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Seasonal layaway will not be offered at Walmart as retailer shifts to buy now/pay later program

Get ready for a big change as you start thinking about holiday shopping. The move could be costly for some people.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — For decades, many families counted on layaway as one of the tools to help get those expensive presents under the tree. And just weeks before the holiday shopping season begins, Walmart is one retailer where you won't be able to count on that service this year. 

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The retail giant announced that shoppers will be able to 'buy now and pay later' using Affirm. That means your can pay over time for electronics, video games, toys, and apparel purchases in store and online. But it'll cost you.

Shoppers will be able to spread out payments from a time period of three to 24 months.

Walmart confirmed to ABC 24 News that the change is not a replacement for layaway.

ABC 24 talked with the Queen of Free, Cherie Lowe, about the change. 

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She said this is not welcomed news for shoppers hoping to keep holiday shopping costs low and affordable. 

"You might be enticed to use the Affirm option, which separates things into payments, but realize that will also cost you interest," said Lowe. 

Lowe said this is not a free program like the company's previous layaway program. 

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In a statement, Walmart said, in part, "we've learned a lot in the past year as our customers’ needs and shopping habits have changed.  Last holiday season, we removed seasonal layaway from most of our stores with the exception of select jewelry items at select stores, and based on what we learned, we are confident that our payment options provide the right solutions for our customers." 

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The interest rate to use Affirm is between 10 and 30 percent, which could be pricey for people who have poor credit.

There are some retailers that still offer layaway. The Queen of Free said the service is available at Burlington Coat Factory and Sears and Kmart stores.