There are certain treasures you can only find at Costco that make the membership cost well worth it. Besides the vast savings on items like organic spinach and pure maple syrup, if you’re planning a party or preparing for a holiday meal, you might as well reap the rewards by putting your purchases on a credit card that earns points.
If you’ve wondered what credit cards are accepted at Costco and how to maximize earning rewards, here’s what you need to know.
What credit cards does Costco accept?
Costco warehouses and gas stations only accept Visa credit cards, cash, debit cards, and Costco Shop Cards (gift cards). They do not accept Mastercard, American Express, or Discover cards.
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History: For 16 years, Costco accepted only American Express credit cards due to an exclusive partnership. But a few years ago, the retailer made the switch to Citi Visa. The branded cards also switched over at that time, and cardholders received the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
Fortunately, cardholders enjoyed more perks with this card than were previously provided with Costco’s Amex cards.
These days, non-Visa cards no longer work at Costco, so you’ll need a Visa card to pay and earn rewards.
Best credit cards to use at Costco
Here are some of the top contenders that can help you earn generous rewards on Costco purchases:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Rewards: Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and eligible online grocery purchases; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases (including Costco purchases)
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Annual fee: $95
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an impressive welcome bonus that gets you $750 toward travel if you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The generous bonus points on travel and dining make this card a great choice if you enjoy traveling and could take advantage of the extra perks, as it's a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
Since you’ll need to spend a fair amount within the first few months of having the card to earn the bonus, you may want to funnel all your Costco purchases (and other purchases, especially Lyft, travel, and dining purchases) onto your new card to help you get there faster.
That said, you could potentially earn more points by using a card with a higher cashback value, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and then moving the points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Then, once you’ve racked up enough points, you can redeem them for travel or other rewards instead of cash back, since your points could stretch further that way.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- Rewards: Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Annual fee: $395
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a generous early spend bonus after qualifying for the card. The miles earned from this bonus can be used in the Capital One travel portal for flights, hotel stays, and more. Or you can transfer them to over a dozen travel partners.
To help fulfill the requirements of the welcome offer, it might make sense to start using your Venture X for all eligible purchases (including at Costco) once you receive it. This card has no rotating bonus categories, which means you'll earn at least 2 miles per dollar miles on all your non-travel-related spending.
For rewards credit cards, this is one of the highest general rates out there. This equates to being able to earn a large number of rewards at all times without any specific categories to worry about. Not many premium travel cards offer this same type of convenience.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Rewards: 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Sign-up bonus: Earn unlimited matched cash back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned (there is no limit to how much you can earn; every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match)
- Annual fee: $0
If you're looking to rack up your cashback with one of the best rewards credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can be a great way to earn up to 5% cash back. Also, the opportunity to earn unlimited matched cash back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned (there is no limit to how much you can earn; every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match) is an added bonus, especially since this card has no annual fee.
This is a great card to use for Costco purchases, and the savings you’ll receive at the wholesale club are a great way to maximize the value of your membership.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
- Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases (up to $7,000, then 1% thereafter); 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on all other purchases.
- Sign-up bonus: None
- Annual fee: $0 with your paid Costco membership
While there’s no sign-up bonus on the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, the 3% back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases and 4% back for eligible gas and EV charging purchases (on up to $7,000 per year, then 1% thereafter) are impressive benefits for a card with no annual fee.
You’ll also earn the best cashback rewards for Costco purchases of any of the cards on our list. However, in terms of a rewards card, you may get more value from one of the best cash back credit cards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited - especially when paired with a Chase premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
If you don’t have a Chase premium card, this card can be an excellent choice for your Costco purchases. Take advantage of member savings on big-ticket items like furniture and appliances since the more you spend with your card, the more you’ll earn. You should also make a point of purchasing your gas from Costco in order to maximize the rewards.
Make sure to check out our Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi Review.
When selecting the best credit cards to use at Costco, we first began by identifying which cards this big box store accepts. We then analyzed credit card terms, including bonus rewards offered for Costco purchases as well as annual fees, cardholder perks, and spending bonuses for new card members. Our goal was to find affordable cards that offered both ample perks for cardholders as well as extra rewards for those who tend to spend a lot at Costco stores.
Alternative ways to pay at Costco
While a Visa credit card is the best payment method to use if you want to earn rewards on purchases you would make anyway, there’s no need to fret if you leave your card at home or are still waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
Costco also accepts cash, checks, debit/ATM, EBT, and Costco Shop Cards. Note that you’ll need a valid government-issued ID to pay by check.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Costco gas stations and car washes don’t accept cash, checks, or EBT, so you’ll need to pay with your Visa card, debit/ATM card, or Costco Shop Card to complete a transaction.
Frequently asked questions
What debit cards are accepted at Costco?
Costco indicates that it accepts most PIN-based debit cards, so you shouldn't have a problem using your card as long as you know your personal identification number (PIN). If you want to use your debit card as credit in store, you will first need to check that your card has a Visa logo on it and then you will know this is possible.
Does Costco accept the Apple Card?
The Apple Card is on the MasterCard network and is not accepted at Costco stores. You could, however, load your Apple Card into your Apple Pay account and pay for your Costco purchases that way.
Can I use Samsung Pay at Costco?
You can use Samsung Pay at Costco, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
What credit cards does Costco accept online?
When shopping online with Costco, you will have more payment options than when you are shopping in the store. Costco online accepts all Visa Cards, MasterCard, Costco Shop cards, the majority of PIN-based debit or ATM cards, and Visa checkout.
One of the best cards for online shopping is the Citi Double Cash® Card where you can earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases; plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. Other cards you can use online at Costco.com include the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Does Costco accept credit cards?
Yes, Costco warehouses and gas stations accept Visa credit cards. They do not accept Mastercard, American Express, or Discover cards.
Unlimited Cash Back
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SPECIAL OFFER: Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned! There is no limit to how much you can earn. Every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases