Does Costco Accept MasterCard? Empowering Transactions

Does Costco Accept MasterCard?

Costco has an exclusive contract with Visa that limits the acceptance of MasterCard in their warehouses.

This partnership provides benefits for Costco members but also restricts payment options.

Costo doesn’t accept Mastercard for credit card processing in their stores as they have an exclusive partnership with Visa. 

Understanding MasterCard Limitations at Costco

  • Costco does not have a merchant account that allows MasterCard card processing in their stores.
  • The terms of the Visa agreement prohibit accepting MasterCard credit cards for in-store purchases. This exclusivity was negotiated by Visa for competitive reasons.
  • Costco checkout systems are set up to only accept Visa credit cards due to the restrictions in place.

Insights into Costco’s Exclusive Visa Partnership

Costco has an exclusive contract with Visa for their credit card processing.

This deal was first made in 2015 and limits Costco’s ability to accept other major credit cards like MasterCard for in-store purchases.

Understanding the Exclusive Partnership

  • The contract states that Visa is the only credit card network that can be accepted in Costco warehouses.
  • MasterCard credit cards cannot be used for direct payments at checkout.
  • This exclusive partnership provides incentives and benefits for Costco and its members.

Reasons Behind the Partnership and benefits of Costco Visa partnership

  • Lower transaction fees – The partnership gives Costco reduced processing charges on Visa card transactions. These savings help keep membership costs low.
  • Co-branded credit card – The exclusive deal allowed Costco to launch its own Visa co-branded credit card called the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. This card offers rewards and perks for loyal Costco members.
  • Customer loyalty – The incentives provided by the Visa co-branded card increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Alternative Payment Methods at Costco

While MasterCard credit cards cannot be used directly, Costco does accept various other payment options:

Visa Credit Cards

  • Any Visa-branded credit card can be used for purchases at Costco warehouses and gas stations. This includes regular Visa cards from banks.

Debit Cards

  • Debit cards from MasterCard and other networks are accepted. Customers must enter a PIN to process the transaction.

Cash and Checks

  • Cash and checks are accepted at all Costco locations.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card

  • This Visa co-branded card is the preferred payment method to maximize rewards and receive the best discounts on gas & shopping.

Costco Shop Cards

  • Shop cards function as prepaid gift cards and can be purchased or received as gifts. They do not have any card network logos and can be used at checkout like cash.

Mobile Payment Options

  • Contactless payments like Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted. They work by tapping your phone or smartwatch at the credit card terminal.

Apple Pay

  • Apple Pay can be used with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card or any other credit/debit card added to Apple Pay.

American Express

  • Though AmEx cards are not accepted directly, members can add their AmEx card to a digital wallet like Apple Pay to make contactless payments.


  • Discover cards can be used anywhere contactless payments are accepted when added to a mobile wallet.

Costco Gift Cards

  • Physical or e-gift cards purchased from Costco can be used like cash at any warehouse. Purchases

  • Online purchases allow MasterCard and other credit card use since it is not an in-store transaction.

Costco Gas Stations

  • MasterCard credit cards can be used to purchase gas and other items at Costco gas stations.

Costco Travel

  • When booking travel through Costco, MasterCard cards can be used online or over the phone for payment.

FAQs about MasterCard and Payment at Costco

Can I use my MasterCard credit card at Costco for in-store purchases?

No, regular MasterCard credit cards cannot be directly used at Costco warehouses due to their exclusive contract with Visa.

What about my MasterCard debit card?

Debit cards with the MasterCard logo are accepted since they process transactions through a PIN rather than credit.

Why does Costco only accept Visa credit cards?

Costco’s contract provides reduced fees and other benefits that help them keep membership costs low. Visa provided this exclusivity in exchange for Costco launching a co-branded Visa rewards card.

What types of mobile payments can be used at Costco?

Contactless payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay work at Costco when funded by a Visa card or other accepted payment method.

Can I use an American Express card at Costco?

No, AmEx credit cards are not accepted directly. But AmEx members can add their card to Apple Pay to make contactless payments at Costco.

Are Shop Cards a good alternative to MasterCard at Costco?

Yes, Costco Shop Cards can be purchased in-store or online and used for purchases rather than paying with MasterCard.

Can I use my MasterCard for Costco gas or online purchases?

Yes, MasterCard is accepted at Costco gas stations and on or through Costco Travel for online bookings and purchases.

Does Costco accept Discover cards?

Discover cards can be used for contactless mobile payments like Apple Pay at Costco but are not directly accepted otherwise.

If I don’t have a Visa card, what’s the best payment method at Costco?

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card is ideal to maximize rewards and savings. Otherwise, prepaid Shop Cards are recommended as an alternative to MasterCard and Discover.

Key Takeaways

  • Costco has an exclusive contract with Visa that restricts MasterCard acceptance in-store.
  • Regular MasterCard credit cards cannot be directly used for purchases at Costco warehouses.
  • Debit cards, cash, checks, Shop Cards, and mobile payments like Apple Pay can be used instead.
  • The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card provides the best rewards and discounts for purchases.
  • MasterCard and Discover cards can be added to Apple Pay for contactless payments at Costco.
  • Online, gas stations and Costco Travel allow MasterCard use since they aren’t in-warehouse.


In summary, Costco’s deal with Visa prohibits the direct use of MasterCard credit cards for in-store purchases.

Costco members have several convenient payment alternatives that provide benefits beyond a standard MasterCard.

While acceptance is restricted at physical warehouse locations, MasterCard can still be used online, for gas, and when booking travel through Costco.

Overall, understanding the limitations of Costco’s credit card policy allows shoppers to smoothly navigate the checkout process.