Amazon Access Is a New Way to Shop for Low-Income Americans

The hub features programs and discounts to make products more affordable

As economic challenges continue for consumers, Amazon announced a new online hub called Amazon Access, which features both new and existing programs and discounts it said will make shopping more affordable.

Top line

The hub and the included offerings are the result of what the platform called “a grassroots program to listen and learn from customers in communities across the country.”

Amazon is offering the discount to consumers who receive benefits from any of 10 government assistance programs. They qualify by uploading a valid proof of ID or government assistance documentation, according to a blog post.

Between the lines

First and foremost is the latest version of a discounted Prime program, which will now be known as Prime Access. When Amazon first announced Prime membership discounts in 2017, the price was cut from $10.99 to $5.99 per month.

Prime has since risen to $14.99 monthly or $139 per year, but will be $6.99 per month for eligible Prime Access customers.

Amazon first piloted a program that would allow eligible shoppers to pay with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in 10 states in 2019. The platform said that initiative has since grown to 49 states—all except Alaska—which, per its figures, reaches “99.7% of U.S. SNAP households.”

These consumers can use a valid EBT card to shop at Amazon.com, Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh.

A new layaway option is also being launched that will allow customers to pay over time with no credit check, interest or fees. Thousands of items are eligible, but shoppers must pay 20% of the cost upfront to participate.

“We found that many of our customers are looking for ways to save money and time, now more than ever,” Amazon said. “We know that online shopping is a big part of how they save, and that’s why we’re introducing Amazon Access, a hub to make shopping easier for all customers.”

Bottom line

According to Amazon’s figures, Prime Access membership has grown more than 300% from 2019 to 2021. Overall membership was at 200 million at last tally.