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PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card

PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card

PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card

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.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

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. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, for example, gives people $150 if they manage to spend $1,000 on purchases 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

PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card
PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
13.24% to 22.24% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent
Details
  • 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

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®

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, Local Commuter TransportationGrocery Stores & Wholesale Clubs such as BJ's and Sam's ClubRestaurantsHoliday Shopping

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®
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

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

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 up to $6,000 per year in (then 1%). You also get unlimited 3% cash back when you shop at U.S. gas stations. 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. 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 $200 back. That’s enough to cover the annual fee for the first year, and half in the second.

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.

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.

Citi® Double Cash Card
$0* 2.00%
$0
$686
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 686 x $1 = $686
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 686

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

Annual Fee $0*
APR 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card
$0 1.94%
$150
Get $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 515 x $1 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 665

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

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

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 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • 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
  • 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
PNC CashBuilder® Visa Credit Card
Image of 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

  • 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 14.99%-25.99% 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 14.99% to 25.99%.
  • 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

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

* 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.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

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.