Difference Wiki

Pledge vs. Hypothecation: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 20, 2023
Pledge is a form of security or collateral where the physical possession of an asset is given to the lender. Hypothecation is a security interest in an asset, where possession remains with the borrower.

Key Differences

In pledge, the borrower physically hands over the asset to the lender as security for the loan. This means the asset is in the lender's possession until the loan is repaid. In hypothecation, the borrower retains possession of the asset, but the lender has a security interest in it.
A pledge is typically used for tangible assets like jewelry or goods. The lender holds these items as a guarantee. Hypothecation is common in financing arrangements for assets like vehicles or real estate, where the borrower continues to use the asset.
The risk for the lender in a pledge is generally lower since they possess the collateral. In hypothecation, the risk is higher as the asset remains with the borrower, and its condition or value might change.
Recovery in case of default is different; in pledge, the lender can directly sell the asset. In hypothecation, the lender must go through legal processes to seize and sell the asset.
Pledge is a more traditional form of security, often used in personal loans. Hypothecation is common in modern financing like car loans or mortgages, where continuous use of the asset is necessary.

Comparison Chart

Possession of Asset

With lender
Remains with borrower

Typical Use

Tangible, movable assets
Assets like vehicles, real estate

Risk for Lender

Lower, due to possession of collateral
Higher, as borrower retains the asset

Recovery on Default

Direct sale of asset
Legal process to seize and sell asset

Nature of Financing

Traditional, often for personal loans
Modern, common in vehicle and home loans

Pledge and Hypothecation Definitions


An asset deposited to secure a debt.
They took a pledge of stocks to secure the funding.


Collateral where possession remains with the asset owner.
They agreed to the hypothecation of their house for the mortgage.


A security interest where an asset is physically given to the lender.
He gave his watch as a pledge for the cash loan.


A debt security without transferring asset possession.
Hypothecation of their equipment enabled the business expansion.


A promise backed by a tangible asset.
Their family heirloom served as a pledge for the business loan.


A security interest where the borrower keeps the asset.
His car was under hypothecation for the duration of the loan.


Collateral that involves the transfer of possession.
The pledge of her jewelry secured the loan.


Pledging an asset while retaining its use.
She entered into a hypothecation agreement for her boat loan.


Temporary transfer of assets as loan security.
The pledge included rare coins as collateral.


A legal right in property as a security for a debt.
The bank required hypothecation of the new machinery for the loan.


A solemn binding promise to do, give, or refrain from doing something
Signed a pledge never to reveal the secret.
A pledge of money to a charity.


To pledge (property) as security or collateral without delivery of title or possession.


Usage Problem To hypothesize.


The use of property, or an existing mortgage, as security for a loan, etc.


(British) A tax levied for a specific expenditure.


The act or contract by which property is hypothecated; a right which a creditor has in or to the property of his debtor, in virtue of which he may cause it to be sold and the price appropriated in payment of his debt. This is a right in the thing, or jus in re.
There are but few cases, if any, in our law, where an hypothecation, in the strict sense of the Roman law, exists; that is a pledge without possession by the pledgee.


A contract whereby, in consideration of money advanced for the necessities of the ship, the vessel, freight, or cargo is made liable for its repayment, provided the ship arrives in safety. It is usually effected by a bottomry bond. See Bottomry.


Can hypothecated assets be used by the borrower?

Yes, borrowers continue to use hypothecated assets during the loan period.

What is a pledge in finance?

A pledge is when an asset is physically handed over to the lender as security for a loan.

Is pledge more secure for lenders than hypothecation?

Generally, a pledge is considered more secure because the lender has physical control of the collateral.

Are pledged assets always physically moved?

Yes, in a pledge, the physical asset is typically transferred to the lender’s possession.

Can hypothecation be used for real estate?

Yes, hypothecation is often used for real estate mortgages.

What happens to a pledged asset if the loan defaults?

If a loan defaults, the lender can sell the pledged asset to recover the debt.

Is hypothecation common in vehicle financing?

Yes, hypothecation is common in vehicle loans, where the borrower retains the car.

Can pledged assets earn income?

Pledged assets typically do not earn income while in the lender's possession.

What does hypothecation mean?

Hypothecation is when a borrower provides a lender with a security interest in an asset but retains possession of it.

How does hypothecation affect asset ownership?

In hypothecation, the borrower remains the owner of the asset, but the lender has a security interest.

Are there legal differences between pledge and hypothecation?

Yes, legal rights and processes in case of default differ between pledge and hypothecation.

Do all loans require hypothecation?

Not all loans require hypothecation; it depends on the loan type and lender's requirements.

Is pledge more common in personal or business loans?

Pledge is more common in personal loans, especially smaller, short-term loans.

What types of assets are commonly pledged?

Commonly pledged assets include jewelry, stocks, or other tangible goods.

How are pledge agreements documented?

Pledge agreements are documented in a contract outlining the terms and conditions of the pledge.

Can hypothecation be applied to intangible assets?

Hypothecation is typically used for tangible assets, though it can apply to certain intangibles under specific conditions.

Can a pledge be used for large loans?

A pledge can be used for large loans, especially if the collateral is valuable.

What risks do borrowers face in pledging assets?

Borrowers risk losing their asset if they fail to repay the loan.

How do lenders enforce hypothecation?

Lenders enforce hypothecation through legal rights that allow them to seize and sell the asset in case of default.

Is hypothecation reversible?

Hypothecation agreements can be reversed once the loan is repaid.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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