Amazon is rolling out a 2% cash-back bonus on purchases made by Prime members using Amazon balance funds pre-loaded from a debit card onto a gift card or into their account.
The Amazon Prime Reload program doesn’t require buyers to own or use an Amazon cash-back credit card, according to TechCrunch. Rather, users can provide debit card number and U.S. bank account details to Amazon, along with a U.S. driver’s license number. They can then continue to reload the gift card or Amazon accounts balances.
The 2% bonus will be added to the user’s balance each time they reload the account, rather than on a per transaction basis. Amazon also offer 5% cash-back on its own credit card.
Amazon's recent offer of discounted Prime membership to people on government assistance showed there is virtually no limit to the lengths it will go to lure new members. Providing a 2% cash-back bonus on re-loaded gift cards and Amazon spending account balances is just another demonstration of the company's willingness to embrace marketing ideas to grow the Prime.
Not that Prime needs the help. The $99-per-year program offering access to free express shipping, video content, music and more had about 80 million members as of April, according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Total membership had almost doubled over the two previous years, according to the report. Prime members also spend about $600 more annually on average on Amazon than non-Prime members — $1,300 compared to $700.
Still, Amazon isn't putting on the brakes and this effort to draw more people into Prime comes just weeks before the e-commerce giant is likely run its third annual Prime Day promotion. Amazon has not announced yet when Prime Day will happen, though several reports have suggested the week of July 10. A little extra cash-back bonus could prove to be just the thing to get some shoppers to reload their balances as they get ready for the big shopping day.
The bonus also could activate gift card owners who tend to let their gift card balances lie dormant and unused by adding some motivation to use their Amazon gift cards and then reload them for future purchases.
One other ancillary benefit of this move, and perhaps not the most obvious one, is that it helps heighten awareness of Amazon as a financial services and payments company, one that offers credit cards as well as its own payments services. That might not be Amazon's biggest aim here, but at IRCE in Chicago last week, one speaker from Internet Retailer called Amazon "the do-anything platform," and anything Amazon can do to elevate its image in finance and payments will only further that notion.