How Does Layaway Work at Walmart?

layaway-work-walmart Credit: robert terrell/CC-BY-2.0

Walmart layaway lets customers reserve purchases with a total value of $50 or more by making a down payment and agreeing to periodic installments. The service is only available for the holiday season lasting from mid-September to mid-December. In 2013, Walmart terminated the opening fee applied to purchase balances, making layaway service free. Customers must pick up the reserved items and finish payment by the December end date.

Layaway is only available for in-store purchases, and select stores offer year-round service for customers buying jewelry. Each item must be at least $10, with a minimum total basket amount of $50. Qualifying purchases are typically limited to jewelry, electronics, toys, small appliances, large furniture, infant furniture and toys, auto electronics, and select sporting goods. Wireless contract-based phones are excluded. The initial down payment must equal 10 percent of the balance or $10, whichever amount is greater.

Customers open a layaway account at Walmart service desks, but installment payments can be completed at normal registers. If customers decide to cancel layaway purchases, they are charged a $10 fee and reimbursed for any previous payments. In some cases, items must be stored off-site, and customers are given a longer grace period for pickup. Walmart's standard policies on returns and ad matching also apply to layaway purchases, allowing customers to pursue refunds, exchanges or price reductions.