Canada’s best credit cards for grocery purchases 2020


Everybody’s got to eat, which makes groceries a spending category with a lot of earning potential. How you capitalize on those purchases is up to you, but whether you’re looking for cash back, rewards or points to use at your favourite supermarket, we’ve got your best bets right here. Select the best option for your spending habits and get ready to reap the rewards of your everyday spending.


The best credit cards for grocery purchases in Canada


Best no-fee credit cards for groceries

BMO CashBack Mastercard*

BMO-Cash-Back-Mastercard
Recent updates have made the BMO CashBack Mastercard a new contender in this category, with 3% cash back on grocery purchases. Keep in mind, though, that it’s capped at $500 spent per statement period, so if you spend more than $500 per month on groceries, you’ll want to consider the next no-fee option in our ranking.

In addition to cash back on groceries, this card gets you 1% on recurring bill payments and an unlimited 0.5% on other spends. You can choose when to redeem cash back, in increments as little as $1; you can also set up automatic recurring redemptions of $25 or more.

New cardholders enjoy a welcome bonus of 5% back for the first three months, and those carrying debt can take advantage of the low 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers for a full 9 months (a 1% balance transfer fee applies).

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate on groceries: 3% cash back on groceries, up to $500 per month
  • Rewards on other purchases: 1% on recurring bills; 0.5% on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: 5% cash back for the first 3 months; introductory 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months
  • Additional perks: Purchase protection and extended warranty; discounts at Avis and National Car Rentals; discount Cirque du Soleil performances; add authorized cardholders at no charge
  • Income required: None specified

Get more details about the BMO CashBack Mastercard*

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*

Tangerine Money-Back Credit CardIf you’re looking to maximize your rewards without paying for the privilege, your best option is the no-fee Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card. Every cardholder is given a 2% return on spends in two categories of their choice, of which groceries is one. (The other nine are drug store, gas, hotel and motel accommodations, restaurants, furniture, recurring bill payments, home improvement, entertainment, and public transportation and parking.) Those wanting to bump up their earnings potential can simply open a savings account to receive 2% in a third category.

In addition to being a no-fee card, this is a stand-out because your cash-back earnings are unlimited, meaning that your regular 2% earnings don’t have a cap.

The Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card offers a lot in terms of cash-back opportunity, but because it’s a no-fee card, there isn’t much in the way of perks.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate on groceries: 2% cash back
  • Rewards on other purchases: 2% in up to two other spending categories of your choice and 0.5% cash back on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: Transfer balances at a low promotional interest rate of 1.95% for six months (note you will be charged a fee of 1% of the value of your balance transfer) 
  • Additional perks: Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Income required: $12,000

Get more details about the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card*


Best cash back cards for groceries (tie)

Everybody likes flexible rewards, and cash is the most flexible around. After combing the best of the best, we’ve come up with three cards that are so good we have to call it a tie. These cards all offer 4% cash back on groceries and they’re all part of the Visa Infinite family, which means cardholders receive perks including concierge service, and wine and dining experiences. The “best” one for you will be the card that has the most valuable earn rates in categories you use, or the most relevant perks. 

CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite

Like the Meridian, below, it has an annual fee of $99 and offers 4% cash back on groceries as well as gas, but the card’s other bonus—which earn 2% at Tim Hortons and Telus—are bit more niche. (Also note that earns are capped after $80,000 in total card purchases; and after $20,000 in purchases at Tim Hortons and Telus, the earn rate drops to 1%.) If, however, you happen to be in that niche, this card could help you benefit from your spending habits. 

  • Annual fee: $99 (rebated for the first year)
  • Earn rate on groceries: 4% cash back
  • Rewards on other purchases: 4% cash back on gas; 2% on Tim Horton’s and Telus; 1% on everything else
  • Additional perks: Travel medical, trip interruption and delay and accident insurance; car rental loss and collision coverage
  • Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household

Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card

Meridian Visa InfiniteAside from 4% cash back on groceries and gas—two very popular spending categories—the Meridian remains strong by offering 2% back on drug store purchases and recurring bills. The 1% regular rate on everything else is pretty standard but the annual fee of $99 is fairly accessible (and it’s waived for the first year). The Meridian has some good included insurance and carries the increasingly popular mobile device coverage. 

  • Annual fee: $99 (waived for first year)
  • Earn rate on groceries: 4% cash back
  • Rewards on other purchases: 4% cash back on gas; 2% on drug stores and recurring bills; 1% on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Additional perks: Emergency health care, trip cancellation or interruption, and baggage insurance;  car rental loss or collision coverage; mobile device insurance
  • Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite

You’ll earn a healthy 4% on groceries, as well as subscription services like Netflix and recurring bill payments, while transportation costs (including Uber) and gas earn at 2% (up to an annual total spend of $25,000; after that the earn rate drops to 1%). All other purchases earn at 1%, so if you’re carrying this card you’ve got a lot of cash back to earn in a broad group of spending categories.

  • Annual fee: $120 (waived for first year)
  • Welcome bonus: first year annual fee waived; 10% cash back for all purchases up to $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn rate on groceries: 4% cash back
  • Rewards on other purchases: 4% cash back on recurring bill payments, 2% on gas, public transit, taxis and rideshares, and 1% on everything else
  • Additional perks: Travel emergency medical coverage, travel accident, trip cancellation, trip interruption, and flight delay insurance, and delayed or lost baggage protection; car rental loss or damage insurance; mobile device insurance
  • Income required: $60,000 or $100,000 as a household

Best travel card for groceries (tie)

American Express Cobalt*

For those who want to turn their grocery purchases into world travel, the American Express Cobalt is here to help. There are a few standout elements of this card, starting with the unique payment structure that bills the annual fee in monthly installments of $10. Next is the welcome bonus, encouraging new cardholders to spend by rewarding 2,500 points each month you make $500 in purchases. If you hit that target every month, you’ll have a cool 30,000 points accumulated by the end of the year, and with each point being worth a minimum of 1 cent, that’s at least $300. The earn rate on groceries as well as dining out and food delivery services is a very competitive 5 points per dollar (to a maximum spend of $30,000; thereafter, the earn is 1 point per dollar ); plus you get 2 points per dollar on transportation. Everything else earns at a rate of 1 point per dollar. 

Because this is a travel-oriented card, it should come as no surprise that there are some sweet perks geared toward frequent flyers (and drivers) like emergency medical coverage and car rental theft and damage coverage. Cardholders are also eligible for a credit on amenities at participating hotels. 

It does bear mentioning that because this is an American Express card, it is not accepted at every store—but if you’re a shopper at Food Basics, Longo’s, McEwan, Metro, Pusateri’s, Rabba, Safeway, Sobeys or Whole Foods, you’re golden. Loblaws banner stores, including No-Frills, do not accept AMEX.

  • Annual fee: $120 (billed monthly in $10 instalments)
  • Earn rate on groceries: 5 points per dollar
  • Rewards on other purchases: 5 points per dollar on dining, food delivery and bars; 2 points per dollar on transportation including taxis, public transit and rideshares; and 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: Up to 30,000 points rewarded in 2,500 increments for each month you spend $500 on your card in your first year
  • Additional perks: Emergency travel medical coverage, travel accident, flight and baggage delay, hotel or motel burglary and lost or stolen baggage insurance; car rental theft and damage protection; hotel credit up to $100 USD on amenities like spa or dining at participating hotels; AMEX Invites and Front-of-the-Line Access
  • Income required: None specified

Get more details about the AMEX Cobalt*

Scotiabank Gold American Express

Scotiabank Gold American ExpressWhen it comes to travel, we like options, don’t we? Some simply come down to preference, like choosing between a window or aisle seat. Depending on your credit card preferences, you may want to consider the Scotiabank Gold American Express. This travel rewards credit card earns 5 points for every $1 spent on groceries, just like the American Express Cobalt reviewed above. (Check out the grocery stores and other retailers that accept American Express.) 

Here’s how it works: For every point you earn, you get $0.01 redeemable toward travel, which is easy to figure out and calculate. Just think of it like a cash-back credit card with 1% earn rate toward travel savings. Plus, the welcome offer is pretty sweet. Earn up to 25,000 Scotia Rewards Points, when you use the card for up to $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. That’s about $200 in rewards. 

While we’re comparing the two, it’s worth noting that the American Express Cobalt has an edge on the Scotiabank Gold American Express card since the former lets you get 15% to 75% more value out of your points through Amex’s fixed points travel chart or by transferring points to hotel loyalty programs. Neither are available with the Scotiabank Gold. That said, the Scotiabank Gold American Express is still a great card. Plus, the Scotiabank Gold American Express has some great perks that the Cobalt doesn’t, like no foreign transaction fees and additional points on entertainment and streaming services.  

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn rate on groceries: 5 points per dollar on groceries
  • Rewards on other purchases: 5 points per dollar on dining and entertainment purchases; 3 points per dollar on gas, transit and rideshare charges, as well as streaming services; 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: 25,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in everyday purchases within the first 3 months
  • Additional perks: As an Amex cardholder, you get access to its Front of the Line program, including invites for entertainment ticket pre-sales and advanced movie screenings and more.
  • Income required: $12,000

Best credit card for Loblaws grocery banner stores

PC Financial World Elite Mastercard*

Loblaws is a leader in the grocery business, with about 2,500 stores operating under the company’s banner. That includes the economy brand No-Frills, the big-box Real Canadian Superstore and the market-style Fortino’s. For Canadians who shop within the Loblaws family, there’s the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard—the country’s first no-fee elite-level card. Shoppers who pay with this card will earn a whopping 30 PC Optimum points per dollar on grocery purchases (equivalent to 3.0%) at any Loblaws banner store and at PC Travel; 45 points per dollar at Shoppers Drug Mart; and 10 points per dollar everywhere else. Gas purchases at Esso and Mobil earn at least 30 points per litre, making this an all-around valuable card for everyday living expenses. PC Optimum points are easily redeemed at the checkout counter starting at 10,000 points (which is equal to $10) and can be used on any products in participating stores.

A drawback to this card is the $80,000 minimum annual income requirement (or $150,000 for the household) which will put it out of reach for some. However, there are related PC Financial credit cards with slightly lower earn rates for those who can’t meet the threshold. In addition, the rewards only make sense if you’re a devoted customer of Loblaws banner stores, and routinely get gas at Esso or Mobil stations.

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn Rate on groceries: 30 PC points per dollar at Loblaws banner grocery stores (including No Frills, Fortinos, and The Independent Grocer)
  • Rewards on other purchases: 45 points per dollar at Shoppers Drug Mart, 30 points per litre at Esso/Mobil; 30 points per dollar at PC Travel; and 10 points per dollar on everything else
  • Welcome bonus: None
  • Additional perks: Travel emergency medical insurance; car rental loss or damage coverage; concierge service; identity theft assistance service
  • Income required: $80,000 or $150,000 as a household

Get more details about the PC Financial World Elite*


Best credit card for Costco shoppers

MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard*

MBNA rewards world elite The wholesaler Costco is popular among Canadians, particularly those with large families to feed. The Costco brand has an exclusive partnership with Mastercard, so it doesn’t accept any payment from Visa or American Express. When it comes to groceries purchased there, the very best Mastercard for the job is the MBNA Rewards World Elite, which offers 2 points per dollar on Costco spends. MBNA points are extremely flexible—you can redeem points for virtually any airline. (There’s also the option of cash back, merchandise or gift cards, but points do not go as far when you choose those perks instead of travel.) The best part? They never expire so you’ll always be able to take advantage of your earnings. And right now this card is offering an attractive welcome bonus to new cardholders. Those who make $2,000 in purchases in the first three months will receive 20,000 points plus an additional 10,000 points on enrolment in electronic statements. This amounts to as much as $300 when redeemed for travel.

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn Rate at Costco: 2 MBNA points per dollar
  • Rewards on other purchases: 2 MBNA points per dollar
  • Welcome bonus: Up to 30,000 points (20,000 when you make $2,000 in purchases in the first three months, plus 10,000 more when you enroll in electronic statements)
  • Additional perks: Savings with Avis and Budget Rent A Car; up to 9 additional users with no additional annual fee; purchase assurance and extended warranty
  • Income required: $80,000 or $150,000 as a household

Get more details about the MBNA Rewards World Elite*


Honourable mention

Triangle World Elite*

We decided to add the Triangle World Elite Mastercard to our list for Canada’s best credit cards for grocery purchases because of its 3% earn rate (up to $12,000) on grocery store buys. However, this doesn’t include purchases made at Walmart and Costco. But because you redeem your earnings into Canadian Tire Money, this program is less flexible than cash back or points rewards. But if you’re a frequent shopper at Canadian Tire (also includes Sport Chek, Mark’s, Atmosphere, Hockey Experts and participating Sports Experts stores), then this card is ace. Add on the impressive 4% earn rate when shopping at those retailers, as well as the complimentary roadside assistance, and this credit card could be a good choice. 

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn rate on groceries: 3% in Canadian Tire Money on groceries, up to $12,000 in purchases (excluding Walmart and Costco)
  • Rewards on other purchases: 4% at Canadian Tire stores; 5% to 7% per litre at Gas+ and participating Husky gas stations; 0.5% on everything else
  • Additional perks: Purchase protection and extended warranty on select purchases within 90 days; roadside assistance and car rental insurance; as well as access to special deals at Canadian Tire retailers, too
  • Income required: $80,000 or $150,000 as a household

Get more details about the Triangle World Elite*


Overview: Canada’s best credit cards for groceries


Credit card Annual fee Rewards on groceries
1 American Express Cobalt $120 5 Membership Rewards points per $1
2 Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card $99 4% cash back
3 CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite $99 4% cash back
4 Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite $120 4% cash back
5 BMO CashBack Mastercard $0 3% cash back (up to $500 monthly spend)
6 PC Financial World Elite Mastercard $0 30 PC points per $1 at Lobalws banner stores
7 Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card $0 2% cash back
8 MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard $120 2 MBNA points per $1 at Costco
9 Triangle World Elite $0 Up to 3% in Canadian Tire Money


More to know about Canada’s top grocery credit cards

American Express grocery store list

As we noted above, the American Express Cobalt and Scotiabank Gold American Express offer the most bonus points on this credit card list, but they just aren’t as widely accepted at all grocery stores as we’d like, like No Frills and Costco. That said, here are the major grocery stores that both accept American Express and let you earn bonus points for grocery purchases. Note: It’s possible that some franchise locations don’t participate in bonus offers.

  • 88 Supermarket
  • Bownesian Grocer
  • Farm Boy
  • Federated Co-op
  • Longo’s
  • Metro
  • Safeway
  • Sobeys
  • Rabba
  • Pusateri’s Fine Foods
  • Whole Foods
  • Instacart
  • Are we missing any? Let us know in the comments section.

Groceries at Walmart on your credit card

Walmart may be synonymous with groceries for you, but not all credit cards recognize Walmart as a “grocery store.” While American Express and Visa are accepted at Walmart, neither credit card company categorizes Walmart on their merchant code system as a grocery store. For instance, while the TD CashBack Visa Infinite earns 3% cash back on groceries, it earns just the base 1% cash back rate at Walmart.

If you are a Walmart Supercentre frequent shopper, know that Mastercard does, however, recognize several Walmart Supercentre locations for grocery purchases, but not all. You will have to check with Mastercard to find out if the Walmart Supercentre near you qualifies. The best credit cards to use for groceries at Walmart Supercentres include the BMO CashBack Mastercard and Tangerine MoneyBack Card.

As for Walmart, including the Walmart Supercentre locations, the top credit cards to consider include the Amex SimplyCash Preferred and MBNA Rewards World Elite. Both these cards earn double the points when you use them, regardless of the type of purchase you’ve made. 

If you prefer to “add to cart” at Walmart.ca for grocery pickup and delivery, the newly-launched Walmart World Mastercard is a good card to look at. It earns you 3% on online purchases from Walmart (and  1.25% when shopping in store and 1% at all other grocery stores). 

Using your Mastercard at Costco

Costco exclusively accepts Mastercard credit cards. And even though it’s not recognized as a “grocery store” in credit card reward programs, you can still earn rewards. It just won’t be as bonus rewards with your groceries from Costco. For example, the BMO CashBack Mastercard earns 3% on groceries, but at Costco you earn the card’s base earn rate of 0.5% on your purchases. It’s why we categorized the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard as the best credit card for use at Costco, since it earns double the points–regardless of the purchase category. Other great cards to use at Costco include the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard and the Rogers World Elite Mastercard.

The credit card frills at No Frills

Like at Costco, No Frills accepts only Mastercard. But, unlike Costco, all No Frills locations are considered grocery stores for the Mastercard grocery rewards. So, the top credit cards to use at No Frills are the BMO CashBack Mastercard, the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard, the PC Financial World Mastercard and the Triangle Mastercard.


More on Canada’s best credit cards

The post Canada’s best credit cards for grocery purchases 2020 appeared first on MoneySense.



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