ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Amazon announced a new shopping portal called Amazon Access for shoppers using government assistance, reports CNN. Customers can find information on options like payment with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Electronic Benefits Transfer (SNAP EBT), Amazon Layaway and discounts and coupons on essential grocery items.
Within the portal, Amazon also offers Prime Access, which is Prime’s discounted membership program for qualifying government assistance recipients. Eligible customers in the U.S. who sign up for Prime Access get the benefits and perks of a Prime membership for $6.99 a month, compared to a standard membership price of $14.99 a month.
“Given the tough economic climate, with many facing rising costs on essential needs, we want our customers to know about all the accessible offerings available on Amazon, no matter their circumstances,” wrote Amazon in a blog post.
SNAP recipients got a small boost in benefits starting October 1 due to inflation. Nearly 41 million Americans receive SNAP benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This month, the maximum benefit for a family of three rises from $658 to $740.
Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail, told CNN that Amazon’s new portal could be useful for lower-income shoppers.
“It is something positive Amazon can point to, which shows it is helping hard-pressed consumers during a more difficult economic period,” said Saunders, adding that Amazon “should be able to generate some incremental sales out of consolidating the benefits into a new shopfront.”
However, Saunders doesn’t believe that Amazon Access will meaningfully boost Prime membership numbers.
“Amazon sees this as a way of growing Prime at a time when it is near to saturation in the U.S., as there are still many lower income consumers who do not have access to the program,” Saunders told CNN.
In July, Instacart announced EBT SNAP payments can be used to buy groceries online in 10 additional states through its app. The states include Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Albertsons Companies and Sprouts Farmers Market are among the first to accept EBT SNAP online in these states.
Instacart also recently expanded EBT SNAP acceptance online with Meijer, Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Friendly Markets. With these moves, Instacart now accepts EBT SNAP payments at more than 60 retail banners spanning more than 8,000 stores.
Target began accepting SNAP payment for online orders through Shipt earlier this year. Walmart and Amazon have offered online payments with SNAP since 2019.