Amazon is now bribing Prime members to avoid credit card fees

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Amazon will give Prime members a bit more spending power if they’re willing to ditch their credit cards. The company introduced a new program today called Prime Reload, which offers Prime members a small bonus of Amazon credit if they’re willing to pay using their debit card instead.

There are some small complications, but for the most part the program seems straightforward enough. First you have to give Amazon your debit card number as well as your bank account and routing info. You then have to transfer cash directly into an Amazon account. And then you can pay for your stuff on Amazon using that balance.

It’s a bit of a hassle to set up

In exchange for the hassle, Amazon will give out a 2 percent bonus on all cash loaded into its system this way. While that means your money is stuck inside Amazon, it’s not a bad deal for anyone who regularly uses the site to buy stuff — which is probably a lot of Prime members.

It’s a smart move by Amazon, as it lets the company avoid pricey credit card fees. Those fees usually add up to more than the 2 percent Amazon is offering customers as a bonus; so the company is both making a savings and passing some of it along to customers.