Best Credit Cards For Groceries In Canada

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Last updated on June 30, 2022 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. For cards with no annual fee, it offers the highest cash back rate on groceries in Canada. 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: Get up to 5% cash back in your first 3 months, plus a $50 cash back bonus (when you spend $6,000) in your first year – that’s up to $175 cash back in your first year!*
  • 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®*

*Terms and conditions apply

†Statement based on a comparison of the non-promotional grocery rewards earn rate on Canadian cash back credit cards as of June 1, 2022

Best for Maximizing Cash Back

Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite*

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Who’s Eligible?
– Credit score required: Good-Excellent
– Minimum Annual Income: $60,000 individual, $100,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in province/territory

 

Offer Overview
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite offers one of the best earn rates for groceries in Canada: a whopping 4%. This rate for groceries is accompanied by other accelerated rates of 4% for recurring bill payments, 2% for gas and daily transit, and 1% on everything else. The emphasis on rewarding your day-to-day spending will allow you to accrue cash back at a much faster rate than other Canadian credit cards. Keep in mind, however, that there are annual spending caps: Once you hit $25,000 in spending on groceries and recurring bills, the usual 4% rate will drop to 1% until the new year starts. The same applies to the 2% rate for gas and transit spend.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $120 (waived in first year)
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). No annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. Must apply by August 31, 2022. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Grocery Cash Back Rate: 4%
  • Other Cash Back Rates: 4% on recurring bills and subscription purchases.; 2% on gas and daily transit; 1% on everything else
  • Interest rates: 20.99% on purchases; 22.99% on balance transfers and cash advances.

Greedy’s Take
Earning 4% as a non-promo rate on groceries is a huge benefit. The spending cap is a bit of a bummer, but even very large families are unlikely to reach $25,000 in annual spending on groceries and recurring bills combined.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Review.

Best No Annual Fee Rewards Card

President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard®

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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 American Express Cobalt® Card for those who spend at least $3,000–$3,500 on groceries annually and who regularly shop outside Loblaw banner stores.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete PC Financial® World Elite Mastercard® review.

Best for Maximizing Rewards

MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®

Apply Now
Who’s Eligible?
– Credit score required: Fair-Good
– Min income required: $80,000 personal/$150,000 household
– Age: Age of majority in province/territory

 

Offer Overview
The MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® earns 5 points per $1 spent on not only groceries, but also on restaurants, digital media, memberships, and household utilities. That earn rate is valid through $50,000 in annual spending for all those categories combined, which is quite a high limit, even for large families. After reaching $50K in annual spending the rate drops to 1 point per $1 spent until the new year starts.

When it comes time to redeem those rewards, travel redemptions get the most value, at 100 points for $1. But the redemption rate for cash is also quite respectable, at 120 points per $1—that flexibility is very useful in the precarious Covid era.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $120
  • Points Earned on Groceries: 5 points per $1 spent (also applies to spending on restaurants, digital media, memberships, and household utilities)
  • Base Earn Rate: 1 point per $1 spent
  • Welcome Bonus: Earn up to 30,000 MBNA Rewards Points—20,000 points when you make at least $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of card membership + an additional 10,000 points when you enroll in paperless e-statements in the first 90 days of card membership. You also earn Birthday Bonus Points of 10% of your total accumulated points in the last 12 months (up to a maximum of 15,000 points annually)
  • Interest Rates: 19.99% on purchases; 22.99% on balance transfers; and 24.99% on cash advances

Greedy’s Take
Compared to rewards cards, most cash back cards typically have slightly lower earn rates on groceries and lower annual spending limits as well. So if you like to travel, it might be worthwhile to go with a travel rewards card like the MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®, which pumps out rewards points for your grocery trips and has a crazy-high annual limit for earning at its 5 points per $1 rate. Seriously, even a family with 10 kids is unlikely to pass $50K a year in grocery and restaurant bills, but if you somehow manage to reach that limit with this card you’ll at least have enough points to fly the entire clan to Canada’s Wonderland.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard® review.

Sponsored advertising. MBNA is a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and TD is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete information on this MBNA credit card, please click on the “Apply Now” button.

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For residents of Quebec, please click here.

Best for Costco

Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®

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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; some 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.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard® review.

Best for Food Delivery

American Express Cobalt® 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 Cobalt® 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, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee)
  • 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: 3 points per $1 spent on eligible streaming services; 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: Up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points in the first year (conditions apply)

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 Cobalt® Card particularly to those who regularly utilize delivery service companies to meet their food needs.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete American Express Cobalt® Card review. 

Comparing the Best Credit Cards for Groceries in Canada

CardAnnual FeeWelcome BonusRegular Earn Rate on Groceries
BMO® CashBack® Mastercard®*
$0Get up to 5% cash back in your first 3 months*, plus a $50 cash back bonus (when you spend $6,000) in your first year.3%
Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card
$120Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). No annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. Must apply by August 31, 2022. Terms and conditions apply.4%
PC Financial® World Elite Mastercard®NoneN/A30 points per $1 in Loblaw banner stores (3% earn rate)
MBNA Rewards World Elite® Mastercard®$120Earn up to 30,000 MBNA Rewards Points (conditions apply)5 points per $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 Cobalt® Card$155.88 ($12.99 monthly fee)Up to 30,000 Membership Rewards® points (conditions apply)5 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.

American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply.

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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 [email protected] 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