PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa®: Is It Any Good?

PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa®: Is It Any Good?

Great credit card for low spenders who spend a lot on gas and groceries as well as dining out.
Editor's Rating: 4.5

Editor's Rating

4.5

Credit Cards
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Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the card offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page.

Contents

The newly released PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® can be great for low-spending consumers who primarily shop at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores. The card provides an above average rewards rate in these categories, ranging from 2% to 4%. The elevated rewards are capped at a combined spending of $8,000 per year, a feature high spenders will likely find highly limiting. Still, since it has no annual fee, the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® can be a good secondary card at worst.

Note: This credit card is currently only available to residents of the following states: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Washington D.C.

Good for...Bad for...
People spending well over $8,000 on gas, groceries and dining out each yearIndividuals who spend a lot on gas, groceries and at restaurants
Anyone with varied spending that doesn't conform to traditional credit card rewards categoriesConsumers looking for a big sign-up bonus, or to maximize short-term rewards

Review: Our Thoughts On The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa®

The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® is an excellent choice for anyone who predominantly shops at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores. The card is fine tuned for these categories, awarding 4%, 3% and 2% cash back respectively, and 1% back on all other things. The card is useful primarily for low spenders, because the 4% - 2% categories are capped at a combined $8,000 per year. Therefore, if you spend well over that in the bonus categories, you’d benefit more from a fixed 2% cash back credit card. You don't need a PNC bank account to qualify, but the card is only available in states where the bank operates.

A graph comparing the cash back rewards for the PNC Cash Rewards Credit Card to a few other offers.

The graph above is based on average consumer expenditures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Though the welcome bonus on the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® isn’t bad, it’s not great either. The card awards $100 to anyone who spends at least $1,000 on it within the first 3 months of account opening. Today, it’s not difficult to find cash back credit cards with bonuses that are $50 or even $100 greater than this. For example, the Chase Freedom® gives their cardholders $150 for spending just $500 within 3 months.

Bottom Line: The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® is a good no annual fee credit card for the average consumer. It provides above average rewards rates on gas, restaurant and grocery purchases that make it worthy of most people’s consideration.

PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® Benefits & Features

The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® awards 4% cash back on gas station purchases, 3% back on dining at restaurants and 2% back at grocery stores. These rewards are limited to the first $8,000 in combined purchases each year. After you hit the threshold, you will earn just 1% back. The $8,000 cap resets every cardmember anniversary. Therefore, if you sign up June 17, 2017 your next account anniversary will be on June 17, 2018.

PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa®
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
13.74% to 23.74% Variable
Credit Needed N/A
Foreign Transaction Fee 3%
Details
  • 4% cash back on gas station purchases (in-store and at the pump)
  • 3% cash back on dining purchases at restaurants, including fast food
  • 2% cash back on grocery store purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 2-4% rewards are capped at $8,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year.
  • $100 bonus after you make $1,000 or more in purchases during the first 3 billing cycles following account opening

Currently, the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® offers a $100 bonus after you make $1,000 or more in purchases during the first 3 billing cycles following your account opening. This is an average bonus for a no-annual-fee credit card. However, if you’re after getting the biggest possible sign-up bonus, there are cards that award $150 or $200 for that same level of spending. Note that to attain this bonus, you must meet the $1,000 threshold through purchases only. Balance transfers and cash advances will not count towards this minimum.

The rewards you earn through your PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® can be redeemed for monetary credit to either your credit card account or a deposit PNC account. Whichever you choose, you may redeem a minimum of $25 in cash back each time. So long as your account remains in good standing, the cash back rewards will not expire. Therefore, you can reach that minimum $25 redemption threshold as slowly as you want.

Balance Transfer Features

The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® can help you pay down your existing credit card debt. You’ll receive 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles when you transfer a balance to this card within the first 90 days following account opening. Keep in mind that the 0% period begins the moment you open your account. Therefore, if you wait 89 days to transfer a balance, you will have less time with the 0% APR than you would if you acted immediately.

There is a balance transfer fee for carrying out this transaction. It is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for the first 90 days following account opening. Following that, the fee is bumped up to either $5 or 4% – once again, whichever is greater.

If you are only interested in this card’s balance transfer features, know that there are superior options available. Some cards completely waive the balance transfer fee, while others provide significantly longer zero percent periods.

How Does The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® Compare To Other Credit Cards?

When you’re considering applying for a credit card it’s always best to think about your other available options. We looked at how the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® compares to some of its competitors, and which will serve you best.

PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® vs Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® is one of the top cash back cards for optimizers. If used correctly, it has the potential to provide you with significantly better cash back rewards than the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa®. The Chase Freedom® awards 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. On top of that, there is a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening – $50 more than what you get with the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® at half the spending requirement.

One last thing to note about the Chase Freedom® is that it’s a Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) credit card. Therefore, you can always combine the rewards you earn through it with a premium travel UR credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This will allow you the stretch the value of the rewards you earn through the card even further.

Highlights

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No annual fee

PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® vs Citi® Double Cash Credit Card

Citi® Double Cash Credit Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

The Citi® Double Cash Credit Card is one of the best cash back credit cards for people who value simplicity and those who aren’t optimizers. The card awards 1% cash back whenever you make a new purchase, and another 1% back when that purchase is paid off. Figuring out whether this card will get you more cash back than the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® requires some math and can get complicated. We recommend using our comparison tool to get an idea of how the two cards stack up to one another.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Citi® Double Cash Credit Card doesn’t have any bonus. Anyone who is going earning a lot of cash back in a short span of time will not be able to get that through the Citi® Double Cash Credit Card.

Highlights

  • 1% cash back at the time of purchase, plus another 1% back when it’s paid off
  • No bonus
  • No annual fee

PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® vs PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card

The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® is the other premier cash back credit card from PNC Bank. This card is best for high spenders who don’t necessarily want to be locked into the categories that are staples of the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® – gas, groceries and restaurants. The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® awards anywhere between 1.25% and 1.75% back on all purchases, depending on how much you spend month-to-month or how much money you have deposited into a PNC bank account. If that kind of simplified reward structure appeals to you more, we recommend checking out our full review of the card.

Highlights

  • 1.25% back on all purchases
  • 1.5% back for those who spend $2,000 - $3,999 per month, 1.75% cash back for those who spend over $4,000 per month.
  • No sign-up bonus

Compare The PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® For Your Budget

Choosing a credit card is a highly personalized process. To get the best results, you should consider how and where you shop. We built a comparison tool that can help you with that process. Through it, you can see how the PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® compares to other cash back credit cards on your budget. Edit your monthly spending below to see how it performs.

Note: The tool is most accurate for those for whom the combined gas, grocery and restaurant spending doesn’t exceed $8,000 per year. Otherwise, the calculator may overestimate your rewards.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa®
No Annual Fee 1.97%
$0
$100 bonus after you make $1,000 or more in purchases during the first 3 billing cycles following account opening
$677
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 677 x $1 = $677
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $0
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 677

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 13.74% to 23.74% Variable

Card Details

  • 4% cash back on gas station purchases (in-store and at the pump)
  • 3% cash back on dining purchases at restaurants, including fast food
  • 2% cash back on grocery store purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 2-4% rewards are capped at $8,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year.
  • $100 bonus after you make $1,000 or more in purchases during the first 3 billing cycles following account opening
Chase Freedom®
$0 1.44%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$493
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 493

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.49% - 25.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
$0 2.04%
$150
Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
$700
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 550 x $1 = $550
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 700

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.49%-25.49% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card
No Annual Fee 1.25%
$0
$429
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 429 x $1 = $429
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $0
0 x $1 = $0
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 429

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 13.24% to 22.24% Variable

Card Details

  • 1.25% to 1.75% cash back depending on how much you spend or your banking relationship with PNC
  • Earn between 1.25% and 1.75% cash back on all purchases, depending on how much you spend
  • Redemptions start at $50
  • Rewards don't expire
  • $0 Fraud Liability
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$95 2.46%
$200
Get $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
$845
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 835 x $1 = $835
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $200
Less Annual Fees -$190
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 845

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $95
APR 14.49%-25.49% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Comments and Questions

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. 

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.