Young woman smiling as she counts cash in her.width XDyly.jpg

3 Times You May Want to Shop at Costco With Cash

Young woman smiling as she counts cash in her hands.

Image source: Getty Images

Shopping at Costco is a great way to save money on groceries and household essentials. And if you swipe your credit card at the Costco checkout line, you might even snag some nice cash back on your purchases. (That’s on top of the cash back you might score if you have a Costco executive membership, which gives you 2% back on everything you buy at Costco.)

But sometimes, it pays to shop at Costco with cash rather than a credit card. Here are a few such instances.

1. You don’t have a credit card that Costco accepts

Costco accepts Visa cards, and only Visa cards. If you have one, you’re all set. If not, it may not be worth it to apply for another credit card for the express purpose of being able to shop at Costco. So at that point, cash may be your only option.

To be clear, you can use a debit card at Costco — you don’t have to bring physical cash with you. But handing over cash might help you keep better tabs on your spending. And it also might prevent you from making impulse buys at Costco.

2. You’re already in debt

Paying off a credit card balance can take time. But one important thing to do when you’re trying to whittle down an existing balance is to not add to it. So if your goal is to be free of your credit card debt, you really don’t want to charge any more expenses if you can help it. And that includes Costco purchases.

3. You’re trying to boost your credit score

A higher credit score could do a lot of good things for you. It could make it easier to get approved for a loan should you decide to apply for one, and it could set you up for a more competitive borrowing rate.

One good way to boost your credit score is to keep your credit utilization as low as possible. Credit utilization speaks to the amount of available credit you’re using at once. If you have a $5,000 spending limit on your credit cards and have an outstanding balance of $1,000, it means you’re at 20% utilization.

A credit utilization ratio of 30% or less could be helpful to your credit score. So if you’re hovering around that mark and want to get your utilization down, you’ll need to limit the extent to which you swipe your credit card at the store. Paying cash for your Costco purchases could help you keep your total credit card balance low.

Many people prefer to pay for Costco purchases with a credit card because they can earn cash back on what they’re buying. And also, for some people, using a credit card actually makes it easier to keep tabs on their spending because all of that information is summarized when you log into your credit card account. But if these situations apply to you, then you may want to stick to cash at Costco — at least for the time being.

Alert: highest cash back card we’ve seen now has 0% intro APR until 2024

If you’re using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR until 2024, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee.

In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Read our free review

We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Maurie Backman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale and Visa. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts