors and scale back, people will still need money for the necessities. As a result, we intend to stay open during our normal business hours; Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM so that our customers can come in and transact business to get the cash they need.

Offering Cash Loans For A Variety Of Goods & Items

Empire will continue to offer cash loans for gold and diamond jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, tools, designer handbags and other items of value. All rates and terms of our loans will remain the same with customers not having to make monthly payments or deal with credit checks. Based on where customers do their loan, they will have up to 3 or 4 months before they have to even make any payments on their loans.

Reduced Item Displays, Limited Contact & Thorough Cleaning Of All Goods

Empire Loan stores have also stopped displaying and selling jewelry to minimize direct contact for both customers and our staff well being. Our staff is also taking extra precautions to ensure a safe and healthy environment, wiping down and cleaning items before we take them in, limiting direct contact with customers and practicing good hygiene to help battle this virus.

Contact Empire Loan In a Time of Need

Since 1985, Empire Loan has strived to provide professional and courteous customer service, getting our customers fast cash loans when they need it. As we all face these challenging times, Empire Loan will continue to strive to provide this same level of service to all who are in need. For questions, please call us today @ 1-800-375-PAWN

Musical Instruments Could Make Fast Cash Music To Your Ears

Musicians and wannabe musicians may have a cash lending friend at Empire Loan in Providence. Empire Loan’s store at 1271 No. Main St. in Providence is well known for lending people cash for their musical instruments. As a matter of fact, we have become so renowned that we even had to open a guitar store that specializes in every type of guitar from entry level acoustics to rare classic guitars worth thousands of dollars.

Extensive Experience at Evaluating Musical Instruments

The experts at Empire Loan and Empire Guitars have extensive experience at evaluating musical instruments and equipment allowing them to lend customers the maximum amount of money to get them out of a tight spot. Our staff will appraise your instrument or equipment to determine its condition as well as research the secondhand selling price on websites like eBay and Reverb to see what we may be able to offer for a loan or buy. You may also be asked to play it to show it’s in good working condition but to also help prove ownership.  This is just one of the ways we try to discourage theft.

All Instruments Are Accepted

It’s not just guitars and amplifiers that Empire offers loans on. We take in wind instruments like trumpets, saxophones, trombones, clarinets and flutes to name just a few. We also offer loans on percussion instruments like drums, congas, cymbals and xylophones, and electronics from amplifiers to DJ equipment. If your not sure if we would take in your musical instruments or equipment, just call and ask.

The goal of the staff at Empire Loan is to lend customers as much as they can, however it’s still based strictly on condition and a percentage of what the item would re-sell for, not what you may have paid for it at retail. Once everything is agreed to, we’ll explain the entire process including terms of the loan. Your item is then stored in our secured storage area where it waits for your return.

No Monthly Payments and No Hassle. It’s That Easy!

When you’re ready to pick it up, just come back in with the ticket and pay off whatever is due on your loan and walk out with you stuff. No monthly payments and no hassle. It’s that easy!

5 Things You Should Know About Pawn Shops

If you’ve never been to a pawn shop you probably have questions. Here are 5 of the most frequently asked question along with answers:

1) Pawn shops Want You to Get Your Stuff Back

As an industry, over 80% of customers who pawn their valuables for a loan get their items back. At Empire Loan, over 90% of customers who visit one of our 8 stores for a loan, redeem their loan and get their merchandise back. Pawn shops like Empire Loan make money on the interest they charge, so if you get your items back, Empire Loan makes money. This also means that if you get your items back, you could potentially be a return customer. The vast majority of Empire Loan’s customers are repeat customers. As we often say; “We don’t want to own your merchandise.”

2) Pawn Shops Test and Authenticate the Items they take in

Pawn shops have become experts at authenticating the items that customer come in with for a loan. Whether it’s testing gold & diamond jewelry or authenticating a Designer Handbag, a reputable pawn shop like Empire Loan will ensure that the item you have is real. Our staff is trained to test items like jewelry using industry best practices but also employs third party partners and technology to authenticate high end watches, collectables and other items before accepting them or selling them. This means you can learn more about what you have by simply having a conversation with one of our expert staff.

3) Pawn Shops are heavily regulated by the city and state they operate in

The rules and regulations for pawn shops are set and enforced by local government and law enforcement. In Massachusetts local police departments regulate pawn shops while in Rhode Island it’s the Attorney Generals office. Interest rates are set by the state and enforced by local authorities as well and are some of the lowest in the country. Even the length of the loan is set by the government. In Massachusetts the loans are for 4 months while in Rhode Island it’s 3 months. Any reputable pawnbroker should be willing to explain all of these terms to you upfront, so you can feel secure in conducting a transaction. If not, head into one of Empire Loan’s 8 convenient shops and see the difference.

4) Pawn Shops Do Not want to take in stolen Merchandise

(and thieves do not want to go there). All pawn shops and secondhand dealers are required to report every transaction to local law enforcement and to hold the items for a specific period of time before doing anything with them. This gives authorities time to investigate if the items were the result of a crime. In 0ver 99.9% of transactions, the items are NOT crime related. In fact, criminals who even think about bringing stolen items to a pawn shop should know that their name, ID, photos and descriptions will be reported to police on a regular basis, making it easy for them to be tracked down.

5) Pawn Shops are a great alternative to other short-term lenders like Payday loans

(which are illegal in Massachusetts). Payday loans tie into a borrower’s bank account and credit report, potentially damaging a customer’s credit rating and can charge exorbitant fees, creating a never-ending cycle of debt. Payday loans are often referred to as predatory because of the way they take advantage of borrowers. With a pawn loan, there’s no tapping into your bank account or reporting to credit rating agencies. If you are unable to pay back the loan, your forfeit the merchandise and there are no consequences. The item becomes the property of the pawn shop, but you are free and clear.

Is a pawn shop right for you? Decide for yourself. But at least now you have the answers to the most common questions. For more information contact us today!

Find A Convenient Pawn Shop Near You!

To find a local pawn shop in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, click any of the links below!

The 5 Most Common Items To Pawn For A Cash Loan

Pawn shops have changed over the years and so have many of the potential items you can bring in for a quick cash loan. Here, in no particular order, are 5 of the most common items pawn shops will take in for cash loans!

1.) Good as Gold!

The winner and still champion is gold & diamond jewelry. Pawn shops have been offering cash loans for gold & diamond jewelry for literally centuries and this is still the #1 way to get a cash loan. The price of gold is still sky high and so gold is one of the more common items pawn shops offer loans on. Remember the loan amounts are not based on what you may have paid for it or what it appraised for. 

Pawn shops generally make offers based on the scrap value of the metal and a small percentage of the wholesale value of the diamonds, so remember this before you go in. An average 14K gold wedding band, no diamonds or anything special could potentially get you a loan of $60 to $100 based on the weight. Loans on gold and platinum are common however, silver jewelry has little scrap value. Gold is currently trading over $1,500 an ounce while silver trades for around $17 an ounce. See Live Gold & Silver Prices Now!

2.) Tools Can Fix Your Money Shortage

Pawn shops have always taken in a variety of tools for cash loans. Tools must be in good working order and the better the condition, the more valuable the tools are and therefore the more money you may be able to borrow. It wouldn’t hurt for you to check the tools carefully before bringing them into a pawn shop. Clean it up and get some of the dust and dirt off of them. Make sure it is charged and ready for testing and that there is no damage that may affect the tool’s operation. Just as importantly, certain brands hold better value: DeWalt, Milwaukee, SnapOn, Bosch, MAC, Bostitch and Makita are just a few of the more valuable tool brands. Others like Black & Decker, Stanley and Ryobi may be able to get the job done, but they do not have much in the way of secondhand value.

3.) Musical instruments

Pawn shops have taken in a range of musical instruments throughout the years. Guitars, saxophones, trumpets, violins and even accordions have been used as collateral to get a loan at a pawn shop. The amount you can borrow will be based on the brand, model and condition of the instrument you bring in and there may be other requirements. 

A reputable pawn shop will look to find the average secondhand selling price of the instrument on websites like eBay and offer you a percentage of that amount for a loan, usually between 20% – 30%. Condition will definitely be a factor and you may very well have to have a case of some sort to store it in. Empire Loan also requires you to play it to prove it works and aid in verifying ownership. Just remember, it’s not based on what you paid for it but what it is actually selling for secondhand.

4.) Electronics

Electronics can get you a surge of cash: Electronics are some of the biggest monetary investments we make, but they always drop in value very quickly. Laptops, flatscreen TV’s, tablets and digital cameras are just some of the items pawn shops will take in for collateral. The problem is that many of these items become obsolete in less than a year or two. A laptop computer you may have bought $2,000 to $3,000 today may be worth as little as 1/10th of that within a matter of months. A pawn shop will only offer you a percentage of that amount for a loan. 

While certain brands hold their value longer; Apple, HP, Dell are some examples, it does not mean it holds its value as the technology changes. With any of these items, make sure you have all the accessories that come with it: cables, cords, remote controls etc., and that you have cleaned it up before you bring it in. This may help you get a little more money than you would otherwise.

5.) Designer Handbags

This is a newer category that pawn shops have been taking in as collateral for pawn loans in recent years. Designer handbags from companies like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and other high-end manufacturers can sometimes sell for thousands of dollars each brand new and often retain a decent amount of their value on the secondhand market. This means you could potentially get a loan for hundreds if not thousands of dollars on selected designer handbags.

That said, other designer bags may sell for a fraction of that. Brands like Michael Kors, Coach, Dooney and Bourke may have popular and stylish handbags and wallets but they do not have the same value as the other high end manufacturers. It’s helpful if you have things like the outer dustbag or box that it came in, as well as the original tags or certificates that originally came with it. These items not only help with identification and authentication, they sometimes even increase the value of the bags.

Contact Empire Today For A Quick & Easy Cash Loan!

These are examples are just a few of the types of items pawn shops accept as collateral for a loan. If you think you have something else that may be of value, call our main line at 1-800-375-PAWN or contact your local Empire Loan store, we’d be happy to help! 

If you prefer to submit your questions online, “Ask Mike” via our convenient contact form!

For more information on additional items that we accept, please click here!

How To Get Cash For Gold And Diamond Jewelry

How Do I Get Cash For Gold & Diamond Jewelry?

When you run a little short on cash, how can you get quick cash for some of the gold and diamond jewelry you may have? Empire Loan has 8 convenient locations that serves the greater Boston area, from the Merrimack Valley and North Shore to Metro West and Worcester, to the South Shore and South Coast, to Rhode Island with two stores in Providence, Empire Loan is here to help!

Empire Loan offers two options when it comes to getting rid of gold or diamond jewelry: Sell your old unwanted gold and diamond jewelry or get a loan based on the value of the items. Here’s how it works:

Selling Your Gold & Diamond Jewelry

  • Selling your gold and diamond jewelry: If you have gold and diamond jewelry you don’t want, sell it to Empire for instant cash. Broken, damaged or simply unwanted gold and diamond jewelry can get you the cash you need. Condition does not matter. The staff at any of Empire Loan’s 8 stores will take your items, test and weigh them and make you a cash offer on the spot. All offers are based on the scrap value of the metal and a small percentage of the wholesale value of any diamonds. Loose earrings, broken chains or bracelets, or items missing stones, will still get you cash.

Loaning Your Gold & Diamond Jewelry

  • Loans for gold and diamond jewelry: Suppose you need cash but don’t want to sell your jewelry? Empire Loan can help with that too. Empire Loan offers cash loans using your gold and diamond jewelry as collateral. Bring in ANY gold and diamond jewelry items and we will test and weigh them and offer you a cash loan based on the value of the item, but you still own your jewelry. We store it in our secure vaults until you repay the loan and take your items back. You have up to 4 months (3 months in Rhode Island) before you even have to make a payment. The best part? Over 90% of Empire Loan’s customers repay their loans and get their merchandise back. It’s that easy!

When It Comes To Cash, Condition Isn't Everything!

Again, the condition does not matter because all of our offers are based on the scrap value of the metal and a small percentage of the wholesale value of any diamonds. It is not based on the price you may have paid at retail or even what it appraises for. The current market price for gold is over $1,500.00 per ounce and platinum is over $1,000.00 per ounce. Silver, on the other hand, is trading for around $18.00 an ounce. Just keep that in mind when trying to determine how to get the money you need.

The only other requirement is that you have a valid government-issued ID. No credit checks, no forms to fill out, no bank accounts or credit cards needed. That’s it!

Get Cash Fast With Empire Loan

If you need cash, Empire Loan makes it easy! Find a convenient location near you, or contact us directly for assistance via our contact form, email, or directly by phone @ 1-800-375-PAWN

What Is A Pawn?

What Exactly Is A Pawn?

According to the dictionary it’s a verb that means “To deposit in pledge or as security especially in exchange for money.” Essentially, a pawn is a collateral based loan; you provide something of value such as gold & diamond jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, tools, designer handbags or anything with a secondhand value and a pawnbroker lends you money based on the value of the item.

Pawn Rules & Rates Vary From State To State

Rules can vary from state to state and even city to city since most pawn regulations are determined
locally. In Massachusetts the loans are for a 4 month period while in Rhode Island they are for 3 months.

This means you have that amount of time to return to the pawn shop, pay back the money that was borrowed, along with any interest or fees that have accrued, to take your items back. The Pawnbroker is required to hold the item for you during that period of time and cannot do anything with item since it still belongs to you.

How A Pawn Works

Here’s an example of how it works: Let’s say you bring in a gold ring that the pawn shop is going to lend you $100.00 on. The pawnbroker will hold onto your ring and give you a ticket. That ticket includes a description of the item, along with the terms of the loan and a schedule of the payment terms. In most of Empire Loan’s Massachusetts stores the interest rate is 3% per month with an appraisal fee in the first month. That means if you come back to redeem your ring anytime during the first 30 days, you would pay $111.00 to get it back. But you actually have 4 month’s before you have to do anything. If you wait the full 4 months you would end up paying $120.00 to get the ring back or you could just pay $20.00 to renew the loan for another 4 months.

Some of the advantages to a pawn include:

A) No monthly payments.

Simply pay back the loan plus interest and fees at the end of the loan period and take your item(s) back or pay what is due and renew the loan for another 4 month period.

B) No credit checks, no forms to fill out or waiting for the money.

Bring in your valuables and walk out with cash in minutes.

C) No Stings Attached:

With a pawn, if you can’t pay it back, no problem. The pawnbroker forecloses on the item(s) and you are free and clear. No bad credit reports or collection calls. As a matter of fact, you can come back and do another loan anytime as long as you have an item to provide as collateral to secure the loan.

It’s quick and easy to get the cash you need with a pawn.

For questions on items that we do or don’t accept please visit our “Accepted Items Page” for more information or contact us today via our convenient contact form or by calling in directly at 1-800-375-PAWN

Where Can I Sell My Tools?

Every now and then, it’s time to clean out that tool shed, but you might be curious about what to do with the tools that you no longer use. Either you got a new one, or you found the tool you have is too small (or big) for the jobs you do. There can be a variety of reason as to why you may want to sell your old tools. Maybe you no longer need the tool or rarely use it anymore and are looking to create some space around the house. Maybe you are moving and don’t have the space? Tired of doing everything yourself? Or maybe someone gave you a tool as a gift that you will never use but don’t want to hurt their feelings? Maybe you just have too many tools. Whatever the case may be, if you are looking to sell your tools in Massachusetts, here are three options to consider:

Sell Your Tools Privately:

If you have time and don’t mind the hassle, list your tools for sale on a website like eBay or Let It Go. This will take a bit of effort as you’ll need to take the pictures, write the description and possibly ship it, but this way you can get the maximum value. Find out what others are selling similar tools for and name your price based on the competition. The positive here is that you can hopefully get more money.. The problem is you may have to deal with shipping or worse yet, returns from unhappy customers. You also need to be careful of unscrupulous characters. In this case: Seller beware!

Donate Your Tools:

Trade schools and community organizations will sometimes take your old tools. They can use them for training programs and possibly even sell them to raise money for their cause. Believe it or not, it can be a challenge to find an organization willing to take your unwanted tools however it’s still a chance to do something good!

Bring Your Tools To A Pawn Shop Like Empire Loan:

Pawn shops like Empire Loan will examine and test your tools before they make you an offer. As long as they appear to be in good working order with no serious problems, Empire Loan will look it up online with websites like eBay to see what they are selling for used, and then offer you a percentage for a buy or loan. Generally this can be anywhere from 20% to 40% depending on what you have and what you want to do with it. While it’s true this is less than you would get selling it privately, at least you get the cash on the spot and walk out free and clear.  That’s it. Quick, simple and safe! Empire Loan has been buying tools for cash since 1985 and features 8 locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to make it convenient for you.

As Empire Loan says, It’s That Easy! 

For questions on items that we do or don’t accept please visit our “Accepted Items Page” for more information or contact us today via our convenient contact form or by calling in directly at 1-800-375-PAWN

Where Can I Sell My Handbags?

Styles change. Needs change, but unfortunately the space in your closet hasn’t! You might be wondering, what to do with the closet full of used & like new designer handbags that you have collected over the years! Lucky for you we have an answer, turn them into cash! There are a variety of options to consider such as: sending them out to companies that will sell them for you (for a fee of course), post them on websites like Let It Go and Facebook Marketplace to sell them yourself, or bring them to a pawn shop like Empire Loan for Instant Cash. To make the decision process easier we have compiled a detailed overview for each potential route you might take:

Consignment sales:

There are online platforms & brick and mortar consignment sales channels that will do the heavy lifting for you. Certain online sites will buy your handbag outright or sell it on consignment for you. You send your unwanted handbags to them to be priced, posted and sold but then you’re done. The good news is they take care of everything. You do pay a fee (upwards of 50% or more on certain sites) but they take care of the details for you. The issue is you don’t know how much they may offer you before you send them your bag or how long it will take for them to sell it or even when they will “Show you money”.

Post Your Handbags For Private Sale:

This is where you may be able to maximize your return. If you research the price your bag is selling for on the secondhand market, you can post it for sale on websites like eBay, Let It Go or Facebook Marketplace yourself. Aside from fees you may need to pay a site like eBay, you get to keep the all the money yourself. The downside is you don’t know how long it will take to sell it, you will need to prove authenticity and you need to deal with strangers. This is another example of “Seller Beware”.

Bring Your Handbags To A Pawn Shop like Empire Loan:

Empire Loan is in the business of buying and lending on the value of your designer handbag & purses. The staff in any of Empire Loan’s 8 stores will be able to appraise and authenticate your designer Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and other designer handbags and pay you cash on the spot. They will determine what the bag sells for on the secondhand market and make you a cash offer in minutes. It may be less than what you may be able to sell it for privately, but there is no waiting, no dealing with strangers, no waiting for your money and no worrying about disgruntled customers. You agree on a price, they pay you cash and you are done. Quick and Simple.

As Empire Loan says, It’s That Easy! 

For questions on items that we do or don’t accept please visit our “Accepted Items Page” for more information or contact us today via our convenient contact form or by calling in directly at 1-800-375-PAWN

How To Avoid Overdraft Fees

Avoiding Overdraft Fees

It happens, sometimes when we least expect it. You write a check to pay a bill; the rent, a car repair, even money you borrowed from a friend. Without realizing it, a deposit you were expecting doesn’t clear the bank in time and poof, you’re hit with an overdraft fee from your bank. That’s how it may start. 

How Overdrafting Quickly Adds Up

The bank charges you $35 but the property manager you pay your rent to can charge you a returned check fee. Wham! Add another $30 to the bill. That’s $65 extra, plus the headaches and damage it may do to your credit rating. Depending on the amount of the bad check, it could become a criminal matter.

Imagine you’re going to pay your cell phone bill for $200.00 and because of a delay in your direct deposit, your account is $100 short to cover the check you just wrote. Between the $35.00 overdraft fee from your bank, the $30.00 charge from the cell phone company for the returned check and possibly a reactivation charge to turn the phone back on, it could cost more than the original bill. this is not an ideal situation to find yourself in.

Quick & Easy Overdraft Solutions

One solution could be a fast and simple pawn loan from Empire Loan. Simply bring something of value; gold and diamond jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, tools or other items with a secondhand value and you could have walked out with the cash to cover the shortage. A typical pawn loan for $100.00 from Empire Loan would cost you about $11.00. That’s it. No long forms to fill out. No waiting for approvals. Just bring in your merchandise and walk out with the cash you need to avoid this disaster.

Your One Stop Money Shop

Empire Loan has been serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island since 1985, getting our customers the cash they need, when they need it. Contact us via a convenient form, call them today or find a location near you to see what they can do to help.