PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Editor's Rating

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Fantastic cash back credit card for those who shop a lot. Anyone who spends less than $2,000 per month should look at other options.
PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card
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Editor's Rating

?
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers.","showIcon":false,"tooltipLabel":"?"}

Fantastic cash back credit card for those who shop a lot. Anyone who spends less than $2,000 per month should look at other options.
PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card
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PNC’s CashBuilder credit card can be a great option for those who qualify for one of the elevated cash back rates. If you don’t have an account with PNC and if you spend less than $2,000 per month, you can do better with most other cards.

Review: Our Thoughts On The PNC CashBuilder Visa Credit Card

The PNC CashBuilder credit card has the potential to be one of the top cash back offers for the right person. On its own, the card has an unimpressive 1.25% cash back rate. However, if you spend above $2,000 per month or have enough money deposited in a PNC checking account, the card’s rewards quickly climb to over 1.5%. Those who can qualify for the elevated cash back rates may get more out of this card than some other long-term favorites, such as the Chase Freedom® or Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard®.

Good For…Bad For…
High spendersThose spending less than $2,000 per month
PNC checking account holders with high depositsPeople looking for a card with a good bonus

This credit card doesn’t come with a welcome bonus, which is its major downside. While cash back credit cards aren’t generally known for lucrative signup offers, they'll still put something on the table. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express's current welcome bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. The fact that the PNC CashBuilder credit card doesn’t offer anything of this sort makes it less attractive for individuals looking for big initial bumps.

Bottom Line: The PNC CashBuilder credit card is great for people that meet the qualifications for either the 1.5% or 1.75% rewards rate. Outside of that, however, there's not much to it.

PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card Benefits & Features

The PNC CashBuilder credit card gives users fixed cash back on all spending. Cardholders will get a base rate of 1.25% when they first sign up. However, this can be raised to 1.5% or 1.75%, provided certain qualifications are met. Those who spend at least $2,000 within one billing cycle will get 1.5% back on their net purchases in the following month. That figure jumps up to 1.75% if you manage to spend $4,000 or more.

Additionally, those who have qualifying checking accounts with PNC can also get the elevated cash back rates, as long as they meet certain requirements. The table below breaks down what your cash back rate for a given month will be, depending on your situation.

ScenarioEffective Cash Back Rate
Spending $1,999.99 per month AND no PNC checking account1.25% Spending at least $2,000 per month OR Average balance on PNC Performance Deposit Account of $2,0001.50% OR Average balance of $15,000 on any PNC checking account
Spending at least $4,000 per month OR Average balance on PNC PPerformance Select Deposit Account of $5,000 OR Average balance of $25,000 on any PNC checking account1.75%

How Does The PNC CashBuilder Credit Card Compare To Other Offers?

It’s difficult to determine a credit card’s value in a vacuum. Therefore, we took a look at how the PNC CashBuilder credit card compares against some of the other cash back options.

PNC CashBuilder vs Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®
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Anyone who doesn’t mind staying on top of things may get better value out of the Chase Freedom®. The card provides users with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. Outside of this, the Chase Freedom® awards 1% back. The rotating categories go through a number of different merchants and stores, including gas stations, restaurants, select grocery stores, and wholesale clubs.

Qtr. 1Qtr. 2Qtr. 3Qtr. 4
Gas Stations, Tolls, DrugstoresGrocery Stores (not including Walmart and Target) and Home Improvement StoresGas Stations and Select Streaming ServicesTBA

Roughly 20% of your purchases need to fall into the above categories to beat a 1.75% cash back rate on the PNC CashBuilder credit card. To best a 1.5% rate you would need to have 13% of your spending be inside the bonus categories, and just 7% to beat the flat 1.25% rate.

PNC CashBuilder vs Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard®

Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard®
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The Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard® gives people a flat 1.5% cash back rate on all their purchases. Once you redeem your rewards, you get a 5% dividend towards the next time you use your rewards. That slightly boosts the ongoing rewards rate on the card to approximately 1.6%. Unless you qualify for the 1.75% rewards rate on the PNC CashBuilder credit card, there is no reason to prefer it over the Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard®. The latter will give you the superior savings, and also comes with a welcome bonus. Overall, the value of the Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard® is superior to the Barclays CashForward™ World Mastercard® on most fronts.

PNC CashBuilder vs Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Those who shop predominantly at supermarkets and gas stations should look at the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. The card awards 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and 1% Cash Back on other purchases. These rates are significantly higher than what you can get with the PNC card. Those who have more mixed spending, falling into other types of categories, should take a moment to consider which they would benefit more from. Our calculator below can help with that decision.

The card does come with a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). While that can put it at a disadvantage, it’s worth noting the high welcome bonus. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express cardholders who spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months will get $250 back. That’s enough to cover the annual fee for the first two years.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

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.

Comparison Tool

We built a tool to quickly estimate the value of credit cards. Input your monthly spending by category, and our calculate will approximate the rewards provided by the PNC CashBuilder and other credit cards.

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Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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.

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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.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card
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