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Costco's launch of new Citi Visa card leaves angry customers on hold

Costco's launch of new Citi Visa card leaves angry customers on hold
Many customers reported problems with Costco's new Visa-branded credit card from Citi. Costco switched from American Express to Visa on Monday. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

The much-anticipated launch of Costco's new Visa-branded credit card turned into something of a nightmare for Costco, many of the company's customers and Citi, the issuer of the new card.

Some customers complained that they hadn't received their new cards by the time Costco switched from American Express to Visa on Monday. Others reported that they were unable to activate their new cards. And all were furious over long hold times for calls to customer service at Citi and Costco.

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Costco's American Express cardholders were supposed to have received the new Costco Anywhere Visa Card in time to start using it on Monday. All accounts were supposed to have been transferred, or "migrated," from American Express to Citi.

"We never received the new Costco Citi cards," said Terry Rhoda of Florida. "I've called AMEX, and they say our Costco/AMEX record cannot be found. My wife has been a Costco member for 30 years, and I've been one for over 20. I also called Citi Visa, and they say they have no record of having received the AMEX migration information. I emailed Costco, but as of yet, I have received no response."

Costco's Facebook page drew hundreds of complaints about the rollout — all of which appeared under a somewhat ironic cover photo showing a graphic that read "Costco + Visa = (heart)."

Citi's Twitter feed was also filled with angry Costco customers; others left messages on Costco's Facebook page.

"Got our cards about a month ago and activated then," wrote one customer. "Couldn't use until the 20th but they were activated long ago. Tried to use the Costco card for a non-Costco purchase. It was rejected. When I called Citi, I was supposed to be transferred to a rep with a long wait time, but instead it just hung up on me."

Jennifer Bombardier, a spokeswoman for Citi, told NerdWallet: "Consumer interest and engagement in the new Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi has been incredible. More than 11 million cards have been sent to existing Costco card members. We are now in the process of resending cards to the small portion of card members whose addresses had changed."

Costco didn't respond to a request for comment.

If you're one of the Costco cardholders experiencing problems, you don't have a lot of options, other than to wait for Citi to sort out the problems. In the meantime, Costco now accepts all Visa cards, not just the Costco Anywhere Visa Card.

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