Sharing Amazon Prime benefits just got harder

How the heck does Amazon make money?
How the heck does Amazon make money?

At $99 per year, Amazon Prime was a great deal. Sharing it between five people was even better.

Amazon (AMZN) has caught onto the stealthy roommates and co-workers who all split the cost of one Prime membership instead of each getting his or her own.

The good old days. In the past, members could add up to four people to their Prime account by entering their names, relationships, birthdays, and email addresses. Invitees would need to know the member's month and day of birth to accept the invitation.

Even though you were supposed to share with "household members," there were no stringent checks in place. Plus, all payments and deliveries were independent for all members.

Sadly, those days are gone. Starting July 31, a feature called 'Amazon Households' kicked in for all new subscribers.

Now, you can only share your account with one other adult.

Previously, the only benefit that could be extended beyond the primary account holder was two-day shipping. After the recent change, both adults have access to Prime shipping benefits, Prime Instant Video, Kindle Owners' Lending Library and Prime Early Access.

A spokesman for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But here's the worst part: Both adult account holders need to authorize each other to use credit and debit cards associated with their Amazon accounts for purchases on Amazon.

Both accounts can maintain their payment methods but you can see and use each others' cards.

The reason people shared Prime benefits was so they wouldn't have to share login and card details.

With this level of financial trust, Amazon is alienating people who share the account purely for the sake of cutting cost. Amazon is hoping that the change compels more people to get accounts of their own.

Nuclear families can cheer. Amazon Households lets you add up to four child profiles to your account. They don't need their own accounts and they cannot make purchases.

Amazon Student Prime members or invited guests of other Prime members can't share their benefits. Good thing the student account already costs half of the normal Prime membership.

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