Best Credit Cards for Grocery Purchases

The average American household spends between $300 and $500 a month on groceries, depending on their state of residence. It’s one of the biggest expenses placed on credit cards, so it will come as no surprise to learn that many of the best credit cards offer rewards for grocery store purchases.

These credit cards are offered by some of the biggest credit card companies and in this guide, we’ll look at the best ones.

The Best Credit Cards for Groceries

All the following credit cards give you rewards when you use them to make credit card purchases, and they also offer rewards for other common expenses.

Discover It Cash Back

The Discover It series of cards is one of the best out there. Many consumers seek cards branded with Visa and Mastercard due to the wider exposure, but Discover is still accepted at millions of points of sale and providing you’re not using it outside of the US (where coverage is lacking) then you shouldn’t have an issue.

The Discover It Cash Back card is a great example of how good these cards are. Not only does it have a 0% introductory rate for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers, but it also offers low-interest rates, and a cash back rate that goes as high as 5% on rotating categories.

To top it off, the Discover It Cash Back credit card doesn’t charge an annual fee and has an incredibly generous rewards bonus. At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the rewards you have earned, with no limit. This essentially turns the first year’s cash back rates into 2% and 10%, which is unbeatable.

  • Credit Card Issuer: Discover
  • Regular Interest Rate: 13.49% to 24.49% Variable APR
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% initially and then 5%
  • Rewards Program: 5% on rotating categories every quarter (maximum spend of $1,500)
  • Account Opening Bonus: Discover will match all your earnings at the end of your first year
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Good (670)

Blue Cash Everyday American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday is a basic rewards card from AmEx, one that offers a high rewards rate for all money spent at US supermarkets. You will get 3% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at supermarkets as well as 2% at US gas stations and 1% on everything else. There is also a bonus reward offer of $150 when you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

Combine this with an introductory APR that spans 15 months and covers both purchases and balance transfers, and the American Express Blue Cash Everyday becomes a very impressive card for collecting online cash rewards.

  • Credit Card Issuer: American Express
  • Regular Interest Rate: 14.49% to 25.49% Variable APR
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Program: 3% at US supermarkets (up to $6,000); 2% at gas stations; 1% everything else 
  • Account Opening Bonus: $150 when you spend $1,000 in first three months
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Good (670)

Blue Cash Preferred American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred AmEx is a step up from the Everyday card in some ways, but you will pay an annual fee of $95 for those extras.

These benefits include a higher rate for all money spent at US supermarkets (6% instead of 3%) as well as an extra cash bonus for signing up ($250 instead of $150). If you spend enough money to offset that annual fee, and find yourself making huge grocery purchases at supermarkets, this is well worth looking into.

  • Credit Card Issuer: American Express
  • Regular Interest Rate: 14.49% to 25.49% Variable APR
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Program: 6% at US supermarkets (up to $6,000); 2% at gas stations; 1% everything else 
  • Account Opening Bonus: $250 when you spend $1,000 in first three months
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Good (670)

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom is one of the best cards in the United States for grocery spending, which is why it is also one of the more popular. Cardholders can secure a sign-up bonus of $150 and you’ll get 5% on eligible purchases as well. 

These eligible purchases include common bonus categories like grocery stores and gas stations. Once this rate reaches its maximum of $1,500 per quarter, it will return to a 1% flat rate.

  • Credit Card Issuer: Chase (Visa)
  • Regular Interest Rate: 16.49% to 25.24% Variable APR
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% initially and then 5%
  • Rewards Program: Up to 5% on bonus categories (up to $1,500); 1% for everything else
  • Account Opening Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in first three months
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Good (670)

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is an unlimited version of the card mentioned above. You can get a welcome bonus of $200, which is $50 higher, and you’ll get many of the same great rates and perks. 

The main difference is that all bonus categories have been replaced with a flat rate of 1.5%, which applies every time you use the card, whether you’re using it for everyday purchases, streaming subscriptions, or grocery purchases.

  • Credit Card Issuer: Chase (Visa)
  • Regular Interest Rate: 16.49% to 25.24% Variable APR
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% initially and then 5%
  • Rewards Program: 1.5% flat rate for all purchases
  • Account Opening Bonus: $200 when you spend $500 in first three months
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Good (670)

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

The Costco Anywhere Visa is great if you spend a lot of money at Costco, but the highest rate of rewards is offered for grocery purchases. You will get a rate of 4% at all grocery stores and this drops to 3% for gas stations, 2% for Costco and Costco.com, and 1% for all other purchases.

  • Credit Card Issuer: Citi (Visa)
  • Regular Interest Rate: 16.74 APR Variable
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Program: Earn up to 4% cash back rewards on groceries
  • Account Opening Bonus: N/A
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Excellent (740)

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

All users of the Amazon Prime Rewards Card can secure a 5% rewards rate every time they use the card at Amazon.com or Whole Foods. They will also secure a $100 Amazon Gift Card once the card is activated.

As the Amazon Prime Rewards card is a Visa Signature card, cardholders can also benefit from additional perks, including travel insurance, purchase protection, and VIP travel perks.

One of the few downsides is that cardholders need to have Prime membership to get the best rewards rate. However, you don’t need to be a member to use the card and can still get a smaller rate of return if you’re not.

  • Credit Card Issuer: Chase (Visa Signature)
  • Regular Interest Rate: 15.74% to 23.74% APR Variable
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5% 
  • Rewards Program: Up to 5% cash back when you use the Amazon card at Amazon.com or Whole Foods
  • Account Opening Bonus: Amazon.com gift card worth up to $70
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Good (690)

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Card

The Bank of American Cash Rewards Mastercard gives you $200 when you spend $1,000 on your card in the first three billing cycles. You’ll also get 3% cash back on the bonus category of your choice, including drugstores, home improvement stores, online shopping, dining, and travel.

In addition, you can get 2% when you use your card at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and both of these rates apply to the first $2,500 that you spend every year. After this, the rate will drop to 1%, and this 1% also applies to all non-bonus categories.

  • Credit Card Issuer: Bank of America (Mastercard)
  • Regular Interest Rate: 15.49% to 25.49% Variable APR
  • Intro APR: 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and transfers
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Rewards Program: 3% cash back on bonus category of your choice up to $2,500; 2% at wholesale clubs and grocery stores 1% elsewhere
  • Account Opening Bonus: $200 bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
  • Minimum Credit Score Required: Good (670)

How do Rewards Work?

Reward credit cards typically fall into one of four categories, and this is true for all of the grocery credit cards outlined above:

Cash Back

Cash back credit cards claim to offer you a percentage of your money back every time you spend. In truth, this is not quite how they work. You won’t literally get cash back at the till, nor will you be offered a discount based on the cash back rate. 

For example, if you have a cash back rate of 5% and you spend $100, this doesn’t mean you’ll get a $5 reduction or $5 in cash. That $5 will simply be added to an ongoing total and can be used to redeem via a host of different methods, as discussed in more detail below.

Points

A points-based rewards card works in much the same way as a cash back card, only instead of accumulating “cash” as a percentage of every purchase that you make, you’ll earn points that have a cash value.

These points have many of the same redemption options. The difference is that they don’t have the same fixed value. $5 will always be worth $5 with a cash back credit card, but 10,000 points could be worth anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the method of redemption you choose.

Air Miles

Air miles are reward points used for travel purchases. As with reward points, they have a fixed value that can change depending on how and where you redeem them. They can be used to purchase plane tickets or get discounts on airfare, and they can also be used for other travel-related purchases, including baggage checks, GlobalEntry credits, hotels, trains, transit, and more.

Air mile programs tend to offer their highest rewards for purchases related to travel, but many travel reward cards will also reward you when used at grocery stores.

Discounts

Although many store and retail cards use point and cash back based systems, others simply offer discounts. This is true for many different reward cards, from those offered by grocery stores and US supermarkets to those provided by select U.S. department stores and hardware stores.

How to Redeem Grocery Credit Card Points

As mentioned above, air miles won’t simply allow you to pay for airfare and cash back cards don’t give you point-of-sale discounts or cash. Many reward credit cards actually have similar redemption options, and it’s important to pay close attention to these, making sure you can actually use the points/money you accumulate.

  • Statement Credit: This is one of the best ways to use your rewards. Statement credit will simply deduct the value of your rewards from your credit card balance, helping you to clear a balance that has gotten out of control or requiring you to spend less actual cash to clear it.
  • Gift Cards: Typically provided by store credit cards such as the Amazon Prime Credit Card, this redemption option converts your rewards to gift cards that can be used at specific stores.
  • Checkout Discounts: Many reward cards allow you to redeem your points at the Amazon checkout, including all Amazon store and credit cards, as well as the Discover It reward cards.
  • Travel Rewards: Use your points or miles to purchase everything from airfare to train tickets, hotel rooms, and car rentals.
  • Checking Account Transfer: Many cash reward cards offered by banks allow you to transfer your rewards to your checking account, providing you have an account with them. This is true for Chase and Wells Fargo, as well as several other major institutions.
  • Check: Although rare, some cash rewards credit cards allow you to receive your cash rewards in the form of a paper check.
  • Transfer: If you don’t like the current reward scheme on offer and want to try another one, simply transfer your points. This feature is offered by many cards, some of which will accept a 1:1 transfer, which means your points don’t lose any value.

What You Need to Know About Grocery Shopping Cards

How do you know if a specific grocery rewards card is for you, how can you compare one card to another, and when should you consider owning more than one card? To help you answer these questions, keep all of the following in mind:

1. Compare Limited to Unlimited

A card that offers 4% or 5% grocery rewards clearly looks better than a card that offers 2%. But if the former is limited and the latter is unlimited, things become a little more complicated and it’s all down to how much you spend on groceries.

As an example, let’s assume that you live alone, eat takeout a lot, and spend just $100 on groceries a month. An unlimited card offering 2% would give you just $24 over the course of the year, minus any signup bonus and additional rewards.

In this case, you’d be much better off with the limited card, as the limits tend to be at least $3,000, which you wouldn’t go anywhere near, and in this case, you’d earn $48 (from a 4% rate).

However, if you have a large family to feed and spend $800 a month on groceries, you’ll hit those limits pretty quickly and then drop to a base rate of 1%. If we assume a starting rate of 4% and a 1% fixed rate, a spend of $800 a month will earn you $186 over the year. With an unlimited rate, you’ll earn $192.

Not only does this unlimited rate earn you a little more, but it means you’ll be earning the same 2% cash back for all other purchases. Even if you were to spend just $5,000 on your card for everything else, the rate you’d earn with the limited credit card offer would be $236, while the unlimited would earn you $292.

It’s important to do what we have just done and calculate the figures exactly, because if you perform a rough estimation, you’ll nearly always underestimate how much you spend (we all do it) and overestimate how valuable the fixed rate is. 

2. Fees

Fees are incredibly important when dealing with any credit card. In calculating how much the card will earn you over the year and how these earnings will compare to other cards, make sure you include the annual fee. 

Some cards charge an annual fee of between $35 and $95, even when they’re offering relatively basic features, the same features you can get for free elsewhere. If you’re making $200 a year on a rewards credit card, then an annual fee of $95 could take nearly half of that away from you, which means a credit card that earns you $50 less but doesn’t have an annual fee is a better option.

It’s not just the annual fee you need to focus on, either.

Cash advance fees, foreign transaction fees, and even balance transfer fees can all impact your earning potential if you use these features on a regular basis. A cash advance fee, for instance, could cost you a minimum of $10 per transaction. If your situation is pretty desperate and requires you to make one cash advance per week, that’s $40 a month and $480 a year, and that’s before you consider the significantly increased cash advance APR.

Of course, that’s a lot of money to withdraw as cash, especially when you consider how costly this action can be. But you don’t need to use your credit card at an ATM to be hit with cash advance fees.

You may also pay these fees when your card to purchase lottery tickets or money orders or use it to load gift cards and buy casino chips.

Foreign transaction fees could cost you 3% of every foreign transaction you make, and if you use your card abroad and spend a lot of time outside of the country, that could also cost you hundreds of dollars a year.

3. Multiple Credit Cards

There is a certain stigma attached to owning multiple credit cards. After all, each credit card that you apply for and activate will hurt your credit score and if you add a balance to that card, your score will take an even bigger hit.

As we often note when discussing this subject, a new credit card won’t have that much impact on your score. Sure, it will reduce your score, but only slightly and only temporarily. 

What’s more, by adding a new, clean line of credit, you’ll boost your credit utilization ratio, which counts for 30% of your score and, in time, will undo the damage caused by opening a new account. 

That is unless you spend that balance and then allow it to roll over, in which case your credit score will nosedive.

If you make repaying your balance your number 1 priority, and your credit history is strong, there’s no reason you can’t have multiple credit cards. In fact, the old world record holder for the most credit cards had nearly 1,500 of them packed into his oversized wallet and was eventually surpassed by someone who had over 1,500!

Some providers will limit how many cards you have. Capital One, for instance, allows no more than two per user. But if there are no limits, and you can benefit from having multiple cards, go for it!

For instance, you can have a Costco Card to use when you’re shopping at Costco; an Amazon card to use when shopping at Amazon. And while these cards offer good rates for purchases made elsewhere, you may determine that you can get even better rates with the Chase Sapphire card or the Discover It card.

Just don’t go overboard. You don’t need to try and break the record, you don’t need a store card for every store, and you don’t need a reward card for every points category.

4. You Can Use a Balance Transfer

If you’re wary of owning too many credit cards, you may decide that it’s better to move everything onto a single credit card, such as one of the grocery cards recommended above. 

In such cases, you can use a balance transfer credit card. These cards will move all existing balances onto your new card and offer you an introductory balance transfer rate in return.

This rate gives you 0% APR for a specific period of time, which means you won’t pay any interest on the balance for anywhere from 3 months to 21 months on average. 

There are two ways this can benefit you. 

Firstly, if you’re used to paying off your balance every month, you can avoid doing so for the first few months. This is not recommended, as it could put you on a very slippery slope, but if you have accumulated a large balance and you’re worried you won’t be able to pay it off and can’t afford the inevitable interest, it’s a good option to have.

You can move the balance across, spend the first three months collecting rewards and your welcome bonus, and then put those rewards toward clearing your balance.

Secondly, it’s a great option if you have a rolling credit card balance that you’re paying a lot of interest on. In this case, most of your minimum monthly payment will be spent on interest and if you continue to make that payment after a balance transfer, 100% of it will go towards the principal.

You can also accumulate rewards with every new purchase that you make and then redeem these rewards as statement credit to help you repay the balance before the intro APR period ends.

Bottom Line: Grocery Store Cards

Grocery reward cards are some of the best credit cards available. In fact, most of the best reward point and cash back credit cards offer some kind of bonus when you use the card at grocery stores. What’s more, many major grocery stores have their own branded cards.

These cards can benefit most consumers. Everyone eats, and unless you’re lucky enough to dine out multiple times a day and leave all the grocery shopping and food prep to 5-star chefs, you’ll probably spend at least $2,000 on groceries every year.

In fact, the average is around $4,000 a year and this increases significantly the bigger your family is and the more mouths you have to feed. When you’re spending this much money every year without fail, it only makes sense to pick up a grocery rewards card. 

If nothing else, it’ll help you combat the rising costs of food or secure a few extra bags of free groceries every year.