Like nearly every store, Walmart has undergone major changes over the past few years. The big-box retailer has recently phased out hundreds of McDonald's restaurants, and removed its large, orange pickup towers, as more customers are choosing curbside services. But these are just some of the ways Walmart is evolving over time, and its newest change may not be something all customers will be happy about. Read on to find out more about Walmart's latest removal, which has already gone into effect.
Walmart is getting rid of its normal layaway service this year.
Over the years, Walmart has come to the aide of holiday shoppers by offering a layaway program from August to December that allowed customers to put items on hold with a small deposit until they could pay it off completely by making regular payments over time. But as some shoppers may have already realized, the retailer's normal layaway option is not available this year. A customer service representative for Walmart confirmed to NBC-affiliate WRAL that no stores in the U.S. will be offering the service this year. The retailer's layaway section of its website no longer advertises the normal layaway either.
Best Life reached out to Walmart to confirm that its original layaway program is not being offered this year, but has not yet heard back.
But the retailer is offering a "layaway alternative."
Customers are not going without any options. Walmart is advertising an "alternative to layaway" called Affirm, which is a financing company that offers a "buy now, pay later" service to customers. You will pay over time in a paced amount of your choosing. According to Walmart, your cart total will determine what your payment options are. For carts totaling between $144 to $799.99, you may be able to finance the purchase over three, six, or 12 months, while carts between $800 to $2,000 are available for financing over 12, 18, or 24 months.
"During checkout at Walmart.com, you can choose Affirm as a payment method and apply for a loan to pay for your items. For in-store purchases, apply at affirm.com/walmart, pick your desired payment plan, scan your single use barcode at the register, and make payments online with Affirm," Walmart explains in its FAQ.
RELATED: For more retail news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
There are some clear differences between Affirm and Walmart's previous layaway service.
With Affirm, you might receive your purchase immediately but it is still a financing service, unlike Walmart's normal layaway program. That means there is a finance charge with Affirm, which may be an annual percentage rate (APR) of anywhere between 10 to 30 percent, based on credit. According to Walmart, this means you could pay $13.92 every month for 12 months for a $150 purchase, which is a 20 percent APR that makes your actual total around $167. "If you decide to buy with Affirm, this may affect your credit score," Walmart adds.
And only certain Walmart products are eligible for Affirm financing.
In order to qualify for Affirm, your purchase must total between $144 to $2,000, including tax. And only some product categories are eligible for financing. This includes certain products in electronics, home, auto, sports, toys, baby, apparel, and jewelry sections. On the other hands, pharmacy, groceries, alcohol, tobacco, baby consumables, pet supplies, wireless services plans, gasoline, and weapons are "ineligible for financing," according to Walmart.
"These Walmart.com categories are non-comprehensive and subject to change without notice. To purchase any finance-ineligible items, you'll need to provide an alternative form of payment," the retailer notes.