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The HSBC Student Card offers students and apprentices a no-frills credit card that could help get them started on building their credit rating. With a very competitive APR and manageable credit limit, the card also offers cashback with selected Visa partners. To be eligible, you must have an HSBC student bank account and be enrolled in a qualifying course, or have proof of a confirmed apprenticeship.
Credit Rating Requirement: Poor/No credit.
What I like about the HSBC Student Credit Card
Unexpected costs can crop up in life, and for students with minimal funds, having access to credit could help ease the stress of these situations. This credit card also gives students who have little to no credit history a chance to build their credit rating.
- Manageable credit limits – HSBC may offer applicants a minimum £250 credit limit to get them started. That limit could go as high as £500, depending on previous credit status. This strikes me as a very manageable limit, especially with students and apprentices earning minimal wages.
- Cashback with selected Visa partners – As a student or apprentice, funds can be sparse, so every little bit helps. To take advantage of this, you need to register online and use your card with the selected partners. It’s just as important to make sure that you can pay off the balance each month, as the interest charged may be more than the cashback gained.
- No credit history – HSBC realizes that students and apprentices need a chance to build their credit rating at the beginning of their working lives. By offering a manageable limit and a chance to show good borrowing behavior, you may be able to move onto other financial products quicker as you build your credit rating.
- Competitive APR – The representative APR is quite a competitive rate when compared to similar student-focused cards. You could also receive up to 56 days without interest on your purchases if you pay off the balance before the due date each month.
- International banking relationship – HSBC is an international bank with branches spread throughout the world. If you were to show good borrowing behavior and build your credit rating, the world could be your oyster. Well, maybe it takes more than that, but at least you may look like a good credit risk to this global bank. That means that if, for instance, you looking for work or study overseas, then you may find it easier to deal with a bank that you’ve previously had a good relationship with. This was a very time-consuming lesson that I learned when I moved to the UK without having a previous relationship with any UK banks!
- Use it home and abroad – You can use this card anywhere you see the Visa symbol. Just be mindful that non-sterling purchases and cash withdrawals will incur fees and charges. Non-sterling purchases will incur a fee of 2.99% of the purchase and cash withdrawals (at home or abroad) will incur either a 2.99% or £3 fee (whichever is higher), plus interest will be charged at a higher APR, starting from the date it is debited to your account.
- Worth knowing – There is no annual fee with this card and you can add it to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. You have access to 24/7 worldwide assistance and can manage the card and your accounts using HSBC’s mobile banking app.
What could be improved
The HSBC Student card is targeted at students and apprentices. The card doesn’t offer any balance transfers or other introductory offers, and there are the usual penalties if you miss your minimum repayments or go over your credit limit.
- Penalty fees – HSBC has the usual range of fees and charges if you are sent to the naughty corner. If you are late for a monthly repayment or go over your credit limit, you will be charged a £12 fee. There is a £5 fee if one of your payments is returned unpaid. As stated above, if you withdraw cash or use your card abroad there are fees and charges associated with these transactions. You will also have to pay any reasonable costs that HSBC incurs if it has to enforce repayment or track you down.
- No introductory offers – The card has no additional benefits except for the Visa offers cashback program. There are no reward points or balance transfers. This does allow the student to focus on studying hard, developing good borrowing habits, and paying off the card… but it also makes the card less enticing. Some competitors do offer balance transfers and cashback during special promotions.
- Cashback partners – Looking through the partners for the cashback offer, some of the stores are places that students with limited funds probably wouldn’t shop, so this reduces the number of partners that you can use the cashback offer on.
How does the HSBC student credit card offer stack up?
The HSBC student credit card sits alongside its rivals with a competitive APR, but it offers a lower credit limit than some similar cards. It does have a cashback offer with selected Visa partners, which is something that some of its rivals don’t offer. Most of the student cards I have seen must be linked to an existing student bank account with the lender, so the requirement for that with this card is no different from others.
The HSBC Card Credit Score
You must be at least 18 years old to receive the card, have a UK address for at least three years, and have an HSBC student bank account to be eligible for the student credit card. You must also be enrolled in a qualifying course or have confirmation of your apprenticeship, to satisfy the eligibility criteria.
How to apply?
You can apply in a branch, or online if you are already registered for online banking. If you apply online, make sure your pre-populated information is correct and hit submit. You will receive an instant decision about your application. However, you must be registered for online banking to apply for the credit card online.
Is the HSBC student credit card right for you?
The HSBC student credit card could be a good way for users with limited or no credit history to get started and build their credit rating. The HSBC card offers cashback on selected purchases but has a lower maximum limit than some rival cards. One advantage I see is that if you have a plan of working or studying abroad, having a good relationship with an international banking institution like HSBC could make life a little easier when it comes to setting up a new account in a faraway place.
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