I'm wondering how can you ask a store for splitting the price of a good in parts and then paying it in some fixed intervals? I'm looking for something that's casual and not too formal.

I searched online and found some words which I provide in the following. But I'm doubting they might be very country/case specific.

  1. financing
  2. time plan
  3. installment plan (may work, but sounds very formal)
  4. hire purchase

Could you please elaborate as a native speaker?

  • 1
    I think you should concentrate your research on "financing a purchase'
    – J. Taylor
    Feb 28, 2018 at 10:09
  • 2
    "Can I pay by installments?" Feb 28, 2018 at 11:04
  • 3
    If a shop offers a finance product it will, almost certainly, have a company-specific name for it. The most general way of asking the question is either "can I put this on finance?" or "can I spread the cost of this?"
    – BoldBen
    Feb 28, 2018 at 13:41
  • 1
    I'd consider it to be in exactly the required register. Feb 28, 2018 at 14:06
  • 1
    You can also say: to pay over time. online.americanexpress.com/myca/lending/enroll/us/…
    – Lambie
    Mar 30, 2018 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


Many popular department stores (e.g. Sears, Walmart, Kmart) offer Layaway services or plans for buying merchandise. Layaway programs were originally intended for people who wish to pay for their purchases in cash only, rather than on credit cards. I'm not sure if they still work strictly that way although this article from the Balance seems to suggest it:

Layaway is growing in popularity with stores and shoppers as a budget-friendly alternative to buying with credit cards. What was once an option for cash-only customers during the 1970s, layaway programs are getting a good dusting off with more current trends like confusing fees, cancellation charges, and shorter pickup dates. It is still a great option for shoppers who prefer to pay cash and want to break up the payments, but it is important to know how much it will really cost.


I am not sure about how it is termed in your country. Here in India such terms are referred as EMI (Equated Monthly Installment)
e.g., Is this product available in EMI?

  • Thanks for sharing. But I'm looking for a country agnostic answer :)
    – joker13
    Feb 28, 2018 at 10:22
  • Thanks, meanwhile I'm waiting to see the fitting response in this thread. :)
    – NinjaSword
    Mar 2, 2018 at 3:47
  • 1
    @joker13, the question involves the commercial practices and financial regulations that differ from country to country; one thus has to expect the answers to be country-specific.
    – jsw29
    Apr 2, 2018 at 17:45
  • @joker13 Or, at least, for the common term/phrase, to vary by country/region.
    – TripeHound
    Apr 30, 2018 at 11:13

For a UK perspective "credit" would be the word. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/credit


1 mass noun The ability of a customer to obtain goods or services 
  before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the

‘I've got unlimited credit’

Although to be honest stores are so keen to push credit onto you you never actually need to ask.

  • In dear old Blighty we referred to things being bought on the "never-never", an idiomatic alternative to the use of the words hire purchase or HP. With the introduction of credit cards in the 1970's, HP and the buying of products on the never-never have almost disappeared from the High Street. Jun 30, 2018 at 9:20
  • There is another reason hp, allowed you to return the goods and owe no more money at any time until the last payment, this was unpopular, people returning trashed goods and instantly owing you no more money wasn't popular with traders.
    – WendyG
    Jul 1, 2018 at 17:37
  • Under HP legislation in the UK you were allowed to cancel the agreement in what was a "cooling off" period within a week or two of signing the agreement. There was no other opportunity for customers to do as WendyG sates without breaching the HP agreement, unless the product had or developed a fault. Jul 26, 2018 at 4:19
  • You have to pay for half of the goods, then you can cancel. citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/changed-your-mind/… "f you’ve paid off less than half of the item, you legally only have to pay for half the cost of the item minus what you’ve already paid in instalments. If you’ve paid off half the item or more, you legally don’t have to pay any more."
    – WendyG
    Jul 26, 2018 at 8:42

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