Shopper using self checkout BbREs.width .jpg

Costco Is Following Netflix’s Lead and Customers Aren’t Going to Be Happy

Shopper using self checkout

Image source: Getty Images

Sharing is caring may be what you’re taught in kindergarten. But, Netflix recently decided that this no longer applies to the password for its streaming service. While Netflix once endorsed the idea of people splitting account access, tweeting out “Love is sharing a password,” back in 2017, the company has begun making moves to stop the practice.

In fact, the streaming service has now issued a warning via email and on the plan subscription page indicating an account can only be used by people within the same household. Netflix is in the process of requiring users to set a primary location and pay extra fees for sub-accounts elsewhere.

Now, it seems like Netflix is no longer the only beloved brand that doesn’t want people to share the love and instead wants people to pay for their own membership fees out of their bank accounts. Costco is getting in on the game as well. And this is sure to disappoint many shoppers at the members-only warehouse club who enjoy shared account access.

Costco cracks down on shared cards in self-checkout

It’s a well-known rule that shopping at Costco requires a membership card. And, both Gold Star and Executive members receive cards for two individuals.

However, the terms of service indicate these cards are supposed to be used by individuals residing at the same location. Members can also choose to add additional users for an extra $60 per person.

Unfortunately, Costco has indicated that it has noticed an increase in shoppers using membership cards belonging to others — primarily at the self-checkout. In other words, members are sharing their cards with friends and family, who are then able to visit the warehouse and buy items in the self-checkout line with their borrowed card. This offers them access to the club’s discounted prices.

In an effort to stop this practice, the company is stepping up its efforts to verify that cards are being used only by authorized members. Specifically, in several stores, shoppers at self-checkout have been asked to provide their membership card with their photo, or their membership card with another form of ID.

This additional security measure has been reported in multiple Costco locations across the U.S., including in Michigan and Texas. While Costco indicated this does not reflect a change in official policy — which has always limited card use to people in the same household — it is a change in how the policy is enforced. And, recent company statements suggest this new procedure is likely to continue and spread to other stores nationwide.

Should you keep a Costco membership if you can’t share it?

Costco memberships start at $60 annually for a Gold Star membership, but jump to $120 for Executive members. This isn’t a small amount to put on your credit cards, so it’s understandable that people might want to split the cost and share their memberships — even with individuals outside of their households.

With Costco making this more difficult, those who were previously sharing cards will need to decide if paying the additional fee for more users — or buying their own individual memberships — is worth it. Ultimately, this will be determined by whether the savings that comes from shopping at Costco outweighs the annual membership fee.

To determine that, you can compare prices at Costco versus your other local grocery stores to see how much less you spend. Think about how often you go to Costco, how frequently you buy cheaper items there, and whether these purchases make up for the $60 or more you’d have to spend each year to get a membership card of your own.

If you decide to opt out, just be aware that you could soon face a good chance of getting your ID checked — and your purchases denied — if you’re trying to shop with a membership card that isn’t really yours.

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.Christy Bieber has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale and Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

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

Related Posts