HSBC Gold Mastercard Review: Shopping & Travel Benefits
The HSBC Gold Mastercard credit card can be a great choice if you want to find a way to pay off a high-interest credit card since it comes with a 0% introductory and a lower APR once the initial period is over. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s the best card suited for your overall needs.
Before you sign up for this card, read on to find more details (including its features and benefits), some pros and cons, and who the HSBC Gold Mastercard is best for.
About the HSBC Gold Mastercard
The HSBC Gold Mastercard is meant to help you pay down existing credit card debt. If you have other high-interest credit card balances from other issuers, you can transfer what you owe (up to the approved credit limit) and enjoy a 0% APR offer for the first 18 months of account opening.
Once that’s over, you’ll be subject to a variable APR of 12.99% to 20.99%, which is relatively low compared to other cards out there. To be able to keep your 0% introductory APR offer, you need to make on-time payments. If you miss a payment for 60 days or more, this perk could be taken away from you.
Like many other credit card issuers, you can’t transfer a balance from another HSBC credit card to the HSBC Gold Mastercard. There are also no cash back or rewards program. However, there are other travel perks, which we’ll go into detail under the next section.
If you want to transfer a balance over, the HSBC Gold Mastercard does charge a balance transfer fee–4% of the amount transferred or $10, whichever one is higher. Most likely, you’ll need an excellent credit score to qualify for this card.
Features and Benefits
Aside from the 0% introductory APR offer, here are a few other benefits with the HSBC Gold Mastercard:
No penalty APR – Whereas other credit cards charge a higher APR once you’re late on your payment, this card doesn’t. That doesn’t mean you won’t pay interest, it’s just that the APR won’t go up. However, don’t make it a habit to make late payments, because your credit score can be negatively affected if you’re 30 days or more behind on your bill.
Late fee waiver – You read that right. There is no late fee if you don’t pay on time. There is a catch though. HSBC will only waive your fee once for your first late payment within a 12 month period. If you miss more than one, then you could be charged up to $37 each time.
No annual fee – There are many cards with no annual fees, but not many that offer a $0 introductory APR period.
No foreign transaction fee – Travelers will love that there’s no need to pay a foreign transaction fee which can save you some cash while traveling internationally.
Traveler perks and protections – Get other travel friendly benefits such as travel accident insurance, roadside assistance, and lost luggage assistance. There’s also extended warranty protection for purchases made on the card. It’ll protect the warranty on your original purchase for up to one more year.
Unique experiences – As an HSBC cardholder, you have the opportunity to participate in unique experiences in select cities. You can also get discounted access to qualifying golf courses, receive PGA tournament ground courses and more.
How to Sign Up
You don’t need to be a HSBC bank account holder to get this credit card. But if you are, simply log into your account online and follow the prompts to apply. If you’re not an existing HSBC customer, head to their website and fill out an online application form. You’ll most likely be asked for personal details such as your full name, birthday, address and Social Security number.
Since HSBC does have some physical branches, you also have the option to apply for the HSBC Gold Mastercard in person.
- Annual fee: $0
- Balance transfer: 4% of transferred amount of $10, whichever is greater
- Late fee: $0 for first miss payment within a 12 month timeframe, $37 afterwards
- Return payment fee: $25
Pros and Cons
Before you sign up for the HSBC Gold Mastercard, consider these pros and cons:
- No annual fee
- No foreign transaction fee
- 0% introductory APR for the first 18 months from account opening
- Relatively low variable APR of 12.99% – 20.99% after introductory period is over
- No rewards program (e.g. no cash back option or earnings towards free merchandise, flights, hotels and travel packages)
- High balance transfer fee
- Most likely requires excellent credit score to qualify
Should You Sign Up? Who Is It Best For?
This credit cards is great as a low interest credit card because it offers a 0% APR for the first 18 months of account opening–one of the longest offers we’ve seen. The APR is also fairly low after the introductory period is over, so if you find yourself struggling to pay the balance off before the 18 months is up, then the HSBC Gold Mastercard might be the one for you.
The downside is that the transfer fee skews on the higher side at 4% or $10. While you could save money on interest, the transfer fees can add up, so do some careful calculations before proceeding, especially if you’re transferring a large amount.
Also, keep in mind that cards with a lower APR (especially ones with 0% offers) require an excellent credit score to qualify–if you pay off your balance each month, then there’s no point signing up for this card. Furthermore, there is no rewards program so if that’s important to you, then the HSBC Gold Mastercard isn’t the right fit. There are many other choices that offer some excellent signup bonuses and you can earn your way to free flights, hotels and more.
It can still be a good card for travel since it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, but so do many other travel rewards credit cards.
Our verdict? Unless you need a low interest credit card to help you pay off some debt, you may want to consider other competitors.