HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Review

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The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is a solid flat-rate cash-back card with some cool extras. While the regular rewards-earnings rate is comparable to what you’ll find among similar no-annual-fee-cards, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard offers superior value in your first year as a cardholder.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®

overall rating
3.9
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on $10,000 in purchases made during the first 12 months of account opening. 1.5% cash back thereafter.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.5
for Fees
4.2
for Rewards
4.1
for Credit
4.0

Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases. 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver

For your everyday spending without worrying about different earning categories, this flat-rate cash-back card makes life simple with its Cash Rewards program. The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard has a typical rewards-earnings rate, but in the first year, the rate is doubled. Add on the 0% interest rate on purchases for the first 12 months, and you can squeeze a lot of value from this card, especially in year one.

It's recommended you have "good" to "excellent" credit (a 660 credit score or above) before applying.

Pros

  • Great first-year bonus

  • 0% introductory interest rate

Cons

  • No short-term sign-up bonus

  • High balance transfer fee

Pros Explained

  • Great first-year bonus: Because you earn double the regular cash-back rate during the first year (on up to $10,000 in spending), your bonus can be worth up to $300, which surpasses sign-up bonuses on similar cards. 
  • 0% introductory interest rate: Not having to pay interest on purchases in the first year is great, especially if you’re trying to get the most out of your double cash back. Plus, if you want to try to pay off another card’s lingering balance, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard gives you 12 months to do so through a balance transfer without tacking on interest.

Cons Explained

  • No short-term sign-up bonus: You won’t get the lump sum bonus that other cash-back cards offer (such as $150 if you spend $500 in the first three months), but the year-long double cash-back bonus could easily beat traditional sign-up offers. 
  • High balance transfer fee: The 0% APR makes it tempting to move a balance over, but unfortunately, a 4% (or $10) fee will be tacked on. This is on the higher side, as many balance transfer cards charge only 3% or even nothing at all.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard’s Sign-Up Bonus

The HSBC Cash Rewards card doesn’t offer a traditional sign-up bonus, but instead provides 3% back on purchases made in the first 12 months on up to $10,000 (after which you’ll earn 1.5% Cash Rewards).  

How this might look in the first year: Spend to the limit ($10,000) and earn $300 in Cash Rewards; then let’s say you spend another $5,000 that year and earn $75 back in Cash Rewards. You’ve earned a total of $375.

Earning Points & Rewards

Besides the earnings information spelled out above, keep in mind that in the second year and every year after that, you’ll earn 1.5% on all your purchases. That’s on par with the rate you’ll earn on many similar cards. 

There is no annual limit on the amount of cash back you can earn, and the Cash Rewards do not expire. However, as with most cards, you must keep your account open and in good standing to enjoy the rewards program.

Redeeming Rewards

Cashing in for a statement credit is the easiest option. A statement credit uses your earned cash back to lower your credit card bill. But a statement credit is not your only choice. You can get your money directly deposited into your bank account if you have an HSBC bank account.

You can also choose from among 100 gift cards for merchants such as Macy's, Starbucks, Home Depot, Amazon.com, and Best Buy. And you can use points to buy merchandise, donate to charitable causes, or get a statement credit for TSA Precheck.

Lastly, you can use your cash rewards for a rebate on booked flights, hotels, and car rentals. Airline ticket statement credits start at 10,000 Cash Rewards, hotel stays at 5,000 Cash Rewards, and car rentals at 2,500 Cash Rewards. But you’ll have to contact the HSBC Rewards Department to do so. This is probably more of a hassle than someone who chooses a flat-rate cash-back card would want to deal with.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard, like most cash-back cards with flat rates, is all about earning rewards for the spending you’ll do anyway. It’s worth taking advantage of that 3% earnings rate in the first year up to $10,000, which means spending just over $800 a month. And because you won’t pay any interest on purchases in the first 12 months, you’ll have a bit of wiggle room if you need to carry a balance during that period.

Of course, the whole point of this card is to earn cash back, so you don’t want to get into the habit of carrying balances once the introductory period is up, or the finance charges will negate your earnings.

If you already have a travel rewards card or a credit card that earns extra points on certain purchases, a flat-rate cash-back card like the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is a perfect complement. Most of those cards only earn 1% on purchases that don’t fall into the bonus categories. If you use this card instead for those types of purchases, you’ll get 1.5% or even 3% for those buys, instead of just 1%. 

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard’s Excellent Perks

This card has a couple of benefits for cardholders that the editors of The Balance consider superior to the most common credit card perks.

  • Cellphone coverage: Get up to $600 per claim reimbursed if your cell phone is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Travel accident insurance: Receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $1,000,000 when traveling.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard’s Other Features

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Free shipping through ShopRunner membership

Customer Experience

HSBC didn’t have impressive scores in J.D. Power’s 2019 credit card customer satisfaction survey, a well-known industry ranking study. It earned a below-average rating. However, live customer service chat is available 24/7, and cardholders have access to their free FICO credit score.

Security Features 

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard has standard security features (zero fraud liability, chip technology, etc.). But the Mastercard ID Theft Protection is a nice extra. It provides you with one-on-one support if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard’s Fees 

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard has the typical fees you’d find among similar cards, and a lack of foreign transaction fees makes the card a good choice for travel abroad. But the card has slightly higher-than-average balance transfer and cash advance fees.

For HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®

Compare This Card

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CURRENT CARD
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
overall rating
3.9
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on $10,000 in purchases made during the first 12 months of account opening. 1.5% cash back thereafter.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.