Shopping for groceries typically does not rank highly on the to-do list. Unless the excitement stems from sampling the foods at the demo stations, grocery shopping just is not thrilling. Cash back on the other hand, that’s worth getting pumped up over. Now you can inject some enthusiasm into a rather mundane task by using one of the best cash back cards for grocery shopping.
Unlimited Cash Back
PenFed Platinum Rewards – 2.55%
With unlimited cash back on groceries, this card can certainly help reduce the overall grocery budget. If you spend about $700 a month on average for groceries, this reward equals about an $18 cash back reward. That does not seem like much, but it means an extra $216 in a year. Tuck that away in a top saving accounts with a 1.00% interest rate, and you can pad your earnings even more.
Caveat: PenFed is a credit union, so you must first become a member of the credit union in order to be eligible. Fortunately, anyone can join by making a one-time donation to National Military Family Association ($15) or Voices for America’s Troops ($14).
If you live in California. The Golden 1 Credit Union offers a no annual fee card with unlimited 3% cash back on groceries.
Cash Back with Limits
If you spend $600 or less per month on groceries, then the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card may the best choice for you. The Amex Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back on groceries and 1% on everything else. The annual cap is $6,000 for grocery spending. That’s an average of $500 a month in grocery spend. You would earn $30 a month just in the groceries category. That’s an extra $360 just from cash back. Plus, there is a $150 bonus when you open the card and spend $1,000 in the first three months. That’s $510 of cash back in year one, before the annual fee.
Caveat: There is a $95 annual fee. With the right spending, this fee is easily covered by the rewards. However, if you allow the card to collect dust in your wallet, the fee is an unnecessary expense.
This Visa Platinum Rewards card offers 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter.
From January – March, groceries are one of the 5% categories. You can earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases a quarter, and there’s no annual fee for the card. Anyone can become a member of NUSENDA – just ask about it when you apply.
This Visa Signature cash back card from Consumers Credit Union offers credit union members 3% cash back for grocery and convenience store purchases. However, anyone can become a member of the credit union by paying a one-time, non-refundable $5 fee to CCU’s sponsor, the Consumers Cooperative Association, and then depositing and maintaining a minimum $5 in a Membership Share/Savings Account. The card also gives 2% for gas purchases and 1% for all other purchases. There is a $100 bonus for making $1,000 worth of purchases in the first 60 days.
Caveat: There is a cash back maximum of $6,000 per year, which, if you were spending in groceries only, would equate to $200,000 of spending. And the cash back is credited to the VISA each month, preventing you from depositing that cash and earning interest.
Huntington Voice – 3%
The Huntington voice card allows you to boost your earnings and choose your 3% cash back category. In this case, you could choose grocery spending and earn up to 6,000 points ($2,000 of spending) equaling $60 back per quarter. If you spend $2,000 a quarter (every 4 months) on groceries, you could earn up to $240 a year. Cash rewards work out to 1% for all other non-boosted categories.
Caveat: The ability to change categories and the point system can get a little confusing. Don’t hesitate to call Huntington if you need an explanation on your account.
This Amex card comes with no annual fee and a $125 bonus after the first $1,000 spent within 90 days. For grocery spending up to $6,000, you’ll earn 3% and if you go over $6,000 you will still earn 1% on all grocery spending. That’s a potential to earn $305 in year one. The card also offers an unlimited 2% on gas spending and select department stores.
Caveat: The bonus cash back in grocery stores and gas merchants depends on the merchant category code. If you buy groceries at Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon be aware that these retailers do not count as supermarkets.
Santander Bravo – 3%
The Santander Bravo card offers a $100 bonus after the first $1,000 spent within 90 days. You will also earn up to 15,000 points ($5,000 of spending) per quarter for grocery, gas station, and restaurant spending. This works out to a 3% cash back rate and the potential to earn $600 a year. The points can be redeemed for gift cards and airline tickets.
Tip: The 3% only applies to the first $5,000 spent per quarter, around $1,700 per month. There is also an annual fee of $49.
The BankAmericard cash rewards card from Bank of America offers 2% cash back on grocery spending up to $1,500 per quarter. There is no annual fee and you can redeem this cash directly into a Bank of America checking or saving account. The card also offers 3% on gas related spending. The rewards never expire and if you apply online and spend $500 in the first 90 days, you also receive a $100 cash rewards bonus.
Caveat: The $1,500 limit per quarter applies to both grocery and gas spending. After you hit that limit, all other purchases earn 1% cash back.
Last Piece of Advice
Make sure your grocery store is included as an appropriate merchant by a company before applying for one of these credit cards. You don’t want to think you’re earning 6% back and then realize it doesn’t report as a grocery store to your credit card company!