Amazon has announced that it is now offering Amazon Prime at a discounted monthly price for shoppers in the US that are on government assistance – a segment that represents nearly 20 per cent of the US population.
Customers with valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards can benefit from the discounted membership – though the EBT cards cannot be used to pay for membership. The membership includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and unlimited free shipping for $5.99 per month for one year.
Amazon says that it intends to add other ways to qualify, in the future, for the discounted membership for customers that participate in other government assistance programs
“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,” said Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime.
The move is likely designed to increase competition to rival retailer Walmart, which sees a large amount of custom from those on government aid programmes. According to investment research firm Morningstar, Walmart generated $13bn in sales from shoppers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – accounting for around 18 per cent of all the money spent on the program.