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Layaway, also referred to as lay-by in Australia, New Zealandmarker, South Africa and Great Britainmarker, is a way to purchase an item without paying the entire cost at once. However, rather than taking the item home and then repaying the debt on a regular schedule, as in most installment plans or hire purchases, the layaway customer does not receive the item until it is completely paid for. There is sometimes a fee associated with a layaway purchase, since the seller must "lay" the item "away" in storage until the payments are completed. In the event the customer did not pay the amount due, the item would be returned to stock and any subsequent payments that were processed or are pending would be returned to the customer.

Layaway was once more common than it is now, since the ubiquity of credit cards has decreased its utility. Wal-Martmarker announced on September 14, 2006, that it would discontinue layaway service in all its stores by the end of the year, citing the decrease in demand and a rise in cost of implementation.

Layaway remains popular at Kmart stores, also has resurfaced in some Best Buy stores, and is also being promoted through marketing outlets.

Electronic layaway is layaway through the Internet. It allows consumers to purchase items through scheduled deductions from a checking account.

2008 revival of layaway

Due to an economic recession, declining consumer spending, and concerns over the availability of credit during the financial crisis of 2008, some retailers began to offer layaway during the holiday shopping period after having discontinued the service in prior years. It was presented as a more financially sensible alternative to buying on credit. Kmart has featured its layaway service in Christmas shopping ads, as has Sears. Furthermore, reports began appearing in the summer of 2009 that parents in the United States began putting school supplies on layaway in order to meet the scholastic needs of their children.On October 12, 2009, Apple announced that they will allow customers at their new store on the Upper West Side in New York City to purchase their products using layaway plans.


  1. Chattanooga Times Free Press | Digital Layaway
  2. - E-Layaways Add Convenience For Online Shoppers

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