Comparing HSBC Credit Card Offers
One of the largest banks in the world and the biggest in Europe, HSBC's history dates back to serving as a locally owned bank in Hong Kong and Shanghai beginning in 1865. Today, it holds an impressive global reach. Its competitive credit cards rival the more familiar cards from the likes of Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, offering expansive benefits in addition to superior rewards. Here, we look at:
- What is HSBC?
- HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard
- HSBC Gold Mastercard
- HSBC rewards program and best redemption options
- Other benefits of having HSBC cards
What is HSBC?
A Britain-based bank, HSBC was founded in 1865 to bridge trade between Europe and China. Called Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, the bank opened in Hong Kong in March 1865, and in Shanghai a month later. Originally a locally owned bank, today, it spans the world.
HSBC, the seventh largest bank in the world, according to S&P Global Intelligence, is also Europe's largest, with $2.37 trillion in assets in 2017. Here is where HSBC stands in the world:
World's largest banks in 2017...
|1||Industrial & Commercial Bank of China||$3.47 trillion||China|
|2||China Construction Bank Corp.||$3.01 trillion||China|
|3||Agricultural Bank of China||$2.81 trillion||China|
|4||Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group||$2.72 trillion||Japan|
|5||Bank of China||$2.61 trillion||China|
|6||JPMorgan Chase & Co.||$2.49 trillion||U.S.|
|7||HSBC Holdings||$2.37 trillion||U.K.|
|8||BNP Paribas||$2.19 trillion||France|
|9||Bank of America||$2.18 trillion||U.S.|
|10||Wells Fargo & Co.||$1.93 trillion||U.S.|
Source: S&P Global Intelligence
HSBC's global reach spans commercial banking, wealth management and more.
- Commercial banking – Serving 53 countries and territories, this division includes:
- Global trade and receivables finance
- Global liquidity and cash management
- Global banking
- Insurance and investments
- Global banking and markets – With 2 million business customers, this division offers:
- Prime services
- Research and analysis
- Securities services
- Trading and sales
- Transaction banking
- Global private banking – Services offered include private banking, investment and wealth management services to business owners, entrepreneurs, senior executives and their families.
- Retail banking and wealth management – Services include personal banking, mortgages, loans, credit cards, savings and investments and insurance.
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard goes toe-to-toe with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, with a $150 sign-up bonus after a $500 spend within the first 3 months and 1.5% back on all purchases. This card also offers a 10% anniversary bonus on all cash rewards, a rare treat.
What we love about this card – It's not every day that you find a cash back card with no foreign transaction fee. This card can be ideal for online shopping with international vendors or for foreign travel, as it is also rich in travel and shopping benefits, including price protection and pre-trip planning assistance.
HSBC Cash Rewards vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited
|Card||HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard||Chase Freedom Unlimited|
|Sign-up bonus||$150 / $500 spend in 3 mths||$150 / $500 spend in 3 mths|
|Ongoing rewards||1.5% * $500 * 12 mths = $90||1.5% * $500 * 12 mths = $90|
|Anniversary reward||$90 + $150 * 10% = $24||N/A|
|Total value at end of first year||$264||$240|
Although there is no 0% offer on purchases, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard delivers a competitive 15-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers (then variable APR of 14.74%, 18.74%, or 24.74%).
HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card
While there are no ongoing rewards or sign-up bonuses, that's not why you would want this card. With the HSBC Gold Mastercard, you can get a whopping 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers and purchases, which rivals the Citi Simplicity Card. That means you'll pay no interest going into 2020. There's also a generous late fee waiver and no penalty APR.
What we love about this card – As generous as the 0% APR is, there's another advantage to this card – the variable APR starts as 12.74%, well below the national average. The rate goes up to 20.74%, which is still well under the high rate for many balance transfer cards. So, if you find that you may need to go over a few months, know that your interest charges would be more manageable with this card.
Comparing interest charges after 18-month 0% APR offer, assuming the minimum variable APR
|Card||Interest rate||Monthly payment||Balance||Number of additional months||Interest paid|
|HSBC Gold Mastercard||12.74%||$200||$5,000||8||$62.69|
|Citi Simplicity Card||15.74%||$200||$5,000||8||$78.42|
HSBC rewards program and best redemption options
With no foreign transaction fee and a minimum of 1:1 redemption for cash and points, the HSBC cards strike a chord for the world traveler. There's also the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card, with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus after a $4,000 spend in 3 months that becomes a whopping $750 in air travel, and the HSBC Premier World Mastercard credit card's 35,000-point sign-up bonus after a $3,000 spend in 3 months, which becomes $400 in air travel.
For the HSBC Cash Rewards card, there's also the 10% anniversary bonus earned each year. For example, if you earned $500 in cash, you'll receive an additional $50 anniversary bonus. There's no limit on the amount of cash rewards you can earn and no expiration date.
Here's how the rewards on the Cash Rewards Mastercard can be redeemed:
This can be used toward travel, purchases and more.
Choose from hundreds of gift cards from a wide selection of dining, travel, shopping and entertainment merchants.
Choose from leading brand name reward items, including electronics, luggage, kitchenware, sports gear and more.
Fly on most major airlines with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. Search, book and pay for flights, hotels, and car rentals using the HSBC online travel rewards site. Or request a statement credit, within 90 days, to reimburse a travel purchase when you book your own travel with your card.
Other cards, such as the Premier World Elite Mastercard, allow you to redeem points for flights, reservations and car rentals through the bank's travel portal or as a statement credit.
Other benefits of having HSBC cards
Here are other benefits you can get with your HSBC card, according to the card issuer:
- Through MasterAssist, travel assistance services can provide pre-trip destination information, emergency medical and legal referrals when traveling, lost luggage assistance and more.
- If your car breaks down while traveling within the United States, they'll send help.
- Your $1 million travel accident insurance covers you, your spouse, and unmarried dependent children when traveling on a common carrier.
- Purchase Assurance covers most purchases up to $1,000 against accidental damage or theft for 90 days from the date of purchase.
- An extended warranty doubles your original warranty for up to one additional year.
- With price protection, you can be refunded the difference if you buy an item and then see it advertised for less within 60 days.
- Mobile payment options enable you to make purchases through Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
- The contactless payment feature allows you to tap your card on a special payment reader at checkout.
- If your identity is compromised, you'll receive one-on-one support until your claim is resolved.
- Your card includes a security chip that makes it difficult to duplicate and provides enhanced protection when you use your card at chip-enabled transaction terminals worldwide.
- If you report your card lost or stolen, you will not be responsible for any unauthorized transactions on your account. If you need to make purchases or arrange for a cash advance, in most cases, you can receive a temporary card the next day in the United States and within two business days almost everywhere else.
Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura's work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.