The Costco credit card change happened on June 20, 2016. More specifically, that’s when Costco’s switch to Visa from American Express officially took effect, after being announced in February 2015. As a result, Costco went from only taking Amex to exclusively accepting cards on the Visa network.
Costco’s co-branded credit cards changed, too. Before June 2016, they were the Costco True Earnings and True Earnings Business cards from American Express. Now, they’re the Costco Anywhere Visa and Costco Anywhere Visa Business cards by Citi. In addition to all their new sign-ups, Costco had to switch over 11 million people who had their American Express cards.
Costco switched to Visa mainly for business reasons. Though they enjoyed a 17-year exclusive relationship with American Express, eventually they could not negotiate a renewal of the contract with the terms they wanted. So Costco turned to Visa, and the deal they negotiated ended up benefitting both Costco and its shoppers.For starters, far more people have a Visa card than an American Express card. There were 335 million Visa cards in circulation at the end of 2016, compared to 47.5 million American Express cards, according to the networks’ filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Despite having some initial trouble making the switch, Costco has now settled into the new system. Customers can now use a much wider range of credit cards at Costco, and Costco Anywhere Visa has a far better rewards program than its predecessor.
If you’re already a Costco member or are planning to become one (membership is required for the card), the Costco Anywhere Visa is a perk that’s definitely worth taking advantage of. Costco membership will run you $55 per year, by the way.