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Jun 14, 2013 10:08 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

More Arizonans banking on pawn shops to make ends meet

TUCSON- From old coins and cameras, to TVs and tools.

Pawn Stop located at 3540 N Oracle Rd. currently has about 400 items in its showroom and Manager Ralph Hastie says business is good. "We probably have at least 10 people a week who come in and say they need $20 to $30 because they're out of gas," Hastie says.

He credits some recent success to the History Channel's hit reality show "Pawn Stars". "An awful lot of people come in and mention that they have seen the show," Hastie says. "It has given newcomers a basic idea of how a pawn shop works."

But a recent survey by a non-profit called Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, indicates there is more to the growing use of pawn shops in Arizona.

The survey says 27% of Arizonans have visited a pawn shop over the last five years. Nation-wide it found 18% of Americans have visited pawn shops over the last five years.

Michael Bond of the UA Finance Department says pawn shop popularity in Arizona has a lot to do with demographics. "I mean you have a ton of people packed into Phoenix, but outside of Phoenix its very rural," Bond says. "Access to financial institutions like banks is more difficult for a lot of people."

Bond says while using a pawn shop is probably the best solution for people low on cash, it's still terrible financial planning. "Any American should have six months of cash reserved and of course people who are doing this don't have any months of cash reserved," Bond says.

Regardless of the advice, Hastie says as long as there is an item customers can turn into quick cash, the customers will come. "You can't take a TV set to a bank and get a short term loan on it in order to pay an unexpected bill," Hastie says.

If you're heading to a pawn shop in Tucson, be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure you're doing business with a credible shop. Click here to access the BBB's website.

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