Our bottom line
There are no flashy extras with this card. Instead what you will get is a competitive interest rate, additional cards, your first year of fees waived, and full protection against fraudulent transactions. There are no introductory offers that will eventually go away; instead what you have is a solid credit card offer to support your business spending.
Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
What I like about the HSBC Commercial Card
When you take out an HSBC financial product, you may have a certain level of expectation about what you will receive.
- Fraud protection – HSBC is offering full fraud protection with this card in the form of its Zero Fraud Liability protection and Fraud Detection System in partnership with PrivacyGuard. In reality this means that you are protected if an employee misuses a card or if an issued card is used to make an online purchase without your authority. In addition to that, the Fraud Detection System will keep track of any unusual activity and notify you of any concerns.
- Low interest rate – One of the key selling points of this card is its competitively low interest rate for purchases and cash advances, which means that the day-to-day cost of borrowing is lower than with some other cards available. However, it is worth mentioning that because the card carries an annual fee, its APR appears higher (in order to demonstrate the true cost of the card).
- Fee – Yes, the card does have an annual fee, but at £32 it is at the lower end of what cards charge. Added to that, the fee is waived for the first year of membership, meaning there are no up-front costs for taking out the card.
- Account management – The benefit of taking a card out with a bank like HSBC is that you can take advantage of flexible payment options and tools for account management. The bank will provide separate statements for each card (you are allowed additional cards with the account), plus a summary for the business. In terms of payments, you can select either the full direct debit option or the minimal direct debit option, but you are permitted to make extra payments against your balance outside this framework.
- Worth knowing – You are not eligible to apply for this card unless you have an HSBC Business Current Account. Additionally, balance transfers are not permitted.
What could be improved?
Yes, there are advantages to being under the HSBC banner, but there is more the card could offer.
- Annual fee – The card does have an annual fee, although it’s not extortionate at £32. Compared with other business credit cards that do not have a fee, this card doesn’t really offer much in terms of additional perks.
- Rewards – Leading on from my previous point, the card offers no rewards programme or cashback. This is a surprise considering the presence of the annual fee.
- Overseas usage – The card carries a non-sterling transaction fee of 2.99% and a cash fee for withdrawals made abroad of 2.99% or a minimum of £3. Once again, this is surprising as free overseas usage is something business cards often offer, particularly if they carry an annual fee.
How does the HSBC Commercial Card offer stack up?
In truth, this card falls down compared to others on the market because it carries an annual fee and doesn’t offer much out of the ordinary. Other cards on the market may have an annual fee, but they also offer cashback or travel perks as part of their package.
The HSBC Commercial Card does have a comparatively low interest rate (although not the lowest on the market), but the addition of the annual fee pushes its APR up. If you add to that the presence of foreign transaction fees, there is a lot that other cards on the market do better than this one.
The HSBC Commercial Card credit score
You need to be an HSBC Business Current Account holder in order to be eligible to apply for this card.
How do you apply?
Applications can be made online or over the phone. As you are required to be an existing HSBC Business Current Account holder to apply, you will need to log in with your details when completing your application online. Alternatively, you can request a callback from the bank in order to complete your application.
Is the HSBC Commercial Card right for you?
If you value being part of a worldwide banking group and everything that comes with that in terms of support and protection, then the HSBC Commercial Card could be a good fit. However, other than the brand name and features such as Zero Fraud Liability Protection, there is a lot that other cards on the market do better than this one, such as cashback or overseas usage.
If you do go for this card, you will benefit from comparatively low-interest rates, and while there is an annual fee, it isn’t high and it is waived for the first year. Add to that the standard benefits of 56 days interest-free on purchases (providing you pay your balance in full and on time) and account management features, and you are looking at a solid, but not impressive, business credit card package.
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