American Express is accepted at 10.6 million merchant locations in the U.S. and in 160+ countries and territories abroad. But you’ll find some stores that have exclusive deals with the more popular networks, Visa and Mastercard. For example, Costco only accepts Visa cards now, after switching from Amex only in 2016. Plus, despite the good number of foreign countries where you can use American Express cards, acceptance is on a merchant-by-merchant basis. So, coverage in a lot of countries is hit or miss.… read full answer
Here’s where American Express is accepted:
Where American Express is Accepted in the U.S.: 10.6 million merchants
Where American Express is Accepted Internationally: 160+ countries and territories
Countries Where American Express is Accepted Most: Canada, Australia, UK, India, Singapore
Places Where American Express is Not Accepted: Cuba, Sudan, South Sudan, Iran, Syria
Major Retailers That Accept American Express: Amazon, IKEA, Sears, Target, Walmart, Lowe’s, Apple, Best Buy, Staples, CVS
Major Retailers That Don’t Accept American Express: Costco, small non-chain stores/restaurants
So, an American Express card is enough for your shopping within the U.S. Though you may find some stores that don’t take it, the majority will. But you’ll probably want to have a no foreign transaction fee Visa or Mastercard when you go abroad. Those networks guarantee you worldwide coverage, with acceptance in over 200 countries and territories. Plus, Mastercard and Visa cards are accepted just about universally within those regions. Amex cards still have hit-or-miss acceptance in many.
Yes, Costco accepts all Visa credit cards, Visa debit cards and Visa gift cards. In fact, Costco has a contract with Visa and only takes Visa cards. This means you cannot use Mastercard, Discover or American Express cards at Costco. If you don’t have a Visa card, you will have to pay by cash or check. This has been the case since June 2016, when Costco switched from only accepting American Express cards.… read full answer
It’s not common for retailers to have an exclusive relationship with one card network. Most stores that accept Visa also take Mastercard. It’s more common for stores to not take Discover or American Express.
Costco & Visa Facts
Costco takes all Visa credit cards, debit cards and gift cards.
Costco only takes Visa cards. They won’t accept Mastercard, Discover or American Express.
You can tell if your card is a Visa by looking for the Visa logo (usually on the front).
If you don’t have a Visa card, you’ll only be able to pay with cash, a check or a prepaid Costco Cash Card.
Costco has its own co-branded Visa credit card, the Costco Anywhere Visa. You can use it not only at Costco but anywhere in the world Visa is accepted.
The Costco Anywhere Visa card is one of the best Visa cards to use at Costco. However, you will need to have a Costco membership ($60+ per year) in order to get it. That shouldn’t be an issue, though, as you have to be a Costco member to make purchases there anyway. But if Costco’s credit card doesn’t interest you, you can use any Visa you want.
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