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Fewer stores to offer layaway this holiday season

Layaway programs were once a popular way to pay for the most expensive items under the tree.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fewer stores are offering layaway this holiday season. 

Let's connect the dots.  

Layaway programs were once a popular way to pay for the most expensive items under the tree.  You could pay a little bit each week and then take the item home once the balance was paid in full. 

But now big stores like Walmart, Target and Macy's are phasing out their layaway programs. Instead, they are offering "Buy Now Pay Later" plans. And those have one key difference. 

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With "Buy Now Pay Later," you still make a small deposit, but the store allows you to take the item home immediately before you've paid the full balance.  

Sounds nice right? Well-retail experts warn that there are some pitfalls to be aware of. "Buy Now Pay Later" plans are technically "point of sale loans," which means they can affect your credit score in ways that layaway plans can't.  

There's also a very serious chance you'll overspend. A survey found nearly 60% of people who used these programs regretted it last year because the item was too expensive for them after all. 

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