Costco is cracking down on sharing membership cards

Costco is cracking down on sharing membership cards

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NEW YORK – Some shoppers buy a $4.99 Costco rotisserie chicken and pay at checkout. The problem: They’re not all members.

Since Costco expanded its self-checkout procedure, the company has noticed non-members skimping on membership cards that don’t belong to them. The Warehouse Club retailer will now require shoppers’ membership cards along with a photo ID to use self-checkout registers – the same policy as regular checkout aisles.

“We do not feel it is right for non-members to receive the same benefits and prices as our members,” Costco said in a statement.

Costco has approximately 120 million members, making it one of the largest membership clubs in the world. Costco members pay either $60 for a regular membership or $120 for an executive card each year to shop at the clubs.

This membership model is critical to Costco’s business, as fees help increase the company’s profits and offset expenses. The company hasn’t raised the cost of its membership since 2017, though competitors like Amazon and Sam’s Club have raised membership fees.

Any changes in membership growth could hurt Costco.

“The extent to which we achieve growth in our membership base, increase executive membership penetration, and maintain high renewal rates materially affects our profitability,” Costco routinely says in annual filings.

Netflix also recently cracked down on members who share passwords.

The streaming giant previously turned a blind eye to sharing passwords because it was fueling growth, but all those non-paying members were hurting Netflix’s bottom line. It has previously estimated that more than 100 million households worldwide share an account.

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Preliminary results indicate that the new Netflix policy is bearing fruit. The streaming service has seen its biggest jump in new subscriber sign-ups as a result of the campaign since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when people were stuck at home with disturbing content on the platform.

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