More stores bringing back layaway payment plans for holiday shopping season

Stores are starting to stock up on the newest, hottest toys like "Rockin' Elmo" but many are also bringing back an old way to pay. Layaway is making a comeback at several major chains. Layaway allows customers to pick out the merchandise they want and have the store hold it while the customer makes regular payments. Once the items are fully paid for, the customer gets the items.

Wal-Mart, T.J. Maxx and Best Buy now have layaway plans and Kmart has increased their layaway marketing.

Holiday shopping bills were a burden on Adam Kent in the past and he says he now uses layaway. Kent says the five dollar layaway fee is less than the interest he would have to pay on his credit card.

"The interest on my particular credit card is outrageous. I mean if I buy $200 worth of something, I'm going to wind up paying $400 for it," said Kent while he shopped at Kmart in Dewitt on Tuesday night. "So I'd rather do it this way and pay over time like I would on a credit card but without the interest."

While layaway can be a better option than credit cards, you need to be sure you make your payments on time or you could be stuck with a cancellation fee. Kmart store manager Scott Hendry says says more shoppers have been turning to layaway in tough economic times.

"We offer 8 week or 12 week layaway. layaway online, make payments online, come to the store and pick up your merchandise," said Hendry.

Layaway has another benefit for some shoppers. The store holds the items until they are fully paid off so customers like Krystal Hamilton don't have to worry about hiding holiday presents.

Krystal Hamilton picked up some of her Christmas shopping at Kmart on Tuesday night. Hamilton said layaway not only saved her money but also helped her avoid the rush.

"I've started a month and a half ago and I'm almost done Christmas shopping now," said Hamilton.

Experts say layaway can help but customers need to understand a store's policies before signing on.