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Costco Credit Card Review: Should You Apply?

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Costco

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If you’re a Costco fanatic (and who isn’t?) you know the one “catch” to shopping in the wholesale club for the past few years has been the inability to use a non-American Express credit card at checkout. Costco’s long-time exclusive deal with American Express officially ended in March 2016 and, ahead of that change, the wholesaler announced it would begin accepting Visa credit cards in all of its stores. Along with this change came a new co-branded credit card as well, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, as well as Chase, advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

The Scoop on the Costco Anywhere Visa Card

The new Costco rewards credit card has a few features Costco fans will love.

First, the Costco rewards program is easy to remember and optimize. It follows a 4-3-2-1 cash back model. Cardholders earn:

  • 4% cash back on all gas purchases (including Costco gas) on up to $7,000 each year and 1% cash back after that.
  • 3% cash back on all restaurant spending and qualified travel purchases.
  • 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com spending.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The Costco Visa card is available exclusively to Costco members and there is $0 annual fee with your paid Costco membership. Basic Gold Star Costco membership costs $60 a year, while an upgrade to executive membership, with additional benefits and discounts, will set you back $120.

One downside to the Costco Anywhere Visa Card vs. other Visa rewards cards you can use at Costco is that the Anywhere Visa rewards are dispersed once a year — with your February billing statement as a rewards certificate — and can only be used at Costco. So, essentially, you accrue rewards with your purchases from January through December, then get a certificate with that total in February. The certificate is redeemable in a single transaction through December 31 of the year it was issued. If you cancel your membership, you forfeit those rewards you have yet to redeem. If you don’t use all of the Costco rewards in one purchase, you’ll be given cash for the remainder at the Costco register.

The card has a standard APR of 16.99% (variable) for purchases and balance transfers. Those rates are on-par with similar rewards cards in the category. It’s a good idea to read the finer print on this (or any) card, to make sure you know all the finer details.

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is best suited for those with excellent credit scores. You can see where your credit scores stand for free here on Credit.com.

Some Alternatives to the Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Once Costco began accepting Visa credit cards in its stores, other Visa cards upped their warehouse club and Costco rewards opportunities in an effort to snag some of that Costco spending. Here are some of the other rewards credit cards you can use at Costco.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now
on Chase's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
0% for 15 months on purchases

Ongoing Apr:
16.99% - 25.74% Variable

Balance Transfer:
Intro: 0% for 15 months

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Card Details +

Why We’re Mentioning it: The Chase Freedom card is famous for its 5% cash back rotating categories every quarter. The Chase Freedom offered 5% cash back on all Costco purchases through the end of 2016. That offer is over now, but the card offers 5% cash back at grocery stores (not including Costco) from April to June 2017. And because the cash back categories rotate, the Costco discount may come back.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases. After the 15 month introductory APR has expired, the ongoing APR is 16.99% - 25.74% Variable depending on creditworthiness.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa

Why We’re Mentioning it: The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa offers 2% cash back on all warehouse club purchases, including Costco, year-round. That matches the Anywhere Visa’s 2% cash back at Costco. The BankAmericard Costco rewards are limited somewhat, however. The card also offers 2% cash back on grocery stores and 3% on gas purchases, but you can only earn rewards on $2,500 in total gas, grocery and warehouse club purchases each quarter.

Annual Fee: $0

APR: Variable 14.74% to 24.74%, depending on creditworthiness, after a 12-month 0% introductory APR expires.

At publishing time, the Costco Anywhere Visa card and Chase Freedom are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

This article has been updated. It was originally published December 2, 2016.


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Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.