Unbolted is a brand from Open Access Finance Ltd that has been operating through www.unbolted.com since November 2014. They have tended to fly under the radar since launch, although we have noticed increased ad spends throughout 2016. They were also discussed in an article from The Guardian back in 2015. In this article they were headed as a Wonga-style pawnbroker. I think this is a daft headline to call, since they target high-end goods only and so they are never going to appeal to the mainstream. We have grouped this firm in the pawnbroker store loan category, but they do only have a single office that you can visit in London.
Borro was launched in the UK back in the summer of 2008. Their local office is situated in London, whilst in recent years they have expanded to the United States with offices in Los Angeles and New York. There are 3 products available through www.borro.com. The one of interest here is luxury asset bridging loans. Then there is luxury asset sale advance and property finance. This is primarily an online service, but you can complete in person at their office that would be the advised route. This posh pawnbroker is seeking such collateral as fine art and wine, jewellery, property, luxury cars, watches etc. They can lend up to £3 million per asset.
We have already covered H&T’s online loans and will today move on to explore their store operation in more detail. Just to initially note that in the first posting we referenced www.handt.co.uk as the site URL. As you’ll see, for this page here we have instead marked www.handtpawnbrokers.co.uk. These sites are mostly matched on the content side, but the shorter one pops up more commonly when running generic searches for the firm in Google. H&T Pawnbrokers (Harvey & Thompson) dates back longer than all of their rivals. They began serving communities in London in 1897 and they have emerged to become the #1 pawnbroker in the UK. Their retail charge has been key to success. You’ll find them in 190 locations.
Prestige Pawnbrokers that is part of Prestige Asset Finance Ltd has been operating since 2009. This has become a highly recognisable brand through their introduction on Channel 4’s Posh Pawn series. This show focuses on owner James Constantinou at the Weybridge store in Surrey. They have another branch in Richmond that is around a 30 minute drive away. Then there are also shops in Hatton Garden and Manchester. They are found online at www.prestigepawnbrokers.co.uk. No unsecured loans are available from this firm. They stick with pawnbroker loans and cash for gold. With their main product, they are seeking high-end goods including such things as antiques, art, cars, designer handbags and anything else with a sizeable valuation.
Maxcroft was previously introduced for both their logbook and personal loans. They do however also extend to pawnbroking as well as cheque cashing and foreign currency. Maxcroft Securities Ltd has a single office in Ilford (Essex) where every aspect of their service has to be completed in person. Their specific location is 632 Eastern Avenue at post code: IG2 6PG. Initial requests can be made at www.maxcroft.co.uk, but the requirement to get to them is a limitation. You would have expected them to expand to further offices over their history that dates back to 1976. To briefly introduce their pawnbroker offering, they seek an extensive range of goods including art, cameras, electrical goods, jewellery and even motors.
Cash Exchange is a pawnbroker with just the 2 locations located in Morden (Surrey) and Norbury (London). This family run business started out back in November 2004. They offer all the usual services such as cheque cashing, pawnbroking and money transfers. Considering that this is a small operation, they have crafted a really top notch website over at www.cashexchange.co.uk. This is built with account logins and the ability to shop for any of their used goods that they keep hold off. PayPal payments are accepted and there is even a promo code box, although we were unable to track down any live codes. No unsecured Cash Exchange loans are available online or in-store.
The Oakam store loans will be looked at in further detail today. The same 2 loan products available through www.oakam.com can be applied for in person. Oakam’s retail network currently stands at 22 with the majority spread across London with the others situated around the Midlands. The London north locations are Dalston, Kilburn, Walthamstow, Watford and Wood Green. East includes Barking, East Ham, Romford and Stratford. South includes Croydon, Lewisham, Peckham, Southwark and Streatham. The 2 west outlets are Shepherds Bush and Slough. In the Midlands, branches are found in Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Dudley, Leicester and West Bromwich. There doesn’t appear to be any expansion plan on the horizon across other areas of the UK.
Cash Shop or The Cash Shop as they often brand themselves was formed in November 2004. As of 2016 they have 11 stores spread across England, generally located in busy city centres be that Leeds, Leicester, Sunderland etc. Their website located at www.thecashshop.net has been live since December 2005. Unfortunately, unsecured Cash Shop store loans are no longer available. There was an instalment loan previously available that is still listed on their Facebook page, but it’s now removed from their site. Secured Buy Back and pawnbroker loans are the current only lending options in place (cheque cashing, foreign exchange and money transfer are also available). Buy Back lasts 28 days and the pawnbroker option can be contracted up to 6 months.
Ramsdens for Cash (usually just branded as Ramsdens) was established back in 1987. They have built up a sizeable network of 120 stores. They have become recognisable nationwide through their sponsorship of Middlesbrough FC who are of course now enjoying top flight football in the Premier League. This brand has suffered in recent years through falling gold prices, but it does look like they have managed to weather the storm. Impressively, they have done this without taking a hit on the retail front. A range of options are promoted at www.ramsdensforcash.co.uk such as cheque cashing, pawnbroking and a pre-paid travel card. There are no unsecured Ramsdens loans available on this site or through retail.
Albemarle & Bond is one of the UK’s leading pawnbrokers. They now use www.albemarlebond.co.uk for both this brand plus Herbert Brown. Both operate as trading names of Speedloan Finance Ltd. The collective network of branches is 114. It is not made clear what the current variation between the pair is. It does appear that there are around 20 Herbert Brown shops. This company was formed in 1840 and acquired in 2007 whilst the central company started out in 1983. Albemarle’s network has took on a major downsize. At their peak we believe they had upwards of 230 stores. It is lucky that they are still in operation having been rescued from administration by Promethean Investments back in 2014.
Best Value Sectors:
2) Finance (P): B/H/L @ 4.6%
3) 12 Month (P): First Direct @ 0.011%
4) Finance (Sub): Advantage @ 29.26%
5) Guarantor: UK Credit @ 0.053%
6) 12 Month (Sub): Likely @ 0.063%
7) Logbook: Car Loan Centre @ 0.108%
8) Instalment: Fair Finance @ 0.157%
9) Doorstep: Mutual @ 0.165%
10) Payday: Drafty: @ 0.180%
11) Short-Term: Drafty @ 0.180%
* Daily interest to 3DP
* Finance rates shown as APR
* (P) = Prime | (Sub) = Subprime
* Sainsbury’s leading rate is 3.1% APR.