Occasional Paper No. 59: Sitting on a gold mine: Getting what’s owed to pawnbroking customers

In 2018, the FCA found that pawnbroking customers are not always collecting the surplus money owed to them. In this paper, we share the results of a first intervention designed to address this.

Occasional Paper No. 59 (PDF)


We partnered with one of the UK’s largest pawnbroking lenders, using a novel behavioural design approach to try to increase surplus collection. A first intervention, a new reminder letter for customers, is reported in this paper and found to increase surplus collection rates significantly. A second experiment, focused more on interventions on pawnbroker store processes, is currently in the field.


Paul Adams, Chris Burke, Alex Chesterfield, Bhavini Parmar, Laura Smart and Anna Whicher


Occasional papers contribute to our work by providing rigorous research results and stimulating debate. While they may not necessarily represent our position, they are one source of evidence that we may use while discharging its functions and to inform its views. We endeavour to ensure that research outputs are correct, through checks including independent referee reports, but the nature of such research and choice of research methods is a matter for the authors using their expert judgement. To the extent that Occasional Papers contain any errors or omissions, they should be attributed to the individual authors, rather than to the FCA.