The best credit cards for groceries of 2020

Taylor Medine, Reviewed.com
Shop for groceries with these credit cards, and you can clean up the rewards in aisle three.
Shop for groceries with these credit cards, and you can clean up the rewards in aisle three.

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Groceries are an essential living expense—especially now that you may be spending more time stuck at home and less time visiting friends or dining out. Not only are Americans currently spending more on groceries, the price of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and other goods has steeply increased.

Maybe you already have a card in your wallet that rewards you for paying recurring expenses like your telephone bill or gym membership. Adding a grocery rewards card to the mix can help you earn cash back or points each time you go to the store or place an order for a grocery haul.

If you’re thinking about adding a grocery card to your arsenal, we recommend these six options.

  • Best overall: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

  • Best value: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

  • Best for Whole Foods and Amazon customers: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Best for Walmart lovers: Capital One Walmart Rewards® Card

  • Best for Target loyalists: RedCard™ Mastercard®

  • Best for Costco shoppers: Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card

Things to know about credit cards

  • Most cards on this list have no annual fee, but don’t rule out the one that does—as long as the math makes sense. A credit card that comes with a fee (like the Blue Cash Preferred) can be a valuable addition to your wallet as long as the rewards you earn are worth more than the annual cost.

  • Credit card issuers often have strict guidelines on what stores qualify for grocery rewards. Bodegas and local bakeries may or may not be included in the grocery category, so be mindful that cardholders will only receive cash back on select purchases. If you do most of your shopping at specialty shops or corner stores, check that they’re included in the rewards program before applying. Warehouses and superstores are also typically excluded from the supermarket category unless expressly stated in the rewards offer.

  • Rewards caps are common. Credit cards may have a spending cap that limits how much you can earn in each category. One card’s spending cap may be generous for a small household but limiting for a large one. Add up how much you spend on groceries per month and compare spending caps before choosing one.

  • Check your existing cards to see if you’re already rewarded for grocery shopping. Since people are spending more time at home and less time traveling or dining out, many card issuers, including Chase and American Express, have recently added grocery rewards for a limited time.

  • Paying off rewards cards each month is key. No matter which card you choose, the goal should be to pay off the balance each month. Making minimum payments and revolving a balance means you’ll rack up interest charges which can negate the rewards you earn, and this can also have an effect on your credit score.

How we evaluated

My name is Taylor, and I’m a personal finance writer who’s been reviewing credit cards and rewards programs since 2015. For this roundup, I took a look at 16 credit cards that offer grocery rewards and categorized them by rewards opportunity, annual cost, and ease of use.

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Best overall: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

American Express Blue Cash Preferred
American Express Blue Cash Preferred

The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express makes our list as the best overall choice with a whopping 6% back at U.S. supermarkets. There's a $95 annual fee—waived as part of a limited offer through December 10, 2020—but the cash back you earn can easily cover the cost. You only need to spend about $1,600 per year ($133 per month or $30 per week) in the grocery category to break even.

Music lovers and binge-watchers may find this card particularly worthwhile with 6% cash back on Apple Music, Netflix, HBO Max, and other streaming subscriptions. However, if you don’t think you’ll use the card enough to offset the cost with rewards earnings, consider the no-annual-fee Blue Cash Everyday instead. We’ll discuss that one next.

  • Annual fee: $95

  • Grocery points: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, which does not include superstores and warehouse clubs. You’re eligible to earn rewards on the first $6,000 you spend each year—this works out to about $115 per week—and then an unlimited 1% thereafter.

  • Additional points: 6% on streaming subscriptions, 3% on transit spending, 3% at U.S. gas stations, and 1% on everything else. You can redeem rewards for a statement credit when your rewards balance reaches $25.

  • Perks: Through December 10, 2020, spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months and you’ll get a $300 statement credit. Plus, there’s a 0% APR introductory deal for the first 12 months on new purchases.

Learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred

Best value: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

American Express Blue Cash Everyday
American Express Blue Cash Everyday

The Blue Cash Everyday is a no-fee grocery and gas card that packs a punch. You earn 3% cash back on the first $6,000 per year you spend at U.S. supermarkets, and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and department stores. Although this card and the Blue Cash Preferred have a $6,000 spending cap on groceries, Americans on average spend about $4,500 annually for “food at home,” according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, so shopping for your household may fit comfortably under this limit.

  • Annual fee: None

  • Grocery points: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year—this works out to about $115 per week—and then an unlimited 1% thereafter. As with the Blue Cash Preferred, grocery hauls at superstores and warehouse clubs do not qualify for rewards.

  • Additional points: 2% at U.S. gas stations and department stores, and 1% on everything else. You can redeem rewards for a statement credit when your balance reaches $25.

  • Perks: Spend $1,000 in purchases within the first six months and you’ll get $100 back as a statement credit. During that same time period, the card offers 20% back (up to $200) on Amazon orerPlus, there’s a 0% APR introductory deal for the first 15 months on new purchases.

Learn more about the Blue Cash Everyday

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is another no-fee card that gives 5% back to eligible Amazon Prime members who shop at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. To be eligible for 5% back, you must keep the card connected to your Amazon account and maintain Prime membership by paying the annual or monthly membership fee.

While the card itself doesn’t have an annual fee, Prime membership costs $119 per year ($12.99 per month) and $59 per year ($6.49 per month) for students. But maintaining membership probably won’t be a dealbreaker for shoppers who’ve already joined to receive other Prime perks like two-day and same-day shipping.

If someone invited you to get shipping perks through their membership, you'll earn 3% back instead of the full 5% in the top category. You can, however, upgrade to the higher rewards rate if you join Amazon Households with an eligible Prime member.

  • Annual fee: None, although an Amazon Prime membership is required

  • Grocery points: 5% back at Amazon.com (including Amazon Fresh orders, digital downloads, Amazon gift cards, and Amazon Prime subscriptions) and 5% back at Whole Foods Market locations and online.

  • Additional points: 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores, and 1% on all other eligible purchases.

  • Perks: There’s no minimum balance to redeem cash back. The card has no foreign transaction fee and comes with benefits like travel and emergency insurance.

Learn more about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

Capital One Walmart Rewards Card

Capital One Walmart Rewards
Capital One Walmart Rewards

Loyal Walmart shoppers—especially those who order products and groceries online—may find a lot of value in this offer. You get 5% back when shopping at Walmart.com, and it includes grocery pickup and delivery.

You typically earn 2% back at Walmart locations and Walmart gas stations. However, for the first 12 months, the card gives 5% at the store checkout if you use Walmart Pay, a virtual wallet that stores your credit card information for touch-free checkout.

Rewards are tracked in points and each point is worth one cent. Word of warning though: To get the most value from this card, you must be a dedicated Walmart shopper because the money you spend at other retailers that accept Mastercard will only earn 1% back.

  • Annual fee: None

  • Grocery points: 5% back at Walmart.com, including grocery pickup and delivery.

  • Additional points: 2% back at Walmart, Walmart gas stations, restaurants, and travel, and 1% cash back on everything else. You can redeem rewards for statement credit, gift cards, travel, or to make purchases at Walmart.com.

  • Perks: For the first year, you earn 5% back at brick-and-mortar Walmart locations as long as you use Walmart Pay. Afterward, you earn 2% back in the store.

Learn more about the Capital One Walmart Rewards

RedCard Mastercard

Target RedCard
Target RedCard

At Target, RedCard cardholders receive 5% off in-store and online purchases. The 5% discount is automatically applied when you swipe at checkout, but there are some restrictions. Prescriptions, over-the-counter pharmacy products, and eye exams at Target don’t qualify.

Cardholders get free shipping, exclusive store offers, and discount gift cards. You don’t earn rewards that can be redeemed for travel or merchandise from other retailers, so diehard Target fans will see the most value here. You could consider coupling this card with a flat-rate card or revolving category card to earn and redeem rewards for the spending you do outside of the big-box retailer.

  • Annual fee: None

  • Grocery points: You get 5% off at checkout each time you shop online or in the store.

  • Additional points: 5% off on clearance items and in-store Starbucks locations.

  • Perks: Free shipping and exclusive store offers, like an extra 30 days for eligible returns.

Learn more about the RedCard

Bank of America Cash Rewards

Most credit card issuers don't reward purchases made at wholesalers—but bulk shoppers can earn 2% cash back with the Bank of America Cash Rewards.
Most credit card issuers don't reward purchases made at wholesalers—but bulk shoppers can earn 2% cash back with the Bank of America Cash Rewards.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers 2% cash back when you shop at grocery stores and wholesale clubs—unique in the world of grocery cards since club shopping is usually excluded from the supermarket category. This card may be a smart choice for BJ’s and Sam’s Club shoppers, and especially people who frequent Costco since the warehouse exclusively accepts Visa.

The rewards offer is 2% cash back on groceries and 3% cash back on a category of your choice. Pay close attention to the rewards cap: The combined spending limit for the 2% and 3% categories is $2,500 per quarter. The money you spend beyond the $2,500 cap earns just 1% back until the next quarter.

Bank of America customers with large account balances get an even better rewards deal. Preferred Rewards members qualify for 25% to 75% more in cash back. For the supermarket category, this equals up to a total of 3.5% cash back.

  • Annual fee: None

  • Grocery points: 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

  • Additional points: 3% in the category of your choice (including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement) and 1% on all other purchases. The combined spending cap for the 3% and 2% categories is $2,500 every three months. Let’s say you choose gas for the 3% category. You’ll earn 3% and 2% back on the first $2,500 spent on gas and groceries each quarter. Spend more than the limit and you’ll earn 1% cash back in those categories until the next quarter.

  • Perks: Spend $1,000 in the first 90 days and you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus. The card also has an introductory 0% APR on new purchases for 15 months.

Learn more about the Bank of America Cash Rewards Card

Please note: The offers mentioned above are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.

Reviewed has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Reviewed and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Other top credit card options

How many credit cards should you have in your wallet?

  • We hate to break it to you, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. The right number of credit cards for you depends on what you can responsibly manage.

  • Does having a piece of shiny plastic an arm’s length away often encourage you to spend money you don’t have? Be honest. You may want to think twice before applying for more credit. Carrying a balance you can’t afford contributes to interest charges, and in the long run costs you more money—money that you could’ve used for that air fryer you've been eyeing.

  • If you’re financially responsible and stick to making purchases that you can pay off, there may be some upsides to adding another card to your arsenal. If you’re a jet-setter without a card that rewards you for hitting the road, or one that skips foreign transaction fees, a travel credit card may make sense for you.

  • There are a few other things to consider before opening a new account, like adding a different payment processing network, or taking note of any annual fees.

Why should you check your credit score?

Some of us may deal with our credit score the way we deal with our bank statements. Ignorance can be bliss—but we don’t recommend avoiding either, for the record. Keeping tabs on your credit score will let you know if something needs attention. A sudden drop might mean you missed a payment, or maybe someone else got ahold of your personal information.

You can get monthly updates from issuers—even ones you’re not a cardholder with—and there are a few other ways to stay in the loop, too. Don’t neglect your credit report either, as mistakes can arise there. In fact, as many as one in four have an error that can affect your score. The best news? Staying on top of these details doesn’t cost you any money.

What else should you know about credit cards?

  • Long introductory period APR rates are only a short-term incentive. Potentially high APR rates snap into effect after the intro period ends, which could cost you a lot in interest if you’ve left your balance unpaid. It’s really important—especially when getting a card for a big purchase—to keep an eye on your finances, and keep an eye on the calendar.

  • APR rates and credit limits vary based on your creditworthiness. Credit limits and interest rates are determined based on each cardholder's personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating this card. Remember to pay your card off in full every month, so you will not be charged interest.

  • Banks have final say on who they accept for a credit card. These recommendations were put together with the assumption that applicants would have average or excellent credit. That being said, banks decide who they will issue credit cards to using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual's credit score when evaluating each applicant.

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This article originally appeared on Reviewed.com: The best credit cards for groceries of 2020