Want a student loan along with your textbook purchase? That may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. As the following article describes, Amazon and Wells Fargo are partnering to offer reduced loan rates to members of Amazon’s Prime Student program.
Amazon.com Inc. is stepping into the student-loan marketplace. The online retailer has entered into a partnership with San Francisco lender Wells Fargo & Co. in which the bank’s student-lending arm will offer interest-rate discounts to select Amazon shoppers. An Amazon spokeswoman said this is the first time members of the company’s “Prime Student” service are receiving a student-loan offer by a lender through its site since that service was launched in 2010. The discount will be offered both to students who want loans to attend college and those who want to refinance existing loans.
The offer also represents the latest effort among private student lenders to stand out by discounting in an increasingly competitive market. Many offer discounts to customers who set up recurring payments to pay back their loans automatically or for loan refinancings by graduates who are members of professional associations.
Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. bank by market value and the second-largest private student lender by origination volume, will shave a half a percentage point off the interest rate on student loans it extends to applicants who are members of Amazon’s Prime Student. The subscription-based service charges $49 a year, half the cost of Amazon Prime, and offers free two-day shipping and unlimited instant streaming of movies, among other perks. The companies aren’t compensating each other for what Wells Fargo describes as a multiyear agreement that will reach millions of potential borrowers.
It seems the possibilities are endless with Amazon as it further expands into new markets and services. No stranger to financial services as it has demonstrated with credit cards and online payment alternatives, offering student loans to their college-attending customer base sounds like a no-brainer. Partnering with Wells Fargo is a plus given its track record in the student loan market, and both companies benefit from the cross selling of their products and services.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group
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