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Responsible for the service Regional State Administrative Agency

Operating licences for pawn shops

  • Permit or other obligation
  • Nationwide except the Åland Islands
  • Public service

An operating licence must be applied for from the Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) prior to starting pawn shop operations. An operating licence may also be granted for a new pawn shop prior to its registration.

The operating licence application shall include a sufficient report on the owners of the pawn shop and their shares of ownership, the pawn shop’s administration and the persons managing the administrative duties. The instrument of incorporation shall be appended to the application. The AVI also has the right to request other accounts it considers necessary. When processing an operating licence application of a pawn shop, the AVI is liable to request a statement from the locality’s police.

An operating licence shall be granted for the pawn shop if the received statement on the trustworthiness and appropriateness of the pawn shop’s owners and managing personnel is considered to ensure that the pawn shop will be managed professionally, reliably and in compliance with sound and careful business principles and that the pawn shop’s operation will comply with the regulations provided for in the legislation.

Do the following

The operating licence application can be submitted to the AVI in free format.

The application for a licence must include the following information:

  • a complete extract of company registration carried out by the register authority, including the articles of association,
  • the names, nationalities and places of residence of the board of directors’ members, deputy members, the managing director, the deputy managing director (if one has been elected), auditors and deputy auditors,
  • a report on the senior management members’ education and work experience,
  • a report on how the collateral is kept and insured.

The trustworthiness requirement concerns the managing director and their deputy, members and deputy members of the board of directors and any person who holds, either directly or indirectly, at least one tenth of the company’s shares or votes or otherwise has comparable influence on or ownership of the pawn shop.

The notifier must, on request by the AVI, provide all other information that is required for the evaluation of the fact whether the criteria for granting an operating licence have been met.

After hearing the operating licence applicant, the AVI shall have the right to set such terms for the pawn shop’s business operations that are necessary for monitoring activities.

If any of the aforementioned information is subjected to changes, the AVI must be notified about the changes without delay.

The notification and its annexes can be sent by mail or email to the registry of AVI Southern Finland.

To whom and on what terms

Pawn shops shall meet the following requirements:

  1. The applicant must have a right to carry out business in Finland pursuant to what is specified in the legislation on the right of engaging in a trade.
  2. The applicant is not bankrupt.
  3. The applicant is trustworthy.
  4. The applicant has the required professional expertise considering the nature and extent of the operation so that the pawn shop can be considered to be managed professionally and in compliance with sound and careful business principles.

In order to verify trustworthiness and appropriateness, the AVI will order penalty, criminal and business prohibition records from the Legal Register Centre. If the management of the applicant includes persons who live or have in the last ten years lived abroad, the applicant shall submit, with regard to these persons, criminal records obtained from the register authority of the place of residence abroad.

The applicant shall not be deemed trustworthy if one of the persons in charge has been sentenced to prison in the past five years or to a fine in the past three years for an offence that can be deemed to prove that they are clearly unfit to carry out pawn shop activities, to own a corporation engaging in pawn shop activities or to act as a person in charge of such corporation. The same applies if the past actions of such person otherwise indicate clear unfitness to perform the aforementioned duties.

Managing a pawn shop in a professional manner means knowing the trade, having the required skills and other corresponding capacities. When evaluating professional expertise, attention is paid, for example, to the fact whether the applicant is familiar with the Finnish laws, where applicable.

The requirement on professional expertise concerns the applicant’s senior management or the persons actually responsible for the pawn shop activities. Professional expertise is not necessarily required of each senior management member. However, the senior management as a whole must have sufficient education and experience for the pawn shop to be managed professionally and in compliance with sound and careful business principles.

Professional expertise is indicated with a diploma or another educational report or with certificates of employment related to pawn shop activities, credit granting or risk management. Appropriate degrees are, for example, master’s degree in law or economic sciences or associate degree in law or degree in notarial law.

A fee is charged for the service.

Fees are determined by the Government Decree on the Regional State Administrative Agencies’ Fees in 2019 and 2020 (1244/2018).


The pawn shop shall apply for an operating permit prior to starting its operation. An operating licence may also be granted for a new pawn shop prior to its registration in the Trade Register.

Processing time

Approximately 2 weeks.

Period of validity

Until further notice

Basic information

The service is provided byRegional State Administrative Agency
Responsible for the serviceRegional State Administrative Agency
Area Whole Finland (except Åland)
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish
Text edited by: Regional State Administrative Agency
Updated: 9/9/2020