Costco is a great place to get bulk groceries and other items for low prices. As a members-only big-box retailer, they charge between $60 and $120 annually for various membership options. Members get the privilege of being able to shop in their stores, as well as other perks based on the level of membership they choose.
But why does Costco need you to be a member? Other stores just let you shop without a care, right? Even other big box stores like Walmart don’t make their customers sign up with fees and cards. What’s the deal?
Why Do You Need a Membership for Costco?
You need a membership for Costco because it helps them keep prices low. Along with bulk pricing, the membership fees and customer loyalty are what drive their profit margins. This allows them to list items for lower prices than their competitors.
Keep reading to find details on Costco membership, as well as information on other topics such as whether or not you need a membership to shop at Costco online.
Can I Go Into Costco Without a Membership?
Costco will check your membership card when you enter the warehouse. They will also require you to show your card when checking out. Accordingly, non-members will have a hard time getting in without having a member vouch for them.
You cannot go into Costco without a membership. You can go to the membership desk to sign up, or you can come as a guest with an existing member. However, guests are not allowed to purchase items.
It is possible for members to pay for items that guests want to purchase. Members may also add one household member over the age of 18 to their membership free of charge. For more information on Costco’s membership policy, you can visit the Privileges and Regulations page on Costco.com.
Read: Why Doesn’t Costco Take MasterCard?
Benefits of Costco Membership
There are a number of benefits to having a Costco membership. The most obvious is that having a membership allows you to shop at any Costco warehouse. However, there are other perks as well depending on the type of membership you choose.
Benefits of Costco membership include the ability to shop at Costco warehouses worldwide or online, as well as two membership cards for you and one other person in your household. Executive members also receive a 2% annual reward on certain purchases, as well as exclusive offers and discounts.
A regular Costco membership costs $60 annually, and the executive membership costs $120 annually. If you shop for large amounts of groceries and other products regularly, these memberships can pay for themselves after just a few trips to the warehouse.
Read: Why Doesn’t Costco Take MasterCard?
Do You Have to Be a Member to Shop at Costco Online?
Technically, you don’t actually have to be a member to shop for items at Costco online. You can add items to your cart, enter your delivery information, and check out without ever registering for a membership. However, there is a catch for doing so.
You do not have to be a member to shop at Costco Online. However, if you are not a member, you will have to pay an additional 5% charge on most purchases. Many of the prices online are also higher than they are in store.
You will also have to register an account on Costco.com before you will be able to check out. You will be encouraged to add membership information or purchase a membership if you do not have one. However, this is not required in order for you to check out.
Read: Can You Use Someone Else’s Costco Card?
Costco warehouses have some of the best deals on many different items. However, the warehouse requires that you sign up for a membership and pay a fee in order to receive access to their stores. This business model allows Costco to retain a large number of customers and keep prices low.
If you do not have a Costco membership, you will not be allowed into the warehouse. However, you will still be able to shop online at Costco.com if you’re alright with paying a bit more for your items. You will still have to register a free Costco.com account in order to check out.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask away in the comments section.
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