Exclusive Access: Costco’s latest crackdown on shared memberships with new scanning technology

Costco, the beloved shopping club known for its affordable deals and bulk buys, is taking a firm stand against membership sharing with the introduction of new scanning technology. This innovative move comes in response to the prevalent issue of non-paying customers piggybacking off legitimate members’ cards, ultimately undermining the exclusivity and benefits of Costco’s membership program.

Membership Sharing Under Scrutiny

In an effort to combat the unauthorized use of membership privileges, Costco has begun testing an advanced strategy that involves shoppers scanning their membership cards at store entrances. This proactive approach aims to enhance the overall member experience by ensuring that each individual matches their respective membership card before commencing their shopping expedition. At a cost of $60 annually for a basic membership or $120 per year for the executive membership, Costco provides an array of perks that are exclusively tailored for its paying members. With the rise of self-checkout registers, the potential for unauthorized shoppers to exploit the system has become a growing concern. To address this issue, Costco has implemented the practice of asking shoppers to present photo identification alongside their physical membership cards at self-checkout registers, mirroring the requirements at regular checkout lanes administered by staff.

The Rationale Behind the Crackdown

Costco’s decision to implement stringent measures against membership sharing stems from the fundamental belief that it is not equitable for non-members to enjoy the same benefits and pricing privileges as legitimate paying members. This principled stance underscores the commitment to preserving the integrity of the membership program and upholding the exclusive advantages afforded to loyal members.
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In response to the unveiling of this new scanning technology, a Costco spokesperson stated, “A few Costco locations are scanning Costco membership cards at the entrance. This test is to match members to their cards at the door prior to shopping for an improved member experience.”

Real-Time Implementation

An observant shopper who was present at a store in Issaquah, Washington, where Costco is headquartered, captured the new system in action and shared images of the process online. The introduction of scanning technology serves as a critical step in safeguarding the privileges of paying members and upholding the integrity of the membership program across Costco’s 871 warehouses, including 600 in the United States.

Wrapping Up: A Step Towards Ensuring Membership Integrity

Costco’s latest crackdown on shared memberships with the introduction of scanning technology reflects the company’s unwavering commitment to protecting the rights and privileges of its paying members. The implementation of these innovative measures signifies a pivotal step in reinforcing the integrity of the membership program and cultivating a more exclusive and secure shopping environment for loyal Costco members.


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