Customers who receive benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, can pay $5.99 per month for membership, which would include free shipping and unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video. The regular annual membership is $99 per year.
The move is seen as a way for Amazon to compete with rival Walmart, which currently has a significant percentage of its customers on government aid programmes.
About 20% of Walmart’s customers pay for groceries with food stamps.
Walmart also has the second-largest share of online sales in the US, after Amazon.
To qualify for the discounted rate, customers will need to present a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer card.
The EBT card gives poorer families access to the US government food stamp programme and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families service.
But customers would not be able to pay for the service with the funds loaded on their EBT card, said Amazon.
The decision marked a change for Amazon, which had previously marketed the Prime service at households with high incomes.
The fastest-growing customers are those earning more than $112,000 in annual income, with more than 7 out of 10 of those families paying for an Amazon Prime subscription, investment firm Piper Jaffray said last year.
Source: CBS News