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PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card

Tom Broucksou
Updated on: 08/15/2018
RE®: 67
Our Rating
PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card
Apply Now
For excellent/good credit
  • 67
    for Cash Rewards
  • 67
    for Everyday use

"Anyone who spends a lot on gas, dining and groceries will find this card to be very rewarding."

PNC Bank isn’t the most well-known credit card issuer, but the PNC Cash Rewards Visa is a real contender in the world of cashback cards. With generous earning potential in popular spending categories, the PNC Visa should be on your list if you’re in the market for a new card.

Anyone who spends a lot on gas, dining and groceries will find this card to be very rewarding. It offers 4 percent back at gas stations, 3 percent back at restaurants, 2 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent for all other purchases.

Redeeming your rewards couldn’t be easier. Just deposit the cash back you earn directly into a PNC Bank account or get it as a statement credit. You don’t have to worry about program partners or online portals. Just buy what you want, and redeem for cash back toward any purchase.

You’ll also get 12 months of 0% APR on balance transfers. That’s a great option for saving a lot of money while paying down your debt.

The PNC Visa is absolutely free. You’ll never be charged an annual fee.

Features and Benefits of PNC Credit Card

The best feature of the PNC Cash Rewards Visa is its generous cashback rates for popular purchase categories. You’ll get 4 percent cash back at gas stations, 3 percent back at restaurants, 2 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent for all other purchases. Gas stations include both in-store and fuel purchases, and restaurants include everything from fine dining to fast food.

The biggest drawback of the PNC card is the limit on bonus earning categories. They’re capped at $8,000 in combined purchases per year. That works out to $667 per month for all of your gas, dining and groceries. If you hit the maximum, you’ll earn just 1 percent.

The PNC card does not come with a sign-up bonus. While that would be a nice perk, many no-fee cards forgo that benefit, particularly if they offer generous cashback rates on everyday purchases.

What You Get

  • 4% back at gas stations
  • 3% back at restaurants
  • 2% back at grocery stores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers

The cash back you earn with the PNC card can be redeemed at any time, though it must be in $25 increments. Cashback rewards never expire, though, so you’ll always have time to save more and hit the minimum redemption amount. Cash back can be redeemed as either a statement credit or directly deposited into a qualifying PNC Bank account.

Interest-Free Financing

The PNC card can help you get your debt under control. If you have an outstanding balance on a high interest credit card, you’ll save a lot of money by transferring it over to the PNC Cash Rewards Visa. That’s because you’ll get 0% APR on balance transfers for the first year you’re a cardholder.

Note that you must make the transfer within 90 days of account opening in order to qualify. There is a fee for balance transfers, even within the promotional period. You’ll have to pay $5 or 3 percent, whichever is greater. Considering how much you’ll save in interest, that’s not much.

Think about it. If you pay a low 14 percent interest rate on a $5,000 balance, you’ll be hit with $700 in interest over a year. On the other hand, a 3 percent transfer fee would cost just $150. You could use the $550 you just saved to pay off some of that debt.

It’s best to pay the balance in full within the first 12 months. You’ll get charged 14.24% to 24.24% interest after that introductory period.

If you can’t pay it off in time, consider getting another 0% card. There are a lot on the market. Whatever you earn in cash will quickly be lost to interest payments if you carry a balance on a high interest card.

Customer Perks

Some banks offer a small bonus to customers who also have the bank’s credit card. Unfortunately, PNC Bank does not offer that perk. The only advantage to having both the PNC card and a PNC Bank account is that your accounts will be integrated.

How Much Will You Earn with PNC Credit Card?

The PNC Cash Rewards card has generous earning rates in popular spending categories. Gas, dining and groceries earn 4, 3 and 2 percent back, respectively. Unfortunately, that earning rate is capped at a combined $8,000 in purchases annually. After that, you’ll earn just 1 percent back.

PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card Rewards

Your Monthly Charges
Rewards You Will Earn Annually
$240cashback
Hotel
1%cashback/$1
Car Rental
1%cashback/$1
Grocery
2%cashback/$1
Gas
4%cashback/$1
Dining
3%cashback/$1
All Other Purchases
1%cashback/$1

Anything that can be purchased at a gas station falls under the gas bonus category, including fuel and in-store purchases. The dining category includes everything from five-star restaurants to Subway and McDonald’s.

Note that purchases made at any store without the appropriate merchant category code will not earn at the bonus cashback rate. For instance, groceries purchased at superstores, warehouse clubs, drugstores and convenience stores, won’t qualify for 2 percent back. Instead, those purchases will earn at the base rate of 1 percent.

Credit card issuers, including PNC Bank, have no control over which merchant codes are applied. Codes cannot be retroactively changed, and purchases cannot be reassigned to a new code in order to qualify for a higher earning rate.

Should You Get the PNC Credit Card?

If you spend a lot at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores, the PNC Cash card will be a rewarding addition to your wallet. The ability to earn 4 percent back on gas alone makes this card worth consideration. But you’ll also get an impressive 3 percent back at restaurants and 2 percent back at grocery stores.

To top it off, the card has no annual fee, and PNC Bank will give you interest-free financing for 12 months on balance transfers made within the first 90 days after opening an account.

There are a few places the card falls short, though. First, it does not offer a sign-up bonus. While many no-fee cards don’t offer a bonus, some do. If you’re looking for some quick cash, consider a different card.

Second, bonus earning is limited to $8,000 in purchases a year for gas, dining and groceries combined. After that, you’ll earn at base rate of 1 percent back.

Depending on how much spend, that may not be an issue. If you do hit that limit, though, I recommend getting a second cashback card that offers bonus earning in the same categories.

In fact, you’ll probably want to get a backup card no matter what. With all of the no-fee cards on the market right now, there’s no reason you should be earning just 1 percent back on any purchase.

To optimize your earnings, I’d get the PNC card for gas, dining out and groceries and a second card that offers a fixed-rate of return that you can use for all other purchases. The Chase Freedom Unlimited, for example, offers 1.5 percent back on all purchases, and the Citi Double Cash gives you 2 percent back on everything.

The PNC Cash Rewards card is an excellent addition to an arsenal of cards designed to maximize cashback returns, but it may not be the best all-around card. If you want to keep it simple, consider getting just one card that offers a fixed rate of at least 1.5 percent for all purchases.

FAQs

Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.

  • How do I apply for the PNC Cash Rewards Visa?

    There are four ways you can apply for the card. Head over to the PNC Bank website to apply online or print out a mail-in application. Otherwise, you can go to a PNC Bank branch location to apply in person or call 1-800-762-5684 to apply by phone.
    In order to apply, you’ll need your Social Security number, monthly housing payment and total annual income. PNC Bank will notify you of your application status as soon as possible. If you’re approved, you’ll receive your card within seven to ten business days.
  • How much cash back can I earn with the PNC Visa?

    There is no limit on how much cash back you can earn with the PNC card. However, there are limits on how much you can earn in the bonus categories.
    You’ll get 4 percent back at gas stations, 3 percent back at restaurants and 2 percent back at grocery stores for the first $8,000 in combined purchases per year. After that, you’ll earn 1 percent back.
    Note that cash back must be redeemed in $25 increments. As long as your card account remains open, your rewards won’t expire.
  • Do I need to have a PNC Bank account in order to apply for the PNC credit card?

    Anyone can apply and qualify for a PNC Cash Rewards Visa, even if they don’t have a checking or savings account with PNC Bank. The only advantage to a cardholder who is also a bank customer is that they can manage all of their accounts in one place, making it easier to monitor your transactions, rewards, balances and payments. PNC offers online account tools and a mobile app.
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Compare PNC Credit Card

There are several cards on the market that offer bonus cash back for gas and food purchases. Let’s see how some of them compare to the PNC Cash Rewards Visa.

PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card
For Excellent/Good Credit
Check if the PNC card is the best fit for you
Apply for this card

Comparing Other Cards That Have Food and Gas as Bonus Categories

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressBlue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressDiscover it® Chrome CardDiscover it® Chrome CardCapital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit CardCapital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card
Sign-up bonus$150$0$0$150
Annual Fee

$0

$0

$0

$0

APR On Purchases14.74% to 25.74% Variable±14.49% to 24.49% Variable±13.49% to 24.49% Variable±14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Foreign Fee2.7%3%0%0%
Bonus Value$150$0$0$150
Second Year Value$240$240$240$240

While the 4 percent cash back for gas offered by the PNC card is hard to beat, the other cards mentioned here have their own benefits that may better fit your needs.

The Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express offers 3.0 percent back at grocery stores, 2.0 percent at gas stations and select department stores and 1 percent for everything else. The grocery bonus is capped at $6,000 a year, though there is no limit on gas.

The advantage of this card over the PNC Visa is that it offers a sign-up bonus and additional Amex cardholder benefits. You’ll get $150 if you spend $1,000 within the first three months, plus extended warranty protection, return protection and purchase protection through Amex.

You’ll also get 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, which is more generous than PNC’s 12-month 0% offer on balance transfers only. The Blue Cash card has no annual fee.

The Discover it Chrome Gas & Restaurant card offers 2.0 percent back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter.

While this isn’t as good as the competition, Discover does match the cash back you earn during your first year as a cardholder. That means you’ll effectively get 4 percent back for those categories during the first 12 months you have the card. That’s a good return on spending and the best you’ll get for dining out.

Like the Amex card, Discover offers an extended warranty, return guarantee and purchase protection. They also include price protection. You’ll get 0% APR for 14 months on both purchases and balance transfers. The Discover it Chrome card has no annual fee.

Capital One SavorOne is a slightly different beast. It’s designed specifically for someone who’s a bit obsessed with food. You’ll get 3.0 percent back on dining, 2.0 percent on groceries and 1.0 percent for everything else.

While there’s no bonus for fuel purchases, there are also no caps on how much you can earn with the dining and grocery bonuses. If you spend a lot on food, that’s a definite perk over the competition. You’ll also get a $150 sign-up bonus after spending just $500 in three months and 0% APR for nine months on balance transfers and purchases.

The SavorOne card includes price protection and an extended warranty benefit, along with no foreign transaction fees, travel assistance services, travel accident insurance and baggage delay insurance. This is definitely the best card for anyone who frequently travels abroad.

The Capital One SavorOne card has no annual fee.

Some Alternative Cashback Cards

If you don’t think the PNC Cash Rewards card is right for you, there are a number of other cashback cards on the market offering a variety of earning schemes. Here’s a closer look at some of your options.

4% back at gas stations
PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card

Check if PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card is the best option for you

Best Cashback Card

If you’re a stickler for paying of your credit card bills, it’s hard to do better than the Citi Double Cash card. It offers 2.0 percent back on every purchase.

There are no bonus categories or spending caps to worry about, but there is one catch. You must pay off your card in order to earn the full bonus.

You’ll get 1 percent back when you make a purchase and another 1 percent when you pay it off. If you tend to carry a balance on your card, this is probably not the best choice for you.

The Double Cash card also comes with 18 months of interest-free financing for balance transfers made within four months of opening an account. This is a great card to help you pay down existing debt and to encourage you to keep up with your bills.

One drawback of this card is that it does not come with a sign-up bonus. If you want to earn a quick $150, you should look elsewhere. But if you want a great cashback card that you’ll keep in your wallet for years to come, this could be it.

The Citi Double Cash has no annual fee.

Best Rotating Category Card

The Discover it Cashback Match card has three things going for it: excellent 5.0 percent back bonus categories, a valuable year-end bonus and industry-leading identity theft protections.

You’ll earn 5.0 percent back in quarterly rotating categories. The specifics can change from year to year, but they tend to include popular categories like gas stations, wholesale clubs, grocery stores and restaurants.

You can earn 5.0 percent on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter only, but that’s still a lot of cash back per year if you max out those categories. All other purchases earn 1 percent back.

Perhaps the best thing about Discover’s lineup of cards is its Cashback Match program. At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match every penny in cash back you’ve earned in the previous 12 months.

You won’t get the instant gratification of a quick sign-up bonus, but you can earn quite a bit more with the Cashback Match. If you max out the 5.0 percent categories for the year, you’ll earn $300 in cash back from just $6,000 in spending.

At the end of the year, though, Discover will give you another $300, for a total of $600 in cash back. That’s a 10 percent return. No other cashback card offers a return rate like that or a $300 sign-up bonus.

More than that, you’ll get 2 percent back for all non-bonus purchases. That equals the best fixed-rate cashback cards on the market, and they don’t offer 10 percent bonus categories.

Unfortunately, Discover’s Cashback Match only applies to your first year as a cardholder. The card would be worth holding onto, though, if you spend a lot in the rotating bonus categories.

Discover has one more trick up its sleeve. It recently introduced new identity theft protections to all cardholders. These free security measures include monitoring risky websites for the illegal use of your Social Security number and a daily check for new credit lines opened in your name.

No other card company offers that level of security for free. If you’re concerned about identity theft, it may be worth getting a Discover card just for these protections.

The Discover it card has no annual fee.

Get the Biggest Bonus

No-fee cashback credit cards aren’t known for their valuable sign-up bonuses, but many cards do offer new cardholders a little something. The biggest bonus you’ll typically find is for $150 , though there are occasionally promotional offers that go up to $200.

Quicksilver from Capital One is a cashback card that consistently offers a $150 bonus. It has a low minimum spending requirement to earn the bonus, too. You have to make just $500 in purchases within three months of getting the card.

Beyond the bonus, this is a solid cashback card worthy of your consideration. You’ll get a respectable 1.5 percent back on all purchases. There are no limits to worry about and no special purchase categories to keep track of.

The Quicksilver card offers 0% APR for nine months on both balance transfers and purchases. It has no annual fee.

Card Overview

Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.

Card Details
Good credit score
From 700 to 749
Issuer
PNC Bank, N.A.PNC Bank, N.A.
Rewards Currency
Cashback

Card Terms and Conditions

While it's easy to focus on the benefits of the PNC Cash Rewards card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this Visa card.

Purchases

Intro APR:
N/A
Intro APR for balance transfers:
0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles
Ongoing APR:
14.49% to 24.49% Variable±
Minimum Grace Period:
21 days

Cash Advance Features

Ongoing APR:
24.49% Variable±
Cash Advance Fee:
Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater

Security and Protections

The PNC Cash Rewards card comes with the standard set of card protections.

Banking On the Go:
Use the mobile app to manage transactions, rewards, balances and payments for all of your PNC Bank and credit card accounts in one place.
EMV Chip Technology:
Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip-enabled terminals.
Zero Liability:
You’ll never be responsible for unauthorized purchases made with your card.

Additional Cardholder Benefits

The PNC Cash Rewards card is issued as a standard Visa, which includes the following benefits:

Visa Signature Travel Benefits

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
Secondary theft and collision coverage for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad.
Roadside Dispatch:
Call 1-800-847-2869 for roadside assistance, including lockout service, towing, tire changing, jump starting, gas delivery and winching. There’s a flat fee of $69.95, though there may be additional charges based on the actual service provided.
Emergency Card Replacement and Cash Disbursement:
Visa will help you take the proper steps to block your lost or stolen card and receive a replacement within one to three days. You can also receive cash near your current location within hours.