Americans spend on average $4,464 in groceries every year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Shopping for groceries is one of the main weekly expenses in every American household.
That’s why the credit cards tying reward points to grocery shopping are getting more numerous and their offers are getting increasingly more competitive. In 2020 you have a whole new lineup of cards ready to reward you for the purchases you make at grocery stores.
Here are the best cards whether you like those premium rewards, are an everyday shopper, are building credit, you’d rather skip the prep and go straight to the meal or you like to buy groceries at superstores.
See related: Best cash back cards
American Express® Gold Card – Best for earning Membership Rewards points on groceries
American Express® Gold Card: Best for earning Membership Rewards points on groceries
Amex Gold gives you an unprecedented rewards rate whether you’re dining in or out. If that weren’t enough, paying at certain eligible restaurants (see terms for qualifying merchants) after enrollment can get you up to $10 a month in statement credit. You also get up to $120 in Uber Cash every year ($10 per month) that can be applied to U.S. Uber Eats orders â a big plus for those who order their groceries through the platform (must add Gold Card to Uber app in order to receive the Uber Cash benefit).
The intro bonus of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first six months is excellent, and there are many redemption options, including gift cards, merchandise and travel with no blackout dates.
The card charges an annual fee of $250, but if you take advantage of both the Uber Cash and the dining credit, keeping the Amex Gold card will essentially cost you $10 every year.
If you are OK with only redeeming travel directly through Amextravel.com or Amex’s airline partners to maximize the value of the Membership Rewards points youâll earn, this is a great card for foodies and travelers.
Here’s a closer look at the features:
- 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first six months
- 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases â 1 point thereafter
- 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (including Uber Eats orders)
- 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly through airlines or on amextravel.com
- Up to $120 annual dining credit (up to a $10 statement credit monthly) when you pay at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris and participating Shake Shack locations (enrollment required)
- Up to $120 in Uber Cash per year ($10 per month)
- No foreign transaction fees
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for earning cash back on groceries
Even though it has fewer features than the Amex Gold, it gives you perhaps the highest cash back rate available on groceries, and it has a lower annual fee â $95. Plus, running errands like groceries is way easier when you get cash back on gas for the commute. Take a closer look:
- $250 statement credit when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
- 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%
- 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu or HBO Max
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
- 3% on transit purchases
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card: Best for earning cash back on groceries with no annual fee
The Bank of America Cash Rewards card offers grocery shoppers the opportunity to double down on cash back for food by selecting dining for its 3% category along with its outstanding 2% rate on grocery stores and wholesale clubs, with no annual fee.
If cardholders want something other than dining for the 3% rate, Cash Rewards offers the flexibility to let them choose their own category. However, the $2,500 quarterly spending cap on both categories is low.
Have a closer look:
- $200 in online cash rewards when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
- 3% cash back on a category of your choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores or home improvements and furnishings)
- 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs
- $2,500 combined quarterly limit on 2% and 3% cash back categories
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- No annual fee
Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for earning cash back on groceries and everything else
For those who don’t want to have to choose a spending category but still want no annual fee, Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a consistent rate of at least 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases
- 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
- $200 bonus if you spend $500 in the first 3 months
- Cash back rewards do not expire
- No annual fee
Capital OneÂ® SavorÂ® Cash Rewards Credit Card*: Best for earning cash back on groceries and dining out
This card is for those with way too packed a social life to buy groceries. Sure, you get 2% cash back at grocery stores for those times your social calendar eases up and you can actually get to the store, but otherwise, you get way more return on your cash back when you dine out or see a show.
Plus, if you love concerts, 8% cash back on tickets through Vivid Seats is absolutely unprecedented.
Check out the details:
- $300 cash bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months
- 8% cash back on tickets through Vivid Seats (offer expires January 2022)
- 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
- 2% cash back at grocery stores
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- $95 annual fee
Why go to a standard grocery store when superstores allow you to get the grocery shopping done all in one shot? For those who prefer one-stop shopping, there are some great credit card options for superstore shoppers that will give you monster returns you don’t often see with standard cash back cards as long as you use them in-store.
Target REDcard™: Best for earning cash back on Target purchases
The Target Redcard has no annual fee. This, combined with its standard offer of 5% off in-store purchases applied right at the checkout counter and 5% off at Target.com with free shipping, makes it a great card for frequent Target shoppers, especially since the 5% discount is applied in perpetuity. You can also stack your discount with others available through Target’s Cartwheel app and in-store.
Though most people don’t need 120 days to return an item, you get that with this card when its extra 30 days is combined with Target’s standard 90-day return policy. The extra time could allow a greater piece of mind on those large ticket items you buy.
However, if you’re known to carry a balance, this isn’t the right card for you. The high variable APR can far outweigh the 5% discount, so pay the card off after each billing cycle.
Here’s a snapshot of all the benefits of this card:Â
- 5% off eligible Target purchases in-store and online at Target.com (except pharmacy purchases)
- Can be used together with Target Circle and other discounts
- Free two-day shipping on orders from Target.com with no spending minimum
- An extra 30 days to return items on top of the standard 90-day return policy
- Early access to special events, products and promotions
- No annual fee
Capital OneÂ® Walmart RewardsÂ® MastercardÂ®: Best for earning cash back on Walmart purchases
This card is great because, unlike Target’s Redcard, it offers some cash back outside of Walmart purchases, including 2% cash back at restaurants and travel and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
However, while Target’s Redcard offers its in-store 5% discount with no limit, the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard only offers the same discount in-store for the first 12 months and you have to use Walmart’s mobile wallet on your purchases to get it.
Where this card really shines is online, especially if you do a lot of grocery pickup or delivery orders from Walmart.com.
It’s very easy to apply for and, like the Redcard, it carries no annual fee, as well as some smaller benefits you’ll see below:
- 5% cash back on Walmart purchases online, including grocery and delivery orders
- 5% cash back on in-store purchases in the first year when you pay using the Walmart Pay digital wallet
- 2% cash back on restaurant and travel purchases
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fee
- Easily apply via text message
- Card is automatically transferred to Walmart Pay digital wallet on approval
- Fraud alerts and the ability to freeze your account
Comparing the best cards for grocery shopping
|Card||Grocery bonus||Other rewards||Annual fee|
|American Express® Gold Card||4 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases â 1 point thereafter
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
||6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%||
|Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card||2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs||
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||n/a||
|Capital OneÂ® SavorÂ® Cash Rewards Credit Card||2% cash back at grocery stores||
|Target REDcard™||5% discount at Target and Target.com||n/a||$0|
|Capital OneÂ® Walmart RewardsÂ® MastercardÂ®||
There is no shortage of credit card options that reward grocery spending, so in addition to our top picks above, consider these alternatives.
- Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card – A no-annual-fee alternative to the Capital One Savor Card, the SavorOne offers the same 2% cash back on grocery store purchases. While it offers a slightly lower rate on dining and entertainment than the Savor card, the SavorOne is a good alternative for those wary to pay an annual fee.
- U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card – The newly launched U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card offers a competitive rewards rate on both dining and grocery purchases â 4 points per dollar on dining and food delivery and 2 points per dollar on groceries, to be exact. It also offers 2 points per dollar on gas and streaming service purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Plus, it doesn’t charge an annual fee.
- Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card – If you prefer to do your grocery shopping at Whole Foods, you can’t beat the rewards rate on the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card. In addition to 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases, the card offers the same 5% rate at Whole Foods locations. You’ll also earn 2% back on restaurant, gas station and drug store purchases and 1% on everything else. You have to be a Prime member to qualify for the card, but if you spend a significant amount on Amazon orders or at Whole Foods, your rewards can help offset the cost of membership.
- Apple Card – The Apple Card is best known for its high rewards rate on Apple purchases, but it can also be a great choice for grocery shopping. When you make a purchase via Apple Pay, the card offers 2% back on all qualifying purchases. This is on par with some of the highest flat-rate credit card offers. Just make sure your preferred grocery story accepts the mobile wallet before you work this card into your rewards strategy.
How to pick the right card for grocery shopping
For most of us, using a credit card at a grocery store simply involves taking it out in the checkout line. But if you want to up your grocery shopping game and save some serious money, here are some tips and secret strategies from credit card experts and the most seasoned shoppers we could find.
When picking the credit card you’ll use at the grocery store most experts recommend either a card with a high cash back rate that can provide a percentage off every time you shop or a tiered rewards card that offers specific rewards every time you use it for groceries.
âWhen you use a cash back card, it’s like having a coupon to save a certain amount off your total purchase each and every time you buy groceries. This savings isn’t limited to grocery stores â a flat-rate rewards card will apply the same cash back or miles to all of your purchases,â says Ashley Dull of CardRates.com.
However, if you’re picking a tiered rewards card with a grocery store category, they often have a limit on how much you can earn annually.
For example, American Express limits the 6% cash back rate spent at U.S. supermarkets annually on its Blue Cash Preferred Card to $6,000 in purchases (after that, itâs 1%), so be mindful of those restrictions.
Apple Card gives you cash back every day.
You also want to pick a card where rewards don’t expire, there are multiple options for redemption and you can transfer rewards between accounts. Always keep track of the terms of your credit card and compare card features vigorously before making your final selection.
How to earn the most rewards while grocery shopping
If you really want to maximize your rewards at the grocery store, stack your savings with a cash back app such as Ibotta, Fetch Rewards or Checkout 51. Your grocery store’s loyalty app is also a great way to double-dip on savings.
âBy taking a few minutes to scan in your grocery receipts, a family of four can easily earn over $25 a month in rewards,â says Nermeen Ghneim of The Savvy Dollar personal finance blog.
Finally, if you’re choosing a store-branded credit card because you tend to shop at the same store all the time, make sure you pay off the balance before the billing cycle resets because store cards tend to have very high interest and fees.
âMany people know that making a habit of paying off high interest credit cards will actually have a slightly negative effect on their credit,â says Dan Gallagher, author, retired financial planner and personal finance expert at ScoreSense.com. âBut some grocery credit cards are in-house credit extensions, especially the ones that are valid in-store only. The in-store-only variety does not harm your score for avoiding interest and paying balances off early, so do not fear a grocery store credit card.â
*All information about the Capital One Savor card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.Â
We are in the midst of a major economic shift. While workers in the past could expect to keep a stable job with a traditional employer for decades, workers of today have found they must either cobble together a career from a variety of gigs, or supplement a lackluster salary from a traditional job by doing freelance work in their spare time.
Though you can make a living (and possibly even a good one) in the gig economy, this kind of work does leave gig workers vulnerable in one very important way: retirement planning.
Without the backing of an employer-sponsored retirement account, many gig workers are not saving enough for their golden years. According to a recent report by Betterment, seven out of 10 full-time gig workers say they are unprepared to maintain their current lifestyle during retirement, while three out of 10 say they don’t regularly set aside any money for retirement.
So what’s a gig worker to do if they don’t want to be driving for Uber and taking TaskRabbit jobs into their 70s and 80s? Here are five things you can do to save for retirement as a member of the gig economy. (See also: 15 Lucrative Side Hustles for City Dwellers)
1. Take stock of what you have
Many people don’t have a clear idea of how much money they have. And it’s impossible to plan your retirement if you don’t know where you are today. So any retirement savings should start with a look at what you already have in the accounts in your name.
Add up how much is in your checking and savings accounts, any neglected retirement accounts you may have picked up from previous traditional jobs, cash on hand if your gig work relies on cash tips, or any other financial accounts. The sum total could add up to more than you realize if you haven’t recently taken stock of where you are.
Even if you truly have nothing more than pocket lint and a couple quarters to your name, it’s better to know where you are than proceed without a clear picture of your financial reality. (See also: These 13 Numbers Are Crucial to Understanding Your Finances)
2. Open an IRA
If you don’t already have a retirement account that you can contribute to, then you need to set one up ASAP. You can’t save for retirement if you don’t have an account to put money in.
IRAs are specifically created for individual investors and you can easily get started with one online. If you have money from a 401(k) to roll over, you have more options available to you, as some IRAs have a minimum investment amount (typically $1,000). If you have less than that to open your account, you may want to choose a Roth IRA, since those often have no minimums.
The difference between the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA is how taxes are levied. With a traditional IRA, you can fund the account with pre-tax income. In other words, every dollar you put in an IRA is a dollar you do not have to claim as income. However, you will have to pay ordinary income tax on your IRA distributions once you reach retirement. Roth IRAs are funded with money that has already been taxed, so you can take distributions tax-free in retirement.
Many gig workers choose a Roth IRA because their current tax burden is low. If you anticipate earning more over the course of your career, using a Roth IRA for retirement investments can protect you from the taxman in retirement.
Whether you choose a Roth or a traditional IRA, the contribution limit per year, as of 2018, is $5,500 for workers under 50, and $6,500 for anyone who is 50+.
3. Avoid the bite of investment fees
While no investor wants to lose portfolio growth to fees, it’s especially important for gig workers to choose asset allocations that will minimize investment fees. That’s because gig workers are likely to have less money to invest, so every dollar needs to be working hard for them.
Investing in index funds is one good way to make sure investment fees don’t suck the life out of your retirement account. Index funds are mutual funds that are constructed to mimic a specific market index, like the S&P 500. Since there is no portfolio manager who is choosing investments, there is no management fee for index funds. (See also: How to Start Investing With Just $100)
4. Embrace automation
One of the toughest challenges of being a gig worker is the fact that your income is variable — which makes it very difficult to plan on contributing the same amount each month. This is where technology comes in.
To start, set up an automatic transfer of an amount of money you will not miss. Whether you can spare $50 per week or $5 per month, having a small amount of money quietly moving into your IRA gives you a little cushion that you don’t have to think about.
From there, consider using a savings app to handle retirement savings for you. For instance, Digit will analyze your checking account’s inflow and outflow, and will determine an amount that is safe to save without triggering an overdraft, and automatically move that amount into a savings account. You can then transfer your Digit savings into your retirement account.
5. Invest found money
An excellent way to make sure you’re maxing out your contributions each year is to change your view of "found money." For instance, if you receive a birthday check from your grandmother, only spend half of it and put the rest in your retirement account. Similarly, if you receive a tax refund (which is a little less likely if you’re a gig worker paying quarterly estimated taxes), send at least half of the refund toward your retirement.
Any gig workers who often receive cash can also make their own rules about the cash they receive. For instance, you could decide that every $5 bill you get has to go into retirement savings. That will help you change your view of the money and give you a way to boost your retirement savings.
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