Best credit cards for grocery shopping
You can rack up cash back and rewards at supermarkets – regardless of your credit
Host of the podcast Speech Bubble
Many credit card issuers offer reward cards specifically targeted at grocery shoppers and everyone can take advantage – regardless of your credit score.
Here are the best cards for grocery shopping, whether you like those premium rewards, you’re just an average spender or you’re working on re-establishing your credit.
- American Express Blue Cash Preferred - best for premium card holders
- American Express Blue Cash Everyday - best for no annual fee
- Citi Double Cash Card - best for everyday use
- Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card - best for credit building
We also included a few tips from experts on how to maximize your cash back strategy without incurring fees or paying interest.
Best groceries card for premium cardholders: Blue Cash Preferred Card
American Express Blue Cash Preferred is considered one of the best cash back cards on the market not only for groceries but also other everyday expenses, such as gas and retail shopping. However, given its fees and restrictions, it’s definitely a premium option.
Here’s what the Blue Cash Preferred card can offer:
- 6 percent at grocery stores up to the first $6,000 per year – then you earn 1 percent.
- 3 percent cash back at gas stations and select U.S. department stores, including Nordstrom, Sears, JC Penney, Kohl's, Saks Fifth Avenue and more.
- 1 percent on other purchases.
- A sign-up bonus of $200 when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
- 0 percent introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers for a year.
- Cash back rewards can occasionally be used for merchandise or gift cards when AmEx runs such a promotion.
- Annual fee: $95. However, it does not take a lot of grocery spending per month to either break even on the annual fee or max out the cash back bonus.
- You only need to spend $31 a week or $1,583 a year on groceries to cover the $95 per year.
- To max out the cash back bonus on groceries, you need to spend $116 a week to equal $6,000 in spending a year and receive $265 cash back annually over and above the annual fee.
- Current APR: See our review of Blue Cash Preferred.
It should also be noted that your cash back cannot be used toward your minimum payment due and you do not earn cash back on purchases made over your billing period if your minimum payment for that period is late.
No-fee alternative: American Express Blue Cash Everyday
AmEx offers a more “everyday” card option with no annual fee, American Express Blue Cash Everyday.
This card offers you:
- 3 percent cash back at grocery stores (with the same $6,000 cap).
- 2 percent at gas stations and select department stores.
- 1 percent on all other purchases.
The introductory sign-up bonus (if you spend $1,000 in the first three months) is $150, but all other terms are comparable to the Preferred card.
Pro tip: “If you collect cash back, it's important to have a plan for it similar with how you handle your monthly budget, so it doesn't just accumulate or disappear,” says Linda Jacob, financial counselor at Consumer Credit of Des Moines and author of “No More Paycheck to Paycheck.” “Have a goal in mind... but be smart about it. There's no sense in overspending just to maximize cash back.”
Best groceries card for the everyday cardholder: Citi Double Cash Card
If you want more consistent grocery cash back benefits – a card where you don't have to remember to select seasonal categories – you can't go wrong with Citi Double Cash Card.
- No annual fee.
- No rotating categories.
- No spending cap.
- No APR on balance transfers for the first 18 months.
- 2 percent cash back on every purchase (1 percent on what you spend and 1 percent as you pay the balance).
- Redeem cash back for checks, statement credits or gift cards.
- Variable APR: See our Citi Double Cash Card review.
Pro Tip: “Be cautious of introductory rates,” says Tracy East, the director of communication for Consumer Education Services Inc. “If you don't have a clear eye on when that rate expires and what the rate structure is, you could end up in a situation that's worse than what you're currently in unless you know you can pay the balance off before the rate resets.”
Best groceries card for the credit builder: Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Who says you can't rack up rewards on grocery expenses and other purchases and build credit at the same time? If you have a fair to good credit, this may be the card for you.
- 1.5 percent unlimited cash back everyday on every purchase,
- Until April 2018, you'll get a 50 percent statement credit on your Spotify premium subscription as a bonus.
- No rotating categories need to be activated.
- No limit to how much cash back you can earn.
- Rewards do not expire for the life of the account.
- $39 annual fee.
- Variable APR: See our Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.
You will need to spend $2,600 a year to break even on the annual fee. But with literally every purchase eligible for cash, you only have to spend $50 every week on groceries alone to come ahead.
On the credit rebuilding side, you will have access to a higher credit line after making your first five payments by the deadline.
Pro tip: “There is typically never a case where the rewards you receive [either cash back or points] are more valuable than the interest you'd pay in racking up purchases just to earn rewards,” says Evan Tarver, financial analyst for fitsmallbusiness.com. “Therefore, you always want to spend within your means and ensure that you're not going over-budget, regardless of the type of card you have.”
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