Costco found itself in hot water with customers this week over issues with its new Citibank-backed rewards credit card.
Even for one of the largest retailers in the country, breakups can be messy. After successfully divorcing itself from longtime credit card partner American Express, Costco was prepared to start fresh with Citibank this week. As of Monday, Costco officially stopped accepting all Amex cards, which meant replacing its Costco True Earnings Card from American Express with a new Costco Anywhere Visa credit card from Citibank.
Some 11 million shoppers who previously owned Costco’s Amex credit card should have received the new Citi card sometime in May or June and could use them beginning June 20. Folks were probably eager to use the new card, which boasted better cashback rewards than Amex’s previous offering.
That’s not exactly how things went down. By mid-week, complaints had flooded Costco’s social media pages, with customers airing one of two main grievances: they either didn’t receive their new Citi card or their new card wasn’t working. The company’s customer service lines were overwhelmed by the number of calls, resulting in frustrating delays, although a spokesperson said Thursday that call volume was slowly returning back to normal.
Bill Bauman of Phoenix, Ariz. was among hundreds of customers who took to Costco’s Facebook page to complain Thursday when he was unable to use his Citi card. A Costco agent told him to call American Express, he said, but the American Express agent he spoke with gave him conflicting information about when he would have full access to his new Citi account.
“I have been told it should be fixed by today, be fixed by Friday or be fixed in early August,” Beauman said in his post. “I was also told by an AMEX supervisor my account would never be transferred but another one insists my account is in transition and will process by August.”
It’s unclear what exactly went wrong. MagnifyMoney has reached out to Citi, Costco and Visa and has not received a response yet. American Express spokesperson Elizabeth Crosta told MagnifyMoney in an email that the problems are not related to any work on their end.
“Given the change in card issuer, we successfully migrated all of the customer data to Citibank to meet the June 20 conversion date,” she said. “Any conversion related issues are not American Express issues.”
What to do if you’re unable to use your new Costco Citi card:
Use any other Visa-backed credit card in your wallet. Costco now accepts any Visa card, so save yourself a headache and don’t touch your new Citi card until these issues are squared away. We’ve done the hard work for you and found out which rewards card is best to use at Costco.
Email is better than phone. Costco recommends emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org with your 12-digit membership number, your phone number and an brief explanation of the issues you’re having.
Use social media. If all else fails, companies are quite good about responding to complaints on Twitter and Facebook. @AskCiti @AskAmex @AskVisa You’ll have to go to Costco’s Facebook page and leave a comment, as they have no active Twitter account.
What to do about your old Amex account:
For starters, take a look at the FAQ page for Costco users on American Express’ website.
Any rewards you earned should be transferred over to your new Citi account. Your remaining balances should be transferred over as well. If you have received a bill statement from American Express, then you should pay that bill directly to American Express. If there are any charges on your old Amex card that you wanted to dispute, you’ll have to call the number on the back of your new Citi card.
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