Store FAQ

What is a Buy/Sell/Trade store?
Where is MIDWEST EXCHANGE located?
Do you sell online? Where do you ship?
What methods of payment do you accept?
What do you buy/sell?
Who is that bald guy in the TV commercials?

 

What is a Buy/Sell/Trade store?
Just like it sounds! Merchandise is purchased from customers for cash and/or for trade toward items in the store, which functions as a normal retail outlet offering new and used items for sale at a fraction of the retail price!

 

Where is MIDWEST EXCHANGE located?
Our store’s location is located roughly halfway between Chicago and St. Louis in Bloomington, Illinois.
Click on the STORE INFO & MAP TAB for our address, hours, contact info and map.

 

Do you sell online? Where do you ship?
We do not ship or sell directly online from this website, although we do ship all over the United States and the globe through our eBay store (MIDWEST-NEATSTUFF).

 

What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover or cash for in-store purchases but NO PERSONAL CHECKS.
As for eBay purchases you can pay with PayPal or a Postal Money Order, or any of the methods above for in-store pick-up.

 

What do you buy/sell?
We’re willing to buy or sell just about anything, within reason! We do specialize in musical equipment — lots of guitars and amps with tons of vintage stuff. In fact, Ed is quite proud of his ever growing collection of old 1950s-60s amplifiers that adorn the walls in one of his stores.
In addition to airsoft and/or painball markers (guns), we also buy, loan and sell REAL guns.

 

Who owns Midwest Exchange?
The original Midwest Exchange that opened more than 25 years ago was founded and operated by Joseph “Wes” Lane. Currently, the store is owned and operated Steve Mileham and that bald guy you see at the commercials (Edwin “Ed” Pierce) since January 2015.

 

Pawn FAQ

What is a pawnshop?
Why would a person use a pawnshop for a loan?
How does a pawn loan work?
What are the requirements to obtain a pawn loan?
What are the charges/interest on a pawn loan?
What is an extension?
What is a renewal?
How many pawning customers lose their merchandise?
How do you determine the worth of my collateral?
How do you determine the condition of an item?
How do you determine the value of jewelry?
How do you determine the price of gold or other precious metals?
Can you give me a quote on an item over the phone?
Where is my collateral kept while in pawn? Is it safe?
Are pawnshops regulated?
How much stuff in a pawnshop is stolen?
Can I buy/sell/pawn a gun?

 

What is a pawnshop?
A pawnshop is basically a retail store that is authorized to give you small, fast loans using your merchandise as collateral with no credit checks or whatsoever. You also have the option of selling your new and used merchandise outright for cash or store credit, or trading it for other merchandise in the store. Midwest Exchange is a fully-licensed pawnshop, as well as a Buy-Sell-Trade store.

Pawnbroking is not a new business — history shows that pawn lending has roots going back nearly 3000 years. In the late 15th century, as the story goes, Queen Isabella of Spain pawned the crown jewels to finance Columbus’ voyage to America. Though it has changed in practice over the years, the principle is still the same: a pawnshop will either buy or loan you money for your valuable items.

Why would a person use a pawnshop for a loan?
Pawnshops offer the consumer a quick, convenient, and confidential way to borrow money. There is no credit history check before we give you a loan — your merchandise alone determines your credit. A customer receives a percentage of the value the pawnbroker believes the collateral would bring if sold. Although the loan to collateral ratio varies over time and across pawnshops, a loan of about 50 percent of the resale value of the collateral is typical. In other words, pawnbrokers feel their loan is “paid in full” at the time the transaction is made.

How does a pawn loan work?
Loans are based on the value of your collateral, not your credit rating or pay schedule. Typically, loans are small — the average pawn loan nationally is around $80.00 — but can reach as high as a thousand dollars or more depending on the value of the collateral. Subject to Illinois law, a typical pawn loan has a term length of 30 days/one month, plus a 30-day/one month grace period. If you cannot pay back your loan in full, including any applicable grace period, we offer extensions/renewals (see below) to give you extra time. You may also choose to surrender your collateral as payment in full.

What are the requirements to obtain a pawn loan?
You must be 18 years of age or older and possess a valid photo ID. That’s it! Simply bring us an item of value and we’ll get you cash on the spot after your loan is approved.

What are the charges/interest on a pawn loan?
Pawnshop interest rates and other charges, such as storage or insurance fees, are regulated by the state. Illinois limits the total percentage charged to no more than 20%, including finance charges and storage fees, per month.

What is an extension?
If you are unable to pay back your loan in full on its due date, you can get an extension on your loan or “renew”  it by paying the interest for the month. In doing so, you will extend your due date for another 30 days and you can “renew” your loan as many times as you see fit.

What is a renewal?
If you are unable to pay back your loan in full on its due date, you may get a renewal as permitted by Illinois law. With a renewal, you pay the interest that has accrued on your loan in full, and a new loan is written. The principal loan amount remains the same, as does the interest rate, but the due date is reset for the full loan term.

How many pawning customers lose their merchandise?
The vast majority of our customers repay their pawn loans and pick up their merchandise. The national average shows 70 to 80 percent of all pawn loans are repaid — our average at MONSTER PAWN is more like 85 percent. If a customer chooses not to repay the loan, the merchandise/collateral for the loan is forfeited.

How do you determine the worth of my collateral?
We base pawn loan amounts on the value of your item — its current appraised value, its current condition and our ability to sell the item. We use all the research tools we have at our disposal to determine an item’s value and get you the most money we can. The appraisal process varies depending on the type of item. For example, jewelry is evaluated differently than a DVD player which is evaluated differently than a table saw, etc. In addition, items such as gold, coins, and jewelry maintain their value over a reasonable period of time, while items like computers and electronics depreciate much quicker, all of which is taken into account.

How do you determine the condition of an item?
The condition of an item is always taken into account during the appraisal process. For example, if two televisions come in and one looks nearly unused and the other has a crack in the side, we will loan more on the TV that’s in better condition. When it’s general merchandise you want to pawn, we test each item to ensure it is in good working condition. This includes, but is not limited to, a visual inspection, plugging an item in and turning it on, and noting if any necessary accessories (such as remote controls) and manuals are included. The better the condition of your item, the more money we can loan you. This is true for any collateral.

How do you determine the value of jewelry?
When jewelry is the collateral we test the precious metals and diamonds to determine its worth. We have a certified gemologist on staff as well as numerous other employees who have been working with jewelry for many years and are quite knowledgeable. The diamond testing includes a visual inspection using a jeweler’s loupe, weighing the item, sizing (determining carat weight) any stones, and noting the cut/color/clarity of each. Current market values of precious metals will also affect the value.

How do you determine the price of gold or other precious metals?
The price of gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals is based on market values, the price for which is reviewed and updated daily. Prices can vary greatly as the loan amount for 24K gold, for example, is significantly higher than that of 14K gold.

Can you give me a quote on an item over the phone?
Unfortunately, we cannot give quotes over the phone because loan amounts vary greatly depending on the condition of an item. For general merchandise, we test each item to ensure it is in good working condition. The better the condition of your item, the more money we can loan. And for jewelry, we test to ensure diamonds and gold are genuine.

Where is my collateral kept while in pawn? Is it safe?
While your item is in pawn, you still own it. When you give us an item for pawn, we keep your merchandise — along with all accessories (remotes, cables, etc.) — in a secure area accessible to authorized employees only where it is safely stored until you come back to pay your loan in full and claim your merchandise. In addition, we are fully insured for the loan value of the collateral we keep.

Are pawnshops regulated?
Yes. States have regulated the pawn industry for decades, and Illinois pawnbrokers are licensed and regulated by local authorities as well. We are subject to such laws as Truth In Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Patriot Act, and Federal Trade Commission Rules on Data Privacy and Security Transfer. At the federal level, we are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Treasury Department.

How much stuff in a pawnshop is stolen?
Contrary to popular belief, pawnshops are actually the worst place to try and get rid of stolen merchandise. In fact, less than 1 percent of items are identified as stolen goods, and most of those are identified and reported to the authorities before being offered to the public in any way. In addition, while being highly regulated (see previous question), we also work very closely with local and federal law enforcement officials. Our staff is trained to be on the lookout for stolen property and possibly identify it based on the scenario.

Can I buy/sell/pawn a gun?
Yes, you can! Midwest Exchange has a Federal Firearms License. You can buy, sell, trade, and borrow money on a firearm and/or other firearm related stuff (ex. Ammo, Scopes & etc). And like any other FFL holder, if you see a firearm that you want to purchase online, we can arrange to have your “gun transferred” or shipped through us for you to pick up locally for a fee.