- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Recipients of government welfare benefits are now eligible to subscribe to Amazon Prime at a discount, TechCrunch reported Tuesday. Program members will pay just $5.99 a month. Full price is $10.99 per month.

Eligibility is confirmed by entering the registrant’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card number, although the EBT itself is not an acceptable means of payment for the service, TechCrunch said.

The tech-news website reports that the Seattle-based company is offering its full benefits to discount users, a move which could help it compete among low-income Americans with discount giants such as Wal-Mart, especially on household essentials and infant-care products. After all, Prime memberships include a 20 percent discount on diapers and baby wipes, TechCrunch noted, and the free home delivery could be beneficial to EBT recipients needing to cut down on commuting expenses.

Earlier this year, Amazon made another play for expanding its customer base into lower-income Americans, TechCrunch observed, with the introduction of Amazon Cash, a payment method aimed largely at Americans who lack bank accounts.

As they explained in April, that program is designed to allow customers to deposit money into Amazon Cash accounts at partnering retailers such as CVS pharmacies and Sheetz gas stations. 

There are no fees to use Amazon Cash but deposits are capped at $500 and daily limits “may vary by retailer,” according to Amazon Cash’s FAQ page. What’s more, once deposited, users cannot get their money back via refund except where required by law, according to the FAQ page.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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