The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is not one of our top-rated cash back credit cards. You can review our list of the best cash back credit cards for what we think are better options.
Full Review of HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard
Generous rewards program
Introductory interest savings
No traditional sign-up cash bonus
No ongoing bonus rewards
- Generous Rewards: During the first 12 months after you open your account, you’ll earn 3% cash back on every purchase; after that first year, you’ll earn 1.5% in cash back.
- Introductory Interest Savings: The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. Just keep in mind that your balance-transfer requests need to be posted within 60 days from account opening to qualify for the promotional rate. Also, note that the card charges a balance transfer fee of 4% of the transfer amount, with a minimum of $10. Even with that fee, though, you could save money by moving a balance from a high-interest credit card to this one.
- Cell-Phone Protection: If you use the HSBC Cash Rewards to pay your monthly phone bill, you'll get up to $600 in protection for your cell phone, subject to a $50 deductible. While theft is covered, an unexplained loss of the phone is not. And any eligible damage must affect the phone’s functionality, which precludes repairs for cosmetic reasons alone, or due to abuse or what’s deemed to be normal wear and tear. Finally, this is secondary coverage that kicks in after you’ve received the benefits from any other insurance coverage, including that from home or auto insurance.
- No Traditional Sign-Up Cash Bonus: Many cash back cards offer $150 or $200 dollars as a sign-up bonus when you hit a spending target in your first three months with the card. The HSBC Cash Rewards Credit Card offers no bonus. On the other hand, it does offer 3% cash back on all of your first year purchases. However, it may be difficult to get the same value depending on how much you use the card and your bonus value will come over time rather than all at once.
- No Ongoing Bonus Rewards: Many cash back cards offer 2%, 3%, 4%, or 5% cash back in bonus categories in addition to the base earning rate. Once your introductory 3% cash back expires, you'll earn 1.5% on all purchases without bonus categories for earning more.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is designed for people who want a relatively simple cash-back credit card that delivers strong rewards. You'll get 3% cash back in the first year and then 1.5% cash back on all purchases after that. This card will appeal to those who don't want to keep track of categories.
The card is also worth considering if you need some time to pay off a balance from another credit card without it incurring interest charges; alternatively, it provides a break from high interest if you plan some major purchases with another card that you could benefit from an interest-free period to pay off. While some other cards, such as the Amex EveryDay, offer a longer 0% APR promotional period on purchases, not all of those competitors offer the same level of regular rewards as the HSBC Cash Rewards. (The EveryDay’s regular rate is 1%, for example, compared with at least 1.5% for the HSBC Cash Rewards.)
Finally, the HSBC Cash Rewards has appeal, too, if you have no insurance on your cell phone, since it extends $600 in coverage provided you pay your cell-phone bill with the card. While there are caveats to the protection, including that it covers a total loss only when the phone is stolen, it still provides some peace of mind about the most valuable item most of us ever carry around with us.
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Bonus
With this card, you’ll double your cash-back earnings, to 3% in cash back, on up to $10,000 in spending during the first 12 months. Assuming you spend the full $10,000, you'll earn $300 cash back on that spending. That is $150 more than you would have gotten with just 1.5% bash back.
After you hit $10,000 in spending or your first ends, you'll continue to earn 1.5% on all purchases.
Rewards Earning Details
You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. This is a very strong rewards rate for all purchases compared to the normal 1%. However, there are cards that offer a potentially higher cash back rate, like the Citi Double Cash card, which pays 1% on all purchases and another 1% when you pay your bill.
Rewards Redemption Details
HSBC offers several redemption options for the cash back you earn with HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard. They are:
- Book flights, hotels, car rentals and local travel experiences
- Get cash back in the form of a direct deposit to an HSBC bank account or a statement credit
- Buy gift cards
- Purchase merchandise
All the options redeem at the same 1:1 rate, but gift cards are available only in certain denominations, as is normal.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Because the card offers a flat rewards rate on everything, you maximize your rewards by simply using the card for every transaction you can.
That practice is especially important, and lucrative, in the first year with your card. That's when you can earn double the regular 1.5% earnings on up $10,000 of spending, thanks to the card's introductory bonus. That said, be wary of spending more than you can afford in order to maximize that bonus. While credit card rewards are welcome, they can quickly be neutralized, and more, by interest charges if you can’t pay off your card balance in a timely way—in this case, at the end of the 12-month introductory 0% APR offer on new purchases.
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard's Outstanding Perks
- Onefinestay discount: You’ll get 10% off when you book high-end vacation rentals through onefinestay.
- ShopRunner membership: You'll get unlimited free two-day shipping and free return shipping at more than 140 online retailers.
- Priceless Golf: You’ll get discounted access to select golf courses, complimentary grounds passes for PGA tournaments, lessons with PGA professionals, and more.
- Cell-phone protection: Get up to $600 per claim if your cell phone is stolen or damaged, and you pay your monthly bill with the card.
- Mastercard travel and lifestyle services
- Mastercard identity theft protection
HSBC ranked ninth out of 11 regional card issuers and received a below-average score in J.D. Power's 2020 U.S. Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study. The bank provides cardholders with free access to their FICO credit scores, which can be helpful if you’re working on improving your credit.
HSBC's customer service is available by phone at 800-975-4722, but representatives aren't available 24/7 like most credit card issuers. You can call anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. Eastern time. You can also manage your account online or with the HSBC mobile app.
HSBC's security features are largely standard for the credit card industry. One exception is its contactless payment ability. Instead of swiping or inserting your card, you can simply tap your card to a contactless card reader and check out faster and with the same level of security as you get from your card's chip.
The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is a simple, flat-rate rewards card that offers an appealing combination of offers for the first year in which you own it. Those introductory perks include a doubling of its 1.5% cash-back rewards and an introductory 0% APR offer on new purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the account opening, albeit with a 4% fee applied to transfers.
There's also the intriguing perk of coverage against damage or theft for your cell phone, which comes automatically if you bill your monthly cell service to the HSBC Cash Rewards card.
However, the card's rewards are geared toward those who are going to spend big throughout the year. You won't get a traditional sign-up bonus, but you will get 3% cash back on all purchases up to $10,000 during the first year. This offer depends on fairly hefty spending to be competitive. Smaller spenders may be better off with a cash-back card that sets a low minimum spending requirement to receive a traditional cash bonus. Examples are a number of cards that offer $150 if you spend as little as $500 in the first three months you own them.