Amazon offers Prime discount to those on government benefits

Amazon says it wants to make the program more accessible. The discounted rate is $5.99 per month. Customers will need to have a current EBT card to enroll and the card can not be used to pay the monthly membership fee. A regular monthly Prime membership is $99 a year or $10.99 a month.

The tech giant will offer Prime membership at a discounted price of $5.99 a month to low-income families receiving government assistance, Amazon announced Tuesday. The program not only includes free two-day shipping - a front on which Wal-Mart has been studiously fighting - but also free two-hour and same-day delivery, plus a vast library of movies, shows and music. After acquiring Amazon rival Jet.com past year, Walmart doubled down on its efforts to compete with the nimble online retailer as it looks to gain even more market share on the World Wide Web.

The EBT card gives poorer families access to the U.S. government food stamp programme and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families service. EBT can not be used to pay for membership.

Though Amazon's effort here can perhaps be viewed with a degree of altruism, ultimately it's about getting more peopled signed up to its Prime plan for the long-term, thus encouraging them to do all their shopping within the Amazon ecosystem.

At launch, customers will need to qualify with a valid EBT card. Almost 75 percent of households making over $112,000 annually joined Prime, while less than 50 percent of households making $21,000 to $41,000 have, according to a study previous year from Piper Jaffray.

  • Arturo Norris