Costco Wants You to Stop Sharing Your Membership Card

published Jul 5, 2023
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Costco has announced that they’ll be cracking down on unauthorized card-sharing, CNN reports. This is in response to more and more shoppers using membership cards that don’t belong to them, ever since the wholesale club expanded self-checkout.

So, from now on, expect Costco employees to always ask for your membership card and a photo ID at the self-checkout registers.

“We don’t feel it’s right that non-members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members,” the company said in a statement. “Costco is able to keep our prices as low as possible because our membership fees help offset our operational expenses, making our membership fee and structure important to us.”

The crackdown has drawn mixed reactions from customers. Some members find it an inconvenience, saying that they feel they’re being hounded at every step. 

“Now you get checked at the door, when you check out, and when you leave. Makes a person feel really welcome,” a Twitter user said.

Others are OK with the new policy, saying that those who don’t pay for membership will eventually cause the cost of goods to rise. As another Twitter user summed the sentiment perfectly, “Do it to save the hot dogs!”

For those who don’t have a membership yet, here’s a short guide. There are three types of Costco memberships: gold star, business, and executive. 

The basic “gold star” membership costs $60 per year, and includes a free Household Card and is valid at all Costco locations worldwide and online. The “business” membership costs the same, and can be used for resale, business, and personal use. And finally, the “executive” membership costs $120 per year, and has all the perks, plus additional ones like greater discounts on Costco Services.

Costco’s stricter membership policy is reminiscent of Netflix’s recent crackdown on password-sharing. The streaming service was previously lax regarding the matter, but now requires non-paying viewers to get their own account, or be added to an account for an additional $7.99 per month. So far, the move has paid off for Netflix, as it has seen its biggest jump in new subscriber sign-ups in four years.