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PNC BusinessOptions® Visa Signature® Credit Card Review

At a Glance
pnc businessoptions credit card
4.2 / 5
Rating

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PNC BusinessOptions® Visa Signature® Credit Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Rewards Option #1: 1.5% cash back on all spending with revolving credit line; 1.0% cash back on all spending with the pay-in-full option
  • Rewards Option #2: 5 points per $1 spent on everything; points redeemable for gift cards, travel, merchandise, statement credits, and more
  • Rewards Option #3: 1 mile per $1 spent on everything; redeemable for statement credits against travel purchases
  • Benefits: Option to choose from revolving credit line (credit card) or pay-in-full (charge card); Visa Signature travel benefits; online expense tracking and reporting
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee; greater of $5 or 3% for balance transfers; greater of $10 or 4% for cash advances
  • Annual Fee: $0 to $500, depending on spending
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The PNC BusinessOptions® Visa Signature® Credit Card is a business credit card designed for small and midsize companies. As its name suggests, it’s all about options – lots of options.

BusinessOptions customers can choose from a charge card (“pay-in-full”) or traditional credit card (“revolve”) option, depending on their needs. The pay-in-full option comes with a much higher spending limit, but requires cardholders to pay their balances off in full by the statement due date.

BusinessOptions also offers 3 different rewards program options: cash back, PNC Points (an in-house loyalty currency), and travel miles that can be redeemed for statement credits against travel purchases. Cardholders can choose whichever program best suits their needs.

According to PNC, BusinessOptions is meant for cardholders “with annual credit card spend of $50,000 or more,” so it’s not for very small or frugal businesses with few expenses. That’s underscored by the annual fee system, which penalizes low-spending cardholders: the annual fee is $500 for those who spend less than $50,000 per year. On the bright side, cardholders who spend more than $100,000 each year pay no annual fee. And the sign-up bonus is nearly enough to offset the first-year annual fee, even at the lowest annual spending tier.

If you’re in the market for a new business credit card, take a closer look at PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions. It’s not like other business credit cards – and that can be a good or bad thing, depending on where you’re sitting.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

When you spend at least $15,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 billing cycles your account is open, you get a $400 statement credit.

Revolving Credit Line or Pay-in-Full

The PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions Credit Card is available as a charge card or a traditional credit card. The charge card option, known as pay-in-full, requires you to pay your monthly balance in full by the statement due date. Failure to do so puts you at risk of default and may result in the closure of your account. The credit card option, known as revolving credit (or simply “revolve”), lets you pay your balance over time. Balances not paid in full by the statement due date accrue interest at a variable APR.

Spending Limits

Every BusinessOptions cardholder is assigned a spending limit based on their creditworthiness and income. Revolving cardholders’ credit limits can range as high as $50,000, while pay-in-full cardholders’ limits can range up to $250,000.

Optional Cash Back Rewards Program

The first of the PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions Credit Card’s rewards programs is a cash back rewards scheme that itself offers 2 different configurations, depending on whether you’re a revolve or pay-in-full customer. Revolve customers earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending. Pay-in-full customers earn unlimited 1% cash back on all spending.

In both cases, cash back rewards are automatically redeemed as quarterly statement credits on the March, June, September, and December statements, regardless of how much was earned during the previous quarter.

Optional PNC Points Rewards Program

The second rewards option revolves around PNC Points. For every $1 you spend with your card, you earn 5 PNC Points, with no caps or restrictions. PNC Points can be redeemed for a wide variety of items, including travel, gift cards, general merchandise, experiences, statement credits, and more.

PNC Points are typically worth well under $0.01 apiece at redemption, but their value can fluctuate dramatically depending on the redemption method. The minimum redemption amount varies by category.

Optional Travel Rewards Program

The third rewards option involves travel miles. For every $1 spent, you earn 1 travel mile, with no caps or restrictions. You can redeem your miles for statement credits against qualifying travel purchases (including airfare and hotels). If redeeming for airfare, you must redeem at least 25,000 miles, and in 5,000 increments thereafter (30,000, 35,000, and so on). If redeeming for hotels or other types of travel, you must redeem in increments of 5,000 miles. You can also redeem for general, non-travel statement credits, also in 5,000-mile increments.

Miles are worth $0.0126 apiece when redeemed for air travel, $0.01 apiece when redeemed for other travel purchases, and $0.008 when redeemed for general statement credits.

Expense Tracking and Reporting Tools

This card comes with a nice lineup of expensive tracking and reporting tools, including an app that lets you categorize business expenses and segment expenditures at the employee card level – a nice help if you’re managing multiple employee cards and need to keep each person’s spending straight.

Important Fees

The annual fee ranges from $0 to $500, depending on spending, and is always waived in the first year.

Cardholders who spend between $0 and $49,999.99 each year pay $500. Cardholders with annual spend between $50,000 and $74,999.99 pay $250. Cardholders who spend between $75,000 and $99,999.99 pay $125. And cardholders who spend more than $100,000 pay nothing.

There is no foreign transaction fee or employee card (authorized user) fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 4%. Late payment fees cost $49 for revolving credit customers and $39 for pay-in-full customers. Returned payments cost $35. If you want a custom card with your business logo on it, it costs $350 per account.

Checking Account Fee Waiver

When you designate your PNC Bank business checking account as your billing account for this card, you can offset its monthly maintenance fee (if any).

Travel and Purchase Benefits

As a Visa Signature product, this card comes with a host of travel benefits underwritten by Visa. These include:

  • Complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars charged in full with the card
  • Roadside dispatch for stranded travelers
  • Extended warranties on certain qualifying purchases
  • Purchase protection for registered items stolen or damaged within 90 to 120 days of purchase
  • Travel accident insurance, a bare-bones form of travel insurance
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Visa Signature Concierge, which helps travelers book hotels, restaurant reservations, and more

Credit Required

The PNC BusinessOptions Card requires good to excellent credit. Additionally, your spending limit and pay-in-full qualification is likely to depend on your company’s income.

Advantages

  1. Choice of 3 Rewards Programs. The PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions Credit Card lets you choose from 3 different rewards programs: cash back, in-house loyalty currency, or travel rewards. Virtually all other business credit cards stick you with a single rewards program, even if it’s not particularly well suited to your needs.
  2. Choice of Pay-in-Full or Revolving Credit Line. As a PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions Credit Card user, you can choose to use your card as an interest-accruing traditional credit card or a pay-in-full charge card. If you like the freedom to finance large purchases and pay off your balance over time, the former is ideal. If you prefer to pay off your statements in full and avoid the temptation to carry balances, the latter is likely to be your cup of tea. Most competing cards don’t give you a choice at all.
  3. Nice Sign-up Bonus. When you spend at least $15,000 within the first 3 billing cycles, you get a $400 statement credit. That’s better than most competing business cash back credit cards, though the spending threshold is rather high.
  4. Potential for High Spending Limit. This card’s spending limit ranges as high as $250,000. If you need a business credit card with singular spending power, it’s hard to do better than the PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions Credit Card.
  5. No Foreign Transaction Fee. The PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions Credit Card has no foreign transaction fee. That’s great news for regular international travelers. Many competing cards charge foreign transaction fees between 2% and 3%, effectively negating their rewards on overseas purchases.
  6. No Fees for Employee Cards. PNC doesn’t charge for employee credit cards, no matter how many you need. That’s a big advantage for primary cardholders who own larger businesses with multiple employees authorized to spend on behalf of the company. Some business cards charge $50 to $100 per year, per employee card, which can quickly become prohibitive for larger firms.

Disadvantages

  1. Low Spenders Pay High Annual Fees. To varying degrees, the PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions Credit Card’s annual fee schedule penalizes cardholders who spend less than $100,000 per year. If you spend less than $75,000, you need to swallow an annual fee of at least $250 – and double that if your spending comes in under $50,000. That’s much higher than comparable business credit cards, most of which cost no more than $99 per year to keep in your wallet.
  2. High Spending Threshold for Sign-up Bonus. This card’s sign-up bonus requires a lot of early spending: $15,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 billing cycles. That’s not insurmountable for heavy-spending business owners, but it’s definitely beyond the means of most solopreneurs.
  3. Pay-in-Full Cash Back Rate Is Low. When you select the pay-in-full option with cash back rewards, you consign yourself to a 1% cash back earning rate. That’s considerably lower than popular business credit cards issued by Capital One – for example, Capital One Spark Cash earns unlimited 2% cash back, with no strings attached, and Capital One Spark Cash Select (ideal for businesses with less-than-perfect credit) earns unlimited 1.5%.
  4. Travel Rewards Program Is Underwhelming. This card’s travel rewards program is pretty underwhelming. You can’t earn more than 1 mile per $1 spent, regardless of the spending category or your total annual spend, and the maximum value of your redeemed points is $0.0126 – an effective maximum earning rate of 1.26%. By contrast, business travel cards such as Capital One Spark Miles earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent and redemption values of $0.01 apiece – an effective 2% earning rate.
  5. Cash Back Redeemed Quarterly. If you select the cash back rewards option, you need to get used to automatic, quarterly redemptions. While it’s nice that you don’t have to take any action to redeem your cash back, it’s annoying that you have to wait 3 months between redemptions. Most other cash back cards, including Chase Ink Cash, allow you to redeem on a monthly basis.

Final Word

The PNC BusinessOptions® Visa Signature® Credit Card offers way more than your average credit card, for better and worse. Few other business credit cards let you choose from 3 completely different rewards programs – technically 4, since the cash back program is different for revolve and pay-in-full customers.

On the other hand, the graduated annual fee is unusual. It works in high-spending cardholders’ favor, but it’s a terrible deal for cardholders who spend less than $50,000 per year – their $500 annual fee is higher than most other business cards, and BusinessOptions’ other benefits definitely aren’t worth that kind of recurring fee.

More so than most other credit cards, PNC Visa Signature BusinessOptions is appropriate in certain situations only. Before applying, you need to determine whether you’re a good candidate. If you are, BusinessOptions will take you far. If you’re not, look to one of its many worthy competitors.

Verdict
pnc businessoptions credit card
4.2 / 5
Rating

Apply Now

PNC BusinessOptions® Visa Signature® Credit Card

The PNC BusinessOptions® Visa Signature® Credit Card is ideal for small and midsize business owners who spend heavily – ideally, more than $100,000 per year – and fancy the freedom to sculpt their credit cards to their liking. With no foreign transaction fees and a relatively low APR range on the revolve option, BusinessOptions is a great choice for business owners and employees who routinely travel internationally and carry balances. However, some of the rewards options (notably the pay-in-full cash back scheme and the travel rewards arrangement for both cards) are underwhelming.

The PNC BusinessOptions Card’s biggest benefits include the ability to choose between 3 different rewards programs, the choice of pay-in-full (charge) or revolving credit line, a solid sign-up bonus, the potential for a high spending limit (up to $250,000), the lack of a foreign transaction fee, the relatively low APR range, and the no-fee employee cards.

The biggest drawbacks are the high annual fees for people who spend less than $100,000, the poor cash back rate on pay-in-full cards, the underwhelming travel rewards program, and the quarterly cash back redemptions.

Overall, this is a very good card for heavy-spending business owners with lots of employees and (ideally) preexisting relationships with PNC Bank.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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