Only Visa cards are accepted at Costco locations. That means you’ll have to pay with a debit card or cash if you have an Amex, Discover or MasterCard. Here are all of the payment methods Costco accepts, why Costco only accepts Visa, and which cards are your best bet for spending at Costco.
As a Costco shopper, you can use multiple payment methods. These include:
- Visa credit cards
- Debit and ATM cards
- EBT cards
- Costco Cash Cards
- Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
Costco’s decision to only accept Visa cards comes down to 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 Costco shoppers.
One of the best credit card options you have for shopping at Costco is Costco’s own card, the Costco Anywhere Visa. It plays to Costco’s strengths by earning you big cash back on Costco and gas purchases, as well as solid earnings on dining and travel. The overall rewards you’ll earn from this card are greater on average than the rewards you’d find with a general grocery store card. The only trade off is you can only redeem the cash back earned on your Costco Anywhere Visa at Costco locations.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
Min. credit score
This Visa from Costco -- the warehouse club's flagship 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.
|Balance transfer APR
|Estimated welcome offer value
4% at gas stations on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%), 3% at restaurants and on travel, 2% at Costco and 1% on all other purchases
If you don’t have a Visa card in your wallet, don’t want to add another, or if you don’t have a Costco in your area, consider picking up a Sam's Club® Mastercard®. Sam’s Club is a similar type of shopping warehouse and depending on your location, you can count on either having a Costco or Sam’s Club within reach — and sometimes, both.
The Sam's Club® Mastercard® is an excellent alternative to the Costco Anywhere Visa, offering a similar level of rewards and perks for the price. You can see how these cards stack up in our Sam’s Club vs. Costco card guide.
Where is my credit card accepted?
Check out our in-depth guides on credit card acceptance:
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 Visa reward cards you can pick for Costco purchases. To compare your options, check out the full range of reward cards to find one that best suits your financial needs.
Find even more answers to your questions about shopping at Costco.
- How much does a Costco membership cost?
Normal memberships cost $60 a year. Executive memberships cost $120 a year.
- What else should I know about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi?
You can’t redeem your cash back whenever you want. It’s distributed annually in the form of a reward certificate. You’ll receive it after your February billing statement closes, and you can redeem it through December 31 of the same year.
- Will there be more Costco credit card payment networks in the future?
This is always a possibility. But given its history — at first not accepting credit cards at all, then only taking Amex and now only taking Visa — it may not accept more than one payment network for the foreseeable future.