Cheatsheet: What to know about Prime Reload, Amazon’s latest rewards program
- Amazon has unveiled a new rewards program -- for debit card users. Despite having a credit card business of its own, it's urging its customers to pay with their checking accounts.
- The offering may not threaten banks but it adds to the online retail giant's existing offering of bank services, such as small business lending, consumer credit and payments.
Amazon introduced Prime Reload Tuesday, which rewards 2 percent of purchases back to Prime members who fund their Amazon balances with their debit cards. The key updates:
- To register for 2 percent rewards, users (they need to be Prime members already) provide their debit card number, U.S. bank account and routing numbers (Amazon will "sometimes route orders through your debit card instead of your bank account," to complete the reload more quickly, it states on the website) and U.S. state driver's license number.
- Users top up their Gift Card Balance with their checking account or the debit card associated with the checking account. They get the 2 percent back into the Gift Card Balance at the same.
- Purchases aren't eligible for 2 percent rewards when shoppers reload using a credit card, even if it's one of Amazon's own branded credit cards.
- 66 million Amazon customers in 2016 were Prime members, compared to 46 million the year before.
- 40 percent of Prime members spend more than $1,000 a year on Amazon (compared to just 8 percent of non-Prime shoppers).
- Amazon offers two branded Visa Signature credit cards; one for Prime members that rewards 5 percent back and special financing options, one for non-Prime members that offers 3 percent back. Both were launched this January.
- Prime subscription revenue was $5.7 billion in 2016, assuming 90 percent of Amazon's “retail subscription services” revenue (which also includes audiobook, e-book, and digital video and music services). Under the same assumption, it generated $4 billion in Prime subscriptions in 2015.
- 32 percent of shoppers that own a store branded credit card are Amazon cardholders; Amazon ranks number 1 among consumers with store cards, followed by Target (30 percent) and Macy’s (24 percent), as reported by the Vyze Retail Credit Survey.