The Return of Layaway: An Overview of Layaway Programs

Layaway Programs: Wal-Mart, Kohl's & Toys 'R Us

Wal-Mart
Walmart discontinued layaway a few years ago, citing increased credit card usage. They offer two different cards, one that’s a Discover credit card and one that is only a store card. The Discover card touts “up to 1% back” but it’s actually only 1% on any spending over $3,000 in a calendar year. Plus, the interest rate on both cards starts at 22.9% - not a great deal.

Kohl's
Kohl’s doesn’t currently offer layaway, but most of their stores do offer a three-day hold on items. This could come in handy if you’re shopping today and payday is tomorrow.

eLayaway
If you’re a seasoned online shopper, you can shop the whole mall on layaway at elayaway.com. You simply select “eLayaway” at checkout and set up a payment plan with the merchant, spreading the payments over a longer period of time (depending on the merchant - this can be up to a year). The payments are withdrawn from your checking account. The only fees are an upfront 1.9% processing fee, and a 1.9% cancellation fee. Keep in mind that the merchant doesn’t physically hold the item for you, so if it goes out of stock, they’ll refund your money. You also may have a larger down payment on purchases such as travel or custom items. Take a look at this list of participating stores.

Toys ‘R Us/Babies ‘R Us
You can place many items in both stores’ inventories on layaway, such as electronics, toy cars, and baby strollers. Layaway is limited mostly to larger items and is only offered in store. You have up to ninety days to pay in full. See here for a full list of items that can be put on layaway.

Down Payment:
A 20% down payment is required at the time of layaway, and a $10 service fee is also assessed.

Payoff Period:
You must pay off at least half of the purchase price within 45 days, and the full payment within 90 days. Some stores have a “holiday cutoff” by which time the full price must be paid. Check with your local store if the cutoff is in effect there.

Pickup:
You can pick up the item at your local store after making your final payment. The stores will not physically hold the items, so they might need to order a shipment of the item you purchased if they don’t have it in stock. This may take up to fourteen days, so don’t plan on coming in to pick it up right before Christmas.

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November 5, 2010
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