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Amazon Prime to Offer Discounts to Customers on Government Assistance

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Amazon Prime is making it easier for customers on a government assistance program to get a complete service membership for $6 a month, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN ) announced yesterday.

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Customers who have a valid electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card qualify for the discounted membership. Membership includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and unlimited fast, free shipping for $5.99 per month for one year, with the ability to cancel at anytime. The subscription normally costs $99 a year or $10.99 per month, for those who don't pay upfront for the year.

A 30-day free trial is available. There is no annual commitment and members can cancel anytime, according to the company announcement.

Many states and other government assistance providers supply benefits recipients with an EBT card for programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and, Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).

Under the program, the EBT cannot be used to pay for membership. AMZN expects to add other ways to qualify in the future for customers participating in government assistance programs that do not utilize EBT.

The move is a direct shot at a lucrative chunk of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE: WMT ) business, where at least one in five customers pays by food stamps, according to Reuters. WMT last sold $13 billion in eligible products to shoppers under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to The Wall Street Journal.

The average Prime member spends about $1,300 per year at Amazon.com, while the average non-member only makes roughly $700 worth of purchases per year.

AMZN stock is little changed in trading this morning. The share price recently topped $1,000 for the first time.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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