If you’re interested in perks like cash back or travel miles, PNC credit cards can be a good addition to your wallet. But to apply for a PNC credit card, you’ll have to live in a state where PNC Bank has a physical branch.
|PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card||Cash back|
|PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card||Balance transfers|
|PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® Credit Card||Travel rewards|
Here’s why: The PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card offers high cash back rates on everyday spending, has a $0 annual fee and even offers a small sign-up bonus.
The drawback? The potential value of the cash back is weakened by the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card’s limits. Cardholders get 4% cash back for purchases at gas stations (both in-store and at the pump); 3% cash back for purchases at full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast-food restaurants; 2% cash back for purchases at grocery stores; and 1% cash back for all other purchases. But there’s an $8,000 annual cap on purchases eligible for the 4%, 3% and 2% cash back rates.
After you reach that spending cap, you’ll earn 1% cash back on all purchases until your next account anniversary date. Also, your cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit or deposited into a qualifying PNC bank account — as long as you have at least $25 in your PNC cash rewards account.
If you typically make purchases in these qualifying categories, you stand to bank a lot of cash. But the $8,000 annual cap can be a big drawback for high spenders who might benefit from a different cash back card with a constant cash back rate.
Finally, the PNC Cash Rewards® Visa® Credit Card also offers a $200 bonus in the form of a monetary credit that posts to your statement — but only if you apply for the card directly on PNC.com and spend $1,000 in purchases within 3 billing cycles of account opening.
Here’s why: The PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card has some great offers if you’re looking to make a big purchase or consolidate debt, and it has a $0 annual fee.
The PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card comes with an introductory 0% APR for purchases for the first 15 billing cycles following account opening, and then you’ll have a variable APR of 12.49% to 24.49% based on prime rate.
New cardholders can also take advantage of an introductory 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles from account opening on balance transfers, as long as the balance transfer is made within 90 days of account opening. After that, the variable APR for balance transfers will be 12.49% to 24.49% based on prime rate.
If you’re looking to save money by transferring your balance, the balance transfer fees will eat into some of your savings. During the first 90 days, there is an intro fee of 3% ($5 minimum) of the balance. If you make a balance transfer beyond the first 90 days, the fee rises to either $5 or 4% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. And if you make a late payment, you may lose the intro APR altogether — plus pay a variable penalty APR of 30.49%, which applies until you make six consecutive payments on time.
There are no rewards with this card, so to get the most out of it, make sure you complete any balance transfer you want to make within 90 days. If possible, you should try to create a plan to pay off your debt within the first 15 billing cycles, while the introductory APR still applies.
Read our review of the PNC Core® Visa® Credit Card to learn more.
Here’s why: With the PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® Credit Card, you’ll earn two miles for every $1 spent on all eligible purchases.
The sky’s the limit on the number of miles you can earn with the PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® Credit Card. Miles are worth 1 cent each — but since you earn two miles for every $1 spent, you’ll be earning 2 cents for each $1. Plus, you’ll earn 30,000 miles as a sign-up bonus after spending at least $3,000 in purchases during the first three billing cycles after your account opening.
The drawback to the PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® Credit Card is the annual fee, which is $85 ($0 in the first year). You can offset that by spending nearly $355 per month, but you may prefer a travel card with no annual fee. If you do opt for this card, take care not to spend more than you can comfortably afford to pay back.
How we picked these cards
We reviewed all PNC credit cards and identified the best rewards and features on each one and how much those rewards are worth when you redeem them. We also considered how people typically like to be rewarded. Cash back is a flexible reward, but if you’re a frequent traveler, then your spending may align better with a travel credit card. And if you’re looking to save money on a balance transfer, you’re probably eyeing cards that offer an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers. We then analyzed fees and interest rates, noting when cardholders will have to deal with them.
While PNC credit cards offer solid rewards, there’s one major restriction: To apply, you’ll need to live within PNC’s footprint.
PNC Bank branches and ATMs can be found in a number of states, but not all. Before getting your heart set on a card, check if PNC accepts applications from your state. Even if they do, you may want to ensure that there is a branch or ATM in your area.
If you don’t live in an area where PNC accepts applications, check out other cash back and travel credit cards outside of this bank.
How to make the most of a bank’s credit cards
If you’re searching for a new piece of plastic, there’s generally no shortage of options in the credit card world. But if you have a checking or savings account, your bank may offer credit cards with rewards reserved just for bank members. Check out credit card offers from your bank and elsewhere, and compare APR, fees, rewards and special benefits.
As you’re shopping around for the right card, consider these factors.
- If you already belong to a bank, like PNC Bank or Bank of America, does it offer credit cards with special relationship discounts or perks?
- If you want a specific bank credit card but you don’t belong to the bank, do you need to join in order to get the card?
- What are the requirements for getting that relationship reward? For example, you may need to keep a certain amount of money in a checking or savings account. Would you qualify?