Pawnshops are key financial service access points for Filipinos


Being financially challenged is a trial that many of us has experienced at least at one point in our lives. Whether it is about paying monthly bills, school tuition fees, providing for family needs or a business that failed, the situation is something that we don’t want to experience again.

Consider your self lucky if you are free from debt now because a lot of people have been hounded by financial problems for years which was even worsen when the pandemic came.

I know some people who have to sell some of their properties while others tried pawning their jewelry, so they can still get them back as soon as they regain financial stability. Some items, regardless how much they were bought, are priceless because of their sentimental value.

Pawnshops’ share in financial inclusion

Last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that there are about 14,824 pawnshop offices and branches nationwide as of February 2021.

BSP cited the results of the 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey report highlighting that aside from banks’ automated teller machines (ATMs), Filipino adults are aware of pawnshops as a key financial access point and these two, along with bayad centers, are the most accessible points for financial services.

Pawnshops, which also offer other services like money remittance, bills payments, and electronic money (e-money) cash-in and cash-out, have been allies of the Filipino masses because of their network reach and accessible locations where banks do not operate. Plus, unlike banks, they do not require a lot of documents before releasing cash to customers.

Future-proof pawnshops

Gone were the days that pawnshops are only seen as places where you can get quick or instant cash for your valuables that are pawnable.   

A good example is Cebuana Lhuillier (CL) that has a list of financial services being offered (including the services already mentioned above) in its more than 3,000 branches across the Philippines.

Cebuana Lhuillier Pawnshop (500 Shaw Zentrum, Mandauyong City branch)

While CL is already known to have a top-rate pawning service, it also offers other financial services that expanded to micro savings, micro insurance and micro loan programs which has benefited thousands of Pinoys in need of financial assistance especially during the pandemic.

As part of its digital transformation, CL has now the Cebuana Xpress, an all-in-one sangla app with different financial services feature like money transfer services. We can only expect more innovations to come from CL as it continues to improve its services for years to come.

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