Attention, Walmart holiday shoppers: Walmart Layaway is — most likely — a thing of the past.
Since the Great Depression, shoppers have used layaway to reserve in-store items by putting a down payment on them. The store would “lay it away” for later, when they’d pay the remaining balance.
While it looks like Walmart has ended this program, they do, however, have an alternative plan for anyone who needs some extra time to pay for holiday gifts and toys. Here’s what you need to know:
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1. Walmart quietly removed all of the layaway links from their website.
There hasn’t been an official announcement from Walmart regarding their move away from layaway, but all of the links that used to point to Walmart’s layaway page now point to their buy now, pay later page. (Check out the above video.)
And on that page, they’re calling buy now, pay later “an alternative to layaway.”
2. Instead, they’re doubling down on buy now, pay later service Affirm.
Instead of holding your purchases until you can pay for them, Walmart has shifted to buy now, pay later via Affirm.
Once shoppers sign up for Affirm, they can either use it as a payment method at Walmart.com or scan a barcode at checkout in store at Walmart.
That means you get to take home your purchases (or have them shipped) right away, before you start making payments.
3. Layaway used to be free, but Affirm will cost you. Dearly.
Yeah, this one’s a bummer. Affirm charges interest when you spread your payments out 3-24 months.
Affirm may offer special financing as low as 0% APR on select Walmart.com products, but they’ll charge you interest on most items — 10-30% APR, depending on your credit.
For example, at a 20% interest rate, your $150 purchase divided into 12 monthly payments of $13.92 would end up costing you $167.04.
4. Only use Affirm if you need a long time to pay off your Walmart purchases.
The good news is Walmart and Affirm haven’t totally ruined Christmas. To a casual observer, it may look like using Affirm is the only way to buy now, pay later at Walmart. But that’s just not the case.
There are LOTS of buy now, pay later services out there, although none of them offer the long payback period that Affirm does.
Most of these services split balances into four payments, with 25% up front, and then another 25% every two weeks. Best of all, they don’t charge you any fees to use their service.
Walmart doesn’t accept all of the best buy now, pay later services out there — but some, like PayPal, Klarna, and Zip Pay, offer a “ghost card” that can be used everywhere Visa is accepted. Yep, that includes Walmart.
5. Split your Walmart purchase into four payments with a ghost card from Klarna.
As the simplest solution I found, you can use a “ghost card” from Klarna to pay for your holiday stuff in four payments over six weeks. You pay 25% of the total due at checkout and then make a payment of 25% every two weeks after.
The good news: Klarna won’t hurt your credit, and doesn’t charge interest or any fees whatsoever.
The semi-bad news: You can only use Klarna at Walmart.com, not in the physical store.
To use Klarna, first, download the mobile app or Chrome browser extension and create an account, which includes adding a debit or credit card that will be used for your four payments. The app will automatically give you an estimated spending amount, up to a max of $1,000, based on a soft credit check (which doesn’t affect your credit). Each ghost card you create will take away from your available spending amount.
TIP: Join Klarna’s loyalty program, Vibe, and earn rewards when you shop using Klarna. Thanks to KCL reader, Louise, for this tip.
So far, that’s the best way I’ve found to beat Walmart (
Scrooge) and bring back the cheer to holiday shopping! Let me know if any of you come up with another solution and I’ll keep digging!