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Costco Credit Cards: An In-Depth Review

If you're already shopping at Costco and you're not earning cash back rewards yet, you may be missing out on a major perk of carrying their credit card.

Your other credit cards may offer deals and loyalty rewards for shopping with their plastic, but are they better than the Costco Anywhere Visa card by Citi?

To help you answer that question, we'll be diving into everything you need to know about the Costco cash back rewards card -- including all the associated fees, benefits, program details, and more.

You'll know if the extra club member advantages are worth it with the help of our guide.

A Brief Overview of Costco

Costco is a membership warehouse club.

Costco is not like your local Walmart or big retail chain. Costco is a membership warehouse club.

So unlike traditional stores, you have to be a member -- not just a customer -- to shop there.

This means you must pay a small annual membership fee before you're allowed to make any purchases.

Your membership fee gives you access to products you may not otherwise have access to. These are normal, everyday items except that they're in large, wholesale quantities.

By purchasing items in bulk, you end up saving money because the price per unit cost significantly decreases.

Costco and other warehouse clubs are perfect for small business owners, large families, and individuals who simply like a good deal.

The philosophy has always been the same for Costco: keep costs down and pass the savings on to their members.

As part of their mission, they're "dedicated to bringing [their] members the best possible prices on quality, brand-name merchandise."

So despite their low prices, you're still scoring high-quality items from trusted brands.

Curious as to how they can keep their price tags so low? Here's how it works:

  • Their warehouse style facility is simple and no-frills. You won't find traditional shopping carts and baggers here. In their warehouse-style facility, products are loaded inside and kept on their shipping pallets. Instead of needing to be unpacked and added to the shelves, you pick up your items off the pallets and take them home in a recycled box or one of your reusable shopping totes.
  • By purchasing in bulk, Costco is able to increase its buying power and pass the savings along to their members. Because of this, they don't need to mark up their items as much. For example, Costco never marks up an item more than 15%, according to CNBC. Compare that to a typical supermarket marking up at 25%, or a department store at 50%, and you see a significant price savings right there, as mentioned in that research.
  • They also don't stock as many items as traditional stores do, as CNBC uncovered. So instead of offering over 100,000 items like Walmart, Costco offers less than 5% of that at 4,000 items or so. They only sell products that they can get at a decent discount, which can then be passed on to their customers.

As of publishing this guide, here are the current Costco annual membership rates:

1. The Executive Membership is $120 USD annually plus tax and comes with the following perks:

  • One membership card for the household
  • 2% Annual rewards on qualifying purchases
  • Greater discounts on Costco Services
  • Extra perks on Travel products

The Executive Membership screenshot

2. The Business Membership is $60 USD annually plus tax and will give you:

  • One card per household (additional cards may be purchased for $60 each)
  • The ability to purchase items for resale

Business Membership screenshot

3. The Gold Star Membership also runs $60 USD, plus applicable tax, and comes with:

  • One card per household

Gold Star Membership screenshot

You can even give the gift of a Costco membership for $60 USD.

Gift of Membership screenshot

You'll need to be a Costco member before applying for a Costco credit card.

Signing up for a Costco credit card doesn't automatically grant you membership for Costco, but it does offer its own rewards for members. Let's discuss this more next.

Credit Cards Offered

What Credit Cards Does Costco Offer?

The Costco Anywhere Visa credit card by Citi is for both business and personal use.

This credit card is exclusive for Costco members only and, as a perk, is a cash back rewards card. This means you'll rack up cash rewards with any eligible purchase.

24% of consumers prefer credit card rewards

On top of that, Costco gives you a 0% introductory rate for the first 7 months on both cards.

And you'll earn Costco rewards even when you make purchases outside of Costco. Since this is a Visa credit card, you'll bank rewards for your purchases with the card wherever Visa is accepted.

Here's what else you need to know about each card:

  • personal icon

    Costco Anywhere Visa Card – Personal

    The Costco Anywhere Visa credit card for personal use is ideal for individuals looking to earn cash back while saving money at Costco.

    Since you can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted, you'll rack up Costco rewards on everyday purchases both in and out of the Costco club.

  • business icon

    Costco Anywhere Visa Card – Business

    The Costco Anywhere Visa card for business works the same way, except for (you guessed it) businesses.

    In this case, earn Costco rewards anytime you make purchases for your business, whether that's for office supplies or office snacks.

Up next, we'll cover the financial aspects you should know before signing up.

Rates and Fees

Costco Credit Cards Rates and Fees

Now for the fine print.

First, there's no annual fee for using the Costco Anywhere credit card, which is a big win.

Then, after your introductory interest rate is over, you're looking at the following rates for the Costco personal credit card:

Costco Anywhere Visa Personal Credit Card Breakdown of Fees:

  • 16.24%* APR on unpaid balances and balance transfers
  • 26.24%* APR for cash advances

However, there are some other important fees to consider:

  • Balance Transfer: Either $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance: Either $10 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fees: 3% of each purchase transaction in US dollars. However, there's no fee to purchase anything from Costco stores worldwide.
  • Penalty fees are $37 each for a returned or late payment

Costco Anywhere Visa Business Credit Card Breakdown of Fees

The business card varies slightly from the personal one as far as rates go. Here's the breakdown:

  • 16.24%* APR on unpaid balances and balance transfers
  • 22.99%* APR for cash advances

With this card, you cannot make balance transfers.

The rest of the fees are the same as the personal credit card:

  • Cash Advance: Either $10 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fees: 3% of each purchase transaction in US dollars. However, there's no fee to purchase anything from Costco stores worldwide.
  • Penalty fees are $37 each for a returned or late payment

Keep in mind, any rates with an asterisk (*) are subject to change and are based on the current Prime Market rate. The rates outlined in this guide are current as of publishing.

Credit Limits

Credit Limits on Costco Credit Cards

Once approved, you will be given a line of revolving credit based on your credit report. Approved applicants have reported credit limits between the $500–$2,000 range to start off.

If you'd like to increase your limit, you must contact Citi direct, the issuer of your credit card, not Costco.

In some cases, you may be required to provide additional documents to prove your creditworthiness.

Asking for a credit increase only takes around a day and cardholders typically receive email confirmation once approved.

Now for the good stuff. Let's dish rewards.

Cash Back Rewards

Cash Back Rewards

Wondering which purchases count towards your rewards and how to redeem your points once you do earn them?

Both cards offer the following benefits:

  • 4% Cash back on eligible gas purchases -- including Costco gas -- all over the world
  • 3% Cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% Cash back on any purchases made at Costco or online at Costco.com
  • 1% Cash back on all other purchases

cash back rewards screenshot

51% of consumers want to redeem their rewards online,

You can also earn Costco cash rewards anytime you use your card for purchases made outside of Costco, like at the grocery store or movie theater. As long as Visa's accepted, you'll be banking Costco rewards.

How are the Costco Cash Rewards paid out?

Unlike some cash rewards cards, your Costco cash back is only delivered once a year in the form of a certificate that gets mailed to you.

For those receiving paperless statements, your certificate will be added digitally to your February credit card statement.

Once delivered, you'll have from February to December 31st to use your reward on one single transaction.

If you decide to use only a portion of your reward on that purchase, the remaining balance will be given in cash.

Your cash back rewards accrue on eligible purchases made from January to December.

There are some restrictions to consider:

  • Some stores will not allow you to purchase alcohol using your Costco Cash Rewards. This is up to the store's discretion.
  • Any remaining portions may be paid out in the form of a check instead of cash. Again, this is at the store's discretion.
  • You cannot transfer your rewards to anyone else. However, any authorized users on your account can redeem your reward.
  • No rewards are issued for accounts that are closed or have less than $1 in rewards. Closed accounts forfeit all earned rewards.

Now that you have a better understanding of the Costco credit card terms, let's find out who it might be right for.

Right For You?

Costco Credit Cards Right For You?

The question of whether the Costco Anywhere credit card is right for you is simple: How often do you shop at Costco?

If you're there multiple times per week or you order online often for business or personal use, this card may have your name on it.

Their cash back rates are not only competitive, but in some areas like gas, they're leading the way.

On top of that, the 0% introductory offer is in line with a few of the top credit cards.

In short, the Costco credit card might be right for you if:

  • You frequently shop at Costco
  • You have a small business
  • You are the head of a large family or are in charge of facilitating things for large groups of people for work, school, or church
  • Are an individual who likes a good deal

If this sounds like you, we'll show you how to get started with the application process next.

Application Process

Application Process

To apply for either one of the Costco credit cards, you must have an active Costco membership. You can apply for a Costco membership here or visit your nearest location.

Once that's all set, you can apply for the Costco Anywhere credit card online, over the phone at 1-800-970-3019, or in-person at a store.

The application form requires you to provide your:

  • Costco membership number
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Annual income
  • Any authorized users

By signing the application, you're authorizing Citi to pull your latest credit report.

To gain approval, you must meet Citi's criteria for being a creditworthy candidate.

They do not list the minimum requirements needed for approval, however they do mention what's taken into consideration for approval and your credit limit:

  • Your annual salary
  • Other sources of income
  • Your current debt, including anything that's listed on your credit report

Once you're approved, you'll be notified of your credit limit.

You'll also have a Costco account that you can manage online. Simply head to their site and log into your online account dashboard using the link at the top right of the page:

sign in screenshot

Here, you can pay your bill, view your account balances, see your cash back rewards, and more.

How long does it take to get your Costco credit card?

It can take anywhere from 7-10 days to process your application for approval.

Once approved, it also takes another 3-5 business days to receive your card in the mail.

You can check the status of your application by calling 1-800-970-3019.

Payment Terms

Payment Terms

You must make a minimum payment every month and it's due on the same date each time.

This figure is calculated using:

  • Any past due amounts
  • Any overlimit amounts
  • The greater of:
  • - The new balance if it's less than $25
  • - $25 if the new balance is at least $25
  • - 1% of the new balance (rounded to the closest dollar), plus interest and late fees
  • - 1.5% of the new balance (also rounded)

Here's an example of what that looks like:

minum payment example screenshot

Costco will credit your account the day they receive your payment.

If a payment is missed, a late fee of up to $37 is tacked onto your account.

To pay your Costco Anywhere credit card bill, you can:

You can also set up AutoPay where your funds will be debited from your account automatically each month.

Next, we'll compare the pros and cons of signing up and using a Costco credit card.

Benefits

Benefits

As we saw earlier, the perks connected to the Costco credit cards are pretty sweet if you like shopping warehouse/bulk style.

With the Costco Anywhere credit cards, you'll receive:

  • 4% Cash back on eligible gas worldwide for the first year of your membership. After that, this drops to 1%.
  • 3% Cash back on eligible restaurant and travel purchases
  • 2% Cash back on all Costco purchases, in-store or online at Costco.com
  • 1% Cash back on everything else

You also won't have to fork over an annual fee for this credit card.

69% of consumers said rewards make them more likely to shop with a brand

Plus, you can use your Costco Visa credit card as a form of ID instead of having to carry your Costco membership ID around too.

The Costco cards also come packed with travel protection (like trip cancellation and interruption protection -- this is for personal credit cards only) and the ability to purchase presale tickets to concerts thanks to the Citi Private Pass.

Here are a few more benefits:

  • Extended warranties on purchases
  • Damage and theft protection
  • Worldwide car rental insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Roadside assistance
  • $0 Liability on unauthorized purchases to your account
  • Quick Lock, which gives you the option to freeze your card if you lose it

We know these perks sound great, but you must consider some of the cons to using the Costco Anywhere credit cards too.

Cons

The Cons

First, while you accrue cash back rewards throughout the year, you can only redeem them once each year in the form of a reward certificate that's applied to your account every February.

Next, the 4% gas cash reward is only for the first year of your card. After that, your cash back rate drops down to 1% for gas purchases.

You won't pay an annual fee for using the card, but you must pay a yearly membership fee as part of the terms -- you must be an active Costco member and that comes with an annual membership fee between $60–$120.

And finally, if you're not a frequent Costco shopper, this card may not be your best option.

Sure, you can still rack up cash rewards for making purchases outside of Costco, but those rewards can only be redeemed at Costco or online at Costco.com

If you're on the fence about signing up for a Costco credit card, consider these customer reviews up next. Then we'll also go over some of the most common complaints after that.

Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

The customer reviews are split on the Costco credit cards.

As far as the positives, many customers report smooth sailing when using their card. They say their credit card payments post quickly, their cash back rewards are totally worth it, and the credit limit increase process is quick and painless.

One reviewer mentioned that they were instantly approved for a $7,000 credit limit after asking!

But as with anything, there are a few common complaints to think about as well.

Common Complaints

Common Complaints

The biggest complaint that came up several times was poor customer service.

Some customers mentioned it to be "non existent" and even "terrible". Many report "bad communication" with agents.

Certain reviewers were so upset that they wished they could give the Costco credit card a zero-star rating.

Other reviews pointed out:

  • "Poor dispute resolution"
  • "Numerous false fraud holds"
  • Phone calls would get dropped from transfers between departments
  • Denied transactions despite the account being paid and up to date

Another reviewer reported that the card took too long to get there, and it arrived 3 weeks later instead of between 7-10 days.

In our next section, we'll tackle the most common questions customers and potential applicants have about the Costco credit cards.

FAQ

FAQ

The answers to these common questions should address all of your concerns too.

How much is the membership? Do I need a membership to get the credit card?

Costco offers a range of membership options:

  • Executive membership: $120.00 Annual membership fee
  • Business membership: $60.00 Annual membership fee
  • Gold Star membership: $60.00 Annual membership fee

You must have an active Costco membership to apply for and use their credit cards.

How can I cancel my card?

To cancel your Costco credit card, you must reach out to Citi's customer support since they are the issuing bank.

You can call them at 1-800-950-5114 or visit them online.

What can I use my Costco credit card for?

You can use your Costco credit card to make purchases at Costco or online at Costco.com.

In addition, you can also use your cards to make purchases outside of Costco. As long as the merchant accepts Visa, you'll be able to charge your Costco credit cards and rack up rewards for doing so.

Where and what stores can I use my Costco credit card?

You can use your Costco credit card at any stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more that accept Visa credit cards.

How long does it take Costco to refund my credit card?

Refunding your card can typically take anywhere from 3-5 business days.

How can I check my Costco credit card balance?

To see your account balance, you can log in online.

You can also call their customer support over the phone to find this out (1-800-950-5114).

Can I withdraw money from a Costco credit card? And if so, how do I do that?

Using a cash advance, you can withdraw money from your Costco credit card.

You'll be charged either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater, for this convenience.

Can I get a cash advance and are there any related fees?

Yes and it will cost you. Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

Can I pay for my Costco credit card with a gift, a different credit card, or PayPal?

When it comes to paying your statement each month, you can only use the following options:

  • Online bill pay
  • Transfers from a Citibank deposit account
  • AutoPay
  • Pay by mail
  • Pay by phone
  • Through a wire transfer

For all other methods of payment, you must call Customer Service for approval (1-800-950-5114).

Can I use my Costco credit card without the card?

If you have a Costco membership and Costco credit card, Customer Service should be able to look up your card number in the system so you can use it.

If you want to make a purchase online, simply log into your account, grab your credit card number, and complete your purchase from there sans physical credit card.

Can I add an authorized user to a Costco credit card?

You can add an authorized user to your account in your initial application.

To be eligible as an authorized user, they must have a Costco membership in their name and, in some cases, they may be required to provide additional information such as a driver's license.

To add an authorized user after you've received your credit card, you must call customer service at 1-800-950-5114.

Are there any upgrades to the Costco credit card?

The Costco credit card does not offer different card levels so there are no upgrades available.

The only upgrade you'll see with this card is in the form of a higher credit limit (if your creditworthiness is eligible).

How soon can I use my Costco credit card once I receive it?

Your Costco credit card can be activated and used as soon as you receive it.

Simply call the number listed on the card, answer a few questions and prompts, and your card will be activated so you start shopping.

How do I contact Costco credit card services?

If you need to contact Costco's credit card customer support, you must go through Citi's support.

You can call them direct at 1-800-950-5114 or visit their website.

How do I report a stolen Costco credit card?

To report a stolen card, you must call the Citi support team immediately at 1-800-950-5114.

What credit score do I need to get approval for a Visa card?

Citi does not list a required minimum credit score to get approval for the Costco Visa credit card, however, the following items are taken into consideration anytime you apply for a card:

  • Your annual salary
  • Other sources of income
  • Your current debt, including anything else that's listed on your credit report

What credit score do I have to maintain so my account is not closed?

You do not need to maintain a minimum credit score to keep your account active.

Instead, you must make minimum payments each month to keep your account in good standing.

Will my credit score drop when my account gets closed?

Depending on the reason behind why your account was closed, your credit score may be negatively affected.

If your account was closed after a short period of time (length of time is a factor on your credit report) or you were delinquent on payments, you could see a drop in your credit score.

Which credit bureaus does Costco credit card report to?

Costco's credit cards report your credit history to all 3 major bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).

However, this is done through Citi as they are the issuing bank for the Costco credit cards.

Can I build my credit with the Costco credit card?

The Costco credit cards can help you build your credit.

As long as you make your payments on time, pay at least the minimum required, and never miss a payment, you should see an improvement in your credit score.

Keep in mind to truly improve your score, you should pay off your balance in full every month.

And since Citi reports your credit history to the 3 major bureaus, you'll be able to build credit over time by spending and paying back responsibly.

Is there an expiry date on the card?

Each Costco credit card has its own expiration date printed on it. To see what your is, refer to the front side of your card.

Membership cards must be reviewed annually.

Is there a credit insurance program and how will it cover me if I lose my job?

The Costco credit cards do not offer an insurance program or coverage should you lose your job.

Can I have two credit cards from Costco at the same time?

Since Costco offers two credit cards, a business and a personal option, you may have two credit cards at once. Lucky!

Can I transfer money from my Costco credit card to another?

Balance transfers are only an option on the personal Costco credit cards.

The rate to do this is, either $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Is it hard to get a Costco credit card?

This depends on your credit. The better your credit score and creditworthiness, the easier it will be to get approval for a Costco credit card.

How long does it take to receive the card once I have been approved for it?

The application process can take anywhere from 7-10 days to complete. Once approved, your card usually ships within 3-5 business days.

How do I get more rewards points?

To earn more rewards points, you must use your card more on eligible purchases.

What can you use your Costco points for?

Your Costco points can only be redeemed at Costco or on Costco.com. In most stores, you can use your points on any single purchase you make (except for alcohol in some stores).

What type of credit cards does Costco accept?

For your membership and regular purchases, Costco only accepts Visa-backed credit cards and debit cards.

However, Citi does not accept payments from credit cards to pay your monthly card bill.

How much does a Costco membership cost?

Here are the current prices for each Costco membership level:

  • Executive membership: $120.00 Annual membership fee
  • Business membership: $60.00 Annual membership fee
  • Gold Star membership: $60.00 Annual membership fee

Do I need a membership to shop at Costco?

Yes, you do need a membership to shop at Costco.

Does the Costco card cover rental car insurance?

The Costco credit cards offer some car rental insurance to protect you while renting a car.

It may cover you for issues like theft and damage.

Does the Costco credit card accept balance transfers?

Balance transfers are only an option on the personal Costco credit cards.

The rate to do this is, either $5 or 3% of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Do you need a credit card for a Costco membership?

No, you do not need a credit card to have a Costco membership.

What are the benefits of having a Costco Executive membership?

The Executive level membership gives you:

  • 2% Annual rewards on qualifying purchases (Instead of 1% like the regular cards)
  • Greater discounts on Costco Services
  • Extra perks on Travel products

What is the difference between Costco executive and regular membership?

The Costco Executive level membership costs $60.00 more than the regular one, but it comes with extra rewards as we mentioned in the question prior.

The Verdict

Should You Get a Costco Credit Card?

The Costco credit cards may not be right for everyone, but if you fall under the following criteria, it may be a great reward card for you:

  • Small business owners
  • Head of a large household
  • Individuals in charge of a large group for work, church, or school
  • Individuals that shop at Costco several times per week

Overall, the Costco credit cards offer competitive perks, average interest rates, and low penalty fees making it a good card to consider using.

On the flip side, if Costco is not somewhere you shop often, you're better off choosing a different reward card.

To get started with the application process, simply use this link.

We'd love to hear from you now! Do you have a Costco credit card? If not, would you consider applying for one after reading this guide?


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