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Costco Cracks Down on Membership Sharing: 'We Don't Feel It's Right' The wholesaler is now asking for a photo ID with the membership card at checkout.

By Madeline Garfinkle

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Costco is aiming to reduce the practice of sharing memberships with nonmembers.

You may need to show photo identification on your next Costco trip, even if alcohol isn't in your cart.

The wholesale retailer has begun cracking down on the influx of membership sharing, particularly at Costco's self-checkout lanes, by asking for customers' membership cards along with photo ID. While Costco has always asked for membership cards at checkout, the request for additional identification is new, per The Dallas Morning News, which was the first to report the news.

"We don't feel it's right that nonmembers receive the same benefits and pricing as our members," a spokesperson for Costco told the outlet.

The company says sharing membership cards threatens a key element of Costco's business model: low prices.

Related: Costco CFO Implies Future Membership Fee Increase

"Costco is able to keep our prices as low as possible because our membership fees help offset our operational expenses, making our membership fee and structure important to us," the spokesperson added.

Beyond the additional request for ID, Costco memberships are not changing.

Costco Gold Star memberships cost $60 annually, and Executive memberships, which come with added rewards and perks, cost $120 — both memberships come with cards for two individuals with the same home address. Business memberships can add additional members to an account for $60 each.

The retailer isn't the first company to tighten restrictions on shared accounts. Last year, Netflix announced it would be cracking down on password sharing, citing the practice as detrimental to its bottom line. The new rule, which charges subscribers $7.99 a month for additional accounts shared outside of a user's household, went into effect in May.

It's unclear how Costco's crackdown will affect existing or future memberships, but just four days after Netflix's new rule took hold, new subscribers rose by over 100,000.

Related: Blockbuster Gets Cheeky With Netflix Over Password Sharing Fee

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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