Increase in number of pawnshops in Singapore

SINGAPORE - The number of pawnshops has increased by 77 per cent over a five-year period, from 114 in 2008 to 201 pawnshops as of Oct 1, 2013.

These figures were revealed in a written reply from Law Minister K. Shanmugam, in response to MP for Marine Parade GRC Mr Seah Kian Peng's parliamentary queries about the current number of pawnshops, and loans secured.

Explaining that pawnbroking loans are "essentially secured loans", Mr Shanmugam said that pawnbroking loans constitute around 3 per cent of the amount of consumer loans issued by banks and finance companies.

As at 31 August 2013, about $3.7 billion of pawnbroking loans has been granted, and such loans include loans that are refinanced using the same collateral.

Typically, around 95 per cent of pledges are redeemed by pawners.

Under the law, pawnbrokers are allowed to charge an interest rate of no more than 1.5 per cent per month.