Starting Friday, Kmart will drop all layaway fees and allow shoppers to put any item on layaway at nearly all of their stores, parent company Sears Holdings told USA TODAY on Thursday.
The elimination of fees will be in effect until November 17, but the company may extend it to the entire year, Jai Holtz, Sears’ Holdings vice president of financial services, said Friday. Sears will have a similar program in October, but specific dates are being finalized.
Sears’ move follows Toys R Us’ announcement Monday that it would drop layaway fees. Walmart lowered its layaway fee to $5 from $15 on Wednesday.
What’s starting to sound like a layaway war is good news for consumers, says Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
“I love layaway,” Cunningham says. “It’s a terrific tool for anyone, but particularly someone who knows they need to be disciplined around the holidays.” Still, shoppers are spending money they haven’t earned yet, Cunningham says. “You can still dig that deep financial hole,” she says.
Cunningham recommends shoppers ask if they can get the sale price if a product is discounted while on layaway and what happens if they decide they don’t want or can’t afford to keep making payments.
At Kmart, consumers can get the sale price if a product is marked down within seven days of being placed on layaway…
Read more: USA Today