Amazon is raising prices on Prime monthly memberships by 20 percent

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Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. (KTRK)

Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. The fee of $99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday.

The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two years ago as a way to hook shoppers - especially during the holiday season - who wanted faster free shipping, but didn't want to commit to an annual fee. The Seattle-based company does not disclose how many Prime members it has.

Besides free two-day shipping, Prime members get other perks, such as access to Amazon's video and music streaming services.

Starting Friday, new monthly members will pay $12.99 a month, up from $10.99. Qualifying college students will pay $6.49 a month, up from $5.49. Amazon.com Inc. said existing monthly members will start paying the higher fees next month.

Amazon said its $5.99-a-month Prime membership for low-income people who receive government assistance is not affected by the price increase. Amazon launched the discounted Prime membership last year for people who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

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