The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, September 29, 2022

What Credit Cards Are Accepted at Costco?

Credit Cards Accepted At Costco

credit card advice

Ashley Dull

Written by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Although often mocked for the super-sized supplies stocked on pallets instead of shelves, warehouse clubs and their voluminous products can be a huge blessing to the budgets of large families and small businesses alike.

One of the most popular warehouse chains is Costco, which sports over 740 locations around the world, more than 500 of which are in the U.S.

But while consumers may love the store’s copious quantities and cost-per-ounce prices, when it comes to the credit cards accepted at Costco, the company’s card policy definitely leaves a little something to be desired. In this article, we’ll take a look at the cards from the only network accepted by Costco. Hint: it’s Visa. And we’ll present some of our favorite Visa cards that may come in handy the next time you’re ready to make some bulk purchases.

Accepted Networks | Top Cards

Only Visa® Network Credit Cards Are Accepted at Costco

So, what’s the big beef with using a credit card at Costco’s warehouse stores? In short, Costco only accepts cards that operate on the Visa credit card network.

More expansively, Costco has an exclusive contract with Visa that prohibits the use of any other credit card networks, including Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. If you want to use a credit card to make purchases at Costco, you’re going to need one with a Visa logo.

Visa Logo

This single-network credit card policy isn’t new for the big-box retailer, either. Until the recent switch to Visa, Costco had a similar contract with American Express that limited card use to that network.

The exclusivity does seem to be limited to credit cards alone; there don’t appear to be any restrictions on debit card networks, meaning you could use a Mastercard debit card to make a Costco purchase (or one from any other network).

Costco accepts all Visa cards, as well as cash, checks, debit/ATM, EBT and Costco Cash Cards. — Costco

Of course, the key distinction to point out here is that Visa is a credit card processing network, not a credit card issuer. Visa only processes the transactions — the issuing bank does everything else.

For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ operates on the Visa network, but it is issued by Chase bank. It’s Chase that holds the credit line, dictates the rates and fees, and determines the purchase rewards. Bills are sent from Chase — and cardholders make their payments to Chase.

This means that while Costco’s policy limiting accepted cards to the Visa network may limit your options, it doesn’t restrict them as much as you might think. Visa has a wide range of bank partners that issue cards on the Visa network, including Costco’s own co-branded credit card.

The Top 6 Visa® Credit Cards to Use at Costco

When considering the best credit card to use for your Costco purchases, the biggest decision will likely come down to what you want to do with the rewards you earn.

If you want to maximize the value of what you earn, points rewards credit cards are usually the way to go. Those who don’t mind rewards that are only good at Costco can get decent value out of the co-branded card, but an unlimited cash back card will generally have the most redemption flexibility.

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
19.24% - 26.24% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

Given that Costco doesn’t fall into either card’s bonus categories, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and its big sibling, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, only offer 1X Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent.

That said, one Ultimate Rewards® point can easily be worth more than its cash-back value. Indeed, the expert valuation of Ultimate Rewards® sets them at 2.1¢ per point — and smart transfers could boost that value up to as much as 4¢ per point.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24% - 25.99%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
17.24% - 25.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

On pure base rate cash back rewards rate alone, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® would rank below the co-branded Costco credit card.

However, if you happen to own a credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards® points, as cards #1 and #2 on this list do, you can turn your cash back into points, effectively earning unlimited 1.5X Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 spent with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which gives you even more per-point value.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Discover one of Citi's best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® offers one of the highest flat cash back rewards rates for Costco purchases, providing 2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com. While the card itself has no annual fee, you’ll need to be a paid Costco member to apply for the card.

Perhaps the biggest downside to the Costco Anywhere Visa® is that its rewards can only be redeemed toward Costco purchases. Additionally, you’ll need to retain your Costco membership to keep your card — and to redeem your rewards.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Discover the only business credit card designed exclusively for Costco members
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi is the sibling card to the card above, but for business owners who 1) do a lot of shopping at Costco for their business or 2) drive a lot. That’s because where this card really excels is its cash back for fuel purchases.

This card doesn’t charge an annual fee, but you will need to be a Costco membership to qualify.

6. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

This card is currently not available.

Visa® Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card offers a simple, no-fuss unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere the card is accepted — Costco included. Cash back is redeemed for a straightforward statement credit equal to the face value of 1.5¢ per dollar spent.

Plus, pay your mobile phone bill with your card to be eligible for up to $600 in cellphone protection against covered damage or theft.

Save More on Your Bulk Purchases with the Right Card

While few of us really need a vat of mayonnaise or cubic foot of peanut butter, just about anyone with multiple mouths to feed can likely find a good deal at a warehouse club.

But when you’re already paying a membership fee just for the right to browse the cavernous aisles, the savings margin can be slim for those not supplying a small army.

Choosing the right credit card for your Costco purchases can not only ensure you actually have a way to pay (remember, Visa only!), it can also add a little more steal to your deal by potentially making up for that troublesome membership fee.

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