With the economy on the upswing national and local retailers alike are promoting layaway plans to help families buy something special for their loved ones without breaking the bank.

Identifying a safe and cost-effective layaway arrangement can be difficult.

First Fidelity Bank offers this tip for shoppers considering layaway this holiday season:

Know who you’re doing business with. Although national retailers are promoting layaway in a big way this year, local and regional retailers sometimes offer the service, too. Make sure that the company with which you enter a layaway contract is reputable.The Bureau of Consumer Protection makes available the federal guidelines governing layaway contracts in their online business center, accessible at www.business.ftc.gov/.