Amazon is hiking the monthly cost of Prime by 18 percent

The move will hit the poorest members the hardest.
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The Essentials

1. Amazon is expected to announce on Friday that the cost of Prime memberships for those that pay monthly is rising from $10.99 to $12.99.

2. This represents a rise of 18 percent and will mean a total cost of almost $156-a-year.

3. The yearly price of $99 is expected to remain unchanged, Recode reports. 

The Bigger Picture

Amazon introduced the monthly payment option two years ago, and while it was more expensive than the yearly subscription, the $10.99 monthly membership was designed for lower income Americans who couldn't afford to pay $99 in one go.

It proved popular, with Recode saying Prime membership has been strongest among households making less than $50,000 a year.

It'll come as a blow to them, then, that this monthly price will be going up.

It's a useful service particularly for people with limited access to transportation, with Prime membership qualifying customers for free two-day shipping.

The price is also going up for students, who will now pay $6.49-a-month instead of $5.49, USA Today reports.

The newspaper notes that the last time Amazon hiked its prices was in 2014, when the annual subscription rose from $79.99 to $99.99.

The company said that over the past few years the number of items it has sent via two-day shipping has increased from 20 million to 100 million a year, suggesting this was unsustainable without a price increase.

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