Review: HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard – November 2017

  • Get this card if… you want a simple rewards card with no annual fee.
  • Pick something else if…you’re looking for travel rewards or more powerful cash back options.
  • Recommended good to excellent credit score of 680 to 850.
Product NameHSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
Intro APR for Balance Transfer0%% Intro APR for first 15 months from account opening (with whichever is greater: $10 or 4% balance transfer fee)
Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)13.99%, 17.99% or 23.99% variable
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )13.99%, 17.99% or 23.99% variable
Annual fee$0
Cash Advance Rate25.99% variable
Card TypeMastercard
Interest Free Period
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
Up to 25 days
Returned Payment Fee$25
Minimum Interest$1
Minimum Credit ScoreFair (660-699)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$0
Returned Payment Fee$25
Late Payment Fee$37
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 4%, whichever is greater, will apply on each cash advance transaction

The basics

The HSBC Cash Rewards offers solid cash back: 2% for the first six months and 1.5% thereafter. That’s less generous than, say, the Citi Double Cash — but you won’t pay an annual fee for it. And if you like simple rewards, you might prefer the HSBC Cash Rewards over a tiered cash back card like the BankAmericard Cash Rewards.

You’ll wish the card offered an intro APR on purchases. Unfortunately, you get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers — albeit one that lasts a solid first 15 months from account opening — only. And it’s puzzling that HSBC would impose a penalty APR when its Gold Mastercard doesn’t.
However, the Cash Rewards card redeems itself with a good signup bonus, no foreign transaction fees, solid travel and shopping benefits and a 10% bonus on cash back you earn each year.

The perks

  • No annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
    Use the card as much or as little as you want without worrying about an annual fee. Also, use the card internationally without incurring fees.
  • INTRO APR: On balance transfers.
    Enjoy 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening. After your APR reverts to 13.99%, 17.99% or 23.99% variable based on your creditworthiness.
  • CASH BACK: On all purchases.
    Earn 2% cash back on purchases you make within the first six months. After, earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Anniversary bonus on cash rewards.
    Each year, earn a 10% bonus on all cash rewards you’ve earned.

You’ll also like …

  • Travel benefits. Get access to MasterAssist travel planning, roadside assistance, rental car insurance and travel accident insurance.
  • Shopping benefits. Enjoy extended warranties, purchase protection and price protection when shopping.

What to watch out for

  • Potentially high APR. Depending on your credit, you may see approval for a purchase and balance transfer APR as high as 13.99%, 17.99% or 23.99% variable.
  • Penalty APR. If you pay late, you may be assessed a penalty APR of 30.99. This APR applies for at least six months.
  • No grace period on balance transfers. HSBC offers an interest grace period for purchases only.
  • Higher APR for cash advances. Cash advances come with a 25.99% variable APR and no grace period on interest.
  • Other fees. The card has no annual or foreign transaction fees, but you’ll pay fees for balance transfers and cash advances.
  • Penalty fees. You’ll pay up to $37% variable for each late payment and up to $25.00 for each returned payment.

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard, you must be at least 18 years old.

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

Information you’ll need

  • Full name and contact information
  • Residential status
  • Annual income and employment information
  • Social Security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name

What credit score do I need?

You’ll have a better chance of approval for the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.

How to apply for the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard

1. Visit HSBC’s site and click Apply now.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card step1

2. If you’re an HSBC customer, click Log on to apply. Otherwise, click Start your application.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card step2

3. Complete the application with details like your name, contact details, annual income and Social Security number.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard credit card step3

How long will it take to be approved?

You’ll typically hear back about your application within two weeks.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments. Pay your card bill online at the HSBC website, where you can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 25 days to pay your purchase balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $37. Balance transfers and cash advances also come with fees.
  • Customer service. If you have questions, contact HSBC customer service at 888-385-8916.

Bottom line

You may find better cash back with cards like the Citi Double Cash or BankAmericard Cash Rewards. But the HSBC Cash Rewards is a formidable card in its own right, offering 1.5% cash back with no annual fee.

Frequently asked questions

If you qualify, you’ll receive your signup bonus in four to six weeks.

Yes. You’ll usually see a grace period for purchases, but balance transfers and cash advances often accrue interest immediately.

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