The world's largest online retailer is giving low income individuals and families a reason to skip the lines at Walmart and shop on the web instead. We're of course talking about Amazon, which today announced that customers participating in one of several government assistance programs can sign up for its Prime membership at almost half price.
Customers with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card are eligible to subscribe to Amazon Prime for $5.99 per month for one year. That is a 45 percent savings over the regular membership price of $10.99 per month, and members can can cancel anytime. It also works out to be less expensive than the regular annual fee of $99, which breaks down to $8.25 per month when paying for 12 months in one lump sum.
"We know when people try Prime they love it, because they save time and money with low prices on millions of items, unlimited access to premium videos and music, and fast, convenient delivery," said Greg Greeley, Vice President of Amazon Prime. "We designed this membership option for customers receiving government assistance to make our everyday selection and savings more accessible, including the many conveniences and entertainment benefits of Prime."
The latest promotion comes a little over a year after Amazon rolled out a monthly payment option for Prime. Previously it was only available in annual installments. By slashing the price for low income shoppers, Amazon is taking another step towards broadening the appeal of Prime and its many benefits to a wider audience.
This is also the latest move in an ongoing chess match between Amazon and Walmart to attract the most customers possible. Just last year, Walmart acquired Jet.com, an online shopping website with oftentimes tantalizing prices that was founded by former Amazon employee Marc Lore.
The requirement of an EBT card opens up the Prime discount to customers participating in one of several government assistance programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).
Amazon is not gimping its discounted Prime membership, either. All of the same benefits apply, including free two-day shipping on millions of eligible items, access to tens of thousands of videos and TV shows for streaming, and many other perks.