Amazon slashes Prime price for those receiving government help

The company wants your business, whether or not budgets are tight.

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James Martin | CNET

Amazon is cutting the monthly price of Prime subscriptions for those on government assistance programs in the United States.

On Tuesday, the e-commerce giant said the cost of a Prime subscription, usually $99 per year or $10.99 monthly, will now cost $5.99 per month.

If potential subscribers have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, they will qualify for the discount. The EBT is used to dispense funding from programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).

The membership includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and free delivery for $5.99 per month for one year, and cancellation is possible at any time. In addition, the standard 30-day free trial is on offer. However, you cannot use your EBT card directly to pay for membership.

The monthly price may not be a huge burden for some, but for others, a few dollars a month can make a lot of difference. While there is both market and appetite for streamed content, when budgets are tight -- especially in today's world with the price of basic necessities, rent, and energy on the rise -- such luxuries are the first things to be cut out of daily lives.

However, by cutting the price for those who need it, Amazon is not only undercutting competitors such Netflix, which offers basic services for $7.99 a month, but is also potentially signing up a new customer pool which will generate additional revenue for the company far into the future.

"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," said Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime. "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."

The discounted membership can be applied up to four times every 12 months, and Amazon has promised to add new eligibility for government assistance programs which do not use the EBT card in the future.

See also: Amazon improves Alexa wake word verification

This week, reports surfaced which suggest Amazon has joined Apple and Foxconn in a bid for Toshiba's NAND flash memory chip business, which develops and sells components required for Amazon's data centers.

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