Amazon Widens War With Walmart for Low-Income Shoppers

Amazon is including people on Medicaid in its discounted Prime membership

Amazon is including people on Medicaid in its discounted Prime membership

Amazon is expanding its discounted Prime membership to Medicaid recipients. Such cards are typically made available to USA residents who receive funds from government assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).

The discounted program charges eligible customers $5.99 per month, down from the regular monthly price of $12.99, and it comes with free two-day shipping as well as all the benefits like Prime Video, Prime Photos and others. Prime members have access to free two-day shipping on most items, same-day delivery in some locations and streaming music and videos. EBT stands for Electronic Benefit Transfer, and these debit cards are the primary way that recipients of SNAP - otherwise known as food stamps - get their benefits.

"We hope to make Prime even more accessible", Amazon Prime Vice President Cem Sibay said in a statement.

The move could also help Amazon siphon customers from Walmart, a major competitor that's focused for years on providing services for lower-income customers.

Customers will need to renew their membership every year and the lower rate will only be available for four years for each customer. There is no annual commitment and customers can cancel the membership at any time. The $5.99-a-month price compares to the regular $12.99 pay-by-month option and is almost $30 cheaper than the $99-annual-fee plan. But customers won't be able to share their Prime membership with a second adult, as with a regularly priced Prime membership.

The discounted Prime membership is the latest effort from Amazon to expand its service to low-income families and individuals. The program will trim the cost of Prime down from $10.99 per month to $5.99 per month, while still offering the full range of Prime perks.

Whether the discounted Prime membership program will be a success or not depends on how you look at it.

"I think customers that have tried this plan have seen enormous value from it", he added.

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