Attention Walmart holiday shoppers: it’s safe to say that Walmart Layaway is now a thing of the past. For the second holiday season in a row, the Walmart Layaway website is nearly nonexistent. But not to worry, we’ve found options — including the layaway-like program Affirm that you can use with Walmart purchases. Affirm is a type of buy now, pay later service that’s also partnered up with Amazon, Target, and even Peloton.
Shoppers have been using layaway programs since the Great Depression to reserve in-store items by making an initial down payment. Once you made the initial payment, stores would “lay it away” until you could pay the remaining balance. Layaway programs are beginning to go by the wayside, but you’ll still find some stores with layaway in 2022.
Here’s what to know about the hard-to-pin-down Walmart Layaway program and what they push you toward instead.
1. Walmart Layaway is pretty much gone from Walmart.com.
There hasn’t been an official announcement yet from Walmart about their move away from layaway, but the page on Walmart’s website now focuses on their partnership with Affirm.
They’re calling the buy now, pay later program “an alternative to layaway.”
Tiny fine print hidden at the bottom of the page does mention that Walmart Layaway is available during the holiday season at certain stores — for in-store purchases only. But when I called around to a couple of Walmart stores, the employees said it was no longer a thing. Even the chatbot on Walmart’s Facebook page couldn’t tell me a location that actually had in-store layaway.
2. Walmart layaway with Affirm is your only option now.
Instead of holding your purchases until you can pay for them (like Walmart Layaway did), Walmart has shifted to a buy now, pay later setup with Affirm. So what is Affirm, you ask? It’s a payment option that’ll pop up at checkout for hundreds of online retailers, including Walmart.
Affirm performs a credit check and charges interest. For example, if you choose to use Affirm for your Walmart purchase, you’ll have the option of repayment plans of three, six, and 12 months.
3. Layaway used to be free, but Affirm will cost you. Dearly.
This one’s a bummer. Affirm charges interest when you spread your payments out over three to 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. That’s an extra $17 you could be spending on something else.
Related: Skip Walmart Layaway’s Afffirm and shop these Walmart clearance secrets.
4. You can use Walmart Affirm in stores.
If you’re shopping in your local Walmart, you can still use 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.
5. 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 services.
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.
6. 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!