shopping groceries

Best Credit Cards for Groceries in Canada

Today, credit cards are an indispensable and integral part of our economic culture. They play an important role in how we spend and save money. The appeal of credit cards is undeniable, but which credit card is best? 

Like all other things in life, credit cards have different areas of specialization. Most credit cards are designed to cater to a specific market or group. If you spend a lot of money on food and drinks, then this article is for you. We have compiled a list of the best credit cards for groceries in Canada.

1. American Express Cobalt

The AMEX Cobalt makes its way into different lists, and for a good reason too. Considered by many to be the overall best credit card for groceries in Canada, it runs a reward system that offers 5 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, bars and food delivery services. Little wonder that it’s grown in popularity since the coronavirus pandemic began. 

You’ll also get 2 points per dollar spent on transportation and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. Note that ‘5 points per $1’ maxes out once you spend $30,000, then the earn rate falls to 1 point per $1 before it resets the next year. You can redeem your points in statement credits towards travel purchases or even on your everyday purchases.

The food delivery earning can be used to bypass the limitations of using AMEX at some grocery stores in person. For example, if you use Instacart to order from Loblaws, you can pay with Amex and earn 5x points, even though AMEX wouldn’t be accepted at the Loblaws counter.

The card also features a tempting welcome bonus. In your first year as a new Cobalt Cardmember, you can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in purchases on your Card. This could add up to 30,000 points. In addition to that, when you apply by May 5, 2021, you can earn a Welcome Bonus of 15,000 points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months.

American Express also makes for a great travel companion, making our list of Canada’s best travel credit cards. Its earning rate applies to domestic purchases and purchases in a foreign currency. Additional perks include travel medical coverage, stolen baggage insurance and lots more.

Key features:

  • Annual fee: $120 ($10 monthly)
  • Earn 5 points per $1 on dining, food delivery and groceries
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on gas, taxis, public transit and travel (air, water, rail, or hotels) 
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: up to 30,000 bonus points in your first year. Apply by May 5, 2021, and earn an additional 15,000 points.
  • Income required: $0

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2. Scotiabank Gold American Express

Like our first entry, the Scotiabank gold AMEX card also offers an earning rate of 5 Scotia Reward Points per $1 spent on groceries and food delivery. It also makes an appearance in our best travel credit cards list. It earns 3 points per dollar spent on gas and transit and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. The points can be easily redeemed for anything from collecting merchandise to getting a cash credit on your account.

The card features a limited-time welcome bonus that offers up to 25,000 reward points when you charge up to $1,000 to the card within the first three months. That’s worth $250 for travels, including Airbnb rentals. It doesn’t have foreign transaction fees for purchases in foreign currencies, meaning it’s just as lucrative outside Canada as it is within.

This card has an income requirement. To apply for it, you need a minimum income of $12,000. One drawback with this card is that AMEX cards aren’t accepted everywhere, as discussed with the Cobalt card.

Key features:

  • Annual fee: $120
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on entertainment (movies, theatres), restaurants, bars and food delivery services.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on gas and transit and streaming services such as Netflix.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Get up to 25,000 bonus points ($250 value). apply by 28th February 2021
  • Includes Premium insurance for your travels or purchases, 24/7 complimentary concierge service and more
  • Income required: $12,000

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3. Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Earn 2% cashback in 2 of 10 categories (which include grocery, restaurants, gas, furniture, home improvement, recurring bill payments, hotels, drug store, entertainment etc.) and 0.5% cashback on everything else you buy. There is no limit on how much cash back you can get, and if you get your rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account, you’ll get a third 2% category to earn cashback in.

This card puts cardholders in the driving seat, allowing them to choose what categories they want their 2% cashback reward in, and if your spending pattern changes, you’re able to switch categories.

If you’re not a big spender, then annual fees might not work for you, making this card ideal. Unlike AMEX or Visa cards, which classify Walmart as a general store and not a grocery store, Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers you the same 2% cashback when you buy groceries at Walmart.

Key features:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Welcome Offer: During your first 30 days, transfer balances and pay only 1.95% interest on the transferred balance for the first 6 months (19.95% after that)
  • Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cashback into the account)
  • Earn 0.5% cashback on everything else.
  • 90 days purchase insurance
  • One-year extended warranty
  • Unlimited cashback
  • Income required: $12,000

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4. Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

This card announces itself loudly with an incredible welcome bonus, which offers you 10% cashback for 3 months, and you’ll get the first year’s fee of $120 waived off. Note that the welcome offer is only valid if you apply by 24th February 2021. 

Earn 4% cash back on groceries, subscription services such as Netflix and recurring payments, 2% cash back on gas and transportation costs (including Uber) and 1% cashback on all other purchases.

The 4% cashback is the highest earning rate on any cash back card in Canada. Note that both the 4% and 2% categories have earning limits, after which they’ll earn at 1%. But at an annual spend of $25,000, the cap is high enough to ensure you profit a lot before you reach it. It also has a rather high-income requirement at $60,000 for an individual and $100,000 for a household.

Lastly, this card offers numerous other perks, such as travel insurance plans for an added bit of safety in your travels.

Key Features:

  • Annual fee: $120 (first year free)
  • Earn 4% cashback on groceries and recurring bills
  • Earn 2% cashback on gas and transit
  • Get 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: First-year annual fee waived; 10% cash back for all purchases up to $2,000 in the first 3 months (apply by February 28, 2021).
  • comprehensive Travel Insurance, New Mobile Device Insurance
  • Income required: $60,000

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5. BMO Cashback MasterCard

The BMO cashback MasterCard has an annual fee of $0, and it offers 3% cashback on grocery purchases. Considering it has no annual fee, it’s an impressive earn rate. You also earn 1% on recurring payments such as streaming services, subscriptions or monthly utilities and earn 0.5% on everything else. 

In addition to no annual fees, BMO also has a welcome bonus, allowing new cardholders to earn 5% cashback on all purchases for the first three months, but on a maximum spend of $4,000. 5% of $4,000 is $200; that’s how much the bonus is worth. It also has a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for the first 9 months at a 1% transfer fee.

As a MasterCard, it’s ideal for Walmart stores, which MasterCard considers a grocer, but its 0.5% earn rate makes it less suitable for stores like Costco, which aren’t classified as grocers.

Lastly, you can redeem your cash back anytime you want via Statement credit, BMO chequing or savings account or InvestorLine.

Key Features:

  • Annual Fee: $0 
  • Earn 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 per month)
  • Earn 1% cashback on recurring bills
  • Earn 0.5% cashback on all other eligible purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Get up to 5% cashback in your first 3 months and a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee 
  • Save up to 25% off rentals at select rentals
  • Income required: $15,000

APPLY NOW

Disclaimer: Rates and product offerings are always changing, so this article might not reflect the current market situation. Please contact your financial advisor before making any financial decisions.

FAQS

Which credit card will help me save the most?

This depends entirely on your spending habit. Each card’s cashback or rewards calculator can estimate how much you’ll earn based on your spending habits.

How can I redeem my cash back or reward points?

Each card has a different method. Some let you get it as a statement credit in your account; others let you purchase things with it. Check the card’s website for more details.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

Each card has eligibility criteria, which we discussed. For more details, visit their websites.

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