Groceries and household supplies can end up being a huge expense category for most of us. Estimates put average grocery spending at around 5-10% of annual expenditures for the typical American. Thus, any way we can save more on groceries can free up a lot of spare cash to save, invest or spend elsewhere. One great way to save money is to rack up rewards by using the best credit card for groceries for all your grocery store purchases.
By using the best credit card for grocery stores, you can earn bonus cashback on every purchase – anywhere from 2% to 6% cashback. Over time, this can add up to some serious savings! For even more savings opportunities, check out our guide to saving money on groceries.
What is the Best Credit Card for Groceries?
There’s no single “best” option for all people – the right choice will depend on a number of factors. One big thing to consider is whether or not you want to pay an annual fee on your card. Most of the time the no-fee cards don’t earn as much rewards, but the fee cards charge you a flat fee every year. Be sure to do the math for your individual situation to see what makes the most sense.
Best Grocery Credit Card for Families & Big Spenders: Amex Blue Cash Preferred
Annual fee: $95
Earning rate: 6% cashback at US supermarkets, 3% at US gas stations & department stores; 1% on everything else
Signup bonus: $200 after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
Introductory APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
Best for: Big spenders in the grocery category, large families
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is the best credit card for groceries for many people – particularly those who spend a lot on groceries.
The card earns a whopping 6% cashback at US supermarkets, although that rate is capped at $6,000 in annual spend. Amounts beyond $6,000 annually will only earn 1% cashback.
The card has a $95 annual fee, which is only worthwhile if you spend a decent amount on groceries. The cap on 6% cashback earnings is $6,000 per year, which works out to $500 per month. If you spend in the range of $350-$500 per month on groceries, this card is likely worth the annual fee – if not, you’ll probably be better off with a no-fee version.
Best Grocery Credit Card with No Annual Fee: Amex Blue Cash Everyday
Annual fee: None
Earning rate: 3% cashback at US supermarkets, 2% at US gas stations & department stores; 1% on everything else
Signup bonus: $150 after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
Introductory APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
Best for: Those wanting a cashback card with no annual fee to worry about
The American Express Blue Cash Everyday is the no-annual fee version of the popular Blue Cash Preferred card. The card still offers great cashback rates, with 3% back on grocery store purchases (capped at $6,000/year in spend), 2% on gas and 1% on everything else.
This card makes more sense for those who don’t spend a whole lot on groceries. For big spenders, the Preferred will likely win out in the long run. See our comparison section below to learn more.
Blue Cash Preferred vs Everyday
For many people, choosing the best credit card for groceries will be a choice between the Everyday and the Preferred. Here’s a recap:
- The Blue Cash Preferred earns 6% cashback on groceries, but has a $95 annual fee ($200 sign-up bonus currently)
- The Blue Cash Everyday earns 3% cashback on groceries, but has no annual fee ($150 sign-up bonus currently)
You should do the math for your particular situation, but as a rule of thumb, here are our recommendations:
- If you spend more than $3,200 per year ($266/month) on groceries, the Preferred is the better option
- If you spend less than $3,200 per year ($266/month) on groceries, stick with the no-annual-fee version
Keep in mind that these figures ignore the signup bonuses (as they change frequently), and also ignore the different earning rates on gas purchases. Again, we recommend running the numbers for your specific situation.
Best Grocery Credit Card for Simplicity: Citi Double Cash
Annual fee: None
Earning rate: 2% cashback on all purchases
Signup bonus: None currently, sometimes offers $100 cash bonus
Introductory APR: 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months
Best for: Those wanting just one credit card for all purchases
The Citi Double Cash credit card is the best credit card for groceries for those who crave simplicity in their lives. With this card there are no bonus categories, no caps on earnings, and no annual fee – just a flat 2% cashback on ALL purchases, not just groceries.
This card tops our list of the best cash-back credit cards because it offers a great earning rate with no annual fee to worry about. The great thing about this card is that you always know you’ll earn 2% back, regardless of where you make the purchase. With other cards with specific category bonuses, you may or may not earn the bonus rewards depending on how the merchant codes. For example, purchases at Costco or other warehouse clubs don’t usually code as groceries, so a card like the Blue Cash won’t earn the bonus points.
Merchant Codes & Cashback Earnings
Now that you’ve seen our recommendations for the best credit cards for groceries, there is one thing that you should be aware of.
Any card with category bonus cashback rates will use the merchant category code (MCC) to determine your cashback percentage. Thus, the rate of cashback you earn will depend on the how the purchase codes. And unfortunately, they don’t always code how you might expect.
For instance, Walmart purchases might code as grocery, but they could also code as warehouse store, home goods store, etc. Even stranger, some Walmarts might code differently than others. This can result in some surprises, and is one reason why some people prefer the simplicity of a flat 2% cashback card like the Double Cash.
This guide explains how you can find merchant category codes to determine whether or not a specific merchant will earn bonus cashback. Unfortunately, Visa is the only card issuer to make this data public.