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Customers Are Hoping Walmart Brings Back Layaway — What Happened?

Danielle Letenyei - Author
By

Oct. 7 2022, Published 3:28 p.m. ET

As the temperatures start to fall and the leaves on the trees change colors, American consumers begin to make a plan for their holiday shopping. Many people on social media outlets like Twitter are wondering whether big box retailer Walmart will be offering layaway again.

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So, does Walmart still offer their traditional layaway program? Keep reading to find out all of the details.

What happened to Walmart layaway? Is it still an option?

The answer is no. Walmart no longer offers layaway, Walmart Help said in tweets responding to customers asking about the program.

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“We are no longer offering layaway at our stores, except for select jewelry items at select stores. Affirm is an installment payment program that we offer for customers who want to buy now and pay later,” the company tweeted after being asked about the status of their holiday layaway program.

Walmart decided to ditch its layaway program in 2021.

Walmart made a bold move by getting rid of its layaway program just before the 2021 holiday season. Instead, it encouraged customers to use its buy now, pay later financing option offered through its partnership with the company Affirm.

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Affirm and other "buy now, pay later" companies, like Afterpay and Klarna, enable customers to purchase items immediately and then pay for them over a period of three to 24 months.

The benefit of this payment method is that you get the item immediately, without waiting until it’s paid off, like with layaway. The downside is that you may be charged interest on your purchases.

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Affirm charges interest on financing.

Affirm charges an interest rate of 10 percent to 30 percent, depending on a customer's credit history. However, it's currently offering 0 percent financing on select items, according to the Walmart website.

Say you purchase a TV for $150 using Affirm financing — your payments would be about $13.92 per month for 12 months with an APR of 20 percent. So, if you were to finance your purchase, you’d be paying about $17 more in interest for the TV.

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The bigger the purchase, the more you’ll pay in interest through Affirm. For example, a $250 purchase may cost you $23.19 per month over 12 months at a 20-percent interest rate. That means you’ll be paying $28 more to finance your purchase rather than pay for it outright.

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The BNPL market has boomed in the last few years.

The use of BNPL programs like Affirm has grown considerably within the last few years. According to a September report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the number of BNPL loans in the U.S. increased by 970 percent from 2019 to 2021.

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The COVID-19 pandemic helped fuel the growth of BNPL companies, with consumers shopping online while they were stuck at home. A 2022 survey by the website DebtHammer.org found that about 45 percent of consumers have signed up for at least one BNPL program.

The main reason survey participants said they signed up for the BNPL plan is that they couldn’t afford to pay for what they bought without the payment plan.

However, of those who’ve signed up for a BNPL plan, 22 percent regret the decision, the survey found.

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So, it is not surprising that Walmart customers are asking for the return of layaway.

"And you need good credit for Affirm kind of sucks since layaway was how most parents could afford Christmas," one person tweeted before another directly appealed to Walmart, writing, "I am currently asking y’all to please do holiday layaway program. Those on a smaller budget need the option to do a payment plan."

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