Amazon has taken a step that could expand the customer base for its popular Prime program even further, starting a discount option for people on government assistance.
The discounted membership will cost $5.99 per month, down from the traditional monthly bill of $10.99, and it comes with free two-day shipping as well as all the benefits like Prime Video, Prime Photos and others.
To participate in the discount program, customers must qualify for an EBT card, but that card can’t be used to pay for the membership. Customers can qualify for the discount program every 12 months up to four times, and Amazon said it plans to other ways for people on assistance to qualify in the future.
“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,” Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said in a statement. “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.”
Adding a potential new group of customers could even further embed Prime into the American shopping experience. According to an estimate from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners in April, Amazon Prime membership doubled in the last two years to more than 80 million people in the U.S.
The study also estimated that Prime members spend almost twice as much as non-Prime customers on an annual basis — $1,300 versus $700. Those numbers make it easy to see why Amazon is doing its best to spread the program to as many people as possible. That was a benefit of adding the monthly payment option last year as an alternative to the $99 annual fee.