Just in time for the holidays, stores are promoting layway plans. I summarized the policies at 10 major retailers, and shared tips for saving money using layaway. All layaway purchases must be paid for in full before you can take them home.
Sears – This store offers two layaway plans.
An eight-week plan is available online and in-store. With this plan, you’ll have to make four payment after the initial $20 or 20% down payment. There is a $5 service fee and a $15 cancellation fee. The 12-week in-store layaway option has a $10 service fee and $25 cancellation fee. You’ll have to make six bi-weekly payments after the initial $35 or 20% down payment, which ever is larger.
Kmart – Similar to Sear’s layaway plan. Kmart offers an eight-week plan online and in-store and a 12-week plan available in-store only for a total purchase of $300 or more. The fees for the eight-week and 12-week plans are the same as the Sear’s fees. The only difference is the down payment of the 12-week plan, which is $35 or 10% (you’ll pay the largest).
Walmart – Layaway starts Oct. 17 and is available on select toys and electronics. Layaway won’t be allowed on Black Friday. All layaway purchases must total at least $50 and each item must be $15 or more. There’s a nonrefundable $5 fee, plus another $10 if you cancel. You’ll have to make a 10% down payment. All items must be paid in full and picked up on or before Dec. 16.
Toys R Us – Offered in store only. A deposit of at least 20% of the total price plus all applicable taxes, a $10 service fee, and shipping charges (if applicable) are due upfront. Additional payments can be made at any time, but 50% of the total price must be paid within 45 days and the total price of your order must be paid within three months or 90 days. There is a $10 cancellation fee.
Babies R Us – Same as the Toys R US layaway plan. Both stores have a list of eligible items including bikes, baby gear, and more.
Burlington Coat Factory – The store has a 60 day layaway where you pay a $5 non-refundable service fee and a 20% deposit. The next payment of 20% is due within 14 days. There’s a $10 cancellation fee and refunds will be made in the form of a gift card.
TJ Maxx – The layaway plan allows customers to pay for purchases over a thirty day period. An initial deposit of 10% plus a non-refundable service fee is required. Jewelry and clearance merchandise may not be placed on layaway.
Marshalls – Pay 10% down and a $5 service fee. Merchandise must be paid off and picked up within 30 days. Not offered in all stores. Use the store locator on their website to locate a participating store near you (noted by a little hanger icon). Jewelry and clearance items do not qualify for layaway.
Big Lots – The layaway plan at Big Lots is not well-publicized, and it’s not even called layaway. They call it price hold. Many Big Lots locations offer a price hold on furniture only. You’ll have to put 10 percent down so they can hold it for 90 days. Service fee varies.
99 cents only stores – This store just announced it’s layaway plan is back. Service and cancellation fees vary by location.
Does it really pay to layaway?
Before putting any merchandise on layaway, make sure you know what fees you are responsible for and be realistic about what you can afford. Keep in mind that you are being charged a service fee for the convenience of setting an item aside so you will end up paying more for the item. Also, if the item goes on sale some stores may lock you in at the original price. It would be less expensive to use a credit card and pay it off entirely when your bill arrives.