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HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card review

Published: October 22, 2018

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Published: October 22, 2018

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
1.9 rating
1.9 rating
1.9 / 5
Introductory Offer: 1.7
Net Value: 2.7
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard offers a long introductory period for balance transfers, but its balance transfer fee is on the high side and it lacks an introductory APR for new purchases.

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0% Introductory Period
15 months (See rates and fees)

Transfer Fee
4% (or $10, whichever is greater) (See rates and fees)

Introductory Purchase APR
None (See rates and fees)

Regular APR
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee; car rental insurance; airport concierge; travel assistance; travel medical assistance; legal referral services; roadside assistance; travel accident insurance; extended warranty; purchase protection; price protection; identity theft protection; mobile payments

Cash Back Rating:
3.6 rating
3.6 rating
3.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.4
Rewards Flexibility: 4.3
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

Less well-known than other 1.5 percent cash back cards from bigger banks, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard stands out from its competitors with a solid 10 percent anniversary bonus that can substantially boost cardholders’ earnings.

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Rewards Rate

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • 10% bonus on cash rewards earned each year


Sign-up Bonus
$150 if you spend $2,500 in the card’s first three months

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$312

APR
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Pros

  • Cash back doesn’t expire
  • No limit on the amount you can earn
  • Redeem any amount of cash back
  • Redeem earnings for a statement credit, a deposit into an HSBC account, travel and experiences, gift cards, merchandise or charity

Cons

  • You can’t transfer your cash to other programs

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee; car rental insurance; airport concierge; travel assistance; travel medical assistance; legal referral services; roadside assistance; travel accident insurance; extended warranty; purchase protection; price protection; identity theft protection; mobile payments

No Annual Fee Rating:
3.6 rating
3.6 rating
3.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.1
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard’s annual 10-percent bonus makes it a worthy contender as a no-annual-fee cash rewards card.

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Rewards Rate

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • 10% bonus on cash rewards earned each year

Sign-up Bonus
$150 if you spend $2,500 in the card’s first three months

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$312

APR
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Pros

  • Cash back doesn’t expire
  • No limit on the amount you can earn
  • Redeem any amount of cash back
  • Redeem earnings for a statement credit, a deposit into an HSBC account, travel and experiences, gift cards, merchandise or charity

Cons

  • You can’t transfer your cash to other programs

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee; car rental insurance; airport concierge; travel assistance; travel medical assistance; legal referral services; roadside assistance; travel accident insurance; extended warranty; purchase protection; price protection; identity theft protection; mobile payments

Rewards Rating:
3.4 rating
3.4 rating
3.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 2.5
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a Nutshell:

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard’s 10-percent annual bonus gives it a little more oomph than your average cash back card, but you can get more value out of a points-based card.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • 10% bonus on cash rewards earned each year


Sign-up Bonus
$150 if you spend $2,500 in the card’s first three months

Annual Fee
$0 (See rates and fees)

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$312

APR
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% (variable) (See rates and fees)

Pros

  • Cash back doesn’t expire
  • No limit on the amount you can earn
  • Redeem any amount of cash back
  • Redeem earnings for a statement credit, a deposit into an HSBC account, travel and experiences, gift cards, merchandise or charity

Cons

  • You can’t transfer your cash to other programs

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee; car rental insurance; airport concierge; travel assistance; travel medical assistance; legal referral services; roadside assistance; travel accident insurance; extended warranty; purchase protection; price protection; identity theft protection; mobile payments

    The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard doesn’t get as much attention as better-known competitors, such as the Capital One Quicksilver card or Chase Freedom Unlimited. But cardholders who snap up this under-the-radar gem will find that it delivers quite a bit more value than the typical cash back card.

    Like other cards in its class, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard offers the same flat rewards rate on every purchase – which is a big perk for busy cardholders who like the simplicity of earning the same rewards rate for everything they buy. This card also makes it easy for cardholders to maximize their earnings, based on how they like to use credit.

    For example, you can pair this card with higher maintenance rewards cards that offer bigger bonuses on certain types of purchases, but only offer 1 percent back on general purchases. Or you can just use this as your primary card and collect your automatic cash back bonus without spending any more valuable time thinking about credit card rewards programs. Just dip or swipe your card, redeem your cash when you’re ready and you’re done.

    What makes this card stand out from other cards with similar hassle-free rewards structures, though, is its 10-percent anniversary bonus that cardholders get every year that they renew their account. A 10-percent bonus may seem small, but it can add up – especially if you’ve already earned a sizable amount.

    Here’s what else you should know about the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard:

    A reliable cash back rate

    Many cash back cards with flashier rewards programs promise eye-popping bonuses on certain types of purchases. But, in practice, the rewards can be difficult to earn and build up quickly.

    For example, a 5-percent cash back card with rotating category bonuses requires you to monitor spending categories that change every three months and strategically shift your spending so that you earn the maximum amount. If you forget to pay attention or don’t buy enough in a certain category during the right time period, you may not earn much overall.

    A cash back card with a flat rewards rate, by contrast, is more reliable. You’ll always earn your 1.5 cash back bonus, no matter what you buy or when you buy it.

    Significant rewards

    You can also earn quite a bit back with this type of card if you use it as an everyday spending tool and charge all or most of your purchases. For example, if you typically charge around $2,800 a month, you’ll collect more than $500 by the end of the year.

    Or, if you don’t mind taking the time to strategize and maximize your purchases, you could really turbocharge your earnings by pairing this card with a card that offers higher returns on certain purchases. You could alternate this card with a 5-percent cash back card and use it on any purchase that doesn’t earn 5 percent cash back.

    A carrot for cardholders who keep coming back

    Unlike other better-known cards that offer 1.5 percent cash back, this card also amply rewards loyal cardholders who keep using their HSBC Mastercard year after year. Each year you hit your account anniversary, you’ll get a 10-percent bonus on all the cash you earned that year.

    That may not sound like much, but it can really add up. For example, if you earned $500, you’d get an extra $50 back – enough to treat yourself to a fancy dinner or some other luxury you wouldn’t have otherwise splurged on.

    No foreign transaction fee

    The HSBC Mastercard also stands out from other cash back cards by waiving foreign transaction fees, allowing you to travel with your card without worrying about whether you’ll incur extra fees abroad.

    That’s a nice perk for a cash back card. You can easily find travel rewards cards that don’t charge a foreign transaction fee. However, many of the leading cash back cards from major banks charge foreign transaction fees as high as 3 percent.

    More affordable interest rates

    The HSBC card’s APR is also surprisingly affordable – especially compared to similar cash back cards. Its minimum APR runs as low as 14.99 percent – a rate that’s increasingly hard to find, even on lower interest rate credit cards.

    The average cash back card, by contrast, charges an APR around 17.14 percent, according to CreditCards.com data. Meanwhile, the HSBC card’s highest APR maxes out at 24.99 percent, which is high, but better than what many competitors charge.

    Why get the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard?

    • You want a low maintenance cash back card that earns the same rate on every purchase.
    • You want to earn an extra 10 percent back each year.
    • You want to use your card abroad or to make international purchases.
    • You want a lower interest rate than what’s typically available on cash back cards.

    How to use the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard:

    • If this is your only card, use it for all or most of your purchases in order to maximize your cash back.
    • Or, if you’re pairing this card with other higher earning rewards cards, use this card to pay for any purchase that doesn’t earn a higher rate on one of your other cards.
    • Avoid a foreign transaction fee by using this card any time you want to buy something from a foreign country using a credit card.

    Our reviews and best card recommendations are based on an objective rating process and are not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

    All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

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