Costco’s Visa Launch Leaves Angry Customers Waiting


The highly anticipated launch of the new Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi turned into a nightmare for Costco, many of the company’s customers, and Citi, the issuer of the new card.

Some customers complained about not receiving their new cards when Costco switched from American Express to Visa on June 20, 2016. Others reported that they were unable to activate their new cards. And all were furious about the long wait times for customer service calls from Citi and Costco.

“I did not get any answer”

NerdWallet started hearing from angry readers on the day of the rollout. Customers who already had the Costco and American Express TrueEarnings® Card were supposed to have received the new Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi in time to start using it on June 20. All accounts were supposed to have been transferred, or “migrated”, from American Express to Citi.

Reader Terry Rhoda from Florida wrote, “We never received the new Costco Citi cards. I called AMEX, and they say our Costco/AMEX record could not be found. My wife has been a Costco member for 30 years, and I have I have had one for over 20. I have also called Citi VISA, and they say they have no record of having received the AMEX migration information. email to Costco, but so far I have received no response.

NerdWallet User Operations, which helps readers with credit card questions and concerns, has been inundated with complaints about the transition:

  • “I can’t reach the phone because I’m disconnected due to ‘high call volume’.”

  • “Citi is apparently overwhelmed with Costco customers having technical issues that they’re turning into high demand for the new card.”

  • “It took 45 minutes to link my payment account, set up account alerts, and set up autopay.”

  • “I tried to register my new Costco/Citi card online and had trouble with the shitty website. I tried calling Citi and found out that their customer service is terrible …Citi was a bad choice, Costco!”

Citi’s Twitter feed was full of complaints from Costco members saying they hadn’t received their new card, or couldn’t activate it, or couldn’t communicate with service employees. to bank customers. A direct debit:

@askciti #citibank Shame on you for making me wait on the line for 30 minutes for the umpteenth time! I’ll cut the card and say goodbye to #Costco too!

For those who play at home, I called @AskCiti @Citi back today and the costco card number says he’s too busy and hangs up on you.

—Kelly Guimont (@back) June 21, 2016

The @AskCiti account repeatedly apologized to customers and promised to help:

. @AskCiti you are pathetic. I’m finally considering canceling my @Costco membership and shopping there with Costco cash cards.

—Judy McCann (@JudyMcC01) June 23, 2016

Costco doesn’t have a Twitter account, but its Facebook page sparked hundreds of complaints about the rollout — all of which appeared under a somewhat tongue-in-cheek cover photo:

Visitors to Costco’s Facebook page raised another complaint: People had received their new cards weeks ago and activated them, but now their cards have been rejected everywhere they tried to use them. One wrote:

“We got our cards about a month ago and activated them. I couldn’t use them until the 20th, but they were activated a long time ago. I tried to use the Costco card to a non-Costco purchase. It was rejected. When I called Citi, I was supposed to be transferred to a rep with a long wait time, but instead it just hung up on me.”

Jennifer Bombardier, spokeswoman for Citi, told NerdWallet, “Consumer interest and engagement in Citi’s new Costco Anywhere Visa Card has been incredible. Over 11 million cards have been sent to existing Costco cardholders. We are now in the process of resending the cards to the small portion of cardholders whose addresses have changed.”

Costco did not respond to a request for comment.

what you can do

If you’re one of the Costco cardholders who’s having trouble, you don’t have many options other than waiting for Citi to fix the issues. In the meantime, keep in mind that Costco now accepts everything Visa cards, not just Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers cardholders 2% cash back on Costco purchases. Other Visa-branded cards offer rewards that meet or exceed this rate:

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