Costco Is Testing Out a New Way To Check Membership Cards

Reddit thread about costco's new membership scanner at entry

Reddit / Cheapism

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Reddit thread about costco's new membership scanner at entry
Reddit / Cheapism

Costco's Crackdown

In case you've been living under a rock, you probably know you need a membership to shop at Costco. That said, there apparently are enough Yahoos heading into the wholesale club without a card (or perhaps more likely, with someone else's card) that the retailer is testing out a new way to verify membership right at the entrance.

membership scanner at costco entrance on reddit

Costco's Latest Membership Test

Costco regulars know the drill: Your card is scanned at the beginning of checkout to confirm you have a membership before purchasing anything. Some locations will also ask you to flash your card as you enter the store so they can see right off the bat that you are a member. Costco's latest initiative takes that a step further.

A photo posted to Reddit revealed that at the Issaquah, Washington, Costco location — near the retailer's headquarters — a scanning device was placed near the entry. In front of it, a sign reads, "You will be asked to scan your membership card before entering the warehouse." According to the comments, the entrance was flanked with devices managed by employees to scan cards. Once scanned, the device's screen pulls up a photo of the member, so the employee can confirm identity and membership. 

reddit screenshot discussing costco new membership scanner

Are Cards Still Being Scanned at Checkout?

Costco's new doorway scanners do not eliminate the process shoppers are familiar with at the register. You'll still scan your card when you checkout and, more than likely, your life will not come crashing down around you from having to pull a card out of your wallet twice in one shopping trip. Breathe. We're all in this together. Is it redundant? Maybe. Is it a reason for uproar? Probably not.

reddit screenshot discussing costco new scanning method

When is This Rolling Out to Other Locations?

The Issaquah location is known for rolling out new test procedures before other stores see them. These scanners are still in the testing phase, and there hasn't been a formal comment from Costco on when or if they will roll out to other locations. But according to commenters, entry scanners are common in the UK, so it doesn't seem too far-fetched that we'll soon see these popping up in U.S. stores.

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reddit screenshot discussing costco's new membership scanner

What Are Customers Saying About the New Procedure?

As with any Reddit thread, there is a mix of outrage and understanding. Some Costco shoppers don't see the point in the repetitive scanning and are worried about the inconvenience and potential to bog down the entrance during busier times, especially if there are only one or two scanners as you enter the store. Other Costco fans understand that the practice might be for the best after all, and they're just fine abiding by the rules so long as they can keep on enjoying $5 rotisserie chicken


reddit screenshot of people discussing costco's new scanner

This Isn't the First Time Costco Has Cracked Down on Memberships

There has been a history of some misbehavior at Costco and the wholesale club isn't having it. After a surplus of shoppers started using the self-checkout as a way to use their second cousin once-removed's membership card, employees started checking cards at self-checkout, too. 

reddit screenshot about costco scanning membership cards at register

Why is Costco Cracking Down?

Since Costco itself has not released a statement on why it is testing this new procedure, we can only infer, along with the Reddit community, why such a practice would come into play. There's the obvious membership sharing, and then there are instances where someone might not realize you need a membership to shop at Costco before loading their cart with goodies and heading to checkout. Even regular shoppers might leave their card behind at home, not realizing it until they're face-to-face with the cashier and a conveyor belt full of bulk toilet paper and granola bars. Oops. 

reddit thread of costco shoppers discussing the store's new scanner for membership cards

Are There Things You Can Get at Costco Without a Membership?

Costco's food court is elite. It touts delicious food at ridiculously affordable prices. And you don't have to scan your membership card to buy your footlong hotdog. Plus, some locations allow you to purchase alcohol without a membership (so long as you have an ID proving you're of legal drinking age, of course). 

Up next: Is Costco Worth It? Here's What a First-Time Shopper Learned