What credit cards does Costco accept?

costco credit cards
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Costco, the prototypical big box price club retailer, certainly has legions of loyal fans. These folks fervently line up for the bargains aplenty - from smart tech to TVs, from cameras to consoles (not to mention cheap gas, rotisserie chickens and everything in between). However, the question does come up as to which credit cards and other payment methods are accepted at the Costco warehouse.

After all, frugal folks like the err, ambience, with Costo's concrete floors, industrial warehouse shelving to display items and lack of plastic bags for purchases. The truth is that Costco screams value. Factor in enough freebies being prepared at lunchtime to nosh a decent meal from or the under $2 hot dog combo, and it's easy to see how Costco can get folks to purchase their annual memberships. After all, this Costco formula has propelled it to the juggernaut position of being the largest members-only warehouse club across the entirety of the US.

But Costco does have its challenges as well, such as navigating the overcrowded parking lot or scavenging enough boxes to pack up the order. Another issue has been the accepted method of payment, with Costco generally being more restrictive than most other food stores or other big block retailers that accept a wider panel of credit cards. 

That's why we've put together this guide to the credit cards that Costco accepts.

From way back in 1999, Costco accepted only a single type of credit card American Express. This got changed in 2016 when Costco made a better deal, and replaced Amex exclusivity with Visa credit cards.

What forms of payment and credit cards does Costco now accept?

 Costco has never been the retailer with the most ways to pay, but things have improved over time. Before heading out to Costco, bear in mind that these are their currently accepted forms of payment at the time of writing:

  • Cash
  • EBT cards
  • Costco Cash cards
  • All Visa credit cards
  • Many PIN-based Debit/ATM cards
  • Personal checks from their individual members
  • Business checks from their business members
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Mobile payment options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay & Samsung Pay

Are there any specific credit cards I should consider for Costco?

If you're a regular frequenter of Costco's stores, a special mention should be made of the retailer’s Costco logo emblazoned in-house credit card offerings. They're designed to offer extra benefits to individual Costco members. Business members of Costco are eligible for its corporate version, too.

Benefits start with the no annual fees and cashback bonuses redeemable for either cash directly or as merchandise at the Costco warehouse - a great alternative to even the best cashback credit cards on the market.

Do I really need a credit card for Costco?

You can see from the information above that bagging a Costco branded credit card could be well worthwhile if you do a lot of shopping in its stores. In fact, any provider that offers perks or credit cards for travel rewards can be capitalised on to earn while you spend.

But that only goes if you deploy your plastic responsibly - paying off the balance promptly and not getting one for making purchases that you ordinarily wouldn't be able to afford. That's a one-way avenue to even bigger bills and spiralling costs. We'd therefore seriously advise caution if you don't think you'll be able to pay off your credit card bills before the interest piles up.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Jonas P. DeMuro

Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.