Costco's exclusive relationship with American Express ended in mid-2016, and the wholesale club now accepts only Visa credit cards (in addition to cash, check and debit). Members who carried the old TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express were sent the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
The transition was rocky, to put it mildly, and NerdWallet received a ton of questions about it. We've put together some answers.
When did the switch take place?
Costco began taking the new Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi on June 20. Costco will also accept any other Visa card, cash, checks, debit cards, EBT and Costco Cash Cards.
June 19 was the last day customers could shop at Costco with the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express or any other American Express card.
Is the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi also my Costco membership card?
Yes. Just like the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express, it doubles as a membership card. You can also use it to make purchases at stores other than Costco. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi's annual fee is $0, but to get it you have to be a Costco member, which costs at least $55 a year.
If I had the Costco AmEx, will I get a new card?
Yes. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi was automatically sent to TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express cardholders in late May or early June. Your new card will have a different account number, but it won't count as a new line of credit on your credit report.
However, almost as soon as the changeover became official, many customers reported that they had not received their new card, or had received it but could not activate it. Citi said it was working to resolve the problems.
If you want to continue your relationship with American Express, you'll need to apply for a new credit card.
Will my credit score get dinged because of this?
Once the shift from American Express to Citi was complete, AmEx began reporting Costco credit card accounts as closed. Citi says it will begin reporting activity on the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi to the credit bureaus in September. As a result of the lag between those events, cardholders whose accounts have been transferred from AmEx to Citi might see their credit scores drop temporarily. When Citi reports the new account, it will show the same "origination date" — or account opening date — as the original AmEx. At that point, affected cardholders' scores should go up again, all other things being equal.
Cardholders whose accounts were transferred will not see any credit score effects from a credit check. Accounts were transferred automatically from American Express, so no credit histories were pulled.
However, if you apply for a new American Express card, it's possible that American Express will perform a hard credit pull and create a new account for you. Both will likely reduce your score.
But all of this might depend on how long you've had your account. Some who have Costco American Express cards that predate the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express have reported that their accounts were converted to other American Express cards without a hard credit pull. In some cases, they were even able to keep the same account number.
Can I still use my TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express elsewhere?
No, you won’t be able to use the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express after June 19. You will be able to use your new card at stores besides Costco.
What happens to the cash-back rewards from my TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express?
Rewards were automatically transferred to the new Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. If you’ve earned American Express Membership Rewards points, those won't transfer.
Whom do I pay if I have a balance on my TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express?
You’ll pay your balance to Citi, which is taking over the debt on all TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express accounts.
What if I've set up auto-payments using my TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express?
These payment arrangements won’t travel with the new credit card. You’ll need to update your billers with the information from your new Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
How do I manage my account online or set up automatic credit card payments from my bank?
You'll have to register for online access to your account, which you can do at this Citi website.
What are the basic facts about Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi?
Here is the nitty-gritty about Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi:
The annual fee is $0.
The balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred.
What kinds of rewards will I earn with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi?
Pretty good ones! Here's a summary:
4% cash back on up to $7,000 in gas purchases each year from Costco and other gas stations, not including those at other warehouse clubs. After you reach $7,000, your gas purchases will earn 1%.
3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases.
2% cash back on all purchases from Costco and Costco.com.
1% cash back on all other purchases.
Will I get travel and purchase protections with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi?
Yes. You’ll get worldwide car-rental insurance and travel accident insurance, as well as damage and purchase protection good for 120 days after buying something with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. You should have received a booklet detailing all the benefits around the time the card was issued.
What are my other options if I don't want the Citi card?
Citi was sending the new cards to all TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express cardholders, so you probably received it whether you wanted it or not.
But because Costco is now accepting any Visa credit card, you can use a different one at Costco and elsewhere if that's your preference.
Want some suggestions? We've rounded up our favorite Visa cards here.