More national retailers offer 'buy now, pay later' programs to help with holiday shopping

Walmart Layaway
Posted at 6:26 AM, Nov 08, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — “We’re starting to see this explosion of things like digital layaway, buy now, pay later programs,” said Kristin McGrath, Editor for The Real Deal blog for RetailMeNot.

After seeing demand from people wanting more flexible payment options, many national retailers are now accepting "buy now, pay later" programs.

Experts say it’s something that has grown rapidly throughout the pandemic.

“Those can be a really great for shoppers who are maybe struggling a little bit but are confident they can pay something in installments,” said McGrath.

Some of the more popular alternative payment options you’ll notice at checkout online and even some in-person, include:

  • Afterpay
  • Klarna
  • Affirm
  • Sezzle

Some of the businesses that are offering these additional ways to pay include:

  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Target
  • Ulta
  • Sephora
  • Best Buy
  • Macy’s
  • Etsy
  • American Eagle
  • Abercrombie & Fitch

These buy now, pay later options are replacing traditional layaway programs. They allow people to purchase items, even if they don’t have all the cash.

Many of these companies will pay the entire cost of a purchase upfront, then you pay back the lender in installments. Many times it’s split up into four or more payments over a few weeks or months.

Experts stress people need to know what they’re getting themselves into before they start shopping.

“It can be a little bit dangerous for people during the holidays because when your list is so big and you’re snapping up all these items you could leave yourself in some trouble early in the next year,” said McGrath.

Experts say these buy now, pay later options can be a great way to help you purchase items you want if you’re on a budget.

Many of the programs offer interest-free loans and can help you avoid racking up credit card debt but be careful.

There are consequences if you don’t make your installment payments on time.”

“It’s really important to look at the terms of these programs. Some of them charge late fees. Some of them might charge interest. They all really have different terms and penalties if you can’t make those payments on time. So make sure you know the big picture and what you’re setting yourself up for come January and February when you’re making these payments on all the holiday gifts," said McGrath.