ID, please: Costco testing scanners at entrances to keep non-members out
Costco confirmed to USA TODAY on Tuesday that several locations 'are scanning Costco membership cards at the entrance,' calling it an effort to improve member experience.
Costco is testing a new way to keep non-members out of their stores.
A photo posted on Reddit from Jan. 7 shows a Costco greeter scanning a customer's card in a warehouse in Issaquah, Washington, about 17 miles east of Seattle.
Costco confirmed to USA TODAY on Tuesday that several locations "are scanning Costco membership cards at the entrance," calling it an effort to improve member experience.
"This test is to match members to their cards at the door prior to shopping for an improved member experience," Costco said in a statement to USA Today.
Before now, Costco members have only had to flash their membership card at store entrances. The card and a customer's ID are then scanned at both regular and self-checkout. Adding ID checks at the store entrances will eliminate the need for them to be provided at checkout, CNN reported.
"It speeds up the process at entry and speeds up the process at the checkout," Costco chief finance officer Richard Galanti told CNN. "That’s what we believe and we’re going to pilot it."
Memberships key to Costco business model
The crackdown is a measure to protect a cornerstone revenue stream for Costco.
Costco generated $4.6 billion in membership fees from nearly 128 million members, according to the company's 2023 Annual Report.
The figure represented and 8% increase over 2022 and the company reported a 90% renewal rate.
Costco memberships cost $60 for Gold Star and Business members and $120 for executive members.
The company reported net sales of $237.7 billion in 2023.