Amazon has stopped offering its monthly Prime membership in India and it has also discontinued its free trial for Prime. Going forward, Amazon will offer only three-month or annual memberships.
The Amazon Prime monthly pack which used to start at Rs 129 per month, has been removed by the company following a new guideline issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The new RBI rules relate to recurring payments where service providers are required to implement additional factor of authentication (AFA) via one-time passwords to process such online transactions.
The deadline to comply with RBIās new framework on AFA for auto-debit payments, which was originally issued in August 2019, has been extended till September 30, 2021. The order mandates the use of AFA during registration and first transaction (with relaxation for subsequent transactions up to a limit of Rs 2,000, since enhanced to Rs 5,000), as well as pre-transaction notification, facility to withdraw the mandate, etc. This rule was put in place with the primary aim of safeguarding consumers from fraudulent transactions and improving customer convenience.
Amazon has updated its support page to reflect the changes in its membership plans, which will be effective from April 27, 2021. So if a user wants to buy Amazon Prime membership or renew it, they can now only opt for a three-month or annual subscription. Amazon Primeās three-month subscription is priced at Rs 329 and the annual membership costs Rs 999.
Currently, Prime subscription in India allows you to access Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime Music along with priority delivery. Amazon Prime reportedly had 10 million subscribers as of last year. Out of this, just 40% of the users directly purchased their membership through Amazon Prime, while the remaining came through bundles offered by telecom players and other promotions.
Following a request from the Indian Banksā Association (IBA) for an extension of time to complete the migration, the RBI had advised banks in December 2020 to migrate to the new system by March 31, 2021. However, the RBI noted that the framework has not been fully implemented even after the extended timeline and in view of this, it decided to extend the timeline for the stakeholders to migrate to the framework by another six months to September 30.