The new program is partnered with Affirm, a lending company that provides installment loans for retail purchases. Officials are touting this program as an “alternative to layaway.”
Traditionally, Walmart has offered a long-standing layaway program that allows shoppers to place a deposit and pick up the item after paying interest-free installments over time. With the new program, you can take home purchases first, then pay off the amount over time.
Most purchases will incur a charge with an APR rate between 10% and 30% depending on your credit rating and the item purchased. Some items are still eligible for a 0% APR rate, but this will typically be a promotional offer affecting certain items only.
The list of eligible items under the new program has been updated as well. With each purchase, the APR fees are stated upfront, with no interest charges. The program does not have any late or annual fees.
Walmart representatives say the traditional layaway program has been waning in popularity over the past few years.
“We’ve learned a lot in the past year as our customers’ needs and shopping habits have changed,” says a Walmart representative. “Last holiday season, we removed seasonal layaway from most of our stores with the exception of select jewelry items at select stores, and based on what we learned, we are confident that our payment options provide the right solutions for our customers.”
Walmart has tinkered with removing the layaway program before in 2006, citing declining use. The retailer brought the program back for a limited time in 2011, then reinstated the entire program in 2012.