Today, Amazon announced that it’s offering a discount on Prime membership for US customers participating in a number of government assistance programs. Anyone with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which disburses funds for programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), is eligible for Prime’s discounted monthly price of $5.99. Prime’s normal price is a $99 a year, or a monthly fee of $10.99.
“We designed this membership option for customers receiving government assistance to make our everyday selection and savings more accessible,” says Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime. Customers will need to have a current EBT card to enroll and the card cannot be used to pay the monthly membership fee. Those who qualify for the discount can apply once a year, up to four times.
This announcement is the latest in several recent moves Amazon has made to appeal to lower-income households and become a direct competitor to Walmart. Last year, it introduced the $10.99 monthly payment option, and earlier this year it announced the decision to start accepting food stamps for online grocery orders beginning this summer.
Amazon says it is working on ways to include other government-assisted programs in the future that do not utilize EBT cards.