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Even though Costco only accepts Visa cards in their warehouse stores, there are some ways to use MasterCard at Costco or use American Express card for Costco purchases.
When I first wrote this article, Costco only accepted American Express in their warehouses. Costco payment methods in their warehouses are now limited to Visa credit cards. The following strategies are useful in you want to use American Express at Costco or MasterCard at Costco.
McCool Travel NOTE: This article now includes third and fourth ways to use MasterCard at Costco. Please see below!
I love Costco for travel discounts as well as other merchandise and services. I have been a Costco member for over 20 years and previously mentioned Costco in several travel skills articles. The one thing that bothers me about Costco is that I have to pay with my American Express card or debit card (now with Visa).
From Costco’s website:
“Costco has negotiated a long-term partnership with American Express, which allows us to accept their credit cards with reasonable transaction fees. By not accepting Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, we are better positioned to continue offering the lowest prices on our merchandise.”
Note: this message was from when American Express was the only payment option in Costco warehouses. Visa cards are now the only Costco payment method accepted in the warehouses.
Does Costco Take MasterCard? Can You Use MasterCard at Costco?
Note that MasterCard (and Visa, Discover) are accepted for online purchases at Costco.com but not in the warehouse locations. Only Visa is accepted in Costco warehouses.
I learned how to use MasterCard at Costco, to pay for my in-store (warehouse) purchases. Then I quickly thought of another way to do so.
Interested? Read on …
2 3 Ways to Use MasterCard at Costco
First Way to Use MasterCard for Costco Purchases
You can use your MasterCard for online purchases at Costco.com. I recently bought some items from Costco.com, received a magic $20 coupon (not available in stores), and used my MasterCard to pay for the order.
Buy a Costco Cash Card from Costco.com, using your MasterCard credit card, and use the Costco Cash Card for in-store purchase.
Also look for other outlets selling Costco gift cards and use your MasterCard to buy them.
Second Way to Use MasterCard at Costco
I once used a Target Reloadable Prepaid Card—mainly to optimize travel point earning potential.
Basically, the Target prepaid REDcard is an online bank account which can be loaded (put money in) various ways, including with any MasterCard, Visa, or American Express credit card. Use this American Express branded card like a regular card.
I loaded my Target card with funds from my MasterCard credit card and then used the Target REDcard at Costco for my warehouse purchases. The in-store Costco purchase registered as an American Express transaction.
The funds for my Costco purchase came from my MasterCard card so essentially I used MasterCard at Costco.
Third Way to Use MasterCard for Costco Purchases
A third way to use your MasterCard at Costco is through their Costco Travel website. and we love the travel discounts from Costco Travel.
You can use MasterCard for booking hotels on Costco Travel (as well as Visa). You can use your MasterCard or American Express for car rentals booked through Costco Travel, because you pay after the car rental is complete (to the rental car company).
Fourth Way to Use MasterCard for Costco Purchases
A fourth way to use your MasterCard at Costco is through their Costco app. I have not personally done this but have been told that others have.
Costco Credit card FAQ
Which credit cards does Costco accept?
The only credit cards valid for use in Costco warehouses are Visa credit cards. Other forms of acceptable payment in Costco warehouses are cash, check, Costco gift card, and debit cards.
Does Costco take MasterCard?
No, Costco warehouses do not accept MasterCard for payment. However, MasterCard is accepted for online purchases at Costco.com and for purchases on CostcoTravel.com.
Can I use MasterCard at Costco gas stations?
No, Costco gas stations do not accept MasterCard. Just like in the Costco warehouse, Visa is the only credit card accepted for payment.
Can I use MasterCard for Costco Travel purchases?
Yes, you can pay for CostcoTravel.com purchases with a MasterCard credit card.
Can I buy a Costco gift card with a MasterCard?
Yes, you can buy a Costco gift card with a MasterCard—where MasterCard is accepted. It is one of our favorite ways to use MasterCard for Costco purchases. Buy Costco gift cards with MasterCard online at Costco.com and from stores (like office supply stores and grocery stores).
Can I use American Express at Costco?
No, Costco warehouses do not accept American Express for payment. However, American Express is accepted for online purchases at Costco.com and for purchases on CostcoTravel.com.
Can I use American Express at Costco gas stations?
No, Costco gas stations do not accept American Express. Just like in the Costco warehouse, Visa is the only credit card accepted for payment.
Can I use American Express for Costco Travel purchases?
Yes, you can pay for CostcoTravel.com purchases with an American Express credit card.
Even though I used MasterCard for these Costco purchases, Visa credit cards can also be used.
With a little extra effort, you can earn points in your preferred credit card program (if it is MasterCard or American Express), rather than using a Visa credit card for Costco in-store purchases.
What do you think? Have you found other ways to use MasterCard for Costco purchases?
You may also like the articles: Earn Frequent Flyer Points Without Flying and #1 Tip for Getting Lower Airfares.