Save Money on Groceries by Using the Right Credit Cards
After rent or mortgage payments and basic utilities, your biggest monthly expense is probably your grocery bill. This is especially true if you’re raising children who constantly complain that there’s nothing to eat in the house!
But there are ways to keep everyone sated and simultaneously make the bills easier to digest, one of which is using a rewards or cashback credit card designed for saving money on groceries.
Grocery Credit Card Canada 2018 Rankings
|Annual Cash Back/Rewards Cash Equivalent on $300 Monthly Grocery Spend||Sign-Up Bonus||Annual Fee||Read Review|
|BMO Sobeys Air Miles Mastercard||$18.9/$37.8||500 Air Miles welcome bonus||$0||Read review|
|BMO IGA Air Miles Mastercard||$18.9/$37.8||500 Air Miles welcome bonus||$0||Read review|
|Scotiabank Gold American Express||$144.00||15,000 points when you spend $1,000 in first 3 months||$99||Read review|
|PC Financial World Elite Mastercard||$108.00||None||$0||Read review|
|Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite||$144.00||Annual fee waived in the first year||$99||Read review|
|Triangle World Elite Mastercard||108.00 Canadian Tire Money||None||$0||Read review|
|SimplyCash Card from American Express||$45.00||Up to $150 cash back in the first 3 months||$0||Read review|
|MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard||$72.00||10,000 points||$89||Read review|
Best Store-Specific Grocery Cards
BMO Sobeys AIR MILES MasterCard
BMO’s Sobeys and IGA Air Miles Mastercards are great if you love to convert your grocery bills into vacations. The main difference between the two cards concerns where you live and shop. The BMO Sobeys Air Miles Mastercard is ideal for users who live outside of Quebec and like to shop in Sobeys, Foodland and IGA stores. You’ll get 2 Air Miles for every $20 you spend in these participating stores across the country, and 1 Air Mile per $20 spent everywhere else, without any caps.
In your first year you’ll enjoy a welcome bonus of 500 Miles for making a single purchase on the card. There’s no annual fee, and you can also get pay-as-you-go roadside assistance and a 25% discount at participating car rental companies.
BMO IGA AIR MILES MasterCard
If you love earning Air Miles, live in Quebec, and shop at IGA, then the BMO IGA Air Miles MasterCard might be better for you than its sister Sobeys card. With this card, the 2 Air Miles per $20 spend offer applies to grocery purchases at IGA stores in Quebec only. You’ll earn 1 Air Mile per $20 spent elsewhere.
As with the Sobeys card, with the IGA card you’ll enjoy a 500-Mile welcome bonus. The card also has no annual fee and the same perks of roadside assistance, 25% car rental discounts, and extended warranties on purchases.
Triangle World Elite Mastercard
Earn Canadian Tire (CT) Money on your regular grocery bills and gas purchases and redeem it on your bill at participating Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s/L’Equipeur, and Atmosphere stores. You’ll earn 3% on the first $12,000 you spend on the Triangle World Elite Mastercard at participating grocery stores each year, but then the earn rate drops to 1%. Purchases at Walmart, Walmart Superstore, and Costco aren’t included in the accelerated 3% earn rate, but you do get 4% for purchases at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s/L’Equipeur, and Atmosphere stores without caps, as well as $0.05 per litre for regular fuel and $0.07 per litre on premium fuel at Gas+ pumps.
To qualify for the card you’ll need a minimum personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000. Extra perks include roadside assistance, car rental damage coverage, and zero liability purchase protection.
PC Financial World Elite Mastercard
Frequent shoppers at PC stores can earn 30 PC Optimum points for every $1 spent on groceries and purchases through PC travel and PC mobile with PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. Purchases at Shoppers Drug Mart earn 45 points per $1 spent, $0.03 per litre at Esso gas stations and 10 points per $1 spent everywhere else.
10,000 PC Optimum points are equivalent to $10, which means it could take a while to earn sizable cashback amounts. However, there’s no annual fee and no cap to the amount of PC Optimum points you can earn.
To apply, you’ll need a minimum personal income of $80,000 per year, or $150,000 household income per year and a fair to good credit score. Extra perks include travel emergency medical insurance, car rental damage coverage, and identity theft assistance.
Best Overall Earn Rate on Grocery Bills
Scotiabank Gold American Express
Earn 4 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on groceries, as well as for eligible gas station, dining, and entertainment purchases. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1. There’s a cap on the accelerated 4 point/$1 earn rate, but it’s $50,000 of annual spending—very high for a rewards card. You’ll drop to the flat 1 point per $1 earn rate after that.
To apply for the Scotiabank Gold American Express, you’ll need a minimum personal income of $12,000 and a good to excellent credit score. You can redeem Scotia points for travel, SCENE movie tickets, and other merchandise. Extra perks that come with the card include access to exclusive Amex concierge events, 25% off car rentals at AVIS and Budget, car rental damage waiver coverage, and a range of travel insurance options.
Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite
Earn 4% cash back on gas station and grocery purchases, as well as 2% cash back for drug store and recurring bills. These are capped at a total annual spend of $25,000 for each accelerated earn rate, e.g. gas station and grocery purchases are calculated together for the purpose of the annual cap, and drugstore and recurring bills are calculated together as well. Once you exceed these annual caps you’ll get 1% cash back until the start of the next annual cycle.
Aside from those high cash back rates the card also provides six types of travel insurance, extended warranty and purchase protection, and exclusive Visa experiences. To qualify for the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite, you’ll need good to excellent credit and a personal income of at least $60,000 per year, or household income of $100,000.
Best Unlimited Cash Back Cards for Groceries
SimplyCash Card from American Express
Earn 2.5% cash back on all of your purchases, not just groceries! However, the 2.5% earn rate is capped at $150 in earned cash back, and the 2.5% rate only applies for the first 3 months. After that, you’ll earn 1.25% cash back on all of your purchases without any caps. Also, there are no restrictions on where you earn cash back, so if you frequently shop in stores that don’t earn an accelerated rate with most other credit cards—like Walmart and Costco—this could be the best card for you.
There’s no annual fee for your credit card, or for up to 9 supplementary cards. Car rental damage coverage, travel insurance, access to exclusive Amex entertainment events, and 1.99% interest on balance transfers within the first 6 months of card membership add to the attraction. You can also earn a $100 cashback bonus each time you refer a friend, up to a total of $1,500 in bonuses per year.
Approval for the SimplyCash card requires only a poor to fair credit score and there are no minimum income requirements.
MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard
If you like to earn cash back on all of your grocery bills, no matter where you shop, the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard gives you the best of both worlds: cashback rewards and flexibility. The 2% cashback rewards rate applies to all eligible purchases without any caps, plus you’ll get a huge welcome bonus of 10,000 points, which equals $100 off of a travel booking. You can also redeem your MBNA cash back for merchandise, charitable donations, or a discount on your next grocery bill.
To qualify, you’ll need a minimum annual personal income of $80,000 or household income of $150,000, and there’s an annual fee of $89. You’ll need to charge $400 to your credit card every month to earn enough cashback rewards to offset that annual fee amount.