2017 HSBC Cash Back Credit Card Review – WalletHub Editors
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The Verdict: The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card (HSBC is a WalletHub partner) is among the top cash back credit cards on the market, especially early on. You get a $150 initial bonus for spending $500 within three months of account opening. And for a limited time, you’ll also earn 2% cash back on every purchase for the first six months. Once that six-month promotional period ends, your earning rate drops to 1.5% cash back on all purchases. But that’s still very good – around 50% better than average, according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
The HSBC Cash Back Credit Card’s top-notch rewards also have a solid supporting cast, so to speak. Most importantly, there’s no annual fee. That makes it about $16 per year cheaper. than the average card. Its lack of a foreign transaction fee should also be welcome news for anyone planning international travel or spending.
Financing is the HSBC Cash Rewards Card’s biggest weakness. Yes, it does offer a 0% introductory balance transfer APR for the first 15 months, well beyond the market average of 11 months. But it also charges a 4% balance transfer fee, while the average balance transfer credit card charges roughly 2.6%. Furthermore, the HSBC Cash Rewards Card’s 0% balance transfer offer does not extend to new purchases. And its regular APR could be above even the average among credit cards for people with fair credit, despite the card requiring good or excellent credit for approval.
So if you have good credit or better and want a card for everyday purchases that offers a consistently high earning rate with a few extras thrown in, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard should definitely be in the running. And if you don’t know what shape your credit is in, you can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub, the only site with free daily updates.
- $150 Bonus for Spending $500 in 3 Months: The average cash back card with an initial bonus offers just $114, or 24% less than the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard. Very few cards offer bigger cash back bonuses. And when you convert this bonus into percentage terms, you’re earning 30% cash back.
- 2% Cash Back for 6 Months: The HSBC Cash Rewards Card offers a second initial bonus of sorts, giving you 2% cash back for the first half year you have it. That’s half of a percent point more than you’ll earn otherwise. So for every $200 you spend, you’ll earn $1 extra in rewards. This temporary 2% earning rate is also nearly double the market average for a cash back credit card.
- 1.5% Cash Back Base Earning Rate: This rate applies to every purchase you make, which makes this card much simpler than many rewards competitors. It’s also more lucrative, considering that the average cash rewards card gives you slightly more than 1% back.
- No Annual Fee: This saves you about $16 per year compared to the average credit card. Most cash back credit cards for people with good or excellent credit don’t charge annual fees, though.
- 10% Annual Rewards Bonus: The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard keeps you engaged by giving you a bonus equal to 10% of the cash back rewards that you earn each year, following your account anniversary. When you factor in the initial bonus, this effectively pushes your earning rate to 2.5% cash back the first year and 1.65% after. Not too shabby.
High Regular APR: The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard’s regular APR is advertised as a wide range: 13.99% - 23.99% (V). The exact amount depends on your overall creditworthiness. So people with excellent credit generally get a rate at the low end, while folks with good credit get rates toward the high end.
Either way, you’re likely to overpay if you carry a balance from month to month. The average credit card for excellent credit charges 13.76%, according to WalletHub's research, while the average card for good credit charges 18.93%.
Other Things To Consider
- Above-Average Balance Transfer Offer: HSBC Cash Rewards gives you 0% on balance transfers for 15 months. That’s significantly longer than the average 0% transfer term: 11 months. But it’s also accompanied by an above-average transfer fee: 4%, versus roughly 2.5% for the average balance transfer card. And it’s not even the best HSBC credit card for balance transfers. The HSBC Gold Card’s 0% period lasts three months longer.
- Good or Excellent Credit Required: Good credit is generally thought to start at 660, but we recommend a score of 700+ to give yourself reasonable odds of approval. You can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub to get a sense of your chances.
Compared To The Competition
The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is a great cash back credit card, to be sure. But it’s not the only one. Below, you can see how the offer stacks up against the top competition.
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
|Rewards Rate||1.5 - 2% Cash Back||1% + 1% Cash Back||1.5% Cash Back||1 - 6% Cash Back|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||0% for 15 months||See Rates & Fees details|
|Transfer Intro APR||0% for 15 months|
Transfer Fee: 4% (min $10)
|0% for 18 months|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|0% for 15 months|
Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
|See Rates & Fees details|
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Regular APR||13.99% - 23.99% (V)||14.49% - 24.49% (V)||15.99% - 24.74% (V)||See Rates & Fees|
|Editors’ Rating||4.7 / 5||5.0 / 5||4.5 / 5||4.6 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
|Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
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