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PNC Cash Rewards Visa card review

PNC Cash Rewards Visa card review

Published: January 15, 2019
Published: January 15, 2019
Ratings Policy
Cash Back Rating:
3 rating
3 rating
3 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.3
Rewards Flexibility: 3.2
Features: 0.5

In a Nutshell:

The PNC Cash Rewards Visa offers the chance to earn an especially high rewards rate on gas, restaurant and grocery spending with a very high bonus limit.

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Rewards Rate

  • 4% cash back at gas stations
  • 3% cash back at restaurants, including fast food
  • 2% cash back at grocery stores (up to $8,000 in combined spending)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases

Sign-up Bonus

Annual Bonus

Annual Fee

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)

15.24-25.24% (variable)


  • Cash doesn’t expire
  • Redeem cash as a statement credit or deposit into a qualifying PNC account


  • Can’t redeem cash for gift cards, travel or other rewards
  • Bonus spending limited to $8,000 a year
  • Must wait until you earn at least $25 to redeem cash
  • No automatic redemption option
  • Can’t transfer rewards to other accounts

Other Notable Features: Zero fraud liability  

Low Interest Rating:
1.3 rating
1.3 rating
1.3 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 1.2
Rewards: 3.6
Features: 1.0

In a Nutshell:

Though the regular APR on the PNC Cash Rewards Visa is fairly low, cardholders seeking to save on interest are better off with a card that offers a 0 percent introductory period on new purchases as well as one that doesn’t incur a high penalty APR for missing a payment.

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Regular APR
15.24-25.24% (variable)

Introductory Purchase APR

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 12 months


  • No annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% cash advance fee


  • $38 late payment fee
  • 31.24% penalty APR
  • $38 returned payment fee

Other Notable Features: Zero fraud liability  

If you’re looking for an inexpensive card to use for routine purchases, the PNC Cash Rewards Visa card is hard to beat — especially if you have a long commute or frequently dine out. The PNC card offers some of the most generous spending bonuses you can find on a credit card with no annual fee, particularly for gas and dining purchases.

Cardholders who prefer to stick with just one card rather than rotate between cards will also appreciate the wider variety of categories that earn bonuses. For example, in addition to big bonuses on gas and restaurant spending, the PNC Cash Rewards card also offers a modest bonus on groceries.

The PNC Cash Rewards card doesn’t offer nearly as generous a sign-up bonus as other cards, though, nor does it offer as many benefits. It’s also not available to everyone. Only cardholders who live in a state with a PNC Bank are eligible.  States with PNC Banks include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and District of Columbia.

One of the best cards you can find for gas rewards

If you spend a lot of time filling your car’s gas tank, this is one of the best cards you can use to pay for gasoline. The PNC Cash Rewards card offers an eye-popping 4 percent cash back on gas station purchases, which is one of the best cash back rates you can get on a card with no annual fee.

Most of the PNC Cash Reward’s competitors, by contrast, offer just 2 to 3 percent cash back on gas station purchases or award 5 percent cash back just a few months out of the year.

A well-rounded card for everyday purchases

The PNC Cash Rewards card also offers a standout bonus of 3 percent cash back on restaurant purchases, making it a great card for foodies and large families that like to dine out. Unlike some competitors, the PNC Cash Rewards card doesn’t strictly limit the types of purchases that count toward dining either.

For example, you can earn 3 percent cash back on fast food and café purchases as well at traditional restaurants. In addition, the PNC card offers 2 percent cash back on grocery purchases, making it a good, well-rounded choice for cardholders who prefer to stick with just one primary credit card. General purchases earn 1 percent cash back.

Heavy spenders could hit some roadblocks

You could run into some trouble, though, if you spend heavily on all three categories that earn bonuses. PNC Bank caps bonus spending at $8,000 a year for restaurants, groceries and gas station purchases combined, which is just low enough to significantly crimp your earnings if you have a long commute or feed a large family. For example, if you typically spend more than $666 a month on gas, groceries and restaurants, you’ll wind up earning just 1 percent cash back on those purchases toward the end of the year.

As a result, you may not want to use this card for every errand. Instead, depending on your spending habits, you may be better offer off reserving the PNC Cash Rewards card for gas and restaurant spending only and using a card with a bigger bonus for groceries and other purchases.

No sign-up bonus

Unfortunately, the PNC Cash Rewards Visa doesn’t currently offer a sign-up bonus. Competitors with no annual fees typically offer at least $150 or more as a one-time bonus.

Hardly any perks

You also won’t have access to nearly as many perks as you would with other cards. So if you’re a regular user of standard card rewards, such as car rental insurance, extended warranty or price protection, you may not want to use this card for big ticket purchases either.

Your choices for redeeming your cash back will also be more limited than with other cards, so think carefully about how you want to redeem your cash before you apply. For example, the PNC Cash Rewards card lets you redeem your cash for a statement credit or ask for it to be deposited in a PNC bank account. However, you can’t redeem your cash for gift cards or travel or request a check.

Why get the PNC Cash Rewards Visa card?

  • You live near a PNC Bank and want to earn as much cash back as you can on gas and restaurant purchases.
  • You want a well-rounded cash back card you can use for all or most of your everyday purchases.
  • You prefer cash back instead of miles or points and don’t want to pay an annual fee.

How to use the PNC Cash Rewards Visa card:

  • Maximize your rewards earnings by using your card for all your gas and restaurant spending.
  • Evaluate your budget before using your PNC Cash Rewards card for grocery spending. If you typically spend more than $666 a month on gas, groceries and restaurants combined, you may be better off using a different card for groceries. That way, you can continue to earn 3 to 4 percent cash back on dining and gas without exceeding the card’s $8,000 spending cap on bonuses.

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