Amazon's Prime Big Deals Day is hours away away, and you can find early sales now. If you're a frequent Amazon Prime shopper, you might've heard about Amazon Layaway, which is Amazon Prime's layaway program. If you're curious about Amazon Layaway and wondering if it's the right fit for you, we've got you covered.
Amazon Layaway could be useful if you're making a big purchase or you're waiting for payday to arrive before shelling out all at once for something you want to buy. This isn't the same as Amazon's Affirm payment plan, which lets you buy now and pay later -- we'll explain below.
Keep reading to find out more about how to use Amazon Layaway. And check out these Amazon Prime benefits, how to sign up for Amazon Prime and how to get ready for the deals.
Read more: Buy Now, Pay Later vs. Credit Cards: Which Is Right for You?
Taking advantage of Amazon's layaway program can be a great way to pay for an item over time. Prices for a product or service you are shopping for can vary widely from one retailer to the next. To make sure you really are getting the best deal as you browse products, you'll want to check prices. CNET's Chrome Shopping extension can help you do that by finding the best discounts and promo codes.
How to use Amazon Layaway
If an item you're looking at is eligible for layaway, you'll see a tag that says Reserve with Layaway -- you may also see this when you add it to your cart. If you don't see it, your item likely isn't eligible for layaway.
Once you add all eligible items to your cart, select Reserve with Layaway at checkout next to each item you'd like to place on layaway. If you're using Amazon Layaway you will not have to have your credit checked, so you won't need to worry about this program affecting your credit.
Currently, Amazon's layaway program isn't available for orders shipping to Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC or outside of the US.
How does Amazon Layaway work?
Amazon divides the total price of the product you're buying into five payments -- not including tax and shipping. You'll pay 20% upfront and make four additional 20% payments on the scheduled dates Amazon assigns. Your bill will come due every two weeks, for a total of eight weeks. Taxes and shipping costs will be included with your final payment, so it'll be a bit more than the other payments.
When you make the first payment, Amazon reserves your item until it's paid off. Once you pay it off, Amazon will ship the item to you. You won't be charged interest while making payments, as you're not financing your order.
What if I forget to make a payment?
If you forget to make one of your scheduled payments, Amazon will send you an email letting you know your payment attempt was unsuccessful. If you don't make the payment before the next scheduled date, Amazon will cancel your layaway plan and refund all the money you've paid so far.
You won't be charged any fees for overdue or canceled layaway plans. Also, if you have an overdue layaway plan, you won't be able to start a new layaway plan.
If you decide to pay the balance in full ahead of time, log in to your Amazon account and go to My Orders > Order Details > Manage Payment Plans, and then click on Pay early.
How is this different from Amazon's Affirm payment plan?
Using Amazon Layaway has no additional fees: Your only charges are for the product and any shipping costs and taxes. The Affirm payment plan lets you buy now and pay later, but you get your items immediately. This is because it finances your order, which means you'll have to go through a credit approval process first.
However, with Affirm, if you miss a payment, it could potentially harm your credit score since Affirm reports some payments, positive and negative, to the credit bureaus. Plus, it could come with interest, causing you to pay more in the long run -- Affirm payment options can range anywhere from six weeks to 60 months, and some may also be interest-free.
If you can wait eight weeks for the items you've ordered to be delivered, we recommend going with the layaway plan and avoiding buy now, pay later programs.
For more, here's what we know about Amazon's October Prime event. Also, here's how to make the most of your prime membership.