Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Review

overall rating
4.5

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The HSBC Cash Rewards card has no annual fee and allows you to earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase, along with a bonus of an additional 10% of your annual rewards on your anniversary. It also has an introductory 0% APR promotion on new purchases and balance transfers, and protection if your mobile phone is stolen or damaged.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®

overall rating
4.5
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
On HSBC's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

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.

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 (%) 13.99% - 23.99% 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
INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 4%, whichever is greater, will apply on each balance transfer and credit card check.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

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

Pros
  • Generous rewards program

  • Introductory interest savings

  • Cell-phone protection

Cons
  • Significant spending required to earn a competitive introductory bonus

  • No ongoing bonus rewards

Pros Explained

  • 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. You’ll also receive an automatic 10% rewards bonus on all the cash back you earn on your anniversary, effectively giving you a 1.65% rewards rate.
  • 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.

Cons Explained

  • Significant Spending Required to Earn a Competitive Bonus: In order to earn a bonus that rivals that of its best competitors you must spend quite a bit on the card. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, for instance, you’ll earn $200 cash back after you spend just $500 in the first three months. With the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card, you’ll get 20,000 bonus points, which is worth $200 in cash back, when you spend $1,000 in the first three months. By contrast, the introductory bonus with the HSBC Cash Rewards depends on earning the card's 1.5% in extra cash-back rewards on your spending over the first year. To earn a bonus of $150, then, you would need to charge $10,000 to the card. And that’s the maximum amount of spending that’s eligible for the 1.5% bonus, meaning you could not earn a bonus of $200 or $300, regardless of what you spend. Charging nearly $1,000 a month to a card isn't inconceivable, especially when you're earning an outstanding rate of 3% in total cash back for those charges. But it’s limiting, because it may hamper you in taking advantage of optimal rates on certain purchases with cards you already have in your wallet. And it might encourage those who can't afford that level of spending to indulge anyway, because of the alluring rewards rate.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Cash Back Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
    Cash Back Strategist
  • Avatar for Minimalist Persona
    Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
    Minimalist
  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse

The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is designed for people who want a relatively simple cash-back credit card that delivers above-the-norm rewards. The latter are thanks mostly to the card’s 10% anniversary bonus, which bumps up the effective rewards rate from a respectable 1.5% to a generous 1.65%—with nothing extra required to earn that higher rate, except a little patience (since the 10% bonus earnings arrive at the end of the year). 

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 achieve that spending, you'd receive a bonus of $150 in cash back. 

You'd also receive $150 from your regular cash-back earnings of 1.5% of spending. And those would be eligible for the 10% anniversary bonus at the end of each year you own the card, which raises the effective earnings to 1.65%. The bonus 1.5% earnings, however, are not eligible for enhancement by that 10% anniversary percentage at the end of the year. 

Rewards Earning Details

You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, plus a 10% annual anniversary bonus on those earnings, which provides an effective 1.65% rewards rate. That makes this card potentially more lucrative than many other cash-back credit cards that earn 1.5%. (There are, however, 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.
  • Postmates discount: Whenever you place an order of $25 or more for food, drink, or grocery delivery, you'll get $5 off. 
  • 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.

Standard Benefits

  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Mastercard travel and lifestyle services
  • Mastercard identity theft protection

Cardholder Experience

HSBC was not included in J.D. Power's 2019 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 800-485-1794, 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.

Security Features

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.

Our Verdict

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 a 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. The card also has an appealing 10% anniversary bonus on earned cash-back at the end of every year you own the card. 

There's also the intriguing perk of coverage against damage or theft for your cell phone, which comes automatically if you bill your monthly carrier service to the Wells Fargo Cash Wise card. 

However, the card's rewards are geared toward higher rollers. Because the bonus depends on fairly hefty spending to be competitive, smaller spenders may be better off with a cash-back card with a lower minimum spending requirement to receive a 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.

Apply Now
For HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
on HSBC's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®
overall rating
4.5
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 (%) 13.99% - 23.99% 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.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.