PNC Cash Rewards Visa Card Review
Why trust us? Investor.com has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.
The PNC Cash Rewards Visa sports some features of a fancypants rewards card (higher-than-average cashback rates) minus the price tag (no annual fee). But big spenders risk bumping up against the annual bonus spending cap.
You don’t have to be on the Forbes Richest list to snag higher cashback rates than us regular folk. The PNC Cash Rewards Visa doles out respectable rewards for gas (4%), restaurant (3%) and grocery store spending (2% is okay) and charges no annual fee (🙌). The tradeoff: An $8,000 annual combined spending cap on those categories (💩), after which the rewards rates take a dive to 1%.
The basics: Earn 4% cash back on gas station purchases, 3% on dining purchases at restaurants and 2% on grocery store purchases for the first $8,000 in combined purchases in these categories annually. Earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $200 bonus after making $1,000 or more in purchases during the first three billing cycles. 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles. 3% balance transfer fee for the first 90 days following account opening, and 4% after that.
PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card pros and cons
- Earn 4%, 3%, 2% cash back on gas, restaurants and groceries, respectively (up to a point)
- $200 signup bonus
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for first 12 months
- No annual fee
- $8K annual spending cap on purchases eligible for 4%, 3% and 2% cash back
- No 0% intro APR on purchases
- If there’s a fee, they charge it
- 3% foreign transaction fee
PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card cashback rewards spending categories
The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.
Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (a.k.a. the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g. $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”
|Category||Default Rate||Bonus Rate||Bonus Spend Cap||Bonus Spend Period (Months)|
What we like
The PNC Cash Rewards Visa hits all the rewards category high points with competitive rates for a no-annual-fee card: Gas (4% cashback), dining out (a tasty 3%), groceries (decent 2% rate) and an okayfine 1% on everything else.
Makes a good second card to use only on the highest cashback categories, if you can switch to another card with a higher than 1% cashback rate on other categories or when you hit the annual $8K combined spending cap.
It’s not exactly 🔥, but don’t turn up your nose at the $200 sign-up bonus. You’ll need to rack up at least $1,000 in purchases during the first three billing cycles to earn it.
What we don't like
We keep mentioning the PNC card’s $8,000 annual combined spending cap because it can really limit your rewards potential if you have a bigger budget. Mathematically speaking …
Best-case scenario: You spend $666 a month and earn the highest cashback rate — 4% on gas. (Weird spending pattern, but hey, this is just an example.) That’s $320 cashback a year, plus whatever you scrape in at the 1% rewards rate.
The 1% cashback default rate for purchases that don’t qualify for better just feels sad.
Requires some extra thinking before use. Like, how close are you to your annual rewards cap? If you use it to buy groceries at 2% cashback will you be short-changing yourself on the 4% rewards on gas purchases later in the year? Ow, my head.
This card charges all the fees: Balance-transfer fees (the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount), cash-advance fee ($10 or 5%), foreign transaction fee (3%), late and returned payment fees (up to $38 each). The only one it doesn’t charge is an annual fee.
The 3% foreign transaction fee doesn’t make it a good foreign travel companion (or the card to use when purchasing hair enhancement serums from overseas shamans).
Sorry, there’s no 0% introductory APR on new purchases perk.
Hmmm … not seeing any travel perks or protections in the fine print.
Watch the clock on the balance-transfer deal. You’ve got 90 days to move money onto the PNC card for it to be eligible for the 0% intro APR (3% transfer fee) for the first 12 billing cycles. Transfer after that, and you'll pay a 4% fee.
The bottom line
Is the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the investor.com Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.
PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card fine print
Does the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card charge an annual fee?
No, the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card charges an annual fee of $0.
Roughly 14% of the consumer cashback cards we track in our database charge an annual fee. The average annual fee is $72.60, while the median is $95.
Does the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card offer a welcome bonus?
Yes, the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card has a welcome bonus of $200.
Of the more than 60 cashback credit cards in our database, 66% offer a welcome bonus. Currently, the average sign-up bonus on a new cashback card is $210.71, with the median being $200.
How much cashback can I earn with the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card?
The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $229.08 in cash back per year using the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.
These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card depends entirely on your unique spending habits.
Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.
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Compare PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card
The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.
To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:
- Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
- Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
- Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
- Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
- Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.
What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)