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Online Retail Offers a New Way to Pay

Online customers jump at the chance to pay for purchases incrementally.

eLayaway.com is delivering the retail pay-as-you-go concept to online shoppers. "A lot of people are maxed out on their credit cards, others want to plan their purchases and some have no credit at all," says Sergio Pinon, 41, who, together with Matt Ryncarz, 25, launched eLayaway in August 2006.

For a flat 1.9 percent fee, eLayaway lets online customers make incremental payments until their purchases are paid off. The idea sprang from Ryncarz's former venture, which facilitated vacation planning through payroll deductions. Pinon saw the potential for a broader market in online sales, and eLayaway was born. "We had a fire under us because we wanted to be the first to get it to the market," Pinon says. Their premier position has paid off: The company is the layaway option at more than 30,000 online merchants. Tallahassee, Florida-based eLayaway reports 400 percent growth since January.

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This article was originally published in the August 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Pay It Forward .

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