What Are the Best Grocery Credit Cards in Canada Today?

Best Credit Cards For Groceries In Canada

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Last updated on May 13, 2021 Comments: 2

If you feel like a major portion of your budget is allocated toward groceries each month, you’re not alone: a GreedyRates study confirms that food prices are continuing to rise and a majority of Canadians believe that rising food prices are outpacing their income.

But there are a number of effective strategies for grocery shopping that can reduce the bite that food takes out of your budget. The fastest change, and the one that is probably least disruptive to your current lifestyle, is to switch to a credit card that rewards you for your lengthy grocery bills.

Best Groceries Credit Cards

Best No Annual Fee Card

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
– Minimum Income: $15000
– Age: Age of majority in province/territory
– Residency: Canadian resident

 

Offer Overview
The BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* offers a very high 3% regular cashback rate on groceries, which is quite impressive given that the card has no annual fee. As a Mastercard it’s also one of the best credit cards for Walmart Supercentres (which Mastercard categorizes as a grocer) but its relatively low ‘all purchases’ earn rate of 0.5% makes it less ideal for stores that Mastercard does not categorize as grocers, like Costco.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Welcome Bonus: 5% cash back on all eligible purchases for the first 3 months (conditions apply)
  • Grocery Cashback Rate: 3% cash back on groceries after the first 3 months (up to $500 spent per billing cycle)
  • Other Cashback Rates: 1% cash back on recurring bills after the first 3 months (up to $500 spent per billing cycle); 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • Additional Features: 1.99% interest on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee

Greedy’s Take
There are other cards that earn more than a 3% return on groceries (see below), but they come with annual fees of $100+. If you won’t spend enough throughout the year to earn back the annual fee through cash back, or if you don’t meet the other cards’ higher income requirements, the BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* is a great option to pull out whenever you’re at the checkout counter.

Apply for the BMO CashBack Mastercard

Best for Maximizing Cash Back

CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Excellent
– Minimum Income: $60,000 individual or $100,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in province
– Residency: Canadian citizen
– Other: No bankruptcy for the past 7 years

 

Offer Overview

The CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card offers 4% cash back on all eligible groceries, including groceries purchased at both stand-alone grocers and at chains. It’s one of our favourite credit cards for groceries not only because of its high cashback rate, but also because of its strong welcome bonus: Get 10% cash back (up to $200)* Plus, a first-year annual fee rebate!†. The annual spending caps for earning at its 4% rate are relatively high: You earn 4% on eligible gas and groceries for the first $80,000 spent on the account annually. These caps are reset every December, after which point you’ll again earn 4% on spend in those categories.

Key Features

  • Primary Card Annual Fee:$120(first year rebate)
  • Additional Card Annual Fee: $30 each, three card maximum (first year rebate)
  • Welcome Bonus: 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 4 statements (up to $2,000 spent), First Year Annual Fee Rebate
  • Grocery Cashback Rate:4% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases†
  • Other Cashback Rates: 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments†, and 1% cash back on all other purchases†
  • Interest Rates: 19.99% on purchases, 22.99% on cash advances and balance transfers

Greedy’s Take

Does it make fiscal sense to spend $120 on a credit card’s annual fee in order to get more cash back on gas and groceries? Maybe; maybe not. We recommend the card to anyone who expects to spend around $250 per month on groceries and gas combined, which over the course of a year will also earn back enough to cover the card’s annual fee and then some. The annual fee is also covered just by spending $500 a month in your first 4 months on all purchases. If you don’t anticipate spending these amounts with the card, you’re probably better off going with a no annual fee card that earns extra cash back on groceries, like the aforementioned BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*.

*If you think the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card might be a good fit for your lifestyle, but you don’t meet its annual income requirements, give the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa* Card a look instead. Its cash back structure is the same as the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card, but it has a less complete insurance package and a minimum annual household income requirement of just $15,000.

Apply for the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card.

Quebec Residents: Learn More about this CIBC product here.

Résidents du Québec : Pour en savoir plus sur ce produit CIBC, suivez ce lien.

Best No Annual Fee Rewards Card

President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Annual Income: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in your province or territory
– Residency: Resident of Canada

Offer Overview

The PC Financial® World Elite Mastercard® is a great credit card for those who shop frequently at Loblaw banner grocery stores, which make up one of the largest grocery store networks in Canada and include Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, and other participating stores where President’s Choice® products are sold. Buying groceries in Loblaw banner stores with the PC Financial® World Elite Mastercard® will earn 30 points per $1 spent, which works out to a 3% rate of return (10,000 PC Optimum™ points are worth $10 in rewards). These points earned per $1 are in addition to the extra points you may earn via the PC Optimum™ points weekly personalized offers and in-store offers.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Points Earned on Groceries: 30 points per $1 spent at participating stores where President’s Choice® products are sold.
  • Points Earned Elsewhere: Up to 45 points per $1 at Shoppers Drug Mart; 30 points per litre at EssoTM/MobilTM locations in Canada and 30 points per $1 on PC® travel services; 10 points per $1 everywhere else
  • Insurance: Travel medical insurance for those under age 65 and car rental insurance
  • Additional Features: For new accounts transferred balances get 0.97% interest for six months (22.97% after six months)
  • Conditions apply. Visit PC Financial for full details.

Greedy’s Take

This is a great option for those who: 1. Do the majority of their grocery shopping at Loblaw banner stores; 2: Are averse to paying an annual fee for their credit card; and 3: Meet this card’s income requirements. But keep in mind that there are other credit cards outside the PC Optimum program that earn higher levels of cash back or rewards, provided you spend enough on groceries each year to make up for their annual fee. We recommend looking at the CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card and the Amex Cobalt Card for those who spend at least $3,000–$3,500 on groceries annually and who regularly shop outside Loblaw banner stores.

Apply for the PC Financial® Mastercard®

Best for Maximizing Rewards

BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Good-Excellent
– Minimum Income: $60,000 (individual) $100,000 (household)
– Age: Age of majority in province/territory
– Residency: Canadian citizen or permanent resident

 

Offer Overview
The BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card has one of the highest rewards earn rates in Canada for food and grocery-related purchases. Cardholders earn a whopping 5 BMO Rewards for every $1 they spend on items that fall within the card’s grocery and dining categories. Impressively, those two categories include things like markets, specialty food stores, fast-food restaurants, bars, and even subscription food services. Not only that but the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card also features two more accelerated earn categories—gas and transit— that earn 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent. You get 1 BMO Reward point per $1 for all other spending. The points can then be redeemed for things like merchandise, travel, gift cards, and statement credits.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $120 (rebated in first year)
  • Earn Rates on Food: 5 BMO Reward points per $1 spent on eligible groceries, restaurants, cafés, bars, food delivery services and more.
  • Other Earn Rates: Also get 5 BMO Reward points per $1 spent on gas and transit and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
  • Welcome Bonus: Up to a total of 40,000 BMO Points in the first year and the annual fee is rebated.
  • Additional Features: 10% earning bonus on supplemental cards, unique $50 annual lifestyle credit, some insurance like mobile phone insurance.

Greedy’s Take

While redeeming rewards points can be a little less straightforward than redeeming cash back, BMO Rewards points program is very flexible and easy to use, and the impressively high earn rate for groceries, dining, gas and transit make the little bit of extra effort worth it. Though there is an annual spending cap of $50,000 on the accelerated earn categories, that amount is an enormously high limit. The only potential downside of the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card is the required minimum annual income of $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household), which could be hard for many applicants to meet.

Apply now or learn more by reading our complete BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card review.

Best for Costco

Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Good-Excellent
– Minimum Annual Income: $80,000 individual/$150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in province/territory
– Residency: Canadian resident
Other: No bankruptcy filing or consumer proposals in the past 7 years

 

Offer Overview
Costco in Canada accepts Mastercard only; no Visa or Amex. Unfortunately Mastercard does not categorize Costco as a grocery store, so Mastercards with particularly high earn rates for groceries aren’t advantageous for Costo junkies. The most remunerative cards for Costco are instead Mastercards with high ‘base’ earn rates, i.e. high earn rates on all eligible spending regardless of its purchase category. Although Costco does have its own Capital One Mastercard, it is, bafflingly enough, not a great card for saving at Costco: Its base earn rate is a disappointingly low 0.5–1%, and it does not offer a special cashback rate for Costco purchases. In our estimation the best card for saving at Costco is instead the Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®, because it earns 1.5% cash back rewards on all eligible purchases in Canadian dollars and has no annual fee.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular Cashback Rewards: 1.5%
  • USD Cashback Rewards: 3%
  • Additional Features: Free LoungeKey airport lounge membership; global WiFi access; comprehensive travel insurance

Greedy’s Take
We recommend the card to anyone who makes a substantial amount of purchases at Costco, and particularly to those who also travel with some frequency to the United States. With the card’s 3% cashback rewards on purchases in USD, a trip to Costco in the US will effectively earn 0.5% cash back after factoring out the 2.5% foreign transaction fee. Those who do not meet the card’s $80K/$150K minimum annual income requirement are encouraged to consider the Rogers Platinum Mastercard instead, which does not have a minimum income requirement of any kind.

Apply for the Rogers World Elite Mastercard

Best for Food Delivery

American Express CobaltTM Card

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Credit Score: Fair-Good
– Minimum Income: $0
– Age: Age of majority in province/territory
– Residency: Canadian resident

 

Offer Overview
The American Express CobaltTM Card has emerged as one of the most lucrative credit cards during the coronavirus pandemic due to its rewards structure, earning 5 Amex Membership Rewards® points per $1 spent on businesses that deliver food and groceries as their primary service.

This delivery earning hack can also be used to circumvent the usual limitations in using Amex at some grocery stores in person; for instance, you can earn 5 points per $1 when using Instacart to deliver groceries from Loblaw banner stores, though an Amex won’t be accepted at a Loblaws counter itself. The 5 points per $1 rate also applies to stand-alone grocery stores (like IGA), restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $120 (paid at $10 per month)
  • Food Earn Rates: 5 points per $1 spent at stand-alone grocery stores; on food delivery services; and at restaurants, coffee shops and bars (up to $30K in annual spending)
  • Other Accelerated Earn Rates: 2 points per $1 spent at stand-alone gas stations; on travel (flights, rail transit, hotels, etc.); and on local commuter transit (subway, taxis, ridesharing services, etc.)
  • Base Earn Rate: 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Welcome Bonus: 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in the first year in which you spend at least $500 with the card (up to 30000 points total).

Greedy’s Take
Amex credit cards historically haven’t been the best option for saving on groceries, as their acceptance rate has been lower than Mastercard and Visa. But that’s gradually changing, and you might be surprised by which stores accept Amex today. We recommend the American Express CobaltTM Card particularly to those who regularly utilize delivery service companies to meet their food needs.

Apply for the American Express CobaltTM Card

Comparing the Best Credit Cards for Groceries in Canada

CardAnnual FeeWelcome BonusRegular Earn Rate on Groceries
BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*
$05% cash back in first 3 months (conditions apply)3%
CIBC Dividend® Visa Infinite* Card$12010% cash back during the first four credit card statements, up to $2,000 in spending4%
PC Financial® World Elite Mastercard®NoneN/A30 points per $1 in Loblaw banner stores (3% earn rate)
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card$120 (first year fee rebated)Up to 40,000 BMO Rewards points and first year annual fee rebate5 points for every $1 spent
Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®$0$25 in cash back rewards after making first card purchase within 3 months of receiving card1.5%
American Express CobaltTM Card$120Up to 30000 Membership Rewards® points5 points per $1 spent

Take Advantage of All-Around Savings

Whether you’re single, a parent, or a retiree, groceries likely occupy a prominent place in your budget, and it’s wise to periodically reassess how much you spend on them. But all of the cards we’ve recommended can help you save in other areas as well, via generous welcome bonuses; extra cash back categories for other common expenses, like gas or recurring bills; and value-added features like free insurance. If you’re deliberating between two of these cards, we recommend reading our in-depth card reviews (linked to under the ‘Offer Overview’ sections on this page) and taking a closer look at the secondary features the cards offer beyond their grocery savings. Those added savings opportunities might ultimately distinguish one card as being a better fit for your lifestyle than another.

FAQs

Yes. Most Canadian grocers will accept Visa or Mastercard credit cards. Not all will accept Amex credit cards, but Amex’s acceptance rate has improved in recent years.
Costco in Canada only accepts Mastercard, which unfortunately does not categorize Costco as a grocery store. To maximize cash back at Costco it’s best to use a Mastercard with a high earn rate on all spending, regardless of its category.

*This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

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Author Bio

GreedyRates is Canada’s go-to resource for all things personal finance. Our expert articles and videos cover every topic under the financial sun, including credit cards, credit scores, loans, bank accounts, budgeting, investing, RSPs, TFSAs, GICs, taxes, and more. Want our advice on a personal finance issue? Send us an email at info@greedyrates.ca and we’ll gladly give you some free tips.

Article comments

2 comments
Lawrence says:

Roadside assistance is not free on a BMO Sobeys card after following the link provided and getting to https://www.bmosobeys.com/en/no-fee-mastercard/roadside-assistance

Choose BMO Basic Roadside Assistance7 ($69 + tax) or BMO Enhanced Roadside Assistance ($98 + tax) to accommodate all your roadside assistance needs.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Greetings Lawrence,

You’re right! We wrote in the article above that BMO’s Roadside Assistance benefit is unfortunately not included with the BMO Air Miles Sobeys card, so you’ll need to pay as you go. However, even the Basic Roadside Assistance package from BMO is worth the price. Canadians who run out of gas, lock their keys in their car, get a flat tire, or experience a dead battery can simply call the number provided and expect help within an hour or so. This applies anywhere in Canada because most Roadside Assistance programs are provided by DAA (this one included), which is an extremely trustworthy nationwide service. Of course, if you don’t want it—you don’t have to pay for it!

GreedyRates Staff