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Amazon changes the rules for Prime benefits sharing

If you joined Amazon’s Prime service before the start of August, you may have invited up to four other adult family members to share the service’s benefits. If that’s you, everything’s fine – you can still share the same benefits with those same adults. However, anyone who’s forked out $99 on the annual membership fee in the last few days, or who’s thinking of signing up soon, should read on.

For you folks, the number of other adults with whom you can share the service’s benefits has been quietly cut to one. Amazon made the change without fanfare – indeed, without so much as a brief honk of a horn – over the weekend. New Prime members creating an “Amazon household” can now share the account with only one other adult, though up to four children can also be included.

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According to the e-commerce company, the changes mean “both adult account holders need to authorize each other to use credit and debit cards associated with their Amazon accounts for purchases on Amazon.”

It’s not clear why Amazon has chosen to make the change at this particular time, but the move is obviously aimed at getting a few more people to join Prime, which offers members a growing range of perks, among them free two-day shipping and access to a huge library movies, TV shows, and ebooks.

Related: Amazon says Prime Day was a hit, though not everyone enjoyed it

Other recent initiatives geared toward building Amazon’s Prime user base have included Prime Day, a one-day sale exclusively for Prime members held across nine countries last month in celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary.

Shortly after the event, Amazon said “hundreds of thousands” of people had signed up to the service to take advantage of Prime Day. While the company expects some of these to cancel their membership when the 30-day free trial ends, it’s hoping many will stay on and become long-term paying subscribers.