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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 year||Individuals who spend a lot on gas, groceries and at restaurants|
|Anyone with varied spending that doesn't conform to traditional credit card rewards categories||Consumers 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.
Comparing Cash Back Rewards For The Average Consumer
|Credit Card||Year 1||Year 2|
|PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa®||$427||$327|
|Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer||$343||$343|
|PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card*||$257||$257|
The table above is based on average consumer expenditures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*Based on 1.5% cash back rate
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.
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 Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. 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.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- $200 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- $0 annual fee
PNC Cash Rewards℠ Visa® vs Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the best cash back credit cards for people who value simplicity and those who aren’t optimizers. The card awards Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. 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 Card – 18 month BT offer 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 Card – 18 month BT offer.
- Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.
- No bonus
- $0 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.
- 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.
The information related to the Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.