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How to do an HSBC balance transfer

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If you’re considering transferring a balance to an HSBC credit card, there are many details and conditions you should know before getting started. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know, how to transfer a balance to a new or existing HSBC card and some frequently asked questions.

What you need to know about HSBC balance transfers

To start with, it’s important to note that HSBC’s current product offerings do not include an intro balance transfer offer for new cardmembers. However, this is subject to change. In the past, HSBC has issued several credit cards with 12- to 18-month 0 percent intro APR offers for balance transfers, so it’s possible they may bring back these offers in the future.

Before transferring a balance to an HSBC credit card, there are several other things to know:

  • You’re responsible for other lender payments. In order to maintain a good credit score and stick to your budget, you should continue making payments on your other credit cards until the transfer processes.
  • Some balance transfers are not allowed. You cannot transfer balances from an HSBC credit card, HSBC loan or HSBC affiliate to another HSBC card.
  • All transfers are subject to fees. Balance transfers with HSBC include a transfer fee of $10 or 4 percent of the transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Promotional balance transfer offers have time limits. Balance transfers with HSBC must be completed in the first 60 days after opening your account. HSBC may still accept balance transfers after the promotional offer expires, but the transfer will be subject to the card’s standard variable APR.
  • You may receive a promotional balance transfer offer. If you already have a card with HSBC, it may send you a promotional balance transfer offer. Term limits will be set within the offer details.

How to transfer a balance to an HSBC card

You can do an HSBC balance transfer online, by phone or by check if you have checks for your HSBC credit card.

How to transfer a balance to a new HSBC card

  1. On HSBC’s website, click “Apply now” on the HSBC credit card you want and fill out the form.
  2. Toward the end of the application process, you’ll be asked to enter the accounts from which you’d like to transfer your balances.
  3. Follow the prompts to complete the balance transfer.

Note that HSBC transfers the full amount from each card in the order you list them, up to your initial balance transfer limit. This limit is less than your available credit limit since the limit includes balance transfer fees and any interest charges. If you reach the limit on the initial balance transfer, HSBC will cancel the request for that account or reduce the amount of the balance transfer to match your limit.

How to transfer a balance to an existing HSBC card

  1. Log in to your HSBC account in the top right corner and navigate to the account summary screen.
  2. Choose the credit card account you want and click “Manage,” followed by “Manage card and alerts.”
  3. Go to the page for that account and select “Menu,” then “Manage accounts,” followed by “Balance Transfer.”
  4. Follow the prompts and provide the information required to begin your balance transfer, which usually includes the other account’s billing address. You can find this information on your credit card bill, but you may want to check with your issuer to ensure you have the right address for balance transfers.
  5. Once you enter the details of your accounts, click to accept the terms and conditions and then hit submit.

Frequently asked questions about HSBC balance transfers

How long does a balance transfer with HSBC take?

Balance transfers typically take anywhere from seven to 10 days to be processed. Once your request for a balance transfer has been processed and approved, you will receive a balance transfer for the amount requested (or your credit limit if your previous balance exceeds your new credit limit).

Do balance transfers affect your credit score?

Before you jump into your HSBC balance transfer, consider how it may affect your credit score. If you’re able to transfer high-interest debt to an HSBC credit card with a 0 percent APR offer, you should be able to pay down your debt faster, which will help to increase your credit score.

However, there are a few ways your score might be negatively impacted:

  • New credit accounts make up 10 percent of your credit score. If you open a new card for a balance transfer, your score may drop by a few points.
  • The overall length of your credit history accounts for 15 percent of your FICO credit score, and opening a new credit card will also lower that average. Fortunately, the longer your credit history is as a whole, the less impact a new account will have on this aspect of your credit score.
  • If you’re moving a balance from one card to another, you’re not reducing your overall debt. But it’s better to have two credit cards using half their available credit rather than a single card charged to the limit. The credit scoring agencies look at both your total credit utilization and the balance versus the credit limit on any single card.

The bottom line

If you’re offered a 0 percent promotional APR on balance transfers for a new or existing HSBC card, transferring higher-interest debt may be worth it. Promotional offers for balance transfers are a great way to consolidate debt without the stress of paying added interest. The key, though, is to remember to use your card wisely and to draft a plan to pay off your transferred debt before your card’s 0 percent promotional APR offer expires.

However, if you’re not offered a 0 percent APR offer with HSBC, it would be better to transfer a balance to a card that does provide an intro offer. The top balance transfer cards typically provide longer intro periods (up to 21 months) to pay off balances interest-free, and many of them include lower transfer fees of 3 percent. Before transferring a balance, be sure to compare card offerings to make sure you’re getting a balance transfer offer that works best for you.

Written by
Dan Rafter
Personal Finance Expert Contributor
Dan Rafter has been writing about personal finance for more than two decades, covering everything from credit scores, mortgage loans and debt to credit cards, insurance, real estate and student loans. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Fox Business, The Motley Fool, The Christian Science Monitor, LendingTree, Business Insider and Mental Floss Magazine. He's also the editor of Midwest Real Estate News, a trade magazine serving real estate professionals throughout the Midwest.
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