Amazon has launched a new shopping center called Amazon Access, which is still focused on shopping, but essentially designed to help those living on public assistance.
Access to Amazon (opens in a new tab) starts with providing new features and supporting alternative payment methods. This means customers can now buy food on the website with SNAP EBT (better known as food stamps) and a variety of items at a higher price through Amazon Layaway. The latter allows people to pay 20 percent of the total cost of the order up front and then pay the rest over time with no interest or additional fees.
Amazon will also rename its discounted Prime tier to Prime Access, while keeping the monthly subscription price at $6.99. The company says the reason behind the name change is to give Prime Access a unique identifier that makes it more visible to customers who need it.
Provided you’re eligible, this tier gives you all the benefits of a regular Prime account, such as free games through Prime Gaming plus and “fast free shipping.”
Each of the three main features of Amazon Access has its own focus. The SNAP program (opens in a new tab), for example, is mainly focused on food products, including vegetables, meat and soft drinks. Not every food item found on Amazon is eligible for food stamps. The company says you’ll need to “look for items marked SNAP EBT Legible.”
Amazon Layaway (opens in a new tab) designed for electronics (such as computers and televisions) and various household items, including furniture, tools and appliances. To put something on hold, you’ll need to tick the box next to ‘Book on hold’ on the checkout page. Once the order is placed, the grace period begins and you have eight weeks to make four payments to pay it off in full. But you can always pay it off in full in advance if you can afford it.
And as mentioned earlier, Prime Access gives you the same benefits as a basic subscription with exclusive discounts, unlimited storage on Amazon Photos, and access to the platform’s streaming service.
Other shopping features were also highlighted in the announcement, but they’re not locked behind the plan, meaning anyone can use them. This includes coupons that have their own page (opens in a new tab) where you can “clip” them, and support for Amazon Cash. The Company notes that you may also, if necessary, change the website language to Spanish (opens in a new tab).
Both Amazon Access and Prime Access are exclusive to the United States, according to a company spokesperson. That’s not surprising, given that the announcement only mentions apps for the US.
When asked about expanding to other countries, they said there was no information to share, but Amazon was looking into it. Acceptable customers can try Prime Access as a 30-day free trial (opens in a new tab). All they have to do is upload an image with “real proof [identification] or government aid documentation’.
Amazon says it created the Access Center to provide “affordable deals” during these tough economic times. Although the company is not afraid to raise prices if it wants. Back in February Amazon has raised the price of a monthly Prime subscription to $14.99 (opens in a new tab) in the USA. And a few months ago Art The same thing happened in the UK with no new benefits.
You might be interested to know that Amazon is hosting a second Prime Day from October 11-12. Be sure to read our material and see our predictions for what might go on sale.