Walmart ‘Killing Christmas’ by changing layaway for BNPL: Shoppers
- Walmart abandoned its layaway program ahead of the 2021 holiday season.
- Buyers should now use its “buy now, pay later” service operated by Affirm, he said.
- Some customers are pissed off and say they might end up paying extra for their holiday shopping.
Some Walmart shoppers are outraged by the retail giant’s decision to abandon its layaway program before the 2021 holiday period and replace it with a “buy now, pay later” service.
Previously, buyers could use the layaway to pay for gifts over time without incurring additional charges. They would post a small deposit to keep an item and take it home after they had paid in full.
Walmart said shoppers should now use its Buy It Now service, which it offers as part of a partnership with Affirm that dates back to 2019, as an alternative.
With Affirm, there are no hidden or late fees, but some customers may end up paying 10% or more interest on their purchases over the course of a year, depending on their credit rating, according to Walmart. Others may not be eligible due to lack of approved credit or simply because their bank is not connected to Affirm.
“Kudos for killing Christmas for MANY families who were dependent on the Christmas layaway and do not qualify for Affirm,” a Twitter user wrote this week.
“Just read that Walmart has ended its layaway program, replacing it with Affirm. It sucks and it’s going to ruin a lot of families’ vacations,” said another. noted.
Users made dozens of similar comments on Twitter.
The insider contacted Walmart for comment, but did not receive a response immediately.
Earlier in the week, a spokesperson told Insider, “We believe our payment options provide the right solutions for our customers.
“We have learned a lot over the past year as the needs and buying habits of our customers have changed,” they said.
The benefits of disposal are clear for Walmart, Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said in an email to Insider.
“This means that Walmart sells the goods immediately, does not have to store them, and transfers some of the financial risk to Affirm,” he said.
But the change is more mixed for buyers, he said.
“Some will like being able to get products immediately with Affirm, it gives them more flexibility and means they can shop later in the season as they don’t need to make regular payments up front,” did he declare.
“However, others might not qualify for Affirm and some might have to pay interest on the advance, which ultimately means the vacation will cost them more,” he said.
Critics say Buy It Now services can put buyers at greater financial risk. Customers only pay for products after they receive them, so it can be tempting to spend more than you have and get into debt, leaving buyers with a financial headache, Saunders said.