Amazon discounts Prime for customers on government assistance

Consumers who have a valid EBT card qualify for reduced price on Prime membership.

Amazon will now offer Prime at a discounted price for consumers participating in a government assistance program. Consumers who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card qualify for the membership, which includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading and Prime Photos. Plus, qualifying customers get unlimited fast and free shipping for $5.99 a month.  

“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, told MarketWatch (sub. req.). “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.”

Customers cannot use their EBT card to pay for the membership and can qualify every 12 months for up to four times. Amazon is planning on adding additional ways to qualify for those participating in government assistance programs that do not utilize EBT. 

According to Matt Sargent, senior vice president of retail at Magid, with the announcement that Prime will offer a discount rate for low-income shoppers, Amazon is trying to make headway with Walmart’s core customer. 

Currently, less than 25% of households making less than $25,000 annually subscribe to Prime, while 60% of the same households shop at Walmart. Although a little bit higher, there is still quite a discrepancy in households that make between $35,000 and $50,000 a year: 69% of these households are Prime members and 39% regularly shop at Walmart. 

“I think that this and other offerings from Prime will open up Amazon to a much larger customer base,” Sargent told FierceRetail. “Amazon has already put a huge dent in Walmart's customer base and will continue to take share from Walmart. Forty-three percent of Walmart's customers currently pay $99 a year to shop at Amazon. Walmart is desperate to win these customers back.”