Do you remember layaways? I sure do. When I was a child, during the holiday season, my mom would take my brother and me down to the local Sears store on Friday evenings and make her layaway payment. My brother and I really had no idea that she was pre-paying—sort of on an installment plan—the bounty we would find under our tree on Christmas morning!
But that’s how layaways worked. You made an initial down payment on your items, then paid them off in installments, with (hopefully) full payment made before Santa came down the chimney!
One of the precursors to layaways was the Singer Sewing Machines’ “dollar down, dollar a week,” concept, created back in the 19th century. But layaways really hit their stride during the Great Depression of the 1930s—a time when jobs were scarce, and many families were having tough times financially. From the 1930s until the 1970s, layaway programs were plentiful. Almost all department stores had them, but with the availability of mass-market credit cards in the 1980s, most layaway plans were scrapped.
Read the feature article in this month’s magazine now to learn all about the latest trend in paying for your items, “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL).
Isn’t that what we’ve been doing with credit cards for more than 40 years? The answer is, sure, but this strategy comes with some twists, and it’s so popular that not only are the old stalwart retailers like Walmart joining in, but so are the credit card companies!
It all started around 2014, with Affirm, who began initially working with popular direct-to-consumer brands like Casper and Burrow. But “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) really took off in 2017 when Walmart jumped on the bandwagon.
While Walmart, a purveyor of layaways for years and the world’s largest retailer, no longer offers a layaway program, it has eagerly replaced it with the BNPL strategy. You may remember that Walmart was one of the first retailers to adopt radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for tracking its inventory—back in 2003. And although Walmart is a $520 billion in worldwide sales behemoth, the company continues to stay on target with leading technology and is rapidly adopting this new better-than-updated version of layaway.
You can think of BNPL as a combination of layaway and an installment loan. But unlike layaway, where you can’t take your merchandise home until it’s fully paid for, with BNPL, you get your items right away—instant gratification!
It’s a point-of-sale concept, wherein the customer—at the register—gets several options for paying: cash, credit card, store card, or BNPL. The BPNL service allows you to buy it now and pay it back over a certain number of installments. Three, four, and six seem to be the most popular options right now.
The concept is growing like mad for a lot of reasons as detailed below:
- Avoiding Credit Card Interest
- Making Purchases That Might Not Fit Into Your Budget
- To Borrow Money Without a Credit Check
- You don’t like Using Credit Cards
When you read this article in the December 2021 issue of our Magazine, you’ll learn all about how BNPL works—for you and for the merchants—plus, you’ll get details about the disadvantages:
- Potential for Fraud
- The Risk of Economic Downturns
- Long-Term Questions of Financial Sustainability
- The Possibility of Rising Fees
- An Easy Way to Let Your Debt Get Out of Hand
- BNPL Plans Don’t Help You Build Your Credit
- Beware the Fees!
- The Likelihood of Future Regulations
Read this article now to learn about BNPL—and whether this payment method is right for you—and get everything else in this issue of our magazine, too, including:
- Buy Now, Pay Later: New apps and credit card trends are transforming shopping—learn all about the latest trends in paying for your shopping items.
- Should You Have Both Gold and Bitcoin in Your Portfolio?: Whether Bitcoin or gold are better stores of value is up for debate, but history shows it largely depends on sentiment. Get the details now.
- Should You Care What Type of Inflation (or Stagflation) This Is?: Inflation, hyperinflation, or stagflation, what are they and what do they mean for your portfolio? Find out now in this article!
- 3 Overlooked Big Banks with Value: With so few global financial institutions to invest in, you may be surprised to learn you can still find a handful flying under the radar and trading at a discount. Check out these three bank stocks now!
- Why Silver May Be the Best Way to Counteract Inflation: With inflation fears rising, now’s a good time to consider how to lessen the impact on your portfolio—learn why silver might be the answer for you!
- 3 Reasons You Should Never Trade the News: The infrastructure bill may seem good for certain sectors, but it’s unlikely to make much difference for investors—find out why when you read this article.
- 3 Utility Plays for Growth and Yield: Bonds were once an important core holding of any portfolio, but in today’s interest-rate environment you should look for income elsewhere. Check out these three investing opportunities now.
- Little-Known Shortcuts for Finding Winning Stocks: It may sound unconventional, but there are little-known tricks you can use to gain a better understanding of companies you invest in. Warren Buffett used them and they completely changed his investing mindset—now you can learn about these shortcuts when you read this article.
- A Cheap, High-Growth Play on the Energy Recovery: After last month’s rally in energy, you may be worried you missed the boat. Fortunately, there’s still an inexpensive, high-growth play that pays a huge dividend yield. Learn all about it now!
- The 4 Characteristics to Look for in Turnaround Stocks: Finding turnaround stocks is one of the best ways to succeed in value investing, and these are the four criteria our chief turnaround analyst Bruce Kaser values most.
- Should You Invest in Facebook Now That It’s Gone Meta?: More than just a name change, the shift to Meta means Facebook is going all-in on blockchain tech. But is it good for investors? Get the answer when you read this article now!
This latest issue of our Magazine is ready for you to access now, to discover all about the latest trend for paying for your shopping items … and much more. Read it now!