Comparison: Best Credit Cards for Groceries in 2017
Although it’s no secret that you can earn hundreds of dollars with cash back credit cards, many people are missing out on the extra money they could earn when they shop for groceries. When you think of rewards cards, you often think of credit cards that award travel or other purchases like dining out at restaurants. However, you can also take a good chunk out of your grocery bill if you use a card that awards your supermarket purchases.
Instead of leaving free money on the table, make sure you get the most out of your shopping, even if it happens to be at the supermarket. Here’s what you need to know before you sign-up for a new card and head to the grocery store.
Grocery Store Cash Back Credit Cards
Many savvy shoppers are already aware of the benefits and savings that come with clipping coupons and becoming a part of grocery rewards programs. However, you can save even more using a credit card that awards purchases made at grocery stores and supermarkets.
Choosing a Supermarket Credit Card
Before you choose a supermarket credit card, it’s important that you are prepared to pay your balance in full each month. It won’t do you any good to earn cash back from your grocery rewards if you are paying interest on your balance. It’s best to put aside the cash you would have taken to the grocery store and use it to pay the credit card bill when it comes in. When you think about it, this is one of the easiest rewards you can earn. Everyone needs groceries, and you won’t need to make any changes to your budget.
Also, make sure you read the terms of each program carefully. Some questions you should ask yourself before choosing a grocery rewards credit card include the following:
- Will your rewards expire if you don’t use them within a certain period of time?
- Do you earn rewards only on specific purchases?
- Are there caps to how much you can earn?
- Is there an annual fee?
- How much will the card cost you to use?
- Can I earn any extra rewards or bonuses when I sign-up?
Once you have organized your answers to these questions, you can find the best card for earning on grocery store purchases. To help you get started, we have included some of the best rewards credit cards.
The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card awards 2% cash back on groceries and wholesale club purchases, and 3% on gas up to $2,500 in combined purchases per quarter. You also earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases. As a bonus, new cardholders get a $100 online cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in any category within the first 90 days of opening the account. There is no annual fee for this card.
$95 annual fee
up to 3-6% cash back
$150 intro bonus
One of the most popular cards for grocery rewards is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. This card has an annual fee of $95 that you can easily earn back if you use your card frequently for groceries. You can earn 6% on up to $6,000 in United States supermarket purchases each year, which is still an average of $260 back after paying your annual fee. Plus, you earn 1% on all other purchases as well. This card also comes with a welcome offer of $150 back if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is only available to Costco members, but that means you’ll be able to pile additional savings onto your already discounted club purchases. You get 2% back on any Costco in-store or online purchase. You can also earn 4% back on up to $7,000 in gas purchases each year, plus 1% back on gas purchases over the $7,000. A notable feature is that this card simply lowers the earnings in some categories rather than completely cutting you off at a certain threshold. There is no annual fee for this card, but you do need to have a paid Costco membership to qualify.
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature card also includes a rewards program for groceries and gas with no annual fee. You can earn 5X points for gas, 3X points for groceries, and 1X point for all other purchases. You do need to be a member of PenFed Credit Union in order to qualify for this card, but you can join by making one-time donations to a number of organizations including Voices for America’s Troops and the National Military Family Association (averaging $15 each).
Using Flat Rate Cards for Grocery Rewards
If you find it a hassle dealing with a specific card for each type of purchase, there are many cards that offer flat rate rewards for all purchases. Although they aren’t primarily grocery rewards cards, you can still earn a significant amount of cash back at supermarkets, as well as any other purchases you make. This could be more of a benefit to you if your purchases vary, or if you prefer to shop for groceries at a wide variety of supermarkets, drug stores, wholesale clubs, or others.
If you are using a card that specifically offers a cash back percent for grocery store purchases, it’s important that you make sure you are shopping in stores that qualify. Most major supermarket chains are included, but small mom-and-pop shops most likely will not be. If you prefer to use a general rewards card to earn cash back for your groceries, consider one of the following credit cards.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee and is easy to use. It includes a rewards program that many shoppers find easy to understand. Instead of specific categories, you earn an unlimited reward of 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make with the card. You don’t have to worry about what category your purchase falls into and you’ll never max out your ability to earn. New cardholders also earn a $100 bonus after you spend your first $500 on the card in your first 3 months.
no annual fee
0% intro APR
5% cash back on quarterly categories
$100 intro bonus
The Chase Freedom card isn’t typically considered a grocery store card. However, it does award 1% for all purchases and 5% on quarterly categories, which occasionally include grocery store purchases. This gives you an opportunity to earn not just on groceries, but on other types of purchases, you might need to make in other quarters. The 5% categories typically have a cap of $1,500 in purchases per quarter. There is no annual fee for this card. New cardholders can earn a bonus of $150 after you spend $500 in purchases within your first 3 months.
The Discover it - Cashback Match card isn’t specifically a grocery rewards card, but it allows you to earn cash back on your purchases. This program isn’t too different from many of the others in that you get 1% back on all your purchases. However, you also earn 5% back on rotating quarterly bonus categories, which occasionally includes groceries and wholesale club purchases. The main difference that makes this card worth the effort for at least a year is that Discover will match your cash back at the end of your first year with no limit to the amount that can be matched. There is also no annual fee.
The Citi Double Cash Card is also a general rewards card. Although you only earn 1% cash back on your purchases with this card, you have the opportunity to earn another 1% back when you make your payments for your purchases. This boosts the potential earnings on grocery purchases to 2% cash back. This card also has no annual fee.
Qualifying for Grocery Rewards Credit Cards
Most rewards credit cards require good to excellent credit scores to qualify. Don’t despair if yours isn’t high enough or in the right range yet. Keep working on your credit score by using the cards you do qualify for, paying them off in a timely manner, and by maintaining a wide margin when it comes to your credit-to-debt ratio. Most of all — make all your payments on time. Over time, your credit score will improve, and you will be able to apply for better cards with more affordable interest rates, balance transfer programs, and — of course — better rewards.
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