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Payment Methods You Can Use At Costco

Since Costco has an established partnership with Visa, customers can’t pay for in-store purchases with cards from the other major networks — American Express, Discover, and Mastercard. That said, consumers can use Discover and Mastercard (but not Amex) when shopping on Costco.com and the Costco app.

Best credit cards to use at Costco

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Card name
Costco usability
Reward rate
Annual fee
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Can be used in-store and online (Visa)
Up to 3% back at Costco, up to 6.5% back on other purchases
Can be used in-store and online (Visa)
2X miles at Costco, 2X-10X miles on other purchases
Can be used in-store and online (Visa)
1X points at Costco, 1X-5X on other purchases
Can be used in-store and online (Visa)
2% back at Costco, 1-4% on other eligible purchases
Can be used online only (Mastercard)
1% back at Costco, 1%-3% back on other purchases
Can be used in-store and online (Visa)
1X points at Costco, 1X-10X points on other purchases
Can be used online only (Mastercard)
1.5% back at Costco, 1.5%-5% back on other purchases
Can be used online (Mastercard)
2X miles at Costco, 2X-5X miles on other purchases
Learn more about the best grocery cards Compare grocery reward credit cards side-by-side Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor COMPARE CARDS

What forms of payment are accepted at Costco?

Where the majority of national retailers are willing to accept most major forms of payment, including credit cards from all the major issuers, the warehouse club known as Costco does things differently.

The bulk retailer has a major contract with Visa, which replaced a prior agreement they had with American Express until 2016. Ever since the transition took place, Costco only accepts Visa payments for purchases in their members-only warehouses.

You can use other forms of payment at Costco, including mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. However, don’t bother trying to sneak a different type of card in your mobile wallet. Only Visa cards will process for in-store purchases.

You can also buy Costco merchandise with Costco Shop Cards, certain types of checks, and EBT cards. If you’re shopping for merchandise in-person at one of the big-box stores, you can also pay with cash.

Below you’ll find a table showing all payment methods you can use at Costco locations, including online and through the app, as well as at Costco gas stations.

Payment Methods Costco Physical Store Costco.com (Online) Costco Gas Station Pumps
Visa credit cards
American Express      
Mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay)    
Debit cards with a PIN
Costco Shop Cards
Personal checks    
Business checks    
Travelers checks    
EBT cards    

What credit cards does Costco accept?

Costco only accepts Visa-branded cards at their warehouse stores and gas stations. For purchases made online and on the Costco app, they accept Visa, Discover, and Mastercard. Costco does not accept American Express credit cards.

Below you’ll find an overview of the credit cards accepted at Costco warehouses and gas stations, as well as through their online store.

Credit cards accepted at Costco warehouses

Costco members can pay for their bulk purchases in warehouse stores with any Visa-branded credit card, including the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi. This cashback credit card lets customers earn 4% back on eligible gas purchases and EV charging worldwide on up to $7,000 spent each year (then 1% back), 3% back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases, 2% back on Costco and Costco.com purchases, and 1% cash back on other purchases.

Other rewards credit cards that are popular among Costco shoppers include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, both of which are Visa-branded. Where the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lets consumers earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all their purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® lets users earn cash back instead with no annual fee.

Credit cards accepted at Costco gas stations

If you decide to fill up your tank at a Costco gas station, you’re still limited to paying with a Visa credit card. However, this is one area where the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi shines since it offers an exceptional rewards rate on all gas station purchases.

Still, there are other rewards cards that offer great rates on gas purchases. This includes the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which offers 5% cash back on the first $6,000 spent on gas purchases the first year (then 1.5% back), 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash back on other purchases.

Credit cards accepted online at Costco.com

Costco.com and the Costco app let Costco members pay for their purchases with a broader range of cards. In addition to Visa-branded cards, both platforms accept Discover cards (including JCB and Diners Club) and Mastercard credit cards.

This means you can shop online at Costco with any number of rewards and cash-back credit cards. As an example, you could pay online with the Citi® Double Cash Card since it offers 2% cash back on everything you buy — 1% when a purchase is made and another 1% when it’s paid off.

See the best Chase credit cards
(most are Visas, so they’re accepted at Costco!)

Compare Chase Credit Cards

See the best Capital One credit cards
(some Visa, some Mastercard)

Compare Capital One Cards

Credit cards not accepted at Costco

Costco doesn’t accept Mastercard or Discover in-store or at the gas pump, but they take them online and through the app. Costco will not accept American Express cards.

Does Costco take Mastercard?

Costco warehouses will not accept Mastercard, but you can pay for Costco.com purchases or Costco app purchases with a Mastercard product like the Chase Freedom Flex.

Why is Mastercard not accepted at Costco? It’s hard to say why the retailer is so specific when it comes to accepted payment methods, but the store does have an existing partnership with Visa as well as a Visa-branded credit card for Costco stores.

Does Costco accept American Express?

Costco once had an exclusivity agreement with Amex, which came to a screeching halt in 2016. Before the transition toward Visa, in fact, the retailer offered several co-branded Amex credit cards including the Costco True Earnings and True Earnings Business cards from American Express.

That all changed in June of 2016 when Costco switched teams and built an in-depth partnership with Visa instead. This means Costco has refused payment from any American Express card since the summer of 2016 — not even through their online store and the Costco mobile app.

Does Costco accept Discover?

Costco does accept Discover cards if you pay online or with their mobile app. However, you cannot pay with a Discover credit card in their brick-and-mortar stores.

Does Costco accept debit cards?

If you are a card member who prefers debit cards over credit, you should also know that Costco accepts debit cards with their own PIN number. The retailer is very specific about this on their website as well, although their payment page does say that “most” PIN-based debit and ATM cards are accepted.

You can also use prepaid gift cards and debit cards to pay for purchases at Costco, but only if they have the Visa logo on the front.

Potential workaround: How to use any credit card you want for Costco purchases

While you can only use Visa cards to shop in Costco stores, there’s one potential workaround you can use to pay with any type of card you want. If you can find a way to purchase a Costco Shop Card with another credit card, you can use the shop card to pay your Costco bill in person, online, or through their app.

As an example, it’s possible to buy Costco gift cards on eBay.com, in which case you can pay with any credit card you prefer. The brand’s gift cards can also be found on Amazon.com.

Final thoughts

Costco membership comes with an array of important benefits, including the ability to buy household items and groceries in bulk. Members also get the chance to save money every time they buy gas at the pump. The Costco Travel portal is a great tool for those who want to save money on vacation packages and cruises while qualifying for extra perks like hotel credits, free breakfast, and shop cards they can use for Costco purchases.

With all this being said, you should know that Costco is pretty limited when it comes to their accepted forms of payment. You can only use Visa credit cards for your in-store purchases.

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FAQ: Costco Payment Methods

Does Costco accept credit cards?

Costco only accepts Visa credit cards within their brick-and-mortar stores. However, Costco.com and Costco app shoppers can also pay with Discover or Mastercard.

What cards are accepted by Costco?

Costco has an exclusivity agreement with Visa, so you can only use Visa-branded cards in their warehouse clubs. However, Discover cards and Mastercard can be used for online and in-app purchases.

Does Costco take Visa or MasterCard?

Costco’s partnership with Visa has made it so consumers can only use Visa credit cards for in-store purchases.

What credit cards does Costco accept online?

When it comes to online purchases made with Costco, as well as Costco app purchases, customers can pay with Visa, Discover, and Mastercard.

What credit card does Costco not take?

Costco does not accept Amex as payment in any circumstances, not even for purchases made online or through the app.

Does Costco accept the Apple Card?

The Apple Card is a Mastercard, so it cannot be used for in-store purchases at Costco. However, you can use the Apple card for Costco.com purchases and those made through the Costco app.

Can I use Samsung Pay at Costco?

You can use Samsung Pay for in-store purchases at Costco, but only if you connect a Visa-branded credit card to your account.

About the Author

Holly D. Johnson
Holly D. Johnson Finance Expert

Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who covers topics like insurance, investing, credit and family finance. As a leading voice in the travel and loyalty space, Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries over the last decade.

The author has also written extensively on the power of household budgeting, and she even co-authored a book on the topic. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love was originally published in 2017, and it teaches families how to use zero-sum budgeting to reach their financial goals. She is also the co-owner and founder of the family finance and travel website, ClubThrifty.com.

Johnson’s 10+ years of writing have focused on helping families make important financial decisions at each stage of their lives. The author also applies the financial principles she teaches to her own life, and she is currently on track to retire in her late 40’s with her partner. She currently lives in Central Indiana with her husband and children, and she is a regular contributor for Bankrate, CNN, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report Travel and many other notable publications.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

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