Review of the HSBC Gold Mastercard®

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Feb 08, 2018 | Updated Jun 26, 2018

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The HSBC Gold Mastercard is a pretty simple card, with one main attraction: the 18-month 0% intro APR period.

Other than that, there isn’t much else to this card. It has no rewards, and the benefits are very basic.

But it also has no annual fee, and is very forgiving when it comes to the other terms. There are no foreign transaction fees either.

It may not be the most exciting card, but it’s one of our top picks for the Best 0% Intro APR credit cards. If you want to pay off some purchases or a large balance over time without accruing interest, this card is a great option for that.

HSBC Gold Mastercard®
Apply Now

HSBC Gold Mastercard®

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening. Then a variable APR of 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% will apply.
  • No Penalty APR.
  • Late Fee Waiver.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

We gave this card 4 out of 5 Stars because it’s a simple and inexpensive card to use. But it doesn’t have many extra features.

Why we like this card

  • With 18 months at 0% APR this card is great for paying off either purchases or balance transfers over time.
  • It’s low on fees: no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or penalty APR. Also, one late fee waiver per year.

Why this card could be better

  • There are no rewards with this card, like points or cash back.
  • There are only some basic shopping and travel protections available.
  • Your credit score is only available on your statement, rather than freely online like many other cards.

Like most credit cards with a long intro APR and no annual fee, the HSBC Gold Mastercard is pretty basic. But there is some variation among cards like this. See our alternatives below for some other cards with intro APRs and different features.

Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Use the 18-month 0% intro APR to help pay off any large purchases you have to make. Or transfer a balance away from an account with a high APR.
  • This card is a pretty good option for spending outside the U.S. because it has no foreign transaction fees. It’s also a Mastercard, so it has widespread acceptance.
  • Don’t close this card after the intro APR runs out. Having more credit cards with open credit lines is good for your credit.

The Rewards

There are no rewards to earn with this card. Instead, its most attractive features are the 18-month intro APR and low fees.

If you’re looking for ways to earn points or cash back, check out our picks for the Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards.

The Benefits

There aren’t a whole lot of fancy benefits with this card. But you will get the same basic set of shopping and travel protections that many credit cards offer.

Free FICO Credit Score

You can see one of your FICO 8 Credit Scores for free with this card. It’s based on your Equifax credit report.

However, your score will only be reported on your monthly statement, either digital or mailed. Many other cards will let you check your score online for free whenever you’d like. But no matter which credit card issuer provides the score, it will usually be updated once per month anyway.

Yearly Late Fee Waiver

Your first late fee will be waived each year. This is a pretty forgiving feature. Some other cards may waive your first late fee, but that’s usually as good as it gets.

Another exception is the Citi Simplicity, which has no late fees at all.

Purchase Assurance Protection

Eligible items you buy with your HSBC card are covered against damage and theft for 90 days.

Price Protection

If you find an item you bought being advertised for a lesser price, you could be reimbursed for the price difference. You must purchase the item entirely with your HSBC card. This applies to print and online advertisements. Claims must be made within 60 days of the date of purchase.

Extended Warranty

This applies to eligible items you buy with your HSBC card that have a manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months or less. This benefit will double the item’s warranty, up to a maximum of 12 additional months. If an item has multiple warranties they can each be extended.

MasterTrip Travel Assistance

Provides pre-trip planning and help with travel emergencies. That includes emergency card replacement or cash advances, medical assistance and referrals, and more. Available when traveling 50 miles or more from home.

MasterRental Insurance

Provides coverage against damage and theft for rented vehicles when you pay with the Gold Mastercard. You’ll need to decline the rental company’s own insurance or damage waiver in order for this to apply.

Master RoadAssist Roadside Service

Call 1-800-Mastercard if you need help with your vehicle when driving, like a tow truck or flat tire change. You may save some money compared to calling the service directly because some fees are pre-negotiated.

This service is not available outside the U.S.

Travel Accident Insurance

Provides $1,000,000 in coverage when traveling by common carrier, against accidental loss of life, limb, speech, sight, or hearing. Covers you, your spouse or domestic partner, and dependent children. You must charge the entire fare to your HSBC card to be eligible.

Mastercard Airport Concierge

Get a 15% discount on Airport Meet and Greet services. Airport concierges are available to escort you through the terminal, in some cases expediting you through security or immigration.

Other Benefits

There are a few other minor benefits that most cards have. They include Fraud Protection, an assurance that you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges on your account. And also some account management features. See the full set of benefits for the HSBC Gold Mastercard.

The Costs & Fees

Intro APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Regular Purchase and Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
0% for 18 months 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% Variable 26.24% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
None  None 4%, $10 minimum 4%; $10 min
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
None Up to $37 Up to $25

The star feature of this card is the 18-month 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers. That’s a very competitive offer, making this card one of our top picks when it comes to long 0% purchase APR intro periods.

Use that intro period to pay down a balance over time at no extra cost. Just be sure to pay at least the minimum payment. If you don’t, you can lose your introductory rate and get stuck with the regular purchase APR.

To make sure that you pay off your balance on time without accruing any interest, divide your balance by the number of months you have to pay it. That will give the amount you need to pay each month to pay it off on time. Consider aiming to pay it off one month early, just to be safe.

There’s no annual fee with this card. That means it can be completely free to use. Just pay off your balance in full every month to prevent interest charges from accruing. This doesn’t apply during the 0% intro period, of course.

There are no foreign transaction fees here either. So you can use this card outside the country without worrying about an extra fee, like many other credit cards will charge.

Your first late fee will be waived each year, if necessary. This is a favorable term for cardholders, but hopefully you don’t need to use it. You can set up automatic payments to avoid late fees. And you can set up autopay to pay the statement balance in full each period, for an easy way to avoid interest. That’s true for all credit card issuers.

Customer Support

Phone Support

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Application Line and Customer Service 1-888-385-8916
HSBC Credit Card Underwriting and Approval Line 1-866-574-4421

It was a bit difficult to learn what we needed to know from HSBC’s customer support. We called the number on the card page for the Gold Mastercard, but it doesn’t go to the the credit card division. So we spent over 20 minutes explaining our situation and waiting on hold.

However, once we reached the credit card division we spoke with a knowledgeable rep who could tell us about the card.

We learned that the free FICO 8 credit score is based on your Equifax credit report. And we also learned that you can only view it on your monthly statement, either online or mailed. This is not as good as many other cards, which let you view your credit score online any time you’d like. See some cards like that below.

Overall, our customer support experience was good once we got to the credit card division. But you’ll need to be transferred there when you call their main support line.

HSBC has received poor marks for customer support in the past. They actually came in dead last in the recent J.D. Power annual Credit Card Satisfaction Study for 2017. HSBC has never really been known for their credit cards, but they’ve recently released some decent offers. If they plan to put more effort and resources into credit cards in the future, hopefully we’ll see their customer support improve as well.

Web Support

HSBC’s website is designed fairly well, like most major banks today. You should be able to find information about the credit card offer you’re looking for.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the HSBC Gold Mastercard. So it’s easy to quickly get an understanding of it on the site. HSBC even provides links to PDFs of the card’s brochure and Guide to Benefits. These are very handy when researching a credit card, but most issuers don’t do this.

The Bottom Line

The HSBC Gold Mastercard is simple, but it does one thing very well.

If you’re looking for some time to pay off a large balance, this card provides a year and a half to do just that. Be sure to keep up on payments during that intro period. Do that, and it will be a good way to help you get out of credit card debt.

You’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to earn points or make use of truly valuable perks. But if you have some trouble while shopping or traveling, the protections of this card might be able to help out.

This card is designed around the long intro APR period, like some other cards. Check out some different card offers that are similar to HSBC card below. Or see a different card from HSBC that offers 1.5% cash back, the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® (Review).

How to Apply for the HSBC Gold Mastercard

Just click the Apply Now button to apply for this card. You’ll be taken to HSBC’s site to apply, where you can provide your personal information.

This card is rated for good credit. So you’ll need to have a decent credit history and financial situation to improve your odds of being approved. HSBC will pull either your Equifax or Experian credit report. They may pull both.

HSBC Gold Mastercard®
Apply Now

HSBC Gold Mastercard®

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months from account opening. Then a variable APR of 12.74%, 16.74% or 20.74% will apply.
  • No Penalty APR.
  • Late Fee Waiver.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Alternatives to the HSBC Gold Mastercard

Citi Simplicity

The Citi Simplicity Card (Review), as the name suggests, is simple like the HSBC card. For no annual fee, it provides an 18-month 0% introductory APR for both purchases and balance transfers. That’s about as high as they usually come, and equal to what the HSBC card offers.

There are no rewards with this card. And there are only basic shopping and travel protections for benefits.

But it also has no penalty APR and no late fees ever. The complete lack of late fees is a very rare find. The HSBC card provides one late fee waiver per year, which is also pretty favorable. However, this isn’t much of a benefit because cardholders shouldn’t be paying late in the first place.

That’s about all there is to this card. In just about every way, it’s similar to the HSBC card. However, the Simplicity won’t give you access to any of your FICO Credit Scores.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (Review) offers some cash back bonus categories for common purchases. Its introductory period is for 15 months, and applies to purchases and balance transfers.

It has no annual fee, and provides:

  • 3% cash back for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: $150 back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

So you can use this rewards card to earn cash back for these kinds of purchases, and pay them off over the intro period. You’ll also have access to Amex Offers, where you can find discounts at a wide variety of merchants. This lets you save money on purchases outside the bonus categories. The discounts are often around 25%, though many are even higher.

The other benefits are a bit better than what you’ll get with the HSBC card. They include Entertainment Access, which provides preferred and presale tickets at certain events. And complimentary ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day shipping and returns at some online retailers.

You can also check your FICO 8 Credit Score online any time you’d like. It will be based on your Experian credit report, just like that offered by HSBC. But HSBC only lets you see your score on your monthly statement. All Amex cards offer this service.

There’s no reason why you couldn’t use both the Blue Cash Everyday and the HSBC card. If you wanted to pay off a balance over time, for example, you could transfer it to the HSBC card. Make regular payments to pay it off on time. And use the Blue Cash Everyday to earn rewards when you shop.

There’s an upgraded version of the Blue Cash card, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express® (Review). This cash back card has a $95 annual fee, and currently comes with a 12-month 0% intro APR.

For the fee, this card is much more rewarding. It offers:

  • 6% cash back for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: $200 back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

You can use the Blue Cash Preferred along with the HSBC card, like in the example given above.

Discover it

The Discover it (Review) is a popular rewards credit card. It has no annual fee, and a 14-month 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers.

It also has a set of rotating bonus reward categories:

  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate throughout the year (up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter, see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match: new cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year
  • 5–50% cash back at a variety of retailers through the Discover Deals shopping portal

The 5% cash back calendar for 2018 is:

Quarter 5% Cash Back Category
January – March Gas Stations & Wholesale Clubs
April – June Grocery Stores
July – September Restaurants
October – December Amazon.com & Wholesale Clubs

If you spend a lot in these reward categories, you could stand to earn quite a bit of cash back with this card. 5% back is a pretty good rate. But Discover’s Cashback Match makes it even better. It means you’ll get 10% cash back in those categories during your first year, and that’s a great deal.

The Discover Deals marketplace features many discounts waiting to be used. There’s a nice selection of merchants, with many dining and retail options. The cash back you earn from these deals will be doubled in your first year as well.

All Discover cards allow you to see your FICO 8 Credit Score online whenever you’d like. It’s based on your Experian credit report, the same as the HSBC card.

This has the potential to be a very rewarding card. But there are some other similar card offers that you may be interested in too:

  • Chase Freedom® (Review): No annual fee, different 5% rotating bonus categories than the Discover it, 15-month 0% intro APR
  • Discover it® Chrome (Review): No annual fee, 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, 14-month 0% intro APR

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited (Review) is another reward credit card with no annual fee. It has a 0% intro APR period of 15 months for purchases and balance transfers.

Instead of different bonus categories, this card’s rewards program provides:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Signup bonus: $150 cash back for spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Signup bonus: $25 cash back for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in 3 months

So you won’t need to think about which category you’re spending in. And there’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn. The signup bonuses are pretty easy to get too.

This card also comes with some basic shopping and travel protections. Overall, it’s pretty similar to the HSBC Gold Mastercard. But its intro period is a bit shorter and it offers some cash back.

Do you have the HSBC Gold Mastercard card? How do you like it, and what do you use it for? Leave your own review of the Gold Mastercard, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for other cards with long intro APR periods? Check out our picks for the Best 0% Intro APR Cards.
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