Layaway Plans Popular Again During 2015 Holiday Shopping Season

November 19, 2015, Written By Natalie Rutledge

To attract holiday shoppers and encourage spending, retailers are promoting layaway plans with lower service fees and longer layaway periods. Many stores are even shipping layaway items.

Layaway programs allow shoppers to reserve items and make interest-free payments toward the purchase. Shoppers receive their products once the balance has been paid.

For consumers, layaway can help cover Christmas costs without accumulating debt on credit cards and paying high interest payments. However, shoppers still need to be wary. Layaway is not “free,” and consumers need to make sure they can make all of the payments before the deadline. If a person can pay in cash, they should.

Before deciding whether or not to use a layaway plan, make sure you know all of the terms and conditions, including the payment due dates and the last day to pay off the purchase. Ask questions, such as what happens if you miss a payment or no longer want an item. Also, be familiar with the refund and exchange policies.

Here are a few stores offering layaway programs this holiday season.

Toys R Us/Babies R Us
These stores offer a layaway program year-round and payments can be made in-store or online. All products are eligible, except for special orders, food, formula and clothing. The terms are:

  • Service fee: $5, but waived if you deposit 10% of the total cost of your purchase.
  • Cancellation fee: $10
  • Shipping: After the final payment is made, orders will ship (for free, if you spend over $49) to you, or you can pick up the products in-store.

Only certain products are eligible for layaway. The terms are:

  • For in-store purchases only. Purchases must be paid-off and picked-up at the store location where the original deposit was made.
  • Service fee: None
  • Down payment: $25
  • Payment: Customers can use trades toward the purchase of new goods. Shoppers do not need to make scheduled payments.

Products must be picked-up in-store. The program is only available in certain stores and cannot be used for items like flammable products, magazines, prescriptions, cigarettes, photos or food. If you miss a payment, the merchandise will be returned to stock after seven days.

  • For an 8-week contract:
    • Service fee: $5
    • Down payment: $10
    • Cancellation fee: $10
    • Payments: Every two weeks
  • For a 12-week contract (in-store only, with a total purchase of $300 or more):
    • Service fee: $10
    • Down payment: $10
    • Cancellation fee: $20
    • Payments: Every two weeks

Layaway is available in-store and online, and payments can be made either way. Purchases can be picked up or delivered. Contracts cancel automatically within seven days of missing a payment.

  • For an 8-week contract:
    • Service fee: $5
    • Down payment: Free in-store, one cent online
    • Cancellation fee: $15
    • Payments: Every two weeks
  • For a 12-week contract (only possible in-store, with purchases over $400):
    • Service fee: $10
    • Down payment: Free
    • Cancellation fee: $25
    • Payments: Every two weeks

Layaway runs through December 14, and all goods must be picked-up by December 15 at the store where the purchase was initiated. Layaway is available for electronics, toys, select sporting goods, small appliances and jewelry. Wireless phones that require contracts are excluded.

  • Down payment: $10 or 10%, whichever is greater
  • Cancellation fee: $10

The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 19, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Natalie Rutledge

Natalie Rutledge majored in Communications at Mississippi State University. She was in sales for a number of businesses and spent nine years working as a communications advisor to various entities. Natalie can be contacted directly at [email protected]
View all posts by Natalie Rutledge