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Pawnbroking - Apply for a permit

The pawnbroker grants a cash loan against deposit of a pledge to secure the loan together with interest and costs of business operations.

The pawn broker arranges pawn transactions by granting an advance on pledges handed over to him/her and pledging the pledges in his/her name to a pawnbroker.

Anyone wishing to operate the business of a pawnbroker or pawnbroker requires the permission of the competent authority. The permission may be subject to conditions insofar as this is necessary for the protection of the general public or the preservations.

In the case of partnerships (e.g. OHG, KG), the trader is any managing partner. In the case of legal entities (e.g. GmbH, AG), permission is granted to the legal entity.

Process flow

You must apply to the competent authority for permission to operate a business as a pawnbroker or pawnbroker.

After the exam, you will receive either permission or a rejection notice. A permit may be subject to certain conditions.

Competent authority

In Lower Saxony, the districts, district-free cities, large independent cities and the independent municipalities are responsible.


If you want to work as a pawnbroker, you must provide special collateral and proof.

  • You must provide evidence of the funds or collateral required for the first six months. These can be balances or a bank guarantee.
  • Furthermore, you must take out insurance against fire damage, water damage, burglary and robbery and present it when applying. A safe must be available for jewellery.
  • You must secure your premises against burglary with an alarm system.
  • In the case of car pawn shops, the question of possible environmental hazards caused by the parking areas of the vehicles must be clarified.

Permission will be refused if:

  • facts justify the assumption that the applicant does not have the reliability required for the business. As a rule, this reliability is not possessed by anyone who has been finally sentenced to imprisonment for a crime, theft, embezzlement, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, forgery of documents, receiving stolen goods, usury or for offences against the law against unfair competition.
  • The applicant does not prove the funds required for the business operation or corresponding collateral.

Which documents are required?

  • Identity card or comparable identification document (copy)
  • Non-EU citizens: residence permit (copy)
  • Proof of entrepreneurial legal form
    • Company headquarters in Germany:
      • for registered companies: excerpt from the commercial register and, if applicable, a copy of the articles of association (e.g. in the case of a civil-law partnership (GbR))
    • Company headquarters abroad: documents from this country proving the legal form.
  • Proof of personal reliability
    • Residence in Germany:
      • Certificate of good conduct
      • Excerpt from the Central Trade Register for natural and, if applicable, legal persons
    • Residence abroad: documents from your home country proving that you have the personal reliability to perform the desired service
    • The authority may request further documents on a case-by-case basis that are suitable for making a statement about your personal reliability as an applicant.
  • Proof of the means and guarantees required for operation
    • Residence in Germany:
      • Extract from the list of debtors
      • Information from the insolvency register
    • Residence abroad: documents from your home country as proof that you have the necessary funds and guarantees
  • Social
  • Floor plan of the rooms intended for commercial operation

What are the fees?

Die Gebühr kann in Niedersachsen gemäß bis zu 230 € betragen

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

You must apply for permission before starting your activity. Only after the permit has been granted are you entitled to exercise the trade.


In Lower Saxony, preliminary proceedings are not provided for by § 80 Nds. Therefore, no objection is admissible, but rather administrative court action must be brought directly.

What else should I know?

The pawnbroker must notify the competent authority at the start of the business which premises he/she uses for the business; furthermore, he/she must immediately notify any change of premises used for the business.

The pawnbroker is obliged to keep accounts.

Technically approved by

Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit, Verkehr und Digitalisierung


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)