Will Wells Fargo's Active Cash card lose its crown to PNC's new card?



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Let the cash back card game begin. The PNC Cash Unlimited® Visa Signature* Credit Card launches today, joining the Robinhood Gold Card* as a challenger to the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card as the best flat-rate cash rewards card in town.

Active Cash faces stiff competition thanks to PNC Cash Unlimited's fixed cash back rate, no annual fee, APR on introductory purchases, and multiple protections including Cell Phone Protection and Purchase Security. But remember, you need to be a PNC Bank customer to qualify.

More information about PNC Cash Unlimited

PNC Cash Unlimited features include:

  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase, which you can redeem for bill points or have cash back deposited directly into your PNC bank account or investment account
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 billing periods (then 19.24% to 30.24% variable)
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Purchase security features that protect your new purchases from Protected Conditions for 90 days
  • Cell Phone Protection, which pays up to $800 to replace a stolen or damaged phone after a $50 deductible

PNC Cash Unlimited vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash

Both credit cards earn the same rewards rates, and both have introductory APRs on purchases and balance transfers. However, there are some important differences to point out.

Introductory APR

Active Cash offers a longer introductory APR than the new PNC card. You'll enjoy 0% APR on introductory purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening (then 20.24%, 25.24% or 29.99% variable). The difference is relatively small (15 months compared to 12 months), but the extra 3 months gives you the time you need to finance a larger purchase.

purchase protection

Wells Fargo Active Cash does not offer any type of purchase protection, while PNC Cash Unlimited will cover your new purchases for 90 days.

cell phone protection

This one's close: Active Cash offers up to $600 in protection against damage or theft to your phone (minus a $25 deductible).

PNC Cash Unlimited offers more coverage (up to $800), but also has a higher deductible of $50.

foreign transaction fees

Active Cash charges a 3% foreign currency exchange fee, which means carrying Active Cash isn't a good option if you plan on traveling abroad.

However, PNC Cash Unlimited doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, which means if you don't already have a travel credit card, you can use it abroad without having to worry about paying extra fees for transactions.

welcome bonus

Perhaps most importantly, the PNC Card doesn't offer a welcome bonus of any kind. With Active Cash, new cardholders can earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. That might be enough to tip the scales in Active Cash's favor.

How about the Robin Hood Gold Card?

Robinhood's new card earns 5% cash back on trips booked through Robinhood and 3% cash back on all other bookings. It does not offer an introductory purchase APR or welcome bonus. It also charges a $50 Robinhood Gold membership fee.

There are some other differences when it comes to redeeming rewards, and it's not always the best value option depending on how much you spend each month.



CNET's Choice

PNC Cash Unlimited® Visa Signature® Credit Card

6.6/10
CNET Ratings


CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of similar competitors. Each card is individually evaluated using a formula that reflects contemporary market standards and expectations. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings.How we rate credit cards

Introductory offer

There are currently no offers

annual fee
$0

annual interest rate

19.24% – 30.24% (variable)

Introduction to purchase annual interest rate
The introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles after account opening is 0%.

referral credit


Credit scores are used to indicate an applicant's creditworthiness and can provide guidance on account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval of any financial product.

not applicable

Reward rate

2% cash back


Earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

9.5/10
CNET Ratings


CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of similar competitors. Each card is individually evaluated using a formula that reflects contemporary market standards and expectations. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings.How we rate credit cards

Introductory offer

$200 cash reward


Get a $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 in the first 3 months. Select Apply Now to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.

annual fee
$0

annual interest rate

20.24%, 25.24% or 29.99% variable annual interest rate

Introduction to purchase annual interest rate
0% introductory annual interest rate within 15 months from account opening

referral credit


Credit scores are used to indicate an applicant's creditworthiness and can provide guidance on account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval of any financial product.

Good – Excellent

Reward rate

2%


Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Robin Hood Gold Card

6.5/10
CNET Ratings


CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of similar competitors. Each card is individually evaluated using a formula that reflects contemporary market standards and expectations. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings.How we rate credit cards

Introductory offer

There are currently no offers

annual fee
not applicable

annual interest rate

20.24% – 29.99%

Introduction to Purchase APR
not applicable

referral credit


Credit scores are used to indicate an applicant's creditworthiness and can provide guidance on account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval of any financial product.

not applicable

Reward rate

3% – 5%


Earn 5% cash back when you book travel through the Robinhood Travel Portal; 3% cash back on all eligible categories

How to choose the right card

Since both credit cards have the same rewards rates, the choice really comes down to the additional fees. If you're looking for a versatile rewards card that you can take with you when traveling internationally this summer, the PNC Card is a cost-effective option.

But if you want to finance a large purchase, Active Cash will give you more time to pay off the purchase. If you reach the card's $500 spending threshold within three months, you can earn an additional $200 in cash bonus. That's a pretty low threshold that you can meet with just a few months' worth of groceries and gas expenses.

To put that into perspective, you have to spend $10,000 on PNC Cash Unlimited to get the $200 bonus (10,000 x .02). This gives Active Cash significant advantages.

Basically, Active Cash will bring more returns and offer longer time to finance purchases, but you won't be able to use it internationally without incurring additional fees, and you'll miss out on purchase protection benefits.

bottom line

While PNC Cash Unlimited has some attractive features (i.e. extra purchase protection and no foreign transaction fees), it falls short of Active Cash due to its easy-to-earn welcome bonus and longer APR on introductory purchases. s level.

However, if the PNC card one day lets you earn a welcome bonus, Active Cash might be dethroned from its top spot.

*All information about the PNC Cash Unlimited and Robinhood Gold Cards is collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective, independent assessment of our authors and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It is not provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services provided by our partners.



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