The 3 best HSBC credit cards

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HSBC Bank offers several different credit cards, but some of those options require cardholders to have an account with the bank.

Here’s what you need to know about our picks for the best card for each category.

Best for cash back rewards: HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Here’s why: If you prefer the flexibility of cash back rewards, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card could be for you. This card offers plenty of ways to earn cash back — and you don’t need to be an HSBC member to apply.

With the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Plus, during your first year of having the card, you’ll earn cash back at a rate of 3% on all purchases (on up to $10,000 spent). The card has a $0 annual fee, which is nice since it won’t subtract from your earnings.

Best for intro APR period: HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

Here’s why: The introductory purchase and balance transfer APR period of 18 months and simple card structure can be a good tool for harnessing personal finances for some.

At first glance, the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card may look boring. The bare-bones credit card doesn’t offer a rewards program and provides only a handful of shopping and travel benefits.

But the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card does offer a few ways to manage your money, especially if you need a little help getting out of debt. Cardholders get an introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After the intro period ends, your variable APR for balance transfers will be 13.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. One thing to keep in mind before transferring any balances: This card comes with a 4% (minimum $10) balance transfer fee. So make sure that it still makes sense to use this card after you tack on the fee.

The HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card also offers an introductory 0% APR for 18 months on purchases. After the intro period ends, your variable purchase APR will be 13.99% to 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. With this feature, you can finance a purchase or pay down debt over the intro period while saving on interest costs. But you should only spend what you can comfortably afford to pay off — and before the intro purchase APR period is over.

Finally, the card also offers a $0 annual fee.

The lack of a rewards program for the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card isn’t so bad if you think you might be tempted to spend beyond your means to earn more rewards. But if you’re still happy with the card issuer after paying off your balance transfer, consider looking for a rewards credit card to add to your wallet.

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HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card

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Best for travel rewards: HSBC Premier World Mastercard® credit card 

Here’s why: This card is generous to avid travelers. You’ll earn two points per $1 spent on travel purchases, one point per $1 spent on all other purchases — and a hefty sign-up bonus along with several travel perks, too.

The HSBC Premier World Mastercard® credit card offers a lot to get excited about. The card offers a sign-up bonus of 35,000 bonus points, which is worth at least $400 in air travel, after you spend at least $3,000 in purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Among the list of travel perks you’ll get with the HSBC Premier World Mastercard® credit card is an $85 TSA PreCheck credit to reimburse you for the application fee; $50 annual statement credits for Uber and Lyft rides; and a 10% discount when you book your hotel or vacation home stay through Expedia, Agoda or Onefinestay.

But here’s the catch: To qualify for the $0 annual fee, you’ll need to have an HSBC Premier checking account and maintain a whopping $75,000 in combined U.S. personal deposit and investment balance, have recurring direct deposits of at least $5,000 a month, or hold a mortgage with an original balance of over $500,000. If you no longer meet one of those requirements, you’ll pay a $50 monthly maintenance fee on the checking account, plus a $95 annual fee on the HSBC Premier World Mastercard® credit card going forward. But if you love travel, have an HSBC Premier bank account and can maintain that kind of balance, this card could be a good fit for you.

How we picked these cards

To choose the best credit card for each category, we reviewed all the credit cards offered by HSBC Bank and identified which ones offered the most valuable rewards or features in each category. These are meant to fit different spending profiles or cardholder needs.

We also considered card requirements. For example, some HSBC credit cards require you to hold an account with the bank to apply. That may be restrictive for those who don’t have an HSBC checking account or can’t maintain the minimum balance or monthly direct deposits required. Then, we compared the cards’ fees and interest rates, noting where they offer an intro APR for purchases and balance transfers, charge an annual fee or carry a balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee.

How to make the most of HSBC credit cards

If you’re looking to apply for an HSBC card, be sure to check out the fine print. Some cards are only available for HSBC members.

Although these cards offer solid rewards and benefits, qualifying for an HSBC relationship can mean keeping a lot of your money in an HSBC account. If you fall below the minimum deposit amount, you may have to pay a monthly maintenance fee on top of an annual fee on the credit card. So consider whether having a card like this would be worthwhile.

Once you select a card — if you’re approved — you can use it to build a solid credit history. That will mean paying your bill on time and in full each month; keeping the account open to build a credit history; and keeping the balance low, usually around 30% of the credit limit. If you establish strong credit, you may be able to take on bigger credit responsibilities like getting an auto loan or personal loan.

About the author: Kim Porter is a writer and editor who has written for AARP the Magazine, Credit Karma,, U.S. News & World Report, and more. Her favorite topics include maximizing credit card rewards and budgeting. Wh… Read more.