HSBC Gold Mastercard® Review

Lindsay VanSomeren has been a personal finance writer and expert since 2015. Her work has appeared on Business Insider, Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Balance, and other outlets.

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If you're looking to get out of credit card debt, there are no shortage of cards out there with 0% intro APR offers that allow you to hit the pause button on interest charges for a bit. The best cards offer you long interest-free periods and find ways to waive even more fees, which is exactly what the HSBC Gold Mastercard® does.

The HSBC Gold Mastercard® offers a lot of benefits over its competitors in the 0% intro APR intro offer space. There's no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR, and you even get one free pass on a late fee per year. But in order to get the maximum benefit from this card, there are a few things you need to know.

Top perks

18-month 0% intro APR offer on purchases: If you've been looking to make a big purchase and pay it off with what's essentially an interest-free loan, this card might be right for you. You'll get a full 18 months to pay off the balance without owing any interest.

18-month 0% intro APR offer on balance transfers: You'll get the same 18 months to pay off any balance transfers. That's a very good offer compared to its competitors. In fact, there are only a few cards that have longer 0% intro APR periods on balance transfers. If you want to take advantage of this offer, you'll need to do it within the first 60 days after you open this card.

Late fee waiver: If you pay your bill late, you can get a late fee waiver once per calendar year. Be careful with this one though; paying your bill late can still cause your credit score to drop. And if you pay your bill more than 60 days late, your intro 0% APR period will end early and you'll begin being charged your normal interest rate.

No foreign transaction fees: This is another area in which this card outshines most of its competitors. There are no foreign transaction fees, so if you roam abroad frequently and are still working to pay down your debt, this will be an especially valuable card for you.

No penalty APR: Some credit card companies will charge you a higher APR if you pay your bill late. HSBC won't do that. But keep in mind that there are many other credit card issuers that also don't charge penalty APRs. So while this is a handy perk, it's not necessarily uncommon.

No annual fee: Again, it's not unusual to find no-annual-fee 0% intro APR credit cards. But since this card is designed to help you pay down your debt, it is an important factor to highlight.

What could be improved

Balance transfer fee: This card comes with a 4% ($10 min.) balance transfer fee. For example, if you're transferring over $10,000, you'll pay a fee of $400. That's a bit higher than some of its competitors where 3% is common, but in return, you do get a long interest-free period to pay off your debt.

Rewards: This card isn't built for earning cash back or travel rewards. It's meant to pay down your credit card debt, and that's what it does well. Still, there are cards out there that do allow you to earn rewards while still taking advantage of a 0% intro APR.

Longer 0% intro APR offer: In the grand scheme of 0% intro APR offers, the HSBC Gold Mastercard®'s intro period is relatively long. But it's not the longest. Other cards offer even longer stretches with no interest payments, so if you think you won't be able to pay off your debt within 18 months, see if a longer interest-free offer might work better for you.

Suggested credit score

The HSBC Gold Mastercard® is meant for people with good to excellent credit. FICO defines this as having a credit score of 670 or above. There are many other factors that lenders take into account such as your income and other debt levels when deciding to approve you for a card, so even if your score falls within these ranges it doesn't necessarily mean you'll automatically qualify.

Alternatives to consider

If you're looking to dodge and annual fee and want an ultra-long 0% intro APR balance transfer offer, you'll want to consider the Citi Simplicity® Card. This card currently has the longest offer out there -- a full 21 months with no interest as long as you complete the balance transfer within the first four months. It waives all late fees, and also has no annual fee or penalty APR. However, the balance transfer fee is a bit higher, so you'll want to take that into consideration.

Alternatively, another way to really turbo-charge your debt payoff and earn rewards is with the Discover it® Cash Back card. This card packs in the essentials, such as no annual fee, a robust rewards program, and a long 0% intro APR offer for balance transfers. The rewards program and balance transfer offer, alone, are among the best you'll find, but you get both with one card.

As of May. 21, 2020

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Discover it® Cash Back
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
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Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
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Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement: Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: N/A Bonus: Double cash back in the first year
Rewards Program: N/A Rewards Program: Earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories you activate ($1,500 quarterly spending cap), 1% back on all else
Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 12 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 21 months Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 14 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 14 months
Regular APR: 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) Regular APR: 11.99% - 22.99% Variable
Annual Fee: $0 Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

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Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever is temporarily unavailable on The Ascent. All information was collected independently from the issuer. Some items may be out of date.

This credit card is right for you if:

If you're looking to pay off your existing credit card debt quickly and cheaply, or finance a large purchase, the HSBC Gold Mastercard® should be on your shortlist.

It's especially well-suited to travelers because it's one of the few cards that comes with no foreign transaction fees when you are abroad. It's also a good choice if you want the added security that you can pay late once per year and not be charged a late fee. But again, be careful with this one, because you don't want to be lulled into a false sense of security and feel it's OK to miss a payment.

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