Costco Is Ending Membership Sharing (Here’s What We Know)

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hand holding costco membership card

Costco is cracking down on card sharing! 

Costco fans we’ve got some bad news. Costco is putting a stop to Membership Card sharing effective immediately!

Employees will now be verifying that your name matches your membership card when you enter the store and when you checkout. Our very own HipSidekick, Paige visited her local Costco and stated that employees were checking that each shopper had a Costco card and were not allowing sharing of cards.

So, if you’ve been sharing a friend or family member’s card it’s now time to grab a Gold Star Membership for yourself!

hand holding costco card sharing memo

How many people can be on my Costco membership?

A total of two people can be on a Costco Gold Star Membership. There can be one primary member and one free household member who is over 18 and lives at the same address. Note, if you have a business membership then you can add more than one person for an additional fee.

While you’re at Costco, grab some of our favorite finds!

About the writer:

Liz has over a decade of experience writing about coupons and frugal living. She’s always searching for the best deals and loves helping people save!

Join The Discussion

Comments 42

  1. Mamamia

    ours has been checking membership at the door for years, not sure if they will physically get the card and check. Also, they have self-checkout. Will they come check your card and id each time? That will defeat the purpose of a fast checkout. I’m pretty sure the $60 in card charing loss is made up by the thousands that the sharers are spending in the store. Stop being petty Costco! And for the record, it should really be enough cards per household. there are 4 adults living in our house (almost 5!) why do I need to by 3 different memberships for those 5 people when we all live under one roof?!?

    • KristiAurora

      They checked mine yesterday in the self check out

    • Sherri

      At my Costco last week they had an associate coming down the self checkout line and checking everyone’s card as we were waiting.

    • Karie

      We have been using self checkout about six or seven years and I honestly forgot they checked. I’ve always shown our card at the door, but usually there are tons of people entering so I think it is a always an “honor system” upon entry and it’s been left up to checkout…. I’ve been checked daily for six days at two Costcos, only at self checkout.

    • Shauna

      Yes, they are verifying your picture on your card at self checkout. The employee said it went into affect Monday, June 12.

    • Allan

      Cheats should pay. Costco’s discounting depends on its income from memberships. By shopping without a valid membership, you are cheating members who pay, so PAY like the rest of us do.

  2. Sara

    Yep, I’ve been asked for ID or reprimanded by a Costco employee more than once for using my husband’s card when my debit card name didn’t match the account (I’m not on the account).

  3. lafzalot78

    A year ago, I had issue because the picture on my card is me 60+ lbs more. I just lost a lot of weight during lockdowns. The lady insisted it wasn’t me until I showed her my license and THREE cards with my name on it! SMDH. I’ve been a executive member since 2005! I wasn’t very pleased to say the least.
    Getting a new costco picture..wasn’t on my list of things TO DO.

  4. jen

    I went with my husband this week and used self checkout. An employee asked my husband to see his card while we were in line, and checked his picture. They always checked at the entrance, but I can see why now at self checkout, bc anyone can use somebody else’s membership.

  5. Jill

    I was just there today and they checked my membership. I live in Tallasshee, FL

  6. SeashellBeaches

    While the is is true, I did find out from a Costco employee that you can buy someone a Costco gift card and they can get in anytime with the gift card…and reload it. Same as having their own Costco card.

    • Sharlyn Friends

      I was denied buying a Costo gift card because I was NOT a member..So goodbye Costco..Hello Sams club..which will let you buy a gift card WITHOUT a membership..just sayin..

      • molly

        Sam’s will let you buy (some) things without a membership, but, last I checked, they tack on a service fee of about 10%. It would not make sense for them to let you buy and shop without a fee, or why would anyone pay for a membership?

      • Little ted

        Costco is membership club only. If you are not member, you can not shop there. It doesnt matter if you have shop card or not. During covid they let their enforce down but now they forcing what they suppose to do. Have fun shopping in sam’s

    • Denise

      This is absolutely true! When my daughter goes to Hawaii with her friends I just buy them a Costco gift card before they go and that is what they use to buy the stuff they need. You can’t buy alcohol at all if you are not a member and using a gift card (what we were told) but they have had no issues each and every time just using the gift card. I understand the card sharing but it would sure be nice if you could have the primary and then a secondary card for the rest of the family (max 4 or something) living at home. Like a family card with the names and make the family card members show their ID that they still live at the same house.

  7. Sealy Carla

    How much is a Costco membership for personal use

    • Trish (Hip Sidekick)

      We have a post here for a Costco membership if you want to check that out! ❤️

  8. Meg

    My sons are at colleges 3 hours aways from home, so I just buy Costco gift cards for them to use. Sam’s usually has a membership deal on Groupon, so they go back and forth with who is primary to get a cheap/free membership.

  9. J

    I had a friend not be allowed to purchase at Costco with her dads card. They live in the same household. The cashier was so rude and the manager that came over was also rude to her as well. This was sometime over 2020!

  10. ienotaryservices

    How much is it to add a current third business member ?

  11. Tracey

    I haven’t been asked to show my id yet but haven’t been in a couple of weeks or so. Kind of feel like they have a valid point to check as it is a “membership” club, and if that helps keep prices low, that is fine with me. My DH and I have a shared account but we each have our own cards so it won’t be a problem if they do check.

  12. molly

    I didn’t even realize membership sharing was a thing! Isn’t that why they take your picture and put it on your membership card? We have always had to flash our card at entry AND hand it to the cashier when we checkout. And yes, they’ve been checking our cards at self checkout for at least 6 months now. We live in Hawaii, which has the highest selling Costco stores in the nation (b/c everything is so expensive here), so maybe that’s why they’ve always been vigilant.

  13. Mary

    I’ve never shared my card with anyone, but do sometimes bring an adult son or daughter to stroll the store with me. As long as I’m the one making the actual purchase, this is still allowed, correct?

    • Karen B

      They can’t stop you from buying things for other people. I think you’re good to go.

  14. LoveCostco

    As a costco member, I appreciate them checking cards. Why should I pay for a membership and others use everyone else’s card and not have to pay. Costco makes the bulk of their money from membership fees and, in turn, uses that money for their employees, members and shareholders. I stand behind costco making sure you’re a member to shop. I am a shareholder and want my investment to increase. More memberships, higher stocks!
    Also, they’re offering a $30 shop card for any new membership if you get stopped for card sharing.

  15. Eli

    This has been for years and years already. Except checking the name on the card at the door.

  16. Karen B

    I don’t have a problem with them checking. The rebate check usually covers the cost if you shop there a lot. I do wish I could add just one more person but it’s not really a big deal. My adult kids just have their own membership, the cost savings more than covers the membership even if the rebate check does not.

  17. Maggie

    Folks may not understand that Costco’s mark up is on the cost of goods is the lowest in the industry — Costco’s mark-up averages just 11% (Walmart’s is around 24%, Home Depot is 35%). Costco thus relies on membership fees to make money. Letting people who aren’t members shop undercuts that model — they’d have to increase mark-up (i.e., raise prices) to account for the loss of membership fees if they let it slide. The greatest deal at Costco is the Executive Membership — if you buy tires, eyeglasses, electronics, or furniture there it pays for itself in the annual rebate, especially when combined with the Costco Citi Visa rebate.

  18. Del

    The checkout people have always closely examined my card and picture whenever I shopped at Costco, except at self-checkout, which never really is self-checkout at my Costco since they always have employees rushing customers through by scanning everything for the customers. It really defeats the purpose of self-checkout and self-checkouts are card only, at least at my store. Also, I believe you don’t need to have a card to enter the store if you say you are going to the pharmacy because non-members can use the pharmacy. I’ve done that a couple of times when I didn’t feel like digging around for my card as I was entering the store.

  19. Amrak

    This is not news and you should’ve known this when purchasing a membership at Costco. You’re really exposing yourself here

  20. Sofia

    I ve been Costco business member for years, but if Costco ever make it hard for me to shop, I would terminate my membership. There are many other options.

  21. JS

    Although our Costco has always briefly checked cards both coming into the store and when checking out, they were always pretty casual. So I could go share chores with my wife and take care of Costco shopping once in a while. However, we may drop Costco after this expires cause
    a. Other stores like ShopRite are more aware of when they are getting beat and they are closing those gaps. This makes Costco membership much less beneficial.
    b. We are NOT paying for multiple memberships! Period! End-of-conversation!!!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey there JS! Good to know that your location is typically a bit more casual when checking the cards. For a Costco Gold Star Membership, a total of two people can be on the account – one primary member and one free household member (over 18 and lives at the same address), so you and your wife could each have your own card to share the shopping trips. ❤️ If you have a business membership then you can add more than one person for an additional fee. 🤗 Hoping this is helpful!

  22. Sherri

    Card sharing will never be stopped because that’s basically the same as you purchasing food for your household. If my husband goes in Costco and buys the groceries for him, me and the kids then that’s considered card sharing. Because he went in and pick out the groceries from the list of things and food that everyone gave him that they said they needed. If not we have to buy 3 additional cards. (Not going to happen here)
    The only thing was he went in because the card is his membership with his picture and ID.
    So if I’m there in store with him picking out my things and placing them in the shopping cart that is still card sharing.
    Because those are my purchases plus whatever he gets.

  23. Sherri

    So when I told my brother about this and his daughter just started college and lives on campus. Him and his wife or like your kidding this is a joke right. I sent them this ad about Costco.
    They definitely are fixing to loses customers.

  24. Sherri

    So it would be my husband’s membership
    And the other 1 we put for his Mother that lives with us.
    Cause the membership is to much for her.
    So I would need to now purchase my own card and 2 more for my adult kid over 18 until he starts up college and then one for my other adult son that’s getting ready to move out at the end of this month.
    If not we have to do his with gift cards.
    Am I understanding this right.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey Sherri! It does look like for the Gold Star reward membership, there is a limit of 2 adults per household. Be sure to reach out to Costco’s membership customer service at 1-800-774-2678 with any additional questions regarding your household’s needs and account. ❤️

      • Sherri

        Hello I have already spoken with Customer Service and we are Gold Star Members.
        They only allow 2 cards the primary and the free household. So I would have to purchase extra memberships.
        But Renae the customer service rep I spoke with said your allow to have 2 people with you kids are friends as long as your there with them and you make the purchase.
        There for that is still card sharing. There trying to say if your not there and someone or even your kids have your card then they need there own card or it’s card sharing unless I’m there.
        Well if I’m with you and your over 18 it’s basically the same thing.
        Regardless if your my kid or friend.
        Because I paid for the membership that if you come along with me it’s OK no that’s card sharing and she could not disagreement
        She then tried to cover it with someone could steal and it was your membership card that shows now you can no longer use Costco well if my friend can come in and purchase whatever they want unless I with them it’s card sharing therefore the rules are still broken or they not. They don’t have to steal in order for the rules to be broken.
        Same with the business card you pay $60 extra per year per affiliate she said.
        Not to rant but it’s still card sharing.
        We love ❤️ and will continue to enjoy hip2save and the hip sidekicks for all there hard work and what they do.

        • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

          Thanks so much for the update on your conversation about this with customer service, Sherri. Sure appreciate you taking the time to update us! ❤️ Thanks for the sweet comment – we’re so thankful to have you as a reader – hope you’re loving all of today’s deals! 🥰

  25. Sherri

    If there not on your membership and or older then 18 years of age and still living at home with you and you have the primary membership and 1 for 1 household member this is still considered card sharing.
    Husband (primary)
    Mother living with us (free household member card)
    Me: (additional card needed)
    Son: (additional card needed over 18 yrs of age.)
    Son: (moving out additional card needed or start purchasing gift cards.)
    So I would have to purchase primary card and Son still living home over 18 years of age would be free household member card.
    Then gift cards for Son moving out.
    All equals to=
    Not renewing our Costco cards.
    This is card sharing no matter how you put it if your kid is over 18 and still lives with you. It’s card sharing if your kid is over 18 not living with your and tag along and place items in your shopping cart even if they give you the money back because it’s on your membership and not there’s. Because they don’t have the membership. It’s still card sharing.
    I’m so done with this.

    • Judy

      Costco is really petty! What is sharing? Giving someone your card? Nobody gives their card away unless it to someone living with them bc they can’t make it to the store themselves. If that is not allowed then buying stuff for others or buying a gift card for others shouldn’t be either. Costco is getting really ridiculous lol

  26. Janett

    They do realize we can still share the membership. I can go to Costco and shop for me, my mother, my aunt, my sister…and the whole family with one ID. Or my mother can easily use my ID for online shopping. Not really smart are these CORPORATE people…..

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