The new program is associated with Affirm, a loan company that offers installment loans for retail purchases. Officials are promoting this program as an “alternative to paragraph.”
Traditionally, Walmart has offered a long-standing layaway program that allows shoppers to make a deposit and withdraw the item after paying interest-free fees over time. With the new program, you can take home purchases first and then pay the amount over time.
Most purchases will incur an APR fee between 10% and 30%, depending on your credit rating and the item purchased. Some items are still eligible for a 0% APR, but it will usually be a promotional offer that will only affect certain items.
The list of items eligible under the new program was also updated. With every purchase, APR rates are set in advance, with no interest charges. The program has no annual or late fees.
Walmart representatives say the traditional layaway program has been losing popularity in recent years.
“We’ve learned a lot in the past year as our customers’ needs and shopping habits have changed,” says a Walmart representative. “This past holiday season, we removed the seasonal reserve from most of our stores, with the exception of select jewelry items in select stores, and based on what we learned, we are confident that our payment options provide the right solutions for our customers”.
Walmart has toyed with removing the layaway program before in 2006, citing declining usage. The retailer brought back the program for a limited time in 2011, then reinstalled the entire program in 2012.