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Costco Will Take Visa in Citi Partnership, Replacing AmEx

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Costco Will Take Visa in Citi Partnership, Replacing AmEx

Costco members, hold onto your super-sized shopping carts. You may be able to earn rewards on your Visa credit cards with purchases at the big-box stores in April 2016. That’s when the retail giant, which is ending an exclusive agreement with American Express after 16 years, will partner with Citi and Visa.

By then, Costco announced, Citi and Visa will offer a credit card that will replace TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express. Citi will buy American Express’s portfolio for the card and issue a new one co-branded with Costco, according to the company.

So what does this all mean for you? Let’s break it down:

If you’re a TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express cardholder, sit tight.

TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express offers top-notch rewards on gas, restaurants, and select travel purchases that may be hard to beat.

But the new co-branded Citi card, which will serve as a Costco membership ID, will also offer “generous rewards to Costco members,” according to the company’s press release. Because Visa is more widely accepted than American Express, members will also be able to rack up rewards in more than 200 countries and territories with the new cards.

The smartest move for TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express cardholders may be to sit tight for now and wait for more details from Citi.

You’ll be able to use your Visa cards at Costco next year.

American Express, like Discover, is both a credit card issuer and a payment network. With Visa and Citi, though, those roles are split up: Visa is the payment network and Citi is the issuer. Costco’s cashiers currently accept only debit cards and American Express, but because of the new partnership with Visa, this will change.

Starting on April 1, 2016,  you’ll be able to make purchases at Costco using any Visa card. That includes a few of our favorites, including the Chase Freedom®. For Costco devotees who have been itching to earn Visa rewards for their economy-sized purchases, this new partnership is good news.

Claire Davidson is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @ideclaire7 and on Google+.


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