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May 22, 2024

Costco Cracks Down on Card Sharing with New Entrance Scanners

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Jan 18, 2024

Costco is testing out a new system to cut down on membership card sharing at some store entrances. The warehouse chain is installing membership card scanners that shoppers will need to scan before entering Costco locations. This move aims to limit non-members from accessing Costco stores using someone else’s membership card.

Costco Piloting Scanners to Confirm Member IDs

According to sources, Costco has started piloting membership card scanners at the entrance of select warehouses near its Issaquah, Washington headquarters.

Shoppers entering these Costco locations are being asked to scan their membership card at a self-service kiosk. Their name and member number pop up on a screen that attendants then check against the member’s photo ID. This confirms that the card belongs to the person entering the store.

The new system aims to cut down on shoppers borrowing someone else’s Costco card. Card sharing has allowed non-members to access Costco warehouses and shop at member-only prices. With the entrance scanners, only the member named on the card can enter.

Stepped Up Membership Checks to Restrict Access

Costco has faced issues in the past with members sharing cards with non-members. This allows people without memberships to shop at warehouse prices reserved for paying members.

The company has tried addressing this problem previously through manual membership checks. However, the new entrance scanners take these efforts a step further by digitally checking every person’s membership before granting warehouse access.

Early tests of the system seem to indicate it is working as intended. Shoppers have reported needing to scan membership cards and show their photo ID to supplement before entering.

By coupling card scans with photo ID checks, Costco aims to cut down on borrowed or fake membership cards floating around. This will help properly restrict warehouse access to only dues-paying members moving forward.

Method Coverage Effectiveness
Manual membership checks Spotty Inconsistent
Card scanners + Photo ID check Every shopper entering Limits borrowed/fake cards

Locations Confirmed Testing Entrance Scanners

So far, Costco entrance scanners have been spotted at a handful of warehouse locations. This includes stores close to Costco’s headquarters near Seattle:

  • Issaquah, WA
  • Bellevue, WA
  • Lynnwood, WA
  • Federal Way, WA

Additionally, shoppers in Hawaii and Los Angeles County have also reported seeing the new system in place. Though not widespread yet, early tests may indicate a broader rollout down the line.

Expansion Plans Unclear But Future Changes Likely

Costco has not issued any public comments confirming the entrance scanner tests. The company also hasn’t provided details on plans to expand the system to more locations.

However, considering Costco’s push in recent years to tighten membership access, further steps seem imminent. Stricter policies around card sharing suggest shifts in Costco’s membership model going forward.

Continued fallout will likely impact shoppers who frequently borrow others’ Costco cards. Though inconvenient, these changes aim to preserve Costco’s member-centric warehouse model. Stepped up access restrictions reinforce memberships as what entitles shoppers to discounted bulk pricing.

What This Means for Shoppers

These added membership checks will primarily impact:

Non-Members

Getting into Costco without one’s own membership will become much more difficult. Entrance scanners will severely limit access with a borrowed membership card. Shopping trips will require the member themselves to enter with guests.

Members

Legitimate members with their own cards won’t notice much difference shopping at Costco. Scanning cards and presenting matching IDs will add minor inconvenience entering warehouses. Members can still access regular discounts and perks unchanged otherwise.

Card Sharers

Those frequently borrowing others’ Costco cards will lose easy access going forward. Members may restrict lending cards knowing scans will enforce approved users only. For regular Costco shoppers, getting one’s own membership looks increasingly necessary long-term.

This covers the key points on Costco’s new entrance scanners system. Check back for further updates as more locations potentially roll out membership card checks. Restricting store access signals notable shifts in Costco’s operations – so additional policy changes may also follow.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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