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Amazon launches cheap Prime memberships for low-income Americans

The online retail giant is taking another shot at Walmart.
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Amazon is reaching out to poorer Americans by offering them discounted Prime memberships.

The online retail monolith announced on Tuesday it's offering access to Prime to customers who are on government assistance programs – such as food stamps – for a price of $5.99 per month.

This is cheaper than $99-per-year or $10.99-per-month you usually have to spend to be a Prime member.

Prime membership gives customers access to free two-day shipping on all orders, access to free books from its Kindle electric library, and unlimited music, TV show and movie streaming through Prime Music and Prime Video, respectively.

Prime members living in the Twin Cities also have access to free same-day delivery on orders over $35, and can use Prime Now to get free two-hour delivery on household essentials and food/drink from local stores and restaurants.

The Verge reports this is the latest move taken by Amazon to cut into the market share of competitor Walmart by appealing to lower-income households.

The offer is open to anyone with an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, which disburses money for programs including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps).

Reuters notes Walmart is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the SNAP program, with at least one in five customers paying by food stamps.

"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," Greg Greeley, Vice President of Amazon Prime, said in the news release.

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