The 7 best credit cards for groceries

7 of the best credit cards for groceries 7 of the best credit cards for groceries Image:

In a Nutshell

Spend a lot on groceries? Look into one of these seven credit cards to help maximize your rewards.

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When Bank of America® looked at the transaction and spending data of their U.S. customers in 2016, one number stood out: $54 billion. That’s how much their customers spent at mass-market grocery stores, making it the year’s top spending category.

If you’re spending more money on groceries than on any other type of purchase, you may want a credit card that helps you maximize your rewards. The best credit cards for groceries do just that, offering up to 6 percent cash back at eligible U.S. supermarkets.

But before you head to the grocery store with credit card in hand, remember that chasing rewards comes with some responsibility. As Michelle Black, a credit card expert with credit education program HOPE4USA, notes, drastically altering your spending habits to maximize on rewards can backfire.

“Regardless of which rewards credit card you use, be sure not to fall into the trap of spending more than you need simply to chase a particular reward or cash back incentive,” she says. “Reward-chasing can potentially take a negative toll upon your credit and your wallet,” Black says.

With that cautionary note in mind, here are seven of the best credit cards for groceries.


Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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Grocery rewards: The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1 percent).

Keep in mind that specialty food stores, corner stores, warehouse clubs and superstores don’t classify as “U.S. supermarkets,” so you’ll only earn 1 percent back at those types of stores.

Aside from the elevated supermarket cash back rate, this card offers 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. The introductory APR also only applies to balance transfers requested within the first 60 days. After that, the variable APR for purchases and balance transfers ranges from 13.99 to 24.99 percent, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors.

Also note that there’s no annual fee and you’ll score a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of card membership.


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

From our partner
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Grocery rewards: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1 percent).

Again, keep in mind that specialty food stores, corner stores, warehouse clubs and superstores don’t classify as “U.S. supermarkets” to Amex, so you’ll only earn 1 percent back at those types of stores.

One great feature of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card is that it offers a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (then the variable APR jumps to 13.99 to 24.99 percent, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors.)

The grocery rewards here are fantastic, so don’t be scared off by the $95 annual fee. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but it might end up being a great deal if you frequent the supermarket — especially once you factor in the $200 welcome bonus, applied to your account as a statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of your card membership.


Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

From our partner

Grocery rewards: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card offers 2 percent cash back on purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3 percent cash back on gas purchases for the first $2,500 in combined grocery store/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. 1 percent cash back applies to all other purchases, including grocery store/wholesale club/gas purchases after the $2,500 quarterly limit is reached.

Similar to other cards in this review, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card has a 0 percent APR during the first 12 billing cycles for purchases. The introductory APR also applies to balance transfers made within 60 days of opening your account. Once the introductory period ends, the variable APR ranges from 13.99 to 23.99 percent, depending on your creditworthiness when you open your account.

The generous gas rewards and lack of an annual fee make this card an attractive grocery rewards option for everyday jugglers. There’s also a $150 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.


Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Grocery rewards: The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, including groceries. No limits or expirations on rewards and no rotating rewards categories.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, but only for the first nine months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99 to 23.99 percent, based on your creditworthiness.

There’s also no annual fee, and you can score a one-time bonus of $150 after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.


Chase Freedom®

From our partner

Chase Freedom®

From cardholders in the last year

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Grocery rewards: Chase Freedom® offers 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating bonus categories each quarter you activate. It offers 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom® offers a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months, and both purchases and balance transfers are eligible. Following the intro period, the variable APR ranges from 15.99 to 24.74 percent, depending on your creditworthiness.

Looking for a special reason to pick this card? Chase Freedom® offers a $150 cash back bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of having your account. Oh, and there’s no annual fee.


Citi® Double Cash Card

From our partner

Citi® Double Cash Card

From cardholders in the last year

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Grocery rewards: The Citi® Double Cash Card offers unlimited 1 percent cash back on all purchases, including groceries, plus an additional 1 percent when those purchases are paid off.

The Citi® Double Cash Card offers a 0 percent intro APR for balance transfers (but not for purchases) for the first 18 months. After that, the variable APR for balance transfers and purchases ranges from 14.49 to 24.49 percent, depending on your creditworthiness.

As with nearly all the other cards in this category, the Citi® Double Cash Card has no annual fee.


Discover it® Card

Grocery rewards: 5 percent cash back in rotating quarterly categories, including purchases at wholesale clubs (from April to June 2017), on up to $1,500 in purchases. Unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

The 0 percent introductory APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers (posted by a certain date) is similar to the other cards in this review, but the regular APR stands out here. After the intro period, the variable APR starts at 11.74 percent — the lowest of the bunch — and tops out at 23.74 percent, depending on your creditworthiness.

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this card is that after the first 12 consecutive billing periods, Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned during the first year of your card membership.


What to look for in a cash back credit card for groceries

Cards such as the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card can make it particularly appealing to turn to plastic, not paper, when you get to the check-out counter. If you’re not sure where to start your search, the following factors can help guide you:

  • Rewards: One of the credit cards in our review (The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express) offers as much as 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1 percent), but most of the other cards hover in the 1–3 percent range.
  • Penalty annual percentage rates (APRs): If you’re late with a payment, you might have to pay a higher penalty APR on future purchases. Six of the seven cards in our review have penalty APRs ranging from 29.40–29.99 percent, while the Discover it® card checks in with no penalty APR.
  • One-time sign-up bonuses: A generous sign-up bonus can mean the difference between a good card and a great one. This is a factor that may be worth considering if you know you’ll spend a certain amount within the first months of opening your account.
  • Annual fee: Some credit cards charge a fee each year to keep your account open. Of the seven cards reviewed here, only one (the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express) assesses an annual fee ($95 annually, waived your first year of card membership).
  • Intro APR: Most of the cards on this list offer an introductory 0 percent introductory APR for balance transfers and/or purchases made in the first 60 days, which can be helpful if you’re planning on carrying a balance or transferring debt from another card.

 


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