More than 20 million low-income American households could benefit
It’s a prime time for this discount.
Amazon announced Tuesday that it will give people who receive certain government benefits a steep discount on its Amazon Prime service. Anyone who has a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer — this is commonly used to give money to those on programs like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) — card can qualify to pay $5.99 per month for a one-year membership. That adds up to nearly $72 a year.
This means that millions of people will qualify for this discount. As of January 2016, 45.4 million low-income Americans used benefits from the SNAP, roughly 70% of whom were in families with children. “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, Vice President of Amazon Prime. You can sign up here.
For the rest of us, a Prime — which offers free two-day shipping on roughly 50 million items, as well as unlimited access to thousands of movies, TV shows and songs — costs $99 per year if you pay in advance or $10.99 per month if it is billed monthly.
Also see: Is Amazon Prime worth the $99 pricetag?
Of course, $5.99 a month may be cost-prohibitive for some of the low-income people that Amazon is targeting for this Prime discount. But if they can swing it, there are savings to be had. Amazon has lower prices than almost anyone on a number of things, including things like books for the kids and some electronics. When you throw in free shipping too, it makes these offers particularly attractive.
But these families have to be aware of the so-called “Prime trap,” in which people who have an Amazon Prime membership spend more on Amazon than do casual Amazon customers. Indeed Prime members spend more than double ($1500 vs. $625) what other Amazon customers spend, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
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