How to avoid bank fees at the supermarket
Save at the checkout and avoid credit card fees and surcharges when you're grocery shopping.
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Using a credit card to pick up groceries can be a convenient way to manage your cashflow, but it can come with some extra fees. This could include a surcharge for paying with a credit card or a cash advance fee if you withdraw cash. You can use this guide to understand when you might be charged a fee at the supermarket and to pick up some tips to avoid the cost.
What fees can apply when I use my credit card at the supermarket?
We’ve categorised the possible fees below to help you understand when you may be getting charged for buying groceries with plastic.
Some supermarkets charge customers a surcharge of between 0.5% or 2% of the transaction when they use a credit card. This surcharge covers the cost of processing the card transaction. Major supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths don't currently apply a surcharge to credit card payments. However, Aldi currently charges customers a 0.5% surcharge for paying with a credit card at the checkout.
Supermarkets must inform customers of any surcharges at the checkout, so make sure to check if a fee applies before paying with a credit card. If it does, you might be better off paying with a debit card or cash to avoid additional surcharge costs.
If you use your credit card to withdraw cash at the supermarket checkout, you'll be charged a cash advance fee. This fee is typically around 3% of the transaction amount. You'll also be charged a cash advance interest rate which applies as soon as you make the transaction. If you need to get cash out, consider using your debit card instead to avoid the high interest and fees.
You may also be charged a cash advance fee for other "cash equivalent" transactions such as purchasing gift cards or reloading a prepaid card.
How do I get more out of using my credit card at the supermarket?
On top of saving money on fees with the above tips, you can also get more value at the supermarket if you have a rewards card. As long as you pay your balance in full every statement period, these credit cards could help reward your grocery shopping:
- Supermarket credit cards. Examples of supermarket credit cards in Australia include Coles credit cards that earn flybuys points and Woolworths credit cards. Some of these supermarket cards are linked with the supermarket loyalty programs including Coles Flybuys and Everyday Rewards. These cards usually award more points per $1 spent at the supermarkets and come with perks to suit shoppers including discounts on your monthly shop.
- Rewards credit cards. Rewards credit cards are linked with a bank loyalty program and typically earn points per $1 spent on purchases. You can redeem rewards including gift cards, merchandise or cashback on your credit card. Some rewards cards also allow you to convert your rewards points into frequent flyer points with their frequent flyer partners.
- Frequent flyer credit cards. Frequent flyer credit cards are linked with an airline loyalty program and can also collect points per $1 spent. You can redeem your points for travel rewards including flights and upgrades, accommodation and travel packages. You can start comparing frequent flyer credit cards linked with Qantas or Velocity on Finder.
Compare supermarket credit cards
Using a credit card at the supermarket can be a useful way to manage your expenses and earn points, but there can be costs involved. Before you swipe your card, check if any surcharges or fee apply. If they do, you might want to pay with cash or credit cards instead.
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