What Credit Cards Does Costco Take?

FT Contributor
An image of the exterior of a Costco wholesale store.

Shopping in bulk at Costco could save you money on your grocery staples, but the visits can add up. The warehouse club offers a variety of unexpected items you didn’t know you needed — you may go in for milk and some canned goods and come out with the perfect sheet set for your bed. In these cases, paying with a credit card may be the best way to jump on that irresistible deal.

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Does Costco Accept Credit Cards?

For years, Costco only accepted one of the four major credit card brands: American Express. The partners even issued the co-branded TrueEarnings Card, designed for Costco shoppers. But the partnership ended in March of 2016. Visa came in to replace Amex as the only credit card accepted at Costco, along with the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi.

Store credit cards are a popular choice for loyal shoppers. Citi’s co-branded card can be used at Costco, and anywhere Visa is accepted. The switch from an Amex Costco card to a Visa also brought better rewards for cardholders.

Cardmembers earn 4% back in gasoline purchases on the first $7,000 (and 1% after), 3% in restaurants and select travel, 2% on all Costco purchases online and in-store, and 1% on everything else. Considering Visa is more widely accepted than American Express, Costco Anywhere Visa cardholders have more chances to earn rewards.

How Does This Affect Costco and Their Customers?

Costco’s decision to switch its accepted credit network from American Express to Visa is good news for shoppers. There are about 47 million Amex cards in circulation, compared to 335 million Visas. The store’s move means a multitude of people who previously could not use their credit card at Costco can now charge their purchases.

Costco Cash Cards vs. Costco Shop Cards

If you’d rather avoid getting a credit card bill in the mail, the Costco Shop Card is a great alternative. Formerly known as the Costco Cash Card, it’s basically a prepaid gift card, so you don’t have to worry about credit card late payments.

A member may purchase a Shop card, even using a Visa, in any amount between $25 and $2,000. You’re able to pay for merchandise, gas, food court meals, and membership with the card. The prepaid card can be recharged and never expires, so you can reuse it as you need it.

Using the Costco Shop Card also comes with a special workaround for shoppers who aren’t ready to spend $60 or more on a Costco membership. Non-members may shop at Costco — as long as they’re paying with a Costco Shop Card. All they need to do is convince a Costco member to buy them one.

Other Costco Payment Methods

Besides accepting Costco Shop cards and all Visas (including the branded store credit card by Citi) Costco gives you other payment options for your store, gas, and food court purchases. Here are other Costco payment methods:

  • Most PIN-based debit/ATM cards;
  • EBT cards;
  • Cash;
  • Business and personal checks (from Costco members only);
  • Traveler’s checks;
  • Mobile payment (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay as long as it’s linked to a Visa credit card account).

Does Costco Accept Credit Cards?

The answer is yes, and no. Costco only accepts Visa credit cards. If your debit card has a Mastercard logo, you’ll have to use it as a debit card and enter the PIN. Luckily, Visa is the most popular credit card, making it likely that most Costco shoppers can charge their purchases.

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