NEW YORK — Amazon is offering yet another incentive for customers to sign up for a Prime membership.
The online retailer is teaming up with Wells Fargo to offer a 0.5 percent student loan interest rate discount to members of its Student Prime program — a discounted version of the popular membership available to students.
While a half a percentage point is not a huge reduction, every penny counts for students who are borrowing money to pay for college.
Many are forced to take out private loans — which typically come with higher interest rates and fewer repayment options — after they’ve borrowed as much as they can from the federal student loan program.
A first-year college student can only borrow up to $5,500 through the public program, which this year offers undergraduate loans with a fixed interest rate of 3.76 percent. But many students need more than that to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, housing and other living expenses.
Wells Fargo’s undergraduate student loans come with either fixed rates (ranging from 5.94 percent to 10.93 percent) and variable interest rates (from 3.39 percent to 9.03 percent), according to its website.
The bank already offers similar interest rate discounts for borrowers who have Wells Fargo accounts or sign up for automatic repayments. Prime members who qualify can take advantage of those discounts as well.
The bank does not charge application or origination fees, and repayment doesn’t have to start until six months after you leave school.
Wells Fargo offers student loans to graduate students, too, who are also eligible for the Amazon Prime discount.
“We are focused on innovation and meeting our customers where they are — and increasingly that is in the digital space,” said John Rasmussen, the head of Wells Fargo’s Personal Lending Group.
Amazon charges students $49 a year for the Prime membership, about half the cost of a regular customer. If you’re already an Amazon student Prime member, learn more about the Wells Fargo loan discount program here.