Using layaway for holiday gifts? What you need to know

There are a lot of big-ticket gifts appearing on holiday wish lists, but what happens if you don’t have the cold hard cash to plunk down on the must-have items this year?

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Instead of using a credit card and racking up more debt and interest rates, some shoppers are looking to store layaway programs, NBC News reported. One big change in 2021: Walmart is no longer offering a traditional layaway program. Instead, the chain has partnered with Affirm. Instead of the store holding the items, the purchaser gets them immediately and they have 3 to 24 months to pay the bill. The timeframe allowed to pay for purchases depends on the amount spent, according to Walmart’s website.

Younger shoppers are going high-tech for their layaway programs, using apps like Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay and Quadpay, all of which have seen an increase of sales due to the economic crisis. The apps aren’t traditional layaway that the parents and grandparents of millennials and Gen Z used. Instead, they’re considered loans that are automatically debited from an account. Retailers pay a fee on every sale.

When should you decide to use layaway instead of a credit card or cash?

U.S. News and World Report gives these tips:

  • You’re worried the item won’t be available when you have the money.
  • You are not able to trust yourself to save.

Keep in mind, a traditional layaway program may have fees attached; not interest per se, but restocking, cancellation and service fees, according to U.S. News and World Report.

If you’re looking for layaway, Retail Me Not has compiled a list of stores that currently offer a layaway program.

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