Fall is the season for food. Bring on the after-school snacks, tailgate parties, Halloween candy, and turkey with all the trimmings. Besides using coupons, swiping your credit card is an extremely easy way to save at the supermarket. Here's a look at the best credit cards for grocery shopping:
Cash-Back Credit Cards: The Best
Hands down, this is the best credit card to use for grocery shopping. You get 6% back on supermarket purchases year-round, which is the highest cash-back offer on groceries by any credit card. Plus, there's no spending limit: spend $2,000 in a month on groceries, and you'll get 6% back on the whole thing, unlike other cards that limit it to the first $1,500.
It does comes with a $75 annual fee, but you'd only need to spend $105 per month on groceries to earn enough cash back to cover the fee. You get 3% back on gas purchases and 1% back on everything else. New cardholders also get a $150 bonus when they spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Note that you must have near perfect credit to get your hands on this card.
This card, Blue Cash Preferred's little brother, offers 3% back on all supermarket purchases plus no annual fee. If you spend $100 per month on groceries, and use the card for nothing else, you'd still get around $36 back annually.
If you hate annual fees, then this card is your next best alternative to the Blue Cash Preferred. Although not as lucrative as the 6% offered by Blue Cash Preferred, it still has the highest cash-back rate on groceries for any card without annual fees. You'll also get 2% back on gas purchases and 1% back on everything else. Similarly to the Blue Cash Preferred, new cardholders get a $100 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
This card gets you 2% back on groceries, as well as 3% back on gas. The cash back applies to the first $1500 you spend on grocery and gas, combined, each quarter. You'll get 1% back on everything else. There's no annual fee and new cardholders get a $100 bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days.
Another perk is that cardholders who redeem their rewards directly into a Bank of America checking or savings account get a 10% bonus: if you spend the full $1500 on groceries, you'll earn $30 back, plus an extra $3 for redeeming it into your account.
When compared to the Blue Cash Everyday, the 10% bonus is the only special feature about this card. If you're sticking point is a card with no annual fee, you're still better off with Blue Cash Everyday, which offers an unlimited 3% back on groceries, versus 2% back (with the $1500 limit) offered by Cash Rewards Visa.
Cash-Back Credit Cards: The Rest
Chase Freedom offers 5% back on rotating categories, including grocery stores. To optimize your savings, you'll need to monitor when the grocery category is valid, and schedule your major spending during those times. During non-promotional times, you'll still get the standard 1% back on your grocery purchases. There's no annual fee and you get a $100 cash bonus when you spend $500 or more in your first 3 months.
Discover More works the same way as the Chase Freedom. You'll get 5% back on grocery purchases when supermarkets are a featured category. Categories are featured in 3 month increments, but there's no guarantee as to how often your category will be promoted. We checked their 2012 rewards calendar, and it didn't show any grocery store promotions scheduled for this year.
Both cards are designed for small spenders, because you only get the 5% back on your first $1,500 spent in that category. Anything over the $1500 will still get 1% back, the standard amount for most cash-back cards.
Also, keep in mind what actually qualifies as "groceries" for that category. A store that sells food, as well as other products, may be labeled as a "grocery" store by one credit card, but labeled as a "discount" or "general" store by another. If you're loyal to a particular superstore, confirm with your card carrier that those purchases will get the 5% back when the promotional period starts.
Alternative Credit Cards
Shoppers who get their groceries at a Super Target or Target Greatlands can use this card to get 5% off their groceries year-round. Unlike a traditional credit card, you can only use it at Target stores, so it's not ideal for people who buy their groceries from a variety of stores. The perk? That 5% discount applies to everything in the store, and you also get free shipping on all online purchases charged to the card.
This card requires a high credit score and a Fidelity account, but offers great benefits. You get 2 points per dollar back on all grocery purchases (as well as everything else) year-round. Plus, there's no spending limit, so you can accrue as many points as possible. Every time you earn 5,o00 points (ie spend $2,500), you can redeem them for $50 cash back into your Fidelity account. There's also no annual fee.
While it's not a grocery-specific card like our favorite Blue Cash Preferred, it's a great card for big spenders: if you spent an average of $2,500 per month on all purchases (not just groceries), you'd earn $600 back each year.
Have any of these cards helped you save on groceries? Let us know in the comments below!
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