Amazon is giving poverty an upgrade by offering customers on government assistance programs a 45-percent discount on Amazon Prime. The Amazon service is normally $10.99 monthly but the discount for those with EBT cards drops to just $5.99 per month.
The mega-retailer previously announced that it would accept EBT benefits on its website for the purchase of applicable products. Now those same customers will be able to take advantage of Prime Shipping — and other features included in the Prime subscription service.
Let’s be real here
Living poor sucks and it is expensive. Late payments turn into final notices, which become disconnect notices with late fees, reconnect fees, and security deposits. Paycheck-to-paycheck means emergencies are catastrophic.
Allowing those same food stamp recipients to cut the cost of Prime membership in half is going to increase sign-ups and encourage those on EBT benefits to consider Amazon their local supermarket. The Prime service takes shopping on Amazon and adds free shipping, member-only deals and sales, and special events – all things that will save poor people money.
Food stamps make up a huge portion of “super store” sales. Bloomberg reported that Wal-Mart raked in 18 percent of all food stamp spending – roughly 14 billion dollars – in 2013. There’s no doubt Amazon wants a piece of that pie and they’ve found a way to do it that immediately taps into an entirely new market. The best part: nobody is footing the bill. It’s a straight-up discount for customers who qualify.
Today there are approximately 43 million Americans receiving EBT benefits
When viewed as a cost-saving measure — the potential is there for those already on a tight budget to see some relief without necessarily changing the products they purchase.
It also by provides an inexpensive replacement for Netflix and Hulu (and set-top boxes) – as the service comes with Prime Video. Access to members-only sales could save money on things like diapers and medical accessories. Lower-income customers should have options – and Amazon is a great one when compared to other online retailers.
Amazon isn’t a niche` site for those who don’t need assistance; in fact, those who need to save money will almost certainly benefit from Prime if they convert enough of their local purchases to online purchases.
Most people own or have access to an online capable device. The idea of food stamp recipients with cell phones makes sense in today’s world – internet access is a necessity: like electricity, gas, and indoor plumbing. We need it to find jobs. It’s how we network and keep in touch. Free WiFi access coupled with better data plans makes this Amazon discount more than just 5 extra bucks a month.
The discount to Prime positions the service to be accessible to a portion of the population usually thought of as being expendable to online retailers.
Anything that provides value for the impoverished – without costing taxpayers a dime is a good thing. Amazon accomplishes that with this discount and I say kudos to them.
Read next: 5 Tips to Make Your Website Attractive