UNDATED - The Better Business Bureau is offering advice on layaway for the upcoming shopping season.

Layaway programs have seen a surge of popularity in the last couple years as a safe alternative to credit cards.

With a payment plan, usually stretching between 30 to 90 days, customers can make interest free payments until their items are paid off. Some stores are also offering online layaway services to help customers battling the current economic conditions.

The Better Business Bureau advises customers to do research before choosing layaway programs at businesses. They say it's important to ask for the entire policy in writing before agreeing to a payment plan.

This story was written by WJON News intern Steven Wright