Our bottom line
The HSBC Classic Credit Card offers you all the benefits of a credit-building card at an APR that won’t break the bank and with enticing extras such as offers and discounts from worldwide brands.
Credit Rating Requirement: Poor/No Credit
What I like about the HSBC Classic Credit Card
- Competitive APR: The HSBC Classic Credit Card has a reasonable APR of 29.90%, making it a competitive choice when compared to other cards in this class whose APRs can sometimes go as high as 60%.
- Manageable credit limit: The card has a maximum credit limit of up to £1,000, subject to status. This is a reasonable limit for a credit-building card as it encourages responsible borrowing and keeps your focus completely on building or improving your credit.
- Contactless transactions: The HSBC Classic Credit Card has contactless functionality, so you can make your payments faster and more safely. You can also add the card to Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
- Online and mobile Account Management: HSBC offers access to online banking tools, including a mobile app, to help you stay on top of your account and card at any time and from anywhere. You can use these tools to check your credit balance and make payments, among many other functions.
- Access to HSBC home&Away: home&Away is HSBC’s flagship rewards programme for its credit card and debit card holders. The programme offers customers exclusive offers and discounts from well-known brands in a variety of areas, including shopping, travel, dining, experiences, well-being and education.
- Other benefits: With the HSBC Classic Card, you get the standard 56-day interest free period on purchases if you pay your balance in full and on time. The card also allows an additional cardholder to be added to your account, such as your partner or family member (but they have to be over the age of 18). The card runs on the VISA network and will thus be accepted anywhere in the world where VISA is accepted.
- Round the clock worldwide assistance: With HSBC’s 24/7 customer service, help and support is only a phone call or an online chat away whenever and from wherever you need it. This includes emergency cash advance if your card is lost is stolen.
What could be improved?
For someone looking to build or rebuild their credit while enjoying a few extra perks, the HSBC Classic Credit Card is a solid choice. That being said, there are a few things that could be improved.
- Eligibility: The card is only available to existing HSBC customers. This unfortunately locks out non-HSBC customers who are interested in the card’s credit-building features as well as perks.
- No introductory offer: Apart from the standard interest-free period of 56 days if you pay your balance in full and on time, there is an introductory interest free period. That’s understandable. However, the primary purpose of the card is to help you build a good credit standing through good borrowing habits, and spending incentives like long 0% periods are likely to detract you from that, even though they may increase the allure of the card.
- Penalties and fees: Not surprisingly, there are several penalty fees in place for customers who don’t make their minimum payments and those who exceed their limit. If you are late making the minimum payment, for example, you will be charged a fee of £12. You’ll also be charged a similar fee for going over your credit limit. To avoid incurring additional fees on the card, make sure to make your minimum payments on time and stay within your credit limit. In addition to penalties, non-sterling transactions and cash advances on the card will both attract a fee of 2.99%.
How does the HSBC Classic Credit Card offer stack up?
The HSBC Classic Credit Card stacks up pretty well against similar cards from competitors such as Aqua, Vanquis, Barclaycard and Capital One. The lack of an annual fee, a reasonable credit limit, a relatively low APR of 29.90%, plus the added perks of the HSBC home&Away programme makes it a clear standout in the credit-building cards space. If you are looking for a launching pad to credit cards and loans with better rates, this card might be just what you need.
The HSBC Classic Credit Card credit score
Since the card is aimed at helping build or improve credit, most applicants with no or low credit scores could be eligible.
Note, however, that the card requires applicants to have an annual income/pension before tax of £6,800 or more. Applicants must also be over 18 years old and residents of the UK.
How do you apply?
To apply for the card, you need to be registered for HSBC online banking. Once registered, you can apply for the Classic Credit Card on HSBC’s website or through the mobile app. The whole process should take you around 15 minutes.
NB: Due to the coronavirus, applications for this card, or any other new products for that matter, are not available in HSBC branches.
Is the HSBC Classic Credit Card a good choice for you?
If you are looking for a credit-building card with an attractive mix of competitive APR, manageable credit limit, and extra perks such as discounts on shopping, dining out, and travel, the HSBC Classic Credit Card is an ideal choice.
Your priority with this card should be to build a positive payment record and thus improve your credit standing as a result.
So, before you apply for the card, it’s important to make sure that you can meet the required minimum payments and that you can stay below your credit limit. Remember that late payments with this card or exceeding your credit limit will not only attract a relatively high fee but will also do further damage to your credit standing.
If you see yourself making lots of purchases with your credit card, a 0% purchase credit card might be a better option.
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