The new program is in partnership with Affirm, a loan company that offers installment loans for retail purchases. Officials present this program as an “alternative to layaway”.
Traditionally, Walmart has a long-standing layaway program that allows shoppers to deposit and collect the item after paying interest-free installments over time. With the new program, you can shop at home first and then pay off the amount over time.
Most purchases will incur charges 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 usually be a promotional offer affecting certain items only.
The list of items eligible under the new program has also been updated. With each purchase, the APR charges are indicated in advance, without interest charges. The program has no late or annual fees.
Walmart officials say the traditional layaway program has waned in popularity in recent years.
“We have learned a lot over the past year as the needs and buying habits of our customers have changed,” said a Walmart representative. “This past holiday season, we removed seasonal layaways from most of our stores with the exception of certain jewelry items in certain stores, and based on what we have learned, we are confident that our payment options offer the right solutions for our customers. “
Walmart tinkered with removing the layaway program before in 2006, citing declining usage. The retailer brought the program back for a limited time in 2011, then reinstated the entire program in 2012.