It’s easy to rack up big bills at Costco. For that reason, the wholesale club seems like the perfect place to use a credit card. You might be surprised to learn, then, that Costco only accepts one branded credit card: Mastercard.
Credit cards and payment methods accepted at Costco
Credit card type
Accepted at Costco
American Express (partnership ended in 2014)
Debit cards (including Visa debit cards)
Costco cash card or gift certificate
Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
Why is Mastercard the only credit card Costco accepts?
The answer to this question comes down to one word: fees.
Whenever you swipe your card at a store, the merchant pays interchange fees to the respective payment network — Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc. Typically, this fee is 2% to 3%.
A few years ago, Costco only accepted credit cards from American Express. Costco had a deal where its interchange fee would be far lower than the typical fee.
Eventually, that deal ended when Costco asked for a lower interchange fee, and Amex wouldn’t accept. When their deal with Amex expired in 2014, Costco struck a deal with Mastercard.
In the end, Costco’s Mastercard-exclusive policy is about cost savings. By working exclusively with one payment network, the company can negotiate lower fees and pass on the savings to Costco shoppers.
Best credit cards to use at Costco
While your Costco credit card payment options are limited, you can still find rewarding options along with the Mastercard from Costco, which the warehouse club distributes through Capital One.
*Disclaimer: How we chose the best cards to use at Costco
We’ve chosen the cards on this page based on the providers available through Finder. These cards are not representative of the entire market. We’ve narrowed down our top picks by looking for products that offered strong rewards for Costco credit card payments, and that fit with the warehouse club’s Mastercard-only policy.
No single card will be the best choice for everyone, so compare your options before picking your new card.
If you’re looking for a $0 annual fee credit card with unlimited cash back rewards and a competitive balance transfer offer, then the Tangerine World Mastercard could be right for you. Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.
New cardholders can get a sweet bonus. Earn a $250 Bonus when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible everyday purchases in your first three months as a new cardholder. Apply online by March 31, 2020. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
No annual fee. Enjoy a $0 annual fee with this card.
Welcome offer. Earn a $250 Bonus when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible everyday purchases in your first three months as a new cardholder. Apply online by March 31, 2020. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Earn cash back rewards. Earn unlimited 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and unlimited 0.5% cash back on everything else. Conditions apply.
Optional balance transfer offer. Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months. To take advantage of this offer, you must complete the Balance Transfer request within 30 days of account approval and activate your card within 45 days of approval. A 1% balance transfer fee will be charged on each transferred amount (Fee is waived by Tangerine if you're a resident of Quebec).
Competitive interest rates. The Tangerine World Mastercard comes with a 19.95% interest rate on purchases, 19.95% on cash advances and 19.95% on balance transfers (after any promotional rates expire).
Add authorized users. Add up to 5 authorized users to your account, and enjoy a $0 annual fee for each additional card.
Mobile Device Insurance plus protection on your purchases. Fully charge the cost of new cell phones, smartphones, tablets or wireless plans to your card, and get coverage if your mobile device is lost, stolen, accidentally damaged or experiences mechanical failure. Most new items charged to your card are automatically covered against loss, theft or damage. Plus, the period of repair services on eligible items may be doubled to a maximum of one year. Conditions apply.
Travel perks. Enjoy a complimentary LoungeKey membership, which gives you exclusive dining, retail and spa offers in 400+ airports worldwide plus access to 1,000+ lounges (a fee applies for each lounge visit).
Minimum income requirement. You need a minimum personal income of $60,000 or a combined household income of at least $100,000 to apply for this card.
Foreign transaction fee. Every time you make a purchase in a foreign currency, you’ll pay a 2.5% fee.
Limited travel benefits. Though this card offers some travel perks, it doesn’t come with many of the travel benefits offered by more premium credit cards such as complimentary travel insurance, free flight and hotel upgrades and discounted car rentals.
The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard lets you earn accelerated AIR MILES that can be redeemed for travel perks and merchandise. Get 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on eligible purchases. To sweeten the deal, the card comes with an enticing signup bonus. Earn a bonus of up to 3,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
Cardholders also get a range of complimentary travel benefits including travel insurance coverage. Get a 15% discount on all AIR MILES flights in North America with no blackout periods. Enjoy a free membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey with exclusive VIP access, plus get two annual complimentary passes. Cardholders can also access free Trip Assistance Services for travel-related information and advice.
Signup bonus. Earn a bonus of up to 3,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
Miles per dollar. Get 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on eligible purchases.
Get 2X the Miles. Earn 2X the Miles when you pay with your credit card and show your AIR MILES Card at AIR MILES partners. Also earn 2X the Miles for every $10 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
Travel perks. Get a 15% discount on all AIR MILES flights in North America with no blackout periods. Enjoy a free membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey with exclusive VIP access, plus get two annual complimentary passes. Cardholders can also access free Trip Assistance Services for travel-related information and advice.
Travel insurance coverage. Get peace of mind with a wide range of travel insurance benefits including up to $2,000,000 Out-of-Province/Out-of-Country Emergency Medical Protection as well as coverage for delayed flights; trip cancellations, interruptions and delays; rental car collision damage and baggage loss, theft or damage.
Rental car discounts. Get up to a 25% discount at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations with complimentary Collision Damage Waiver benefits (MSRP of up to $65,000).
Annual fee. This card has an annual fee of $120.
Foreign transaction fee. This card has a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%. This will apply on any overseas purchases or any purchases made online with an international retailer.
Eligibility requirements. You’ll need to earn a personal income of at least $80,000, or a combined household income of at least $150,000 annually.
Best for membership at Costco: Capital One Costco Mastercard, exclusively for Costco Members
The Capital One Costco Mastercard, exclusively for Costco Members is a cash back card and a Costco Membership card all rolled into one. When you pay at Costco, you only have to present your credit card.Earn 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 2% on gas purchases, and 0.5% on the first $3,000 spent annually on all other purchases (and 1% thereafter). There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn. Plus, enjoy a $0 annual fee, travel benefits, price protection on eligible purchases and other perks.
Earn cash back on all eligible purchases. Earn 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 2% on gas purchases, and 0.5% on the first $3,000 spent annually on all other purchases (and 1% thereafter). There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
No annual fee. This card comes with no annual fee.
Doubles as Costco Membership. This credit card doubles as your Costco Membership.
Travel insurance. Get up to $250,000.00 Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance for you, your spouse and any dependent children plus access to complimentary baggage delay insurance. Get complimentary coverage against rental car damage if you charge the full cost of the rental vehicle to your card and decline the collision damage waiver insurance offered by the rental agency.
Travel Assistance services. Get 24/7 access to Travel Assistance services for medical referrals, emergency cash transfers, lost documents, ticket replacements, lost luggage assistance and legal referrals when travelling outside of your province. (Any costs incurred in connection with these services are charged to your card.)
Price Protection, Extended Warranty and Purchase Assurance. Most personal items that are fully charged to your Capital One Costco Mastercard, exclusively for Costco Members are automatically insured against theft, loss or damage for 120 days from the date of purchase. Additionally, the original manufacturer’s warranty for eligible purchases is extended for up to two years. And if, within 60 days of purchasing an item in Canada, you find it for a lower price, you will be paid the difference up to $100.00 per item and $500.00 per calendar year.
Interest rate. The annual interest rate on purchases is 19.75%.
Must be a Costco member. In order to apply for the card, you must be a Costco member.
Lower cash back rate for many purchases. For purchases outside of gas and restaurants, receive 0.5% on the first $3,000 spent annually and then 1% afterwards.
Cannot transfer your balance from another credit card. Currently, this card does not receive balance transfers.
Compare cards accepted at Costco
*The products compared on this page are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market. There is no perfect order or perfect ranking system for the products we list on our Site, so we provide you with the functionality to self-select, re-order and compare products. The initial display order is influenced by a range of factors including conversion rates, product costs and commercial arrangements, so please don't interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. We're happy to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions, but we'd like you to make your own decisions and compare and assess products based on your own preferences, circumstances and needs.
If you want to use a credit card at Costco, you’ll need to bring a Mastercard. But that shouldn’t snuff out your options, however, as there are several rewarding cards and other payment methods you can use for your Costco purchases. To compare more options, check out other Mastercard credit cards.
Frequently asked questions
Normal memberships cost $60 a year. Executive memberships cost $120 a year.
This is always a possibility. But given its history — previously not accepting credit cards at all, then only taking Amex and now only taking Mastercard — it may not accept more than one payment network for the foreseeable future.
Jaclyn Hurst is an associate editor at Finder. She has a Bachelor's degree in Business from Redeemer University and a University Certificate in Management Foundations from Athabasca University. She's as passionate about business and finance as she is about organic Sumatra coffee, music and sports.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.