Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Pawn Shop License

Service overview

You need a Pawn Shop License to operate a pawn shop.

Pawn shops:

  • Lend money in exchange for a customer’s personal property.
  • Buy personal property with the understanding that they’ll sell it back to the customer at a later time for a specific price.

The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this license.


Business owners and their agents can apply for this license.


Where and when


Use the eCLIPSE system.

In person

Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.


License fee

A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due upon application approval.

Renewal fee

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building

(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
  • The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
  • Personal checks are accepted.
  • Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected

L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info.

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
  2. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.


You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.


Upload all required documents.

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

L&I will either issue your license or request more information.

In person

Visit the Permit and License Center.

L&I can review most applications while you wait.

L&I will either issue your license or request more information.

After you get your license

When you accept personal property from a customer, you must:

  • Get identification, such as a state-issued photo ID.
  • Take a digital photograph of them.
  • Get an imprint of their left thumbprint.
  • Give them a pawn ticket.

You can’t do business on a Sunday, before 8:30 a.m. or after 5 p.m. You can accept pledges or return property until 9 p.m. on Friday and until 6 p.m. on Saturday.

You must register with the Philadelphia Police Department’s online inventory tracking system. All precious metal dealers must enter daily transaction information into the database, which is accessible to the Philadelphia Police Department.

Renewal requirements

Annual renewal:

  • Renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center

Required for renewal:

  • Must be current on all City taxes
  • Valid email address