Costco is cracking down on sharing membership cards
Big box retailer Costco is joining companies like Netflix streaming services by cracking down on those using their membership cards that do not belong to their shopping club.
Known for offering some of the lowest prices in the retail industry, Costco noticed that non-members have been sneaking in to use membership cards that don’t belong to them. This followed their expansion of their self-checkout service, which Costco pointed to as the source for card-sharing abuse, which has soared.
Store employees are more frequently asking shoppers at the self-checkout to show the membership card and an identification. Costco says it will ask to see photo identification when a person checks out using their card without a photo on the back of it.
The warehouse club retailer’s request for shoppers’ membership cards along with a photo ID to use the self-checkout registers follows what is requested at their regular checkout lanes.
The crackdown on membership-card sharing follows days of rumors about potential changes to Costco’s membership program. The store will be trying even harder to prevent non-members from using their friends’ and family’s Costco cards. The company said in a statement, “We don’t feel it’s right that non members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members.”
In 2022, Costco said it had around 66 million paid members and 119 million cardholders, which makes it one of the largest membership clubs in the world. Customers pay a yearly fee of $60 for a regular membership or $120 for an executive card.
Rivals such as Amazon and Sam’s Club have raised their membership fees while Costco’s membership fees have remained the same since 2017. Costco has hinted it may soon raise its membership price despite having made $4.2 billion in membership fees in 2022, a 9% increase from 2021.
Costco members took to twitter to share their thoughts on the crackdown. One person tweeted that the change already has people on edge while waiting in line to check out saying, “There was high anxiety in the @Costco #costco line last nite, as a staffer carded everyone in the self checkout lane, (kindly) demanding to see your picture on the back. Its a new effort to crack down on membership card sharing.”
Others say they are considering canceling their membership as a result of the crack down. One Twitter user wrote, “Well is not like their prices are low! Maybe it’s time to cancel my subscription if my sibling can’t use it!!! Yeah let’s do that. Let’s all cancel our subscriptions. We don’t feel it’s right.”
Another questioned why Costco would toughen up now if they’re receiving more customers as a result of card sharing.