Amazon has announced its latest initiative to shoehorn more consumers onto its Prime subscription program: discounts for people on government assistance programs.
The internet giant normally charges $99 per year or $11 per month for access to its Prime benefits, which include video streaming, music streaming, photo storage, and free deliveries on goods. Moving forward, however, those with a valid electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card — a payment card that allows state departments to issue welfare benefits — will only have to pay $6 per month, or around 46 percent less than the current monthly cost.
Eligible customers are asked to enter their EBT number during the Prime sign-up process. It’s worth noting here that the EBT card is only used to confirm a person’s eligibility; the card cannot be used to pay for the Prime membership itself.
Though Amazon’s effort here can perhaps be viewed as altruistic, ultimately it’s about getting more peopled signed up to the company’s Prime plan for the long term, thus encouraging them to do all their shopping within the Amazon ecosystem.
“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 Amazon Prime VP Greg Greeley, in a press release.
Customers must re-validate their EBT card every 12 months, and Amazon states that they can only do this four times, after which they’ll have to pay the normal subscription fee. It’s also worth noting here that not all government assistance programs use the EBT system at present, though Amazon says it’s working on ways to include those people in the future.