Bird of preyFew people understand the full workings of the loans pawn shops offer. We all know the basic deal: You bring something of value to the shop, and leave it there as collateral for a short-term loan. If you pay back the loan, plus interest, on time, you’ll get your item back. If not, the shop will keep the item and sell it.

The problem with pawn shop loans is that the rates they charge usually add up to annual percentage rates of 120 to 300 percent. Since you