Updated: Jun 30
Costco, one of the biggest wholesale retailers in Canada, has a unique payment acceptance policy.
Especially that you can buy things in their warehouse, you can buy things at their gas station (Costco Gas), or their website (Costco.ca) too, and each accepts different payment types!
So in this post, we will thoroughly answer the question What Credit Card Does Costco Take in Canada, so the next time you are going there, you don't worry if your payment method is accepted or not.
Acceptable Payment Methods
Almost any place in Canada accepts both Visa and Mastercard credit cards. Many of them accept American Express too!
But Costco might be one of those rare exceptions! The only credit card you can use is a Mastercard to buy anything at their warehouse or their gas stations. On their website, costco.ca, you can still use a Visa card to purchase things, but American Express is not accepted anywhere Costco-related.
In addition to Mastercard-branded cards, Costco in Canada accepts all Canadian debit cards, cash, and Costco Cash Cards. The Costco Cash Card is a prepaid card offered by Costco that can be loaded with any amount between $25 and $2,000. It allows you to shop at Costco without requiring a credit or debit card and can be used by non-members.
Why Does Costco Only Accept Mastercard?
Costco only accepts Mastercard due to an exclusive payment processing agreement between the two companies. Credit card networks charge merchants a percentage of the transaction fee, and with this agreement, Costco has lowered the fee they pay.
How Good is the CIBC Costco Mastercard?
When you become a Costco member, you can apply to the CIBC Costco Mastercard. But given that this card is a Costco Credit card, is it a good option to use at Costco? Please note that we are not considering the rewards in other categories.
Well, yes and no!
The CIBC Costco card gives you 3% on Costco gas, 2% on Costco.ca and 1% on Costco purchases.
Given that it's a free card, if you purchase a lot of gas at Costco gas or Costco.ca, this card is a good option because there are not that many free cards that give 3% on gas and 2% on online purchases.
But most of your purchases probably happen at the warehouse, and you only get 1% cashback. Many other cards could give you more than 1% on your purchases, meaning that it would be better to go with those options instead.
In terms of benefits, this card has the standard purchase protection and extended warranty almost all credit cards have and additional mobile device insurance meaning that it's a sound card in terms of benefits.
What are some better credit card options for Costco Purchases?
One very important note is that Costco is not considered a grocery store and they are considered as discount clubs! Meaning that if you have a card that you use and gives extra rewards on grocery store purchases you are not getting it!
So you need to aim for a credit card that gives high rewards on purchases on any category and also is a Mastercard.
The easiest way to find the best credit card is to use Finly's app, which automatically analyzes your spending and matches the best credit card for you. It also considers factors like Visa and American Express not getting accepted at Costco, so you don't need to worry about that.
Alternatively, you can use Finly's calculator and manually input your spending, and it will find the best card based on your input.
That said, here are a few Mastercard credit cards that may be a better option than the Costco Mastercard.
If you have an individual annual income of $80,000 or an annual household income of $150,000, and a good credit score, consider the Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®. This is the only free Mastercard in Canada that gives more than 1% on all purchases. With the 1.5% cashback it provides, you can get an extra 0.5% on your Costco warehouse purchases. It also has excellent benefits, too, for a free card!
If you want to stick to a free card and you don't qualify, the amount you get from other free MasterCards will be at most 1%, so then the CIBC Costco Mastercard might be a good option in that case.
But what if you go for a card with an annual fee? Maybe the extra amount you get in rewards will justify the yearly costs. Well again, Finly's app will take care of all that calculation for you. But here are two potentially good cards you can go with.
The WestJet World Elite Mastercard beats the 1% return with a small increase in return as you will be able to get a 1.25% cashback in WestJet dollars on all purchases. It also comes with a variety of benefits like a yearly companion pass, Travel insurance, Free First checked-in bag on WestJet flights, and a lot more!
The National Bank World MasterCard has 1.25 points on the first $20K of your purchases and 2 points for the next $10K of spending. If you are a big spender, then the rewards you get on Costco warehouse purchases will be more than the 1% cashback.
In terms of additional benefits, for a paid card it does not have many so if you are looking for extra benefits you are probably better off with another card.
Can you use Debit at Costco?
Yes, Costco in Canada accepts all Canadian debit cards. This is an option for those who do not have an eligible Mastercard.
Remember that when you use a debit card, it directly comes from your bank account, so make sure you have enough funds before purchasing.
Can you use cash at Costco?
You can use cash to pay for your purchases at Costco Warehouse in Canada but can't use it for Costco Gas. Obviously, it can't be used on their website, either.
Does Costco Accept Visa in Canada?
No, Costco does not accept Visa credit cards at its warehouses. However, you can use it to buy from their website Costco.ca.
It must be noted that Visa Debit can be used in their warehouse and Costco Gas if you have one.
Does Costco Accept American Express in Canada?
Costco no longer accepts American Express credit cards in Canada. In the past, American Express held an exclusive agreement with Costco, but it ended in 2014. Since then, Mastercard has been the only credit card accepted in their Canadian warehouses.
Ways to Benefit from Costco Without Holding a Membership
There are indeed several tactics to explore Costco's offering without having to invest in a membership:
Leverage the Costco Cash Card: As previously mentioned, a prepaid card known as the Costco Cash Card serves as an excellent tool for non-members. If you're lucky enough to have a friend or family member with a Costco membership, you could ask them to buy this card and load it with money on your behalf. This card gives you the freedom to enjoy Costco's goods and services without a membership.
Online Shopping: Costco's website provides a selection of items available for purchase by non-members, although a minor surcharge may apply. Bear in mind that the online selection may not be as broad as what's available in-store. It's also important to note that only a portion of the promotions and deals are accessible to non-members.
Pharmacy Services and More: In Canada, there are provisions allowing non-members to use Costco's pharmacy, optician, and hearing aid services. It's always a good idea to check with your local store to understand the details and restrictions.
Indulge in Food Court Delights: While some Costco locations limit their food court to members, others welcome non-members to savor their delectable and pocket-friendly food court delights.
However, to fully leverage Costco's value-packed offerings and savings, getting a membership is your best bet. Costco offers an array of membership options tailored to different needs and preferences. If you're a frequent shopper or buy in bulk, it could be a smart move to consider becoming a member.