Cash America was founded by Jack Daugherty in Irving, Texas in 1983 as a single pawnshop. The chain grew through rapid acquisitions finally being listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1990. Starting in 1995, it started its growth in brick and mortar stores through acquisitions in Sweden and UK. In 1998, it created the Cash America franchise system. In 2003, it merged with Cashland with a combined volume of 5 billion dollars in loans. In 2004 it sold its European brick and mortar store assets and bought the last independent chain stores in United States, Super Cash. In 2006 it purchased Enova Financial (CashNetUSA) to create an internet-based division, before spinning it off in 2014.
In 2008, the 500th store was opened along with expansion in Mexico with a majority stakeholder status in the second largest pawnshop chain, Prenda Fácil, in Mexico. In 2010, it acquired Maxit Financial.
As of January 29, 2015, Cash America International, Inc. operated 943 total locations offering specialty financial services to consumers, which included 859 lending locations in 21 states in the United States primarily under the names “Cash America Pawn,” “SuperPawn,” “Cash America Payday Advance,” and “Cashland,” as well as 84 check-cashing centers (all of which are unconsolidated franchised check cashing centers) operating in 12 states in the United States under the name “Mr. Payroll."