Which credit cards does Costco accept? | finder.com
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Which credit cards does Costco accept?

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The answer to this question comes down to one word: fees.

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 Visa.

Credit cards accepted at Costco

Credit card typeAccepted at Costco
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
Discover

Our pick for a Visa card

Chase Freedom®

  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99% to 25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
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Compare cards accepted at Costco

Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$0
16.99% to 25.74% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$0
16.99% to 25.74% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$0
17.24% variable

N/A

Earn Costco cash rewards everywhere Visa® is accepted.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 thereafter)
12.24% to 15.24% variable

N/A

3% cash back on all purchases your first card year, then 2.5% cash back on all purchases starting your second card year.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($250 thereafter)
None (Charge Card)

N/A

This charge card gives you the option to pay in full each month or to carry a balance for up to 60 with no interest.

Compare up to 4 providers

Why is Visa 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 0.6% per transaction — far lower than the typical fee.

Eventually, that deal ended when Costco asked for a lower interchange fee, and Amex couldn’t accept. Costco soon struck a deal with Visa for a 0.4% interchange fee.

In the end, Costco’s Visa-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 customers.

Best credit cards to use at Costco

While your credit card options at Costco are limited, you can still find strong options. One of them is Costco’s own cobranded card, which it distributes through Citi.

Chase Freedom® credit card

This is a rotating-bonus-category card. Wait for the quarter when you can earn 5% cash back on wholesale-club spending, then stock up on Costco purchases.

  • Get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in rotating categories that you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on unactivated categories after you reach the spending limit and on all other purchases.
  • Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of card membership.
  • No annual fee.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card

  • Get 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of your account opening.
  • No annual fee.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco’s flagship credit card offers solid rewards on more than just Costco purchases.

  • Get 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases worldwide — including at Costco — for the first $7,000 per year, then 1%.
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on restaurant and eligible travel purchases worldwide, 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases and 1% cash back on everything else.
  • No annual fee with paid Costco membership.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

Consider this card if you’re a big spender and make a lot of everyday purchases. The flat-rate cash back comes at a great rate, but you want to earn enough rewards to make the annual fee worth it.

  • Get 3% cash back on all purchases for your first card year.
  • Earn 2.5% cash back on all purchases starting your second card year.
  • $59 annual fee waived for the first year.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

This card has a hefty annual fee. But it’s a great choice at Costco, which accepts mobile-wallet payments. You’ll also receive an impressive annual statement credit for travel purchases.

  • Earn 3x points on travel purchases and mobile wallet spending, and 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Get up to $325 in annual statement credit for eligible travel purchases.
  • $400 annual fee.

Payment options at Costco

  • Visa credit cards
  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Debit and ATM cards
  • EBT cards
  • Costco Cash Cards
  • Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay

Best everyday credit cards of 2018

Bottom line

If you want to use a credit card at Costco, you’ll need to bring a Visa. That doesn’t snuff out your options, however, as there are several strong cards you can pick for Costco purchases. To compare more options, check out other Visa cards.

Frequently asked questions

Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for finder.com. When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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