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Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. POF does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Credit Card Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval, you should review each Provider’s terms and conditions to determine which card works for you and your personal financial situation.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

How Hard Is It to Get a Costco Credit Card? And Is It Worth It?

Author Deepti Nickam

It is quite difficult to get the since you’ll need an excellent credit score (750+) to increase your approval odds. In addition to excellent credit, there are Costco Citi Card requirements that influence your chances:

  • You must be a current Costco member to apply. Costco will automatically deny your application without an active membership.
  • You’ll need to show high income in relation to existing debt to prove your ability to manage this new credit line. Citi doesn’t disclose exact income thresholds, but you generally need stable income.
  • You must have low outstanding housing expenses and other debt balances in comparison to your income. High mortgages, rent payments, student loans, or credit card balances can negatively impact approval odds.
  • Of course, you must be 18 or older, have a US mailing address, and a Social Security Number.

Getting a hold of this credit card is tough. Period. And that brings us to the second (and crucial) part of the discussion—is this card worth all the hassle?

The only way to answer this question is to thoroughly review the card, which I did. Read on to find out what the Citi Costco Credit Card is all about.

This review will include:

  • An explanation of how the Costco Anywhere Visa Card works.
  • The pros and cons of getting this card.
  • Other key cash back alternatives.

Read more:

Quick Facts

  • Card’s full name: card_name
  • Who it’s best for: Loyal members looking for more rewards on Costco buys.
  • Card issuer: Citi
  • Credit score for Costco Card: 750+ (Excellent)
  • On FIRE Rating: 4/5

LEARN MORE ABOUT APPLYING FOR THIS CREDIT CARD

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card: On FIRE Score

Annual Fee annual_fees 5/5
APR  reg_apr,reg_apr_type 5/5
Intro Offer  bonus_miles_full 2/5
Maximum Rewards 4% on eligible gas and EV charging with the Costco Anywhere Visa® card for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter.Unlimited 3% on restaurants and eligible travel, including Costco Travel. 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com. 4/5
Everyday Rewards 1% cash back on all other purchases. 4/5
On FIRE Score 4/5
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What is the Costco Anywhere Visa Card?

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi isn’t your average store card—it’s got a cartful of goodies for savvy shoppers. For starters, this credit card isn’t confined to Costco’s aisles; you can swipe it anywhere. The best part? It comes with no annual fees.

But there’s some fine print: you have to be a Costco member to hop on this rewards train. That means shelling out for a yearly membership fee (starting at $60). While the card boasts impressive rewards rates across various categories (like 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging), Costco purchases earn a surprisingly modest 2% cash back reward. Plus, redeeming these rewards can be inconvenient (I’ll address this in a bit).

But the real buzzkill is the lack of a welcome bonus to sweeten the deal (although that’s not surprising for a no-annual-fee card). 

How Does the Costco Credit Card Work?

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card offers a catch-all rewards program with different tiers catering to commuters, food enthusiasts, and travelers alike. 

Here are the perks you get:

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases up to $7,000 per year, then 1% thereafter.
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel expenses.
  • 2% cash back on all Costco and Costco.com purchases.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases.

As I mentioned before, you don’t bag the highest cash back on Costco buys—strange. 

But here’s what makes the 2% cash back deal a solid offering: Top credit cards for groceries often skip warehouse clubs like Costco. For instance, the card_name offers an impressive 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%)—but it excludes Costco, earning just 1% cash back there. 

So, if you’re a frequent Costco shopper (especially considering they only accept Visa cards), this Costco Visa Card might be the better choice.

I want to give you a well-rounded idea of what this Costco Credit Card brings to the table. So, here’s a hypothetical example of an American household’s yearly budget, covering groceries, gas, dining out, travel, utilities, and general purchases:

Categories    Annual budget Annual cash back with Citi Costco Visa 
Groceries   $5,174  $52
Gas $2,218 $89
Dining out  $3,675 $110
Travel  $2,244   $67
Utilities $4,862 $49 
General expenses $3,953  $40
Total spend $22,126 $406

Based on this budget, the average American could pocket around $406 in their first year with the Costco Anywhere Visa Card.

Check out the best cash back credit cards for more options.

How to redeem Costco Credit Card rewards?

Remember when I said redeeming with this credit card isn’t simple? Here’s a lowdown on that aspect:

You’ll get your cash back as an annual reward certificate once your February billing statement wraps up (this expiration date is listed on your rewards certificate). To cash in, you’ll need to swing by a US Costco warehouse, which is a bit inconvenient if you prefer shopping on Costco.com or don’t live near a physical outlet. 

This means you can’t use the certificate online, on your credit card payments, or other Citi credit card rewards. But you can redeem your reward certificate for cash at a Costco location.

On the flip side, most other credit cards will let you easily redeem your rewards online or through a mobile app, within a single billing cycle. Some cards even dish out cash back every day, like the Apple Card’s daily cash program.

Costco Credit Card Fees

Details Metric
Annual fee annual_fees
Sign-up bonus bonus_miles_full
Intro APR intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
Purchase APR  reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Balance transfer APR  balance_transfer_intro_apr,balance_transfer_intro_duration
Cash advance APR cash_advance_apr
Cash advance fee cash_advance_fee
Balance transfer fee balance_transfer_fees
Foreign transaction fee foreign_transaction_fee
Late fee late_payment_fee

Costco Mastercard Review: Pros and Cons

Here’s a glance at all the pros and cons of getting this card:

Pros

  • You can swipe the card anywhere.
  • Earn big on gas.
  • Bag great rewards on dining.
  • Doubles as a decent travel card.
  • Can pay for your Costco membership.
  • Added benefits and perks like travel and car rental insurance.

Cons

  • Costco buys don’t fetch you the biggest reward rates.
  • You’ll need excellent credit for good approval odds.
  • Redemption rules are rigid.

Why I like it

You can swipe the card anywhere

Unlike most store cards, you can use the Costco Anywhere Visa anywhere—it’s not limited to Costco. In some cases, you actually get better rewards for shopping elsewhere.

Most store cards work at one retailer. 

For instance, if you have a Bealls card, you can only use it at Bealls, Bealls Florida, Homecentric, and Rugged Earth. 

But the Costco Visa breaks the mold—it functions like a normal Visa so you can swipe it even at Macy’s or Kohl’s. It’s a great deal for Costco fans who want flexibility in earning rewards.

Earn big on gas

If you’re a frequent road tripper, the Costco Visa brings the best gas perks—you get 4% cash back anytime you fuel up, up to $7,000 each year. That means you could pocket $280 annually just from pumping gas. And if you hit that limit, you still get 1% back on any remaining gas station runs.

This offer is better than card_name 3% cash back offer on gas, and almost as good as card_name 5% cash back offer—that’s impressive for a store card.

Bag great rewards on dining

This Costco Credit Card gives you 3% cash back at restaurants. I’m a hobby chef who loves hosting dinner parties, but I’d be thrilled about eating out if I could bag decent rewards like these.

Note that this 3% dining offer is as good as what you get with a premium card like the card_name, except the latter would set you back by annual_fees annually.

Doubles as a decent travel card

Wondering if the Costco Credit Card is good for travel? Well, this Visa card may not seem like a typical travel card, but with zero foreign transaction fees and perks like 3% cash back on hotels, rental cars, and more, it can pay off when you’re on vacation.

One of my favorite features (and one that you need to maximize) lets Executive Costco Members combine the 3% cash back rewards with the 2% they already get from their membership. That totals to a whopping 5% cash back rate on eligible travel purchases.

Check out our list of the best credit cards for free travel and cash back.

Can pay for your Costco membership

Getting a Cosco Credit Card requires you to be a Costco member, which means spending at least $60 a year on membership. But if used correctly, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card can pay for your membership. 

The card fetches you 2% cash back on Costco buys—but you can get this offer with any good flat-rate card. The 3% offer on travel and dining is more interesting, and a rare sighting for a $0 annual fee card. 

But the standout feature is the 4% back on gas and EV charging ($7,000 annual spending cap). I crunched some numbers—you’ll need to spend about $125 each month on gas to get $60 as cash back in a year. Does that seem like a lot? Well, it isn’t.

American Automobile Association says an average gallon of gas costs $3.84, so $125 gets you 32.6 gallons of gas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the average vehicle gets 25.4 mpg, which means you’d need to drive about 827 miles to go through $125 worth of gas. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates the average driver covers 29 miles a day. That adds up to 870 miles every 30 days.

Phew! That was a lot of math. But in conclusion—the Costco Card can easily pay for your Costco membership.

Added benefits and perks like travel and car rental insurance

The Costco Visa Card gives you tons of advantages in addition to its rewards incentives. 

Key perks include:

  • Assistance with travel emergencies and arrangements while away from home.
  • Insurance coverage for accidents while traveling internationally.
  • Protection when renting vehicles globally.
  • Reimbursement for items that are damaged or stolen soon after purchase.
  • Early ticket access and reserved seating for entertainment events through the card’s entertainment platform.

Why you may want a different card

Costco buys don’t fetch you the biggest reward rates

If you’re hoping for over-the-top rewards when shopping at Costco itself, you’re in for some disappointment. You won’t find the 5% cash back deals that Amazon and Target cards offer their loyal customers. This Costco Card gives you 2% back on Costco purchases—not bad but not impressive. 

Plus, it’s made with the Costco faithful in mind—so where this card shines is turning your everyday spending into Costco rewards. You can rack up points from gas, dining out, traveling, and more—you can then use these rewards for more Costco deals. 

You’ll need excellent credit for good approval odds

Having a Costco membership won’t guarantee approval for this card. You typically need excellent credit, which is a FICO score of around 720 or higher. For the best shot at getting the green light, try applying with a credit score of over 750.

Redemption rules are rigid

The rewards rates on this card might be generous, but cashing in your earnings is oddly complicated. Typically, rewards credit cards add your cash back or points to your account within a billing cycle or two, letting you redeem them once they post. 

The Costco card takes a different approach—your rewards arrive once annually alongside your February statement in the form of a certificate. You then have to physically take this certificate to a Costco warehouse if you want that cash reward or store credit. (Online redemption isn’t possible, though Costco introduced direct bank deposit for balances of $500+ in 2022).

Costco can also opt to issue your earnings as a check or electronic transfer rather than cash. Plus, if you cancel your Costco membership before using the certificate or miss the December 31st deadline, your rewards disappear.

In short—you’ll wait months for rewards, may need to visit a warehouse to redeem them, and have a limited window to do so. If any aspect of this process is a non-starter, this card isn’t for you.

How to Maximize the Costco Visa Card

I’ve said this already but to reiterate, this card’s top feature is its 4% cash back offer on gas and EV charging. In fact, it’s one of the best cards in the market for cash back when filling the tank—especially since it doesn’t carry an annual fee. 

And let’s not forget that this deal includes Costco gas, which is typically inexpensive when compared to other gas stations. Maximize this reward rate if you want the Costco Visa Card to pay for your Costco membership. 

Tip: If there’s another daily commuter in your household who fills up gas regularly, add them as an authorized user on my Costco Anywhere Visa—this way they can earn you more rewards in this category.

There’s also the 3% cash back offer on restaurants and eligible travel purchases, and 2% cash back on Costco buys. Although these aren’t mindblowing rates, I recommend maximizing these offers if you want more Costco deals at the end of the year.

Another feature that I love about this card is its strong purchase protection benefits. If your item is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days for New York residents), you’ll receive a reimbursement of up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 annually. 

Of course, this only applies if you’ve paid for the item with your Costco Anywhere Visa® Card. But this is a surprisingly high reimbursement cap for a credit card with no annual fee—so look into leveraging this if you’re buying something expensive.

Best Credit Cards to Pair With the Costco Card

I suggest pairing your Costco Visa Card depending on where you prefer shopping outside of Costco.

card_name

If you want more grocery rewards than what the Costco card offers, think about pairing it with the card_name. This card scores you a 6% cash back on groceries (up to a limit, then 1%) and rewards you for streaming subscriptions and gas. 

Since wholesale clubs like Costco don’t count as grocery stores for the Amex card’s bonus, use it when you shop at regular supermarkets and let your Costco Visa earn bonus rewards at the warehouse. Yes, the Amex card has an annual fee, but with those high earning rates, you can easily offset it.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Another solid pairing is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. It earns an easy 2% cash back on everything—the same as the Costco card does in-store. So, while the Costco card could reward you more if you eat out and fill up gas, the Wells Fargo card’s straightforward rewards and redemptions make it a handy catch-all card for purchases you don’t make at the warehouse chain.

Alternatives to the Costco Credit Card

If the Costco Anywhere Visa isn’t for you but you still want a card for regular Costco runs, remember your options are limited to Visa cards only. 

Costco only accepts Visa credit cards, cash, checks, debit cards, EBT, and their own Costco Cash cards.

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Costco Credit Card: Useful Links

LEARN MORE ABOUT APPLYING FOR THIS CREDIT CARD

Costco Reviews

If you haven’t had the chance to ask around about this card, here are some reviews (good and bad) from cardholders to give you more insights:

“I got this card right after Costco switched away from AMEX. It’s a great card for everyday use. Rewards always come as expected, and the website lets you see your current earnings. I think the only drawback is that you can’t cash out your rewards on demand, and have to wait for the yearly certificate to arrive. You can bring the certificate to Costco, and they will open the registers and hand you cash.”

“From the extra insurance to the cash back, this card is awesome. I typically get back $500 a year in cash. I had some Night Owl security cameras go bad after 3 years, and Visa refunded me the entire purchase price back on my card. The process to file a claim was a little daunting, but I figured it out.”

“I’m a long-time cardholder and have been making my payments on time. I have also always paid way more than the minimum. But Costco still closed my account because I made two late payments (my payments were only a few days late.)”

Is Costco Worth It?

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card is worth it if you live near a Costco warehouse and are already a Costco member. If you fit into this bracket, you’ll find this card to be one of the better options to use for your gas and restaurant purchases. Plus, it lets you rack in rewards on EV charging—one of the only credit cards to do so.

There are some drawbacks of course—the redemption rules are rigid, and you’ll only receive your cash back once a year. 

If the rewards outweigh the vices for you, apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card here.

But if you don’t fall into the above categories, the Costco Card probably isn’t worth it. Cards like card_name offer a lot more flexibility with 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter, like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more. And just like the Costco Visa card, this one comes with no annual fees. 

Apply for the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card here.

FAQ

What credit score do you need to get a Costco card?

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card requires you to have excellent credit, which is typically a FICO credit score of 720 or higher. For better approval odds, I recommend applying for this card if you have a credit score upwards of 750.

How much income do you need for a Costco Credit Card?

Citi doesn’t disclose any minimum income for the Costco Credit Card. But you generally need sufficient income to make the monthly payments for this credit card. And of course, the higher your income, the more likely you are to be approved and get a better credit limit. Note that Citi considers tons of income sources beyond just employment wages when reviewing applications, including retirement benefits, government payments, and investment income.

Does Costco do a hard pull for credit cards?

Yes, Citi performs a hard inquiry on your credit report when you apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card. A hard pull like this one will temporarily lower your credit score by a small amount. However, this process is typical during the application process for most credit cards. Your credit score should recover soon if you stick to paying off card debt regularly and maintain a good credit utilization rate.

What credit bureau does Costco use?

Self-reported consumer data suggests that Costco’s credit card issuer, Citi, primarily pulls credit reports from Experian. Looks like Citi may also obtain reports from Equifax but relies on TransUnion less frequently. 

Just so you know, Citi reports to all those major credit bureaus. When it comes to updating your credit report, it should happen when you get your monthly billing statement. But the timing of these updates can vary, with some changes reflecting immediately, while others may take more than a month to appear on your credit report.

Does the Costco Credit Card have Pre Approval?

No, Citi does not offer pre-approval for the Costco Visa Card right now. But there’s a chance that you’re pre-selected for a Costco Credit Card application. Being pre-selected for an application suggests that your likelihood of approval is high (around 70%). To respond to the pre-selected offer, go to the website mentioned in your offer and input the invitation code. This action will let Citi know that your application is pre-selected.

What is the Costco Anywhere Visa credit limit?

There’s no set credit limit on the Costco Credit Card. But cardholders have reported credit limits that range from as low as $500 to as high as $5,000. Your credit line depends on factors like your credit score, credit history, income, debt, and more.

 

What are eligible gas purchases for the Costco Visa?

Gas purchases qualifying for the Costco Credit Card’s cash back bonus include transactions made at Costco and nearly all other standard gas stations. But purchases like fuel for non-automobile purposes and gas charges at supermarkets, superstores, and warehouse clubs (excluding Costco) don’t qualify for the bonus.

Keep in mind that to be eligible, gas stations must allocate a merchant category code (MCC) for gas and EV charging stations to their fuel purchases. Costco Credit Card holders can enjoy a 4% cash back bonus on all eligible purchases, up to $7,000 spent annually, with a 1% cash back rate thereafter. Non-qualifying purchases, regardless of category, earn a standard 1% cash back.

Does Costco run a credit check for membership?

No, Costco won’t check your credit score when you apply for a membership. You’ll need to pay the annual membership fee when you sign up initially. And when it’s time to renew, Costco will hit you with the charge at the checkout. The only time Costco does check for your credit scores is when you apply for a store credit card.

Our Methodology

Our credit card reviews aim to provide a comprehensive assessment of both quantitative and qualitative factors. The quantitative analysis focuses on the financial costs and benefits associated with each card, including interest rates, fees, rewards programs, cash back offers, and other monetary perks. However, we also consider qualitative aspects that impact the everyday use and value of the card. These include the simplicity of the application process, the structure of the rewards program, the likelihood of utilizing certain card features, and the suitability of the card for frequent or infrequent use. Our On FIRE rating system allows for quick comparisons between cards within a particular category. When choosing a new credit card, consumers should weigh the quantitative dollar amounts along with qualitative ease-of-use factors to select the best overall option for their needs.

Terms and Restrictions Apply
Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. POF does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Credit Card Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval, you should review each Provider's terms and conditions to determine which card works for you and your personal financial situation.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

User-Generated Content Disclosure: Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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