Tag: Costco

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Costco is Raising the Cost of Membership Fees — Here’s How Much More You’ll Pay

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

 

For the first time in six years, Costco will hike the cost of its annual membership fee for individuals and businesses. The increased prices will go into effect June 1, 2017, the wholesale retailer announced on Thursday.

The raise will affect about 35 million members.

Here’s how much more you’ll be paying for your Costco membership:

Primary Costco Members

“Primary” Costco members (both individuals and businesses) pay $5 more, bringing the cost of an annual membership to $60.

Executive Costco Members

Members at the “Executive” tier, who earn 2% cashback on their purchases for the year, among other perks, will see their annual membership fee rise by $10 to $120. Executive members also receive discounts on Costco Services such as check printing, identity theft services and roadside assistance.

Perhaps to dull the sting of the higher membership fee, Costco has decided to raise the cap on the amount of cashback executive members can earn each year — from a maximum of $750 to $1000.

How to save on Costco shopping

Costco membership fees might be going up soon, but Costco members can recoup some of the lost funds in savings by using certain credit cards.

Costo’s Anywhere Visa card is a good option for frequent shoppers. The card has no annual fee and earns better rewards than its predecessor, including 2% back on Costco purchases, 4% on gas, 3% on restaurants and 1% on everything else.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at brittney@magnifymoney.com

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New Costco Credit Card Not Working? Here’s What to Do:

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

New Costco Credit CardFlickr/Mujitra

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 costcocare@costco.com 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.

Have a question for us? E-mail us at info@magnifymoney.com 

Mandi Woodruff
Mandi Woodruff |

Mandi Woodruff is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Mandi at mandi@magnifymoney.com

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Why Costco Dumping American Express May Mean Better Rewards

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

costco

Costco and American Express announced the end of their nearly 10 year arrangement that allowed American Express to be the only credit card accepted for payment in Costco stores.

Soon, we will hear which credit card Costco will join forces with when the deal expires next year.

While some American Express cardholders are upset by this, it may be a blessing in disguise.

Case in point, the Costco TrueEarnings American Express card.

It’s heavily marketed to Costco members (some even think it’s the only card you can use in Costco stores, which is not true – any American Express can be used).

And it has some enticing rewards, like…

  • 3% cash back on gas
  • 2% cash back on restaurants and travel purchases
  • 1% cash back on everything else

Those were market leading rewards about 10 years ago, but the reality is the market for cash rewards has become more competitive. And sticking with Amex has meant sub-par rewards for Costco members.

For gas you can get better than 3% cash back rewards from several cards, including the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards at 5% and Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa at 5%.

And for overall spending the Citi Double Cash is a MasterCard that earns 2% cash back on everything you buy. Though today Costco members can use the Fidelitly American Express which earns 2% cash back on all purchases.

The losing proposition would be if Costco switched to Discover.

At the moment it only offers one rewards card, the Discover It, with a confusing array of limited 5% cash back categories each quarter, that often involve merchants that compete with Costco.

Discover management did note on its recent earning conference call it is developing another rewards product, which may have better appeal to affluent customers.

But even if it did launch a new card, Discover would still have significantly fewer reward choices for Costco members than American Express did, or Mastercard or Visa can offer.

So if you’re a Costco member, hope it signs a full deal that allows you to use a range of MasterCard or Visa cards, much like at Sam’s Club where MasterCards are all accepted.

In Canada, Costco stopped accepting American Express, and allowed Capital One to issue a Costco-branded credit card, while also allowing any MasterCard network card to be used for purchases. A deal like that would be a win for members.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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