Can You Share a Costco Membership? Costco Member Policies Explained

Exterior of a Costco Wholesale warehouse store

For an annual membership fee, Costco offers access to wholesale pricing on a variety of everyday items. Costco’s product selection ranges from electronics and appliances to groceries and office supplies. Only members can take advantage of these wholesale prices, and you must show your membership card to a Costco employee upon entering the store and making a purchase. So what if you don’t have a membership card but a friend or family member does? Is sharing Costco memberships OK? In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about sharing a Costco membership.

Sharing Costco Memberships

In short, sharing Costco memberships is OK. The longer answer is that sharing your membership privilege is different from lending your membership card to someone. You can’t lend someone your membership card. Costco memberships are nontransferable, meaning a membership card can’t be transferred or given to someone else. Each member card has a photo ID of the member on the back, and at the time of purchase, the cashier will check this photo. So, even if someone offers to break the rules and lend you their membership card, you can’t shop at Costco without them. If you get caught attempting to make a Costco purchase using someone else’s membership card, then it may result in the membership being revoked. You can learn more about Costco membership privileges and conditions by seeing the Costco member privileges and conditions.

Through speaking with Costco customer service as well as visiting the Costco website, we put together the list of ways you can share a Costco membership.

The Household Card

All memberships offered by Costco allow you to share your membership with at least one other person in the form of one free household card. This means that you, as the primary member, may designate someone at your address (a spouse, sibling, parent, etc.) to also benefit from your membership. This person must be at least 18 years old and have proof of residency at your address, through a form of ID like a driver’s license. Your designated person will be able to pick up his or her household member card at the local Costco where you purchased your membership. He or she will receive a permanent membership card that is good for shopping at Costco as long as the membership remains active.

Business Memberships

The Costco Business Memberships allow you to add additional cardholders to your membership, but each costs an extra $60.00 annually. This is usually a good idea for business owners who find that they purchase a lot of business products at Costco. If this sounds like you, then you might consider adding business partners or employees to your membership. Learn more about adding additional cards to your Business Membership on Costco’s website.

Shopping with a Member

If you are not a member and don’t have a household membership card, you can still shop at Costco with a friend or family member who does have a membership card. Prior to checking out, you will just need to give the member cash for your purchases and have her pay for everything in one purchase using their member card. Or, the member could purchase everything with their credit card, for example, and you could pay them back afterward. A Costco customer service representative confirmed that this is a valid way to shop with a Costco member.

In Summary

Costco is a popular chain store that offers wholesale pricing on a variety of products through an annual membership program. There are four different types of memberships available including Business, Business Executive, Gold Star, and Gold Star Executive. Memberships are nontransferable, meaning you cannot give your membership to someone else. However, each membership does include one free household card which will allow you to choose someone in your household to receive an additional card for their own use. With a Business membership, you may add additional cards for $60 annually per card. If you don’t have a Costco card of your own, you do have the option of shopping with a friend or family member who does have a card. Costco membership sharing is OK but lending is not. If you’d like to learn more about Costco memberships, please see our article about the Costco Membership Fee.

Does Costco have a senior membership or a senior discount? See our article for details.


2 comments - Comments are closed.

  • Edith Wilhite

    I’m a senior who buys very little, but I would like to see about getting new hearing aids. Do I have to pay the membership every year to get service?

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Lindsey Desmet

      Hello, Edith! Yes, Costco does require a membership to use its Hearing Aid Centers. You would need to renew your membership annually to continue using Costco’s hearing aid services or its other services, like Costco Optical.

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