holiday shopping

Buy Holiday Gifts Now, Pay Later

NBC 7 Responds looked at a trend of people spreading out payments for holiday gifts

NBC Universal, Inc.

Holiday shoppers are already scanning the internet looking for deals and those hard-to-find gifts, but when they do find the perfect gift, paying for it can be another hassle.

"You definitely don't have to feel bad about utilizing credit during the holidays," said Matt Schulz with Lending Tree. "It can be a really useful thing. It's all about how you use it."

While credit cards have long been the go-to for big ticket purchases, "buy now, pay later" plans are becoming more popular. Schulz said they're usually offered during online checkout and let you make regular payments for a set period of time.

"If you're somebody who is pretty new to credit or is just rebuilding their credit, these can be good tools," Schulz said. "Often, they don't require a hard credit check, so they're a little easier to get."

Unlike a credit card, though, you have to pay the loan off in full. Schulz said there's no way to carry over the debt.

"They can be a good deal and a really inexpensive way to get some short-term financing for a purchase," Schulz said. "You just need to understand what you're getting into."

Another way stores will make it easier to afford purchases is by offering a store credit card. However, Schulz said, you should know the details. Sometimes the interest rates can be above 20% and the benefits only apply if you're a regular shopper.

"The most important thing is, just understand what you're getting into," said Schulz. "A credit card simplifies things a little bit because you do have that line of credit that's just yours as long as the card is open."

Schulz said the important thing is to keep track of your spending and how much you owe.

"It's when we use it carelessly or thoughtlessly and end up spending ourselves into debt that goes into the New Year that things get a little dicey," Schulz said.

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