HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card may not be the most well-known cash back credit card, but you can utilize this card’s array of perks and bonus offers to get a lot of value in the first year.
Credit card beginners (who have qualifying credit scores) can utilize its array of perks and benefits to determine what type of card will work best for you in the long term. Even experienced cardholders can maximize this card’s high first-year rewards potential to rake in some solid cash back rewards.
For long-term cash back rewards or debt consolidation, however, there are better options out there for your wallet.
Here are the details
The card offers a little bit of everything: an intro bonus, a balance transfer offer, cash back rewards, travel benefits and shopping benefits. You’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, plus $150 cash back after spending $2,500 in the first three months. As an added bonus, HSBC awards cardholders 10% anniversary cash back each year.
The first-year value of this card is its primary draw. Unlimited 1.5% cash back adds up over the course of a year, and you can double your earnings by taking advantage of both the introductory bonus offer and the 10% anniversary bonus. There is no annual fee, this card can take a back seat in your wallet after you’ve capitalized on the first-year value.
While the HSBC Cash Rewards card offers a few nice perks, it doesn’t specialize in any particular category.
Frequent travelers will enjoy no foreign transaction fees, travel accident insurance, roadside assistance and MasterAssist® Travel Assistance Services. While these are useful perks for travelers, the card offers no way for you to maximize rewards on travel expenses or transfer your rewards to partners for higher redemptions.
Shoppers can utilize perks such as price protection, Purchase Assurance® and extended warranty (up to an additional year); however, HSBC has no shopping portal for cardholders (a big draw for many brands with loyalty rewards programs).
Worthy addition to your wallet?
The HSBC Cash Rewards card does have its advantages, but you’re likely to find better long-term value in other credit cards.
Within the first year, you can reap a lot of cash back rewards if you use the card for most purchases. Credit card beginners can also take advantage of the variety of perks the card offers, which can help you narrow down what type of card will ultimately work better for you.
If after using this card for a year, you find you enjoy the simplicity of the rewards system, then you can move on to a flat-rate cash back credit card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – which offers 2% cash back on all purchases (1% at initial purchase plus an additional 1% once paid). If you end up spending more in certain categories, a card like the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Chase Freedom® can help you better maximize cash back rewards. If you end up utilizing the travel perks that the HSBC Cash Rewards card offers, a travel-focused card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will be a better fit for your needs.
Those well-versed in the credit card game can certainly utilize the first-year rewards potential, but the bottom line is that there are more worthwhile credit cards out there. This card doesn’t really pair well with others, and those looking for specific perks or card features can find more specialized cards.
If you have excellent credit you can score a low variable interest rate at 15.24%, but if your credit score is at the lower end of their average approval score (~680), you might get stuck with their max 25.24% variable interest rate.
How much are rewards worth?
As mentioned above, the main draw to this card is the rewards potential it carries for the first year. The card offers $150 back after spending $2,500 in the first three months, and you’ll earn an extra 10% anniversary bonus on all cash rewards at the end of each year.
Assuming your average monthly spend is $1,600 on your credit card, you’ll earn around $480 in cash back rewards by the end of your first year of card ownership. After the first year, however, that would decrease to about $316 in cash back each year. While $316 is a solid reward, you can earn more with other no annual fee cards such as the Citi Double Cash Card mentioned earlier.
If you’re looking for a solid balance transfer fee card, the HSBC Cash Rewards Card does offer 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers (15.24%,19.24% or 25.24% variable APR after intro period) with a 4% balance transfer fee. You could save up to $2,000 in interest if you paid off the debt by the end of the introductory period.
Fees and APR
- No annual fee.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Balance transfer fee of either $10 or 4%, whichever is greater.
- 0% intro APR for 15 months on Balance Transfers, then a 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable APR after.
How this card compares
HSBC vs. Citi® Double Cash Card
If you’re planning on using your credit card for most of your monthly expenses while paying off the balance each month, the Citi Double Cash Mastercard can easily out-earn the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard. The Double Cash offers 1% cash back on all purchases, plus an extra 1% cash back when you pay off your balance. Double Cash also comes with perks similar to the HSBC, such as trip insurance and purchase protection.
However, the Double Cash does not come with an introductory offer, so each card has its advantages depending on whether you’re looking for short-term or long-term value.
HSBC vs. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
For those who spend heavily on dining and entertainment, you’ll be hard pressed to find a credit card better than the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card. You can earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Even with the $95 annual fee (waived the first year), the earning potential with this card easily surpasses the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard depending on your spending habits.
If you qualify for the Savor and can hit the $3,000 spend within the first three months required for the $500 cash bonus, this card can really make a great addition to your wallet.
How to get the most value from this card
In order to get the most value out of this card, you need to maximize the high first-year earning potential. Take advantage of the cash bonus by hitting that $2,500 spend within your first three months of card ownership, and use the card for the majority of your purchases to make the 10% anniversary rewards bonus worth it.