Review: PNC Bank Credit Cards

pnc-credit-cardPNC Bank offers 4 credit cards with varying rewards programs to choose from:

  •  The PNC CashBuilder Visa Credit Card allows you to earn 1.25% cash back on all purchases plus the opportunity to earn even more if you spend enough with the card — you get 1.25% back if your monthly purchases are below $2000, but you get 1.5% back if monthly purchases range from $2000 to $3999.99, and 1.75% back when purchases total $4000 or more. You can also earn the 1.5% or 1.75% rewards if you have certain other PNC Bank accounts. Overall, a solid rewards credit card.
  • The PNC Points Visa gives you 4 points for every dollar charged to the card, which seems extremely generous on the surface, but in reality the redemption value of these points is worse than that of most other points rewards cards. Most cards that offer points make each point worth approximately a penny when redeemed, and the standard reward is 1 point for every dollar charged. PNC gives 4 points per dollar, but those 4 points together are actually worth less than one penny when redeemed.

  • The PNC Core Visa Credit Card is a non-rewards card for those whose main interest is getting a lower interest rate and/or using a 0% teaser rate for purchases or balance transfers. Specifically, this card gives you a 0% rate on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, though you should note that there is a 3% balance transfer fee. The interest rate after the first 15 months could be as low as 10.24% if your credit is good, but could also be as high as 20.24%, so this is not necessarily a low interest card in all cases.
  • The PNC Premier Traveler Visa offers “miles” that are essentially points that can be used to pay for travel at a penny per point. For example, 10,000 miles = $100 in travel rewards. It has an $85 annual fee, though that is waived for the first year. You get 2 miles per dollar charged to the card. It’s not a particularly competitive travel card, though card hoppers might want to grab it for a year and take advantage of the 30,000 bonus miles you get if spend at least $3000 with the card in the first 3 months.