>> Amazon, the place the peddles everything from diapers to Doctor Who jewelry boxes, is now willing to lend you money for college. The program launching Thursday adding discounted loans to the list of perks offered to Amazon Prime Student subscribers. The move is right in line with the company's strategy aimed at tightening its already formidable grasp on its customers.
Amazon is partnering with Wells Fargo, the second largest private student lender in the nation for the program. It will be the first bank to do so, giving the bank a bit more horsepower against competitor, Discover. Jumping into the market gives Amazon a clear shot at locking up another generation of Prime subscribers and expands Wells Fargo's own reach.
But it comes at a time when mounting student debt is hitting crisis levels. US student debt ballooning to $1.2 trillion at the beginning of this year, up 24% from 2012. The half percent interest rate discount Amazon is offering on its loans could end up pushing that number to new heights.