About PNC Points Visa Credit Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Aug 22, 2017

In the credit card world, it’s easy to pass up a good credit card like the PNC Points Visa because you tend to get your advice from one or two credit card rewards sites.

Doesn’t make sense, right? If the PNC Points Visa is a good card, then why doesn’t it show up on other sites? The answer is pretty simple – credit card rewards sites tend to focus on credit cards from Chase and American Express with the occasional shout-out to U.S. Bank and Barclays.

Each of those companies has great credit cards, but we think that PNC’s Points Visa is worth a look even though it doesn’t make a lot of people’s Top-10 credit card lists.

Exactly why the Points Visa deserves a shout-out is what we’ll figure out in this review. Over the next few minutes, we’re going to try and help you see the best parts of what this card offers – and the worst parts.

To do that, we’re going to cover the following features of this credit card:

  • Up-front benefits
  • Long-term perks
  • Rates and fees
  • Public opinion

The goal of each of these sections is to give you a clear understanding of what this card is all about. We’ll also include some of our observations based on our research of dozens of credit cards from many of the major credit-card issuers.

At the end of this review, we’ll give you a quick list of pros, cons and who we think this card is good for.

A Quick Word About Cash Rewards Cards

Before we jump into the offers PNC is giving you for signing up for this card, I want to take a minute to talk about the fact that the Points Visa is a cash-rewards card.

What that means is that the card has a system set up by which you can earn cash back for purchases you make. We’ll talk about how much cash back you can get in just a few minutes.

Related: The Best Cash Rewards Credit Card of 2017

But, for now, know that the card is designed to lure you in with the long-term benefit of being able to earn cash back you can use to pay for merchandise, gift cards, travel or to convert into money.

The PNC Point Visa’s Up-Front Benefits

If you want to be a smart consumer, you need to think about credit cards both from your own perspective and from the perspective of the credit card issuer.

Your goal is to get the most bang for your buck. The issuer’s goal is to use the PNC Points Visa to make money from you via their interest rates and fees.

In this sense, both of you are gambling. You’re betting that you won’t make late payments or carry a balance and the credit card issuer is betting you will.

So, when you read through the short-term benefits of the Points Visa, think about how it could work to your advantage. Also, think about your spending habits and your level of financial responsibility. Will you be able to pay off your balance every month? Do you tend to pay on time or pay late?

Zero Interest for 12 Months

Among cash-back credit cards there are two up-front benefits you can expect: zero interest and cash back.

The PNC Points Visa doesn’t have a cash reward, but it does have zero percent interest and that, based on your financial situation, can be much more valuable than cash back.

0% on Purchases

Here’s how the Points Visa’s zero interest works. Any purchases you make in the first 12 billing cycles don’t get hit with interest.

You see, most credit cards charge you interest on past purchases if you don’t pay off your balance every month. That can be a total drain if you have to make a sizeable emergency purchase on your credit card and don’t have the on-hand cash to pay off your balance.

Each month that you don’t pay off your balance in full, you’ll be charged interest on the balance, which, depending on the size of your balance, can cost you hundreds of dollars a year.

So, a no-interest offer from the PNC Points Visa allows you to make a big purchase and spread the payments out over 12 months without paying interest. That’s a great perk, especially if you know you have a big expense coming up and you want an easy way to pay it back over the course of a year.

Here’s the thing, though: Don’t get this card just to make a purchase you don’t need. If that’s the case, you could end up maxing out your card and paying interest for a long time.

The PNC Points Visa’s intro offer also provides 0% interest on balance transfers made in the first 90 days.

Balance transfer means you can move a balance from one credit card to another, which is a great deal if you’re paying interest on a balance. Just transfer that balance to your PNC Points Visa and you won’t pay interest for a year.

You will, however, pay a fee for transferring that balance. We’ll talk about that fee and other fees in a few minutes.

Pro tip: The “first 90 days” starts the day you’re approved for the Points Visa, not the day you get it in the mail.

The PNC Points Visa’s Long-Term Benefits

Okay, now that you know what the Points Visa’s up-front perks are, it’s important to know how the card benefits you after a year.

Although there are experts out there who will encourage you to sign up for cards, gobble up the short-term rewards and move on, we see cards as a long-term relationship instead of a one-and-done type of thing.

A credit card is, after all, a financial tool and you want to make sure the tools you choose work well and will last you years, not months.

PNC pitches one main long-term benefit of owning this card: points bonuses. Sound simple, but there are actually two parts to this: points on purchases and redemption boosts.

Points Bonuses on Purchases: 4 Points Per Dollar

For every dollar you spend on your PNC Points Visa, PNC will give you four points. So, a purchase of $100 gets 400 points. This is an incredible rewards rate, as most cash-back cards will give you between 1% and 2% rewards rates.

There’s a big difference between 4 points per dollar and a 2% or 1% cash back rate, though. You see, points don’t have any value unless you know how many points it takes to get, let’s say, $100.

Standard cash back cards are $0.01 per dollar, so 10,000 points equal $100. The PNC Point Visa does not use the traditional cash-back points value.

Instead of earning $100 for every 10,000 points, you’ll get $100 for every 50,000 points. Big difference, right?

But, to truly know how much you’ll have to spend in order to get that $100, we’re going to give you a chart that includes four cards with varying rewards rates:

Card Rewards Rate Amount Required to Spend to get $100
PNC Points Visa 4 points per dollar $12,500
Citi Double Cash 2% cash back $5,000
Quicksilver from Capital One 1.5% cash back $6,667
Discover it 1% $10,000

While the PNC Points Visa’s 4-points-per-$1 rate seems lucrative, it will actually take more spending to get $100 cash back than the other four cards on this list.

Based on this research, we don’t think that the PNC Points Visa is a good card to use for cash rewards. However, the good news is that you can redeem your points for merchandise, gift cards, and travel.

And guess what? The rewards rates are better for those things than the cash-back rewards rate we compared in the chart.

Shopping in the PNC Points Portal

To get an idea of how much your points are worth for merchandise, we snooped around the PNC Points mall and found a 12.9" iPad Pro with 32GB of storage for 429,744 points. You’d have to spend more than $100,000 on your card to get enough points to buy the iPad.

The same iPad costs $729 at Walmart.com. Using the Citi Double Cash’s 2:1 points ratio, it would take you about $36,000 in spending to get the iPad.

Points Boosts for Account Holders

The second bonus you get with your PNC Points Visa is a point boost that kicks in when you have other PNC products. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • 25% bonus for Virtual Wallet
  • 50% bonus for Performance Checking or Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend
  • 75% bonus for Performance Select Checking or Virtual Wallet with Performance Select

If you, for example, have a Performance Select Checking account, then your points total gets a 75% boost – 1,000 points are actually 1,750.

To get the 50% bonus, you’ll need to have an average monthly balance of $2,000 or direct deposits of the same amount. To get the 75% bonus, it’s $5,000.

If you can earn the 50% or 75%, the card’s rewards rates are far more valuable.

The PNC Points Visa’s Rates and Fees

Remember how we said earlier that credit card companies like PNC are betting that you’ll have late payments or you’ll carry a balance on your card? PNC, like every other credit card issuer, sets up interest rates and fees in the event that you’re late.

Here are the rates and fees you can expect with your points Visa:

  • APR: 12.74-22.74%
  • Penalty APR: 29.74
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%
  • Late/returned payment fees: Up to $35

Earlier in our review, we mentioned there’s a fee for balance transfers you need to remember. That fee will be 3%. If you transfer $3,000, the fee will be $90.

One thing to note is the penalty APR. PNC says this APR will kick in when you make a late payment. You’ll have to make six consecutive on-time minimum payments to get rid of the penalty.

PNC Points Visa Reviews

We took a look at what other credit card sites were saying about the PNC Points Visa and found that the general consensus is there are better cash back cards out there.

We tend to agree with this overall opinion and we’ll explain why in the next section about pros and cons.

Pros of the PNC Points Visa

The Points Visa has a decent intro offer of 12 months of no interest, a perk we think is the best feature of this card. Another plus is the lack of an annual fee. The points bonus is a good perk – we think the average person could easily get enough direct deposits to obtain the 50% bonus.

If you can qualify for the 75% bonus, then the points value on this enters the top tier of cash-back cards.

Cons of the PNC Points Visa

Based on our research, the value of PNC Points is low compared to other cash back cards like the Citi Double Cash and the Quicksilver from Capital One.

As we pointed out earlier, you’d have to spend $12,500 on your PNC Points Visa to get $100. The Citi Double Cash, on the other hand, only requires $5,000 in spending to get that $100.

Even though the 50% and 75% bonus increase the value of the card, the drawback is that you’ll have to open an additional account with PNC, something that not every consumer may be willing to do.

Who the PNC Points Visa is Good For

We see this card being good for PNC customers who want to keep their credit cards in house and need a 0% interest rate for purchases and balance transfers.

However, if you want a good cash rewards card, then try the PNC Cash Rewards Visa – it’s got some great rewards rates on everyday purchases and good redemption value.

See Also: 4 Types of Credit Cards Responsible Consumers Use for Big Rewards

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