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The holidays are right around the corner and this year is in need of some serious holiday cheer to make up for what we have dealt with since March. All of us definitely deserve a treat yourself moment as well as a little splurge for our loved ones. However, the pandemic has made it hard for those who have lost their jobs as well as those whose hours have been cut.

About 11 million people are currently unemployed due to COVID-19. The unemployment rate for Hispanic workers is about 19 percent and has stayed at that rate since April 2020, according to the Congressional Research Service.

To make things worse, about a third of millennials have been denied when applying for any financial products this year such as car loans, mortgages and especially credit cards. Credit card application denial is common across all generations, but millennials were the generation most denied in 2020, according to a Bankrate survey conducted by YouGov.

The economic recession has paved a way for companies to create solutions to ease financial burden for shoppers during the pandemic and especially around the holidays—and millennials have taken notice.

Layaway apps like Affirm, Afterpay and Klarna offer consumers a payment plan for their purchases without a credit card application. They offer consumers a payment plan for their total in three to four installments by initially paying with a bank account like a debit card. Some companies, like Afterpay and Klarna, charge a late fee and others, like Affirm, charge an interest rate.

The popularity for these payment plans has skyrocketed during the holiday season. Afterpay saw a 186 percent increase in sales while Klarna processed five times more transactions during Black Friday since it started operating four years ago, according to an NBC News article.

Lenders have heightened their standards for credit card applications in the last three months making it harder for people to have an extra financial crutch during the holidays.

This year has felt grim and endless and we’re all looking forward to a (socially distanced) break from it all with some yuletide joy. What’s a better way to end the year in true American fashion than with good old consumerism?

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