In a lot of major metropolitan areas around the world, if you’re hurting for some pocket money and you need it now, you can typically take anything of value down to your local pawn shop. DVD players, bicycles, rifles—whatever it is, they’ll take it off your hands for cash, and the option to buy it back later at a significant markup, or else some total stranger will buy it instead and you’ve lost it forever. Here in Iceland, you’re not going to find any such service.
There was a “pawn shop” in Reykjavík as recently as 2015. However, their website has 404’d, their location has been usurped by a bank, and their phone number now belongs to a rent-a-truck service.
If you do need that extra cash and don’t want to take out a loan, you need not despair if you happen to own any gold or silver. There are numerous places that will buy these precious metals off of you, often without any questions asked.
No one seems to know why pawn shops never took off around here. Maybe because Iceland has typically been a country where any bank is willing to give you a predatory loan, or issue you an overdraft with mafia-level interest rates, and some private companies have also taken to offering some shady microloans.
However, there is still no such store that buys practically anything for cash from random walk-ins off the street. Here in Iceland, we will buy your gold and silver, but that’s the best we can do.