Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX tablets are already a pretty good value, offering high resolution displays and powerful hardware for quite a bit less than competing iPad models. But the company wants to make sure that everyone can afford one, and so it has instituted a new interest-free payment plan, offering the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX and its larger 8.9-inch sibling for four equal payments over nine months.
The Kindle Fire HDX and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 start at $229 and $379, respectively, with additional costs for models with larger storage capacity or LTE capability. Amazon is offering eligible customers up to 9 months to pay off the purchase price of one of these Kindle Fire HDX models with no interest or fees aside from any required sales tax. Interested customers make an initial payment (starting at $57.25 for the 7-inch HDX and $94.75 for the 8.9-inch model) and then three additional payments of the same amount every 90 days thereafter.
The plan is relatively free of attached strings, and represents a very low-cost means of obtaining a quality tablet. And, due to the time value of money, purchasing a Kindle Fire HDX via the payment plan is clearly a better deal for customers compared to paying upfront (although the rules allow customers to prepay the balance without penalty at any time before the term expires).
Amazon, of course, is betting that customers taking advantage of this deal will jump right in to the Amazon Kindle ecosystem, subscribing to Prime for the Instant Videos, buying eBooks, and downloading apps and music, all of which will more than make up for the loss of interest that Amazon might otherwise collect on a traditional payment plan.
But not everyone will get to participate. Amazon is limiting eligibility for the payment plan to U.S. residents with Amazon accounts active for at least two years. Florida and D.C. residents are also excluded, and you must have a valid credit card with an expiration date no earlier than March 31, 2014 linked to your account. Further, if you miss a payment, Amazon claims it will deregister the Kindle, making it practically worthless for online and media activities, and the company may even suspend or terminate your Amazon account.
But if you’re in the market for a new tablet or looking for last-minute gift ideas, and if you find Amazon’s terms agreeable, it’s hard to argue with an interest-free loan on a powerful and relatively affordable Kindle Fire HDX.