Commerce Bank™ 1.5% Cash Back Rewards Card vs. Costco Anywhere Visa® Cards By Citi

The Costco Anywhere card offers 4% cash back on gas, 3% back on restaurants and travel, and 2% back at Costco—making it a good bet if you like to buy in bulk at the popular warehouse store.

The Winner

The Costco Anywhere card wins easily, if you want all the generous rewards exclusive to Costco

Those who like to shop in bulk will get the most bang for their buck when they sign up for the Costco Anywhere card, which boasts—yes—a bulk-sized rewards program.

The card, which has no annual fee, offers 2% cash back on all Costco purchases.

Gas guzzlers for the win. If you spend a lot on gas each month, you'll enjoy getting a whopping 4% cash back at qualifying gas stations worldwide, including gas at Costco (up to $7,000 a year).

Dine out and be rewarded. You'll also earn 3% cash back at restaurants and eligible travel purchases worldwide.

All other purchases will get you 1% cash back.

No annual fee (with an asterisk*). While the Costco Anywhere card is only available to Costco members (*who pay an annual membership of $55 -$110 a year), this Costco-branded credit card does not have an annual fee.

This all sounds pretty nice, and it is — IF you plan on redeeming all this generous cash back at Costco, the exclusive spot where the rewards program means anything.

Costco's Net Income Worldwide

It also helps that you can only apply for the Signature card by Commerce Bank if you reside in one of the 21 states where it operates.

Counterargument

The Special Connections card may be better for you because of its flexible cash back redemption and longer 0% interest period

If you aren't already a Costco member (say you prefer Sam's Club), and don't spend a lot on gas, then the Special Connections Signature card may be a better cash back card for you.

Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back. You'll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases—no exceptions.

This is among the higher cash back rates, and it applies to all spending, including department stores, which would only earn you 1% cash back with the Costco card.

No need to keep track of bonus cash back categories or worry about which credit card to use.

Get five more months of 0% interest. With the Special Connections Signature card, you'll get almost an additional half-year of 0% interest intro APR.

This extra time can help you pay off a large purchase before being charged interest.

Depending on the size of your card balance, the savings from this 0% intro APR can really add up.

But be forewarned: You'll pay a 5% fee—one of the highest balance transfer fees around. (More on that next.)

Flexible redemption options. While the Costco Anywhere Card only lets you redeem your rewards once a year in Costco stores, the Special Connections Signature card offers more flexible redemption options.

You can redeem cash back for gift cards, travel, merchandise, and more.

People love the card because of its free FICO score

Customers who are working on building their credit said they enjoyed the perk of being able to view their FICO Score for free when they logged into their Commerce account.

This can cost upwards of $25 a month through myFICO.com, so it's a good benefit for those who want to monitor their credit.

The biggest customer complaint about the card is that you only get the full 1.5% when you redeem cash back in the form of a statement credit

Customers were disappointed to discover that they only earned 1% back when they redeemed points for a gift card or merchandise.

The full 1.5% cash back took effect only when redeemed for a statement credit.

Also, the card's balance transfer fee is on the higher side—you'll pay a 5% fee on the amount you transfer, plus interest.

That adds up quickly!

For example, those who transferred $5,000 to their Special Connections Signature card owed $100-$250 more in fees than they would pay with other credit cards that only charge a 3% balance transfer fee.

Lastly, the credit card is also only available to those in the 21 states where Commerce does business.

The takeaway? The Special Connections Signature card offers five additional months of 0% interest and more flexible cash back redemption options.

But the Costco Anywhere card is still a better bet for all of your gas, travel, and restaurant spending, providing you with up to 4% cash back.

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The Winner's Strengths

The Costco card is stronger because you can earn far more cash back (to spend exclusively at Costco)

When you sign up for the Costco Anywhere card, you'll boost your cash back rewards on your dining, travel, gas, and Costco purchases.

People love the card because they can use it as their membership ID at Costco

The co-branded Costco Anywhere card comes pre-printed with your photo and Costco Membership ID—so you don't need to make sure you have your Costco membership card on hand when you visit the big bulk store.

The convenience of having everything in one place is a perk consumers like about the rewards program.

The biggest customer complaint about the Costco card is that they can only redeem rewards once a year

Most cash back credit cards allow you to redeem cash back anytime.

The Costco Anywhere card, on the other hand, issues rewards only one time a year—every February—in the form of a credit to be used in person at Costco.

The credit can't be used online at Costco.com, which some customers find annoying.

A little-known fact is that the rewards certificate can be redeemed at customer service in-store for cash.

Growth of Costco Shoppers

The takeaway? The Costco Anywhere card offers bonus cash back on gas, dining out, travel, and Costco purchases—but you can only redeem for cash in store once a year.

Why You Should Consider these Credit Cards

You should consider these credit cards if you do a lot of your shopping at Costco or want a decent cash back rewards card

It really comes down to what's right for your spending habits and needs.

The Costco card is a clear winner only if you do a lot of your shopping there (instead of Sam's Club, for example).

If not, and you wanted a solid cash back card with a long 0% introductory balance transfer rate, then go for the Signature card by Commerce Bank.

You're the perfect customer for the Costco card if you like to buy in bulk

To find out whether the Costco Anywhere card is the right card for you, answer the following questions:

  • Do you need to have a credit score greater than 700?
  • Are you already a Costco member who spends a lot of money on bulk purchases at the popular warehouse club?
  • Do you drive a lot and spend a lot on gas?
  • Do you enjoy eating out at restaurants?

If you answered yes to the questions above, then this is a great card to add to your wallet to help you earn bonus cash back.

You're the ideal customer for the Special Connections card if you like to earn a flat cash back rate on all purchases

Curious whether the Special Connections Signature card is a good fit?

Answer the following questions to find out:

  • Do you have a credit score greater than 680?
  • Do you spend in categories other than gas, dining out, and wholesale clubs like Costco?
  • Are you planning on making a large purchase and looking for 0% interest?

If you answered yes to the questions above, then the Special Connections Signature card may be a good fit for you.

If you are a Costco shopper, then go for the Costco card.

The takeaway? The Costco Anywhere card offers 4% cash back on gas, 3% back on restaurants and travel, and 2% back at Costco—making it a better bet if you spend in those categories than Commerce's flat 1.5% cash back.

How the Costco Anywhere card compares to its top competitor

Costco Anywhere card Special Connections Signature card
How high of credit score do you need?

>720

>680

Average APR?

16.24%

16.24%

Annual fee?

None (but you need to be a Costco member, which costs a minimum of $55)

None

How big of sign-up bonus do you get?

None

None

How much do you need to spend to get the bonus?

None

n/a

How many points do you get for every dollar?

4% on gas (up to $7,000)

3% at restaurants and eligible travel expenses

2% at Costco 1% on everything else

Flat 1.5% on all purchases

Any restrictions?

Purchases above $7,000 of spending on gas will only earn 1% cash back.

None

If you spent $100 on the card, then how much would the points be worth in dollars?

$4 for gas

$3 for restaurants and travel

$2 for Costco

$1 for everything else

$1.50

How much would you need to spend on the card to make up for the fees (excluding APR/rates)?

No annual fee

No annual fee

Rewards and Bonuses

Neither card currently offers a signup bonus

Both of these cash back rewards cards don't currently offer a signup bonus, though in the past, the Special Connections Signature card has offered a $150 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 within three months.

Benefits

Both Citi and Commerce offer worry-free shopping and other benefits

Both cards provide you with purchase protection and other benefits.

The Costco card offers Price Rewind and other benefits

Lowest price, guaranteed.Citi credit cards offer Price Rewind.

You can register electronics and other big-ticket items purchased with your Costco Anywhere card, and Citi Price Rewind will search hundreds of online merchants for a better price.

If the same item is found at a lower price within 60 days, you can get a refund for the difference.

Worry-free shopping. The card offers extended warranty and damage and theft purchase protection.

Protect yourself while traveling. The Costco Anywhere card offers trip cancellation and interruption protection, car rental and travel accident insurance worldwide, and a 24/7 emergency travel assistance hotline.

Reasons for Booking Travel Insurance

The Special Connections card offers you Visa Signature benefits

The Special Connections Signature card grants you access to Visa Signature benefits, including emergency roadside assistance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and complimentary concierge service.

The takeaway? Both cards offer purchase protection and other benefits.

Costs and Fees

Neither card charges an annual fee, but the Costco card has a high foreign transaction fee

Remember that in order to qualify for the Costco Anywhere card, you need to be a Costco member (which will cost you a minimum of $50 a year).

Don't take this card to Europe. If you do, you'll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Other fees are typical. If you make a late payment, you'll be subject to a $37 fee and penalty APR of up to 29.99%.

Balance transfers will cost you 3% and cash advances will result in a 5% fee.

The Special Connections card has a hefty balance transfer fee

Both the Costco Anywhere card and the Special Connections Signature card offer 0% interest on purchases for a limited amount of time.

The Costco Anywhere card offers 0% for 7 months, while the Special Connections Signature card offers 0% for 12 months.

The catch with the latter is the hefty 5% balance transfer fee mentioned earlier—that hike up from the typical 3% fee can really pack a punch to your wallet in the long run.

There's no annual fee, but here are some other fees to watch out for.

Don't take this card out of the United States. If you do, you'll pay a 1% foreign transaction fee on transactions made in U.S. dollars, and a 2% fee on transactions made in foreign currencies.

Other typical fees apply. Once the offer period is over, you'll pay a 5% fee on balance transfers, 5% on cash advances, a $37 late payment fee, and other standard credit card fees.

Comparing Customer Service

Citi's customer service is worse than Commerce Bank's

Consumers had more gripes about Citi's customer service than they did about Commerce Bank.

Citi's customer service is a mixed bag. Many customers complained online about the low level of service provided by Citi customer service representatives who told them misinformation or otherwise were not helpful.

Commerce Bank generally has good customer service. Commerce Bank doesn't operate in every state, but customers who have a local Commerce Bank branch said that customer service there and on the phone is decent.

It seems to have a much more local feel.

Key Digital Services

Both banks offers digital tools to help you monitor and protect your credit

In addition to managing your account, viewing credit card transaction history, and paying your bills online or via the app, both companies offer digital tools to help make monitoring and protecting your credit simple and easy.

Citi's Quick Lock lets you lock and unlock your credit card on-the-go. If you frequently misplace your credit card, Citi's Quick Lock will be a helpful solution.

This online feature lets you instantly lock your card when you lose it and unlock it as soon as you find it.

If you're using the Citi mobile app, just click on the three lines in the top left corner, select "Manage Your Cards," then click "Lock Credit Card."

You will then be able to lock and unlock any of the cards linked to your account as well as call Citi customer service to report your card as permanently lost or stolen.

Commerce Bank lets you view for FICO Score for free. The FICO Score—used in 90% of lending decisions—summarizes information in your credit report into a score that lenders use to assess your credit risk.

Commerce Bank offers free monthly credit score monitoring, which you can access by logging into your online account and viewing your e-statements.

U.S. Commerce Bank Evaluation

Similar services from myfico.com can cost upwards of $40 a month.

The takeaway? Commerce Bank and Citi offers digital tools to help you monitor and protect your credit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What does each card provider offer new customers as incentives?

    Both cards offer a 0% interest promotional rate.

    The Costco Anywhere card's 0% APR is good for seven months, while the Special Connections Signature card offers 0% APR for 12 months.

  • What does each card provider offer as ongoing incentives for loyal customers?

    You'll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the Special Connections Signature card's rewards program.

    The Costco Anywhere card, on the other hand, offers 4% cash back on gas, 3% back on travel and dining, 2% back at Costco, and 1% back on everything else.

  • What are the interest rates for each card provider?

    The Costco Anywhere card's interest rate ranges from 16.24-29.99% after the 0% interest period ends.

    The Special Connections Signature card will charge you interest ranging from 11.24-21.24%, depending on your credit score.

  • Does either card have an annual fee?

    No, but in order to sign up for the Costco Anywhere card, you need to be a member of Costco (which costs a minimum of $55 annually).

  • What about a foreign transaction fee?

    The Special Connections Signature card charges a 1% fee on transactions outside of the U.S. made in U.S. dollars and 2% on transactions made in foreign currencies.

    The Costco Anywhere card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

  • What credit score range should you be in before applying for each card?

    You'll want to have excellent credit for the Costco Everyday card (>720) and very good credit for the Special Connections Signature card (>680).

  • How do I apply for each card?

    To apply for the Costco Anywhere card, visit the Citi website.

    You can go to the Commerce Bank website to sign up for the Special Connections Signature card.

  • How do I cancel each card?

    If you'd like to cancel either your Costco Anywhere card or Special Connections Signature card, just call the customer service number on the back of your credit card —that way, you'll reach a customer service agent who specializes in your credit card.

    With both cards, you'll have to pay off your balance before the account can be closed.

    Be sure to redeem any cash back available before closing the account, or risk forfeiting it.

Boost your cash back earnings when you shop in bulk at Costco and fill up with gas

For Costco enthusiasts who spend a lot of time in their cars and like to buy in bulk, the Costco Anywhere card from Citi will help you boost your cash back earnings with as much as 4% back on gas and 2% back on all Costco purchases.

Add to that seven months of 0% interest, along with no annual fee, and you have a new favorite credit card to put in your wallet.

  • The Costco Anywhere card offers 4% cash back on gas, 3% back on restaurants and travel, and 2% back at Costco—making it a better bet if you spend in those categories than Commerce's flat 1.5% cash back.
  • The Costco Anywhere card offers bonus cash back on gas, dining out, travel, and Costco purchases—but you can only redeem for cash in store once a year.
  • The Special Connections Signature card offers five additional months of 0% interest and more flexible cash back redemption. But the Costco Anywhere card is still a better bet for all of your gas, travel, and restaurant spending, providing you with up to 4% cash back.
  • Neither cash back card currently offers a sign-up bonus.
  • Both cards offer purchase protection and other benefits.
  • Neither card charges an annual fee, but beware of foreign transaction fees and other fees associated with credit cards.
  • Commerce Bank appears to offer better customer service than Citi.
  • Commerce Bank and Citi offer digital tools to help you monitor and protect your credit.

Do you use the Costco Anywhere card?

How has the company worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.

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