How to Use a Debit Card at Costco

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When it comes to shopping at Costco not all plastic is created equal. In fact American Express is the only major credit card accepted at a Costco warehouse, so debit cards are a good option. Other credit cards are only permitted when shopping online. Costco Warehouse Corporation is a members-based chain of warehouse-style stores with locations around the world. Debit cards are similar to credit cards as they carry your account information on a magnetic strip or chip, but they differ from credit cards because instead of using credit to pay for your purchase, the money is directly withdrawn from your account..

  • Request a debit card from your bank or other financial institution. You will be provided with a debit card for your account either in person or through the mail.

  • Learn your PIN, the personal identification number that ensures the security on your account if your debit card requires one. You may need to provide it when you make purchases. You can change a PIN given you with your card in the mail, or you can program your own when you receive the card from a bank.

  • Sign up for a Costco membership at any Costco location. Enter the warehouse and head to customer service and someone at the desk will help you with choosing your membership, filling out the forms and getting you your card. You will need to provide valid photo identification when applying. Your card will be issued on the spot and you can begin shopping right away. You can also sign up for a membership online, but you will have to go to a warehouse location and provide photo identification to pick it up.

  • Bring your membership card and debit card with you to a Costco location to shop.

  • Tell the cashier you would like to pay by debit and he or she will direct you to the card reader with PIN pad. Swipe your card with the magnetic strip facing the direction indicated on the machine. In some locations the cashier may be the one to swipe the card. If you have a debit card with a chip, then insert it into the marked slot or the cashier will do it for you.

  • Follow the prompts on the display screen. You will be asked approve the amount of your purchase, to enter your PIN if necessary and to choose the account you are withdrawing from.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a PIN for your debit card that is easy for you to remember, but not so short or easy that others could guess it.
  • Guard against identity theft by not sharing your card number information. Cards that do not require the use of a PIN number are particularly vulnerable.
  • When entering your PIN make sure you have shielded your number so that no one else can gain access to your account.
  • Make sure you have enough money in your account to pay for your purchase as a debit card is not a credit card.

References

  • Photo Credit Derek E. Rothchild/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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