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Costco has a loyal following for its competitive prices and expansive product selection of groceries and merchandise. Let’s not overlook the iconic $1.50 hot dog from the snack bar or the cheap gas prices. As you’re likely to spend a lot with each shopping trip, it’s worth asking, “What credit cards does Costco accept?” so you can earn the most rewards and not leave the warehouse club empty-handed.
What Credit Cards Does Costco Accept?
The warehouse club accepts all Visa credit cards for any Costco purchase. Most non-Visa credit cards are not accepted. It’s possible to use Mastercard-branded credit cards for Costco.com purchases but not inside the warehouse.
Here is the Costco credit card acceptance policy by credit card network:
- Visa: Accepted at all U.S. warehouses, gas stations, and at Costco.com
- Mastercard: Only for Costco.com purchases
- American Express: Not accepted
- Discover: Not accepted
The accepted payment methods can be confusing, so here is a breakdown for the various transaction types.
Costco Warehouse Purchases
Visa is the only credit card accepted for in-store purchases at Costco in the United States. You can use the co-brand Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi or other Visa-branded credit cards.
For example, you can use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. While these two travel rewards credit cards are issued through different banks, they both have a Visa label and pay for Costco purchases just the same.
Other in-warehouse payment options include:
- Most PIN-based debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover only)
- Costco Shop Cards
- Personal checks
- Business checks
- Traveler’s checks
- EBT cards
- Mobile payment (including the convenient Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay)
You might think that paying with a mobile payment app like Apple Pay or Google Pay is a backdoor way to use a non-Visa credit card. With rare exceptions, there are many data points where people tried paying with a linked Mastercard credit card or with one of the many popular American Express credit cards and the transaction failed until they swiped a Visa product.
As a reminder, these accepted payment methods are for U.S. Costco warehouses. Costco locations in other countries may accept different credit card brands. For example, Canadian Costco locations only accept Mastercard credit cards. Locations in Mexico accept just about any credit card.
Online Costco Purchases
There is a tad more latitude with Costco.com purchases as Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted. Costco Travel purchases need a Visa or Mastercard credit card. Unfortunately, Discover and American Express payments are rejected when shopping at the Costco website.
Other Costco.com payment options include:
- Most PIN-based debit cards (excluding American Express)
- Costco Shop Cards
- Visa Click to Pay
For example, you can use the Bilt World Elite Mastercard® to shop at Costco online and earn some of the most valuable credit card points. However, you must use a Visa to shop at a Costco warehouse or gas station in the United States.
Costco Gas Stations
You will need a Visa credit card to pay at the pump at U.S. Costco gas stations. This payment policy is similar to in-warehouse purchases.
It’s also possible to pay for Costco gasoline fill-ups with most non-American Express debit cards and Costco Shop Cards.
What Credit Cards Does Costco Not Accept?
Costco doesn’t accept American Express or Discover credit cards in-store or online. Mastercard credit cards are only allowed for online spending. Therefore, use a Visa credit card to guarantee payments online or locally at the warehouse or gas pump.
Accepted payment methods can change with little notice. You can review the Costco website for the latest credit card policies.
Best Credit Cards for Costco Purchases
Here are some of the best Visa credit cards to rack up the rewards on Costco shopping trips.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a well-rounded credit card that earns some of the most valuable travel rewards points. Focusing on redemption options, each point is worth 25% more when booking award travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. There are 1:1 Chase airline and hotel point transfer partners too.
Card purchases earn up to 5x points per $1, including 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. However, Costco Travel purchases earn 2x points (as well as 2x on all other travel purchases). All Costco purchases net 1x point per $1.
Other card benefits include up to $50 in Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel statement credits per year, complimentary travel insurance, primary rental car coverage, plus Visa Signature perks. The benefits make it one of the best credit cards (perhaps the best card?).
The annual fee is $95.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Each point is worth 1 cent as a travel statement credit, upcoming trips, or with the transfer partner airlines that work with Capital One.
Premium credit card benefits include:
- $300 in Capital One Travel statement credits each year
- Airport lounge access for Capital One users
- 10,000 bonus miles after each card anniversary
- $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Visa Infinite travel benefits
The annual fee is $395. Additionally, add up to four authorized users at no extra cost.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card review shows how cardholders can earn rewards. It earns 2% back on all card purchases. This is one of the highest rates for a flat-rate cash rewards credit card. You can redeem your rewards for purchases with a rewards balance as low as $1.
You can enjoy up to $600 in complimentary cell phone protection and no annual fee. The Active Cash is one of the best Visa Signature credit cards for its robust rewards program and lack of annual fees.
Learn More: Cash Back Credit Cards
Costco accepts all Visa credit cards at its U.S. locations, and you should have a Visa card for assurance. You can also use Mastercard credit cards for Costco.com and Costco Travel online transactions. Thankfully, the majority of the best travel credit cards have one of these labels, so it’s easy to use a credit card for Costco purchases.