Amazon has good news for those living on food stamps.
Amazon will be discounting Amazon Prime access for those holding a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The EBT card is used for various government programs, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).
From its original $10.99 a month Amazon will lower that price to $5.99 per month for eligible cardholders. This brings the total cost down to $71.88 per year, although Amazon does also offer a discounted yearly rate of $99 per year if you pay all at once.
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Amazon’s press release was quick to point out the benefits of Prime access, which includes unlimited Prime Video streaming, Prime Music access, and a rotating selection of magazines and e-books via Kindle.
“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.
The announcement comes among heightened tension between Amazon and Walmart as the two giants compete for low-income customers. Walmart gained $13 billion in sales from SNAP program users alone last year, which is a sizeable portion of Walmart’s bottom line. Amazon’s move is seen by many as a direct challenge to Walmart for the lucrative low-income market.
Walmart is of course not taking this lying down. Last year the mega-retailer announced their acquisition of Jet.com, another online retailer, for a total price of $3.3 billion. An expanding website, Jet.com posted $1 billion in sales in its first year. Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc said in a press release that “Walmart.com will grow faster, the seamless shopping experience we’re pursuing will happen quicker, and we’ll enable the Jet brand to be even more successful in a shorter period of time.”
With Amazon now starting to target receivers of government assistance, the war for the biggest single group of US customers has only just begun.