How HSBC balance transfer offers work

HSBC's decent range of balance transfer credit cards allows you some flexibility in dealing with your debt.

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If you’re carrying credit card debt and think you could save money on interest by taking advantage of a balance transfer offer, HSBC should be one of the brands you consider. While these cards can offer a break from interest for a set period, they usually come with a balance tranbsfer fee. That fee’s typically about 3% of the balance you’re bringing across, so it can easily run into the hundreds.

HSBC offers multiple balance transfer deals, ranging from ultra-long, table-topping 0% periods with bog standard balance transfers fees, through to shorter 0% periods with reduced balance transfer fees. The no-fee deals should always be your first port of call. If one of those can give you long enough to clear your debt, then it’s likely to be your cheapest option.

Like most card issuers, HSBC doesn’t accept balance transfers from other HSBC credit cards (or M&S Bank, John Lewis or first direct cards). If you’re carrying a balance on an HSBC card and need interest-free time to clear your debt, you may want to compare other deals available on the market.

Existing Advance and Premier HSBC customers can get dedicated balance transfer credit cards with a nice series of rewards on top (but try not to let the rewards lure you into additional spending on the cards).

HSBC 0% balance transfer credit cards

Table: sorted by length of 0% balance transfer offer, promoted deals first
1 - 5 of 5
Name Product Balance transfers Balance transfer fee Purchases Annual/monthly fees Representative APR Incentive Link
HSBC Balance Transfer Credit Card
0% for 33 months reverting to 21.9%
2.84% (min. £5) for 2 months reverting to 2% (min. £5)
0% for 3 months reverting to 21.9%
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card
0% for 23 months reverting to 22.9%
2.99%
0% for 23 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC No Fee Balance Transfer Credit Card Visa
0% for 20 months reverting to 21.9%
0%
21.9%
£0
21.9% APR (variable)
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 21.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Rewards Credit Card
0% for 6 months reverting to 23.9%
2.99% (min. £5) for 2 months reverting to 2% (min. £5)
0% for 6 months reverting to 23.9%
£0
23.9% APR (variable)
Earn 1 point for every £5 spent on purchases. Bonus 2,500 reward points on anniversary if £10,000 spent in previous year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
HSBC Premier Credit Card
0% for 18 months reverting to 23.9%
2.99% (min. £5) for 2 months reverting to 1.4% (min. £5)
0% for 9 months reverting to 23.9%
£0
23.9% APR (variable)
A selection of rewards from a range of partners. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent within the UK and earn 2 points for every £1 spent outside the UK. Points can be redeemed for shopping vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 23.9% APR (variable).
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Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.

HSBC app screenshot showing balance transfer request process

How do HSBC balance transfers work?

  1. If you’re interested in one of HSBC’s balance transfer deals, start by checking your eligibility either on the HSBC site or on a comparison site (like Finder!). You’ll fill in some personal details and the tool will run a so-called “soft check” to tell you if you’re likely to be accepted for the cards without your credit score being affected.
  2. If it’s good news, you can then proceed with the application. If you’re already an HSBC customer you can either apply online by logging in to your personal banking (HSBC will automatically fill in the form with your details for you) or by popping into a branch. If you’re a new customer, you’ll need to fill in an online form with your personal details, employment status and salary. During the application process you’ll be prompted to give the details of the balance(s) you wish to transfer. Alternatively you can request a balance transfer in the app later.
  3. Once you receive the card in the post, you can call HSBC to activate your card (or if you already use the HSBC app, you can activate it from there). Now your balance transfer can be actioned. In practice, this means that HSBC “pays off” your old lender and takes over your debt.

While you’re paying off the balance you’ve transferred, you’ll still be able to enjoy up to 56 days interest free on new purchases, provided you pay off your main balance in full and on time each month.

How long does an HSBC balance transfer take?

Once your application has been accepted, it could take up to seven working days to receive your card. You then need to activate it, which you can do online or in the app provided you already use HSBC internet banking, or alternatively you’ll need to get on the phone (0800 328 1370).

After that, you should transfer your balance to your new card as soon as possible – there’s usually a 60 days period after which the introductory balance transfer fee won’t apply anymore, and also, the sooner your old card stops accruing interest, the better.

A close-up of an HSBC balance transfer credit card with activation instructions sticker
A HSBC balance transfer credit card as it arrives, with sticker showing activation instructions Finder UK

What’s good or bad about HSBC balance transfers?

Pros

  • HSBC’s range of balance transfer deals makes the bank a competitive option for most scenarios.
  • The physical card arrives pretty quickly – usually within 2-3 working days.
  • You can arrange your balance transfer as part of the application process, then HSBC will do the rest.
  • You can transfer multiple balances to your new HSBC card (but make sure you transfer these balances in the first 60 days to ensure you benefit from the 0% period).
  • You can transfer balances from cards held in other names (but the debt will become your responsibility of you do so).

Cons

  • HSBC won’t give you any indication what your credit limit will be until you apply for a card (which involves a hard credit search). That makes it difficult to be sure if HSBC is the right choice, because you don’t know if the limit they offer will cover your outstanding debt. While this isn’t unusual, some other card issuers (including Santander) will at least give you an indicative credit limit figure after a soft search.
  • You can’t transfer more than 90% of your credit limit.
  • You can’t transfer balances from cards held issued by HSBC, first direct, John Lewis or M&S Bank.
  • If you don’t already bank with HSBC and use online banking or the app (but want to use these facilities), you’ll have to get on the phone to HSBC to arrange a “telephone security number”, which is a painful process usually involving waiting on hold for a long time.

How should I compare HSBC balance transfers?

Here are some of the key features you’ll want to look at when deciding which HSBC balance transfer offer might be the best option for you:

  • Length of 0% period. Divide your balance by the number of months in the 0% deal to see how much you’d need to pay each month to clear your debt before the promotion expires. If you think you could clear the balance in even less time, then you might want to look at shorter deals with lower balance transfer fees.
  • Balance transfer fee. This will be a percentage of the balance that you plan on transferring, so for larger balances, it becomes more significant.
  • Purchase rate. This is the rate that will apply to any purchases you make on the card, and it’s also usually the rate that will apply if you haven’t cleared your balance by the end of the 0% period.

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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