Online retail giant Amazon is rolling out a new monthly subscription option for its flagship Prime service across the UK, with users able to pay £7.99/month rather than commit to a hefty annual subscription of £79, MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal.
The monthly subscription offer is currently in "testing" and has been available in some form since late 2015, with some customers able to choose either annual or monthly payment options while shopping.
But the firm's now confirmed it plans to officially roll out monthly subscriptions to the full Prime service, which will mean all UK customers will be able to pay monthly in due course – though Amazon won't give any firm timescales.
The move follows the full launch of Prime monthly in the US in April. For more on how to get the best deals on Amazon, see our 21 Amazon Buying Tips.
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What is Amazon Prime?
Prime is a subscription service that offers certain benefits:
- One-day delivery on eligible products ordered on Amazon, with same-day delivery for some products in select postcodes in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
- Prime Video – streaming of films and TV shows. You can currently get this standalone on a monthly basis for £5.99/month; see the Online TV and Movies guide.
- Prime Music – ad-free streaming and offline listening of many albums and playlists. See the Free Music guide for more information.
- Free unlimited photo storage – see the Online Storage guide for details.
- Borrow over one million Kindle e-books at no extra cost.
- Early access to special 'Lightning Deals'.
When can I pay monthly?
Although it's confirmed that it'll eventually offer monthly subscriptions across the UK, Amazon's frustratingly tight-lipped about the rollout and who'll be able to get it when. It won't provide exact details of who can already get Prime on a monthly subscription, though it claims "most customers" should be able to choose to do so already.
There's no specific page on the Amazon website which offers monthly rather than annual subscriptions (the current Prime page only shows the annual option), but Amazon says if you're able to get it you'll see it offered at some point during your shopping 'journey'.
When we created a new Amazon account today, we were only able to see the annual subscription offered. If you've been offered the monthly subscription, let us know where on the website you were offered it in the comments below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazon says all UK customers will be able to get Prime monthly eventually, though it won't confirm when exactly – possibly by the end of the year.
Can I pay monthly if I'm already signed up to the annual subscription?
Amazon says annual members are able to downgrade to a monthly subscription – to do this, select 'Your Prime Membership' and then 'Change Membership'.
What's the cheapest way to get Prime?
Paying monthly gives you much more flexibility and means you don't have to pay for a full year upfront. However beware – paying £7.99/month works out at £95.88 over the course of a year, which is about 20% more expensive than the £79 annual subscription.
You've been able to get Prime on a 30-day trial for some time, though failing to cancel before the end will incur automatic charges (see Amazon Prime Reclaiming if you've been stung inadvertently).
Amazon says under the changes it's rolling out, customers will be able to choose a one-month trial on the basis of either an annual or monthly subscription once it ends, though you can only get one trial, and anyone who's previously had any form of free Prime trial can't get another.
Students can get a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime (excluding the Kindle Lending Library), and then choose to pay £39/year for the full Prime service – see more on Student Prime. There are no plans to introduce a monthly plan for students.
What does Amazon say?
An Amazon spokesperson said: "We're always looking at new ways to enhance Amazon Prime membership for our customers. We already offer a Prime Video monthly subscription for UK customers, and we are testing a Prime monthly offer in the UK."