About PNC Core Visa Credit Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Published on: Jul 27, 2017

When I first took a look at the PNC Core Visa, I saw a card that was pretty much the same as many of the low-interest credit cards I’ve looked and used myself.

But one of the things I’ve learned is that even though credit cards may all look the same, there are always specific details and benefits that make cards unique.

So, while it’s easy to get lulled into a mindset where all credit cards of a particular genre – low-interest, in this case – are the same, the smart consumer will dig a little deeper and find out how one card compares to another.

What I’m going to do in the next few minutes is take a close look at this card and find out which details and features make this card different than the rest.

As I figure these things out, you’ll learn about what this card can offer you in the short-term and the long-run. I’ll also talk about the interest rates and fees you can expect with this card, too.

When I wrap up this review, I’ll give you a quick-hit list of the PNC Core Visa’s pros and cons, as well as who would be a good fit for this low-interest credit card.

What You Can Expect from the PNC Core Visa in the First 15 Months

When you’re talking about low-interest credit cards, the first thing you should ask is: How long do I get 0% APR?

That’s an important question because PNC is marketing the Core Visa as a way to save money.

“If you’re looking for simple savings, go with the new PNC Core Visa credit card,” their website says. “It’s a smarter way to save on interest.”

So, let’s take a look at that claim and how it relates the Core Visa’s no-interest offer.

15 Months of 0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers

From my perspective and based on my research, 0% APR credit cards are marketed as ways to save money because they give you the chance to buy things and make balance transfers without having to pay interest on them for 15, as is the case with the PNC Core Visa.

How exactly do you save money with a zero-interest card? Well here’s how it works.

Using the Zero-Interest Core Visa for Purchases

One of the advantages of the PNC Core Visa is that you can make purchases anytime in the first 15 months of owning the card and you won’t pay any interest on those purchases.

Consumers and experts like to use low-interest cards to make big purchases that they can pay back over time without any interest. This is sometimes called “same-as-cash”.

This philosophy is most helpful in specific situations where you have to spend more than you usually do on a product or service. Let me give you an example.

You have to have a medical procedure done in a couple of months and you know it’s going to cost you a few thousand dollars. Even though you’ve got decent income coming in and breathing room in your budget at the end of the month, your cash reserves can’t cover the bill.

So, you sign up for the PNC Core Visa so you can pay for the procedure and, instead of paying for it all at once with cash, you can spread the payments out on your Core Visa without paying interest. It’s like a reverse layaway – you get the good or service up front and then make payments as opposed to making payments then getting the good or service.

There’s one thing you need to remember, though. Once your 15-month intro period ends, PNC will charge you interest on any remaining balances you have on the card.

Using Your Zero-Interest Core Visa for Balance Transfers

Another popular reason to use a zero-interest card like the PNC Core Visa is for balance transfers.

The typical scenario in which you could use this trick is when you have a balance on another credit card that has a high APR, although any balance that’s accruing interest is fair game.

So, let’s say you have a credit card with a $5,000 balance and a 15.99% APR and you want to pay it off in 15 months. According to Bankrate.com’s credit-card payoff calculator, you’d pay $955 in interest at the end of your 15-month goal.

If you transferred that balance to your PNC Core Visa, you wouldn’t pay any interest. However, you’ll pay a 3% balance-transfer fee, which would be $150 on a $5,000 balance. While the fee is a little frustrating, paying a $150 fee is far better than paying $955 in interest.

There are two things you need to keep in mind about your PNC Core Visa balance transfer offer. First, you have 90 days from the day you’re approved for the card to make a balance transfer eligible for 0%. Second, if you have any of those 0% balances left at the end of 15 months, PNC will charge you interest on them.

What You Can Expect From the PNC Core Visa After the First 15 Months

Once your introductory APR’s disappear, it’s back to business as usual with the PNC Core Visa. Your APR is going to be between 10.99% and 20.99% depending on what your credit scores are. The better the score, the lower the APR.

As far as low-interest credit cards go, the PNC Core Visa’s APRs are the lowest compared to the competition we scouted out in our Best Low Interest Credit Card of 2017.

While it’s good news that the Core Visa’s APR is lower than the most popular zero-interest cards, APR in itself is bad news. You want to avoid it at all costs and the best way to do that is to pay your balance in full every month.

In addition to keeping your balance at zero, you’ll want to avoid any late payments. Why? Because the moment you make a late payment, PNC will charge you a penalty APR of 29.99%. You can get your APR returned to normal if you make six consecutive on-time payments, the PNC Core Visa’s fine print says.

Penalty APR is the credit card issuer’s way of orchestrating an additional way to earn some money from you. Not every card has them. However, those that do can be very dangerous, financially speaking, if you carry big balances and tend to pay late.

Other important fees you need to remember are the PNC Core Visa’s late/returned payment fees – up to $35 – and the card’s 3% foreign transaction fee.

Pro tip: The PNC Core Visa has no annual fee.

Core Visa Rates and Fees Summary

Here’s a quick list of the rates and fees for easy reference:

  • APR: 10.99%-20.99%
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%
  • Annual fee: None
  • Late/returned payment fee: Up to $35
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%

Expert and Consumer Reviews of the PNC Core Visa

Several other sites besides HighYa have reviewed the Core Visa and have come to the same conclusions we have. It’s a solid low-interest card whose APR’s make it very competitive with some of the more well-known credit cards in this genre.

Consumer reviews are relatively thin and the few that we read were mixed. Since the sample size was so limited – we’re talking two or three – we feel these reviews aren’t representative of general opinion.

Closing Thoughts on the PNC Core Visa

After researching the Core Visa’s benefits and perks, we think the card has some really clear advantages and one major drawback.

Pros of the Core Visa

The obvious pros of this card are its 15-month, no-interest offer on balances and purchases as well as the low-end APR of 10.99%.

Cons of the Core Visa

The main drawback of this card is the 29.99% penalty APR that kicks in when you make a late payment.

Who the Core Visa is Good For

Based on my research, I believe the PNC Core Visa is an excellent choice for someone who wants to transfer a balance and who makes their payments on-time.

The Final Word: A Legitimate Low-Interest Choice

If you can make your monthly payments on time and pay off your balance by the end of the 15-month intro period, we think this card is an excellent choice for you.

If you aren’t convinced or you want to do more research, take a look at our reviews of the following low-interest credit cards: Citi Simplicity and Citi Diamond Preferred.

Both of these cards offer 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months, but their long-term APR’s are higher and there are a few other features that make them different from each other and from the PNC Core Visa.

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