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How AMEX lost Costco
February 6, 2016
5:52 pm
Norman1
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AMEX lost its Costco Canada exclusive to Capital One and MasterCard. In the US, AMEX lost to Citigroup and Visa.

Some background on what happened in Bloomberg BusinessWeek (October 15, 2015): How Bad Will It Get for American Express?.

February 6, 2016
6:51 pm
kanaka
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There is no doubt in my mind that the arrangement with Capitol One Mastercard had a requirement for Costco to hit a threshold amount of subscribers. AND IT APPEARS THEY HAVE NOT. They still lurk over you at the checkout and approach you if they observe what Mastecard you are using and will approach you to sign up.

I was never a huge fan of Amex and still am not. While it is much easier to used in the USA but not the case here....so I do have a Amex in my wallet as a secondary card only and is rarely used.

I would imagine that Costco USA will have the same problem as imagine most folks in the USA and Canada all have and prefer to use their Mastecard of Vias card and won't bother to sign for a new card when the one they have may be their good old favorite :)

I will be hard pressed to subscribe to the Costco card or the Bay Mastercard because that is "their" preference. If you want to offer better deals and exclude me from a better deal....so be it.....and likely when I see that I just won't shop there.

2 or 3 cards of "my" choice is all I need.

COSTCO.....you snooze.....you lose!!

February 7, 2016
1:57 am
Loonie
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Interesting to hear Costco refer to Amex etc as "vendors". This is what I too have thought was going on.
It's rather bizarre that, with the current Costco MC, the return to the cardholder for buying at Costco is much lower than, say, spending money at a restaurant. But if you see MC as a vendor, then it makes sense.

February 7, 2016
12:17 pm
Norman1
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I agree: It is odd that the Costco-only Capital One MasterCard only returns ½% to 1% for purchases at Costco and 3% for purchases at unrelated restaurants. I suspect that the value to the Costco member was secondary to what Capital One is offering to Costco to be the official credit card of Costco.

According to the Bloomberg article, Costco US was paying the full card commissions to AMEX under the previous deal. But, AMEX paid Costco a "bounty" for each new cardholder signed up. That bounty must have been hefty to make up for the 2½%+ AMEX commission:

.... After much negotiating, Amex persuaded Costco to end its exclusive deal with Discover Financial Services and let Amex issue a Costco-branded credit card that would be the only one accepted at its warehouses. According to [David] House [a former Amex exec who worked on the deal], Amex didn’t have to lower its swipe fee to get the transaction done. Instead, he says, it agreed to pay Costco a bounty for every new cardholder it brought in. ....

Maybe the new Costco Canada deal with Capital One is "bounty" based too. That would be another explanation for kanaka's report about Costco employees lurking and swooping in to pitch the Capital One card when they see a member paying with a different MasterCard.

February 7, 2016
5:19 pm
Loonie
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Ah... Costco employees as bounty hunters!
What an interesting image!sf-wink

February 15, 2016
6:34 pm
kanaka
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At it again today. Not observing and getting in your face. But marching, with a stoic face, back and forth at the exit of the checkouts holding two pamphlets like a ticket scalper. :)

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