Last updated: 28 November 2019
Is the HSBC Student Credit Card any good? It may be, especially if you already have an HSBC student current account or are a student and are going to open one. A student card can be a great way to start building your credit history—just make sure you pay on time and stay under the credit limit. Let's see how the HSBC student card stacks up.
HSBC Student Credit Card Review
HSBC's student credit card can be a great first card as its open to those without a credit history and has a purchase interest rate that's relatively low for a starter card at 18.9% APR (variable), which will help you save on interest charges if you can't pay your full balance back one month.
Another perk is that cardholders can earn cashback on some of their shopping—the amount of cashback is variable and may be a percentage of your spending or a fixed pound reward earned by spending a minimum amount. Cashback offers apply to various retailers, such as Esso, Lidl, Boots, H&M, Costa, EuropCar and Uber, but these are subject to change.
If you earn a cashback award, Visa will credit the amount to your account. For example, if the cashback offer is for 20% off purchases of £50 or more and you make a £100 purchase, Visa will put £20 cashback in your account. Cashback is an unusual perk for a student card—and can be beneficial as long as it doesn't encourage you to make purchases you wouldn't otherwise make.
Possible HSBC Student Cashback Retailers
HSBC Student Card Benefits & Features
|HSBC Student Credit Card Features|
|Credit Limit||up to £500|
|Eligibility checker||To see your odds of being accepted|
|Other Features||Contactless, Apple Pay and Android Pay|
Who Can Apply?
HSBC will accept most current or prospective students for their student card, so long as you have or apply for an HSBC student current account. You can't have the credit card without the bank account, so the HSBC card is only a good option if you'll open an HSBC student account as well. To open a student bank account, you must have a confirmed place to study and be on:
- a full time qualifying course
- or a level 4+ apprenticeship in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man
- or a part-time course with a Disabled Students' Allowance
Any postgraduate applicants must have finished a UK undergraduate degree in the past three years.
As proof, postgrads must provide a graduation certificate, diploma or letter from the university or college. Others must show proof of their unconditional acceptance (e.g. UCAS letter or letter from the university or college), or for first year students a 16-digit UCAS status code.
In addition, applicants may not hold a student account anywhere else.
To get the credit card, you must:
- be at least 18 years old
- have an HSBC Student bank account
- be a UK resident (for at least 3 years, and not from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man)
As a card for students who are often young and too busy studying to work, so there is no income requirement nor a minimum credit history. For the most part, applicants need to have been a UK resident for 3 years, be 18 years of age and be (or soon be) a student or Level 4+ apprentice—so this is not a good option for international students who've just arrived in the UK. They may want to consider the NatWest Student Credit Card instead as it will consider international students.
Using the HSBC Student Credit Card Abroad
Many students travel during school holidays, so it's important to understand the fees you'll pay by using this credit card abroad and when not to use your card. The following table illustrates the fees for using the HSBC Student Credit Card overseas.
|Type of Transaction||Example||Fee||Minimum Fee|
|Credit Card Purchases||Paying for a meal in a restaurant||2.99%||n/a|
|Cash Withdrawal||Getting foreign cash from an ATM||2.99%||£3|
It's important to note that withdrawing local currency from a foreign ATM is very expensive, as you'll incur DOUBLE fees—these transactions are subject to both a foreign transaction fee (2.99%) and a cash withdrawal fee (2.99%, £3 min). In addition, there's no grace period on cash withdrawals so interest charges start accruing immediately.
To understand the implications of these charges, the following chart illustrates the fees associated with £300 worth of foreign credit card purchases and three cash withdrawals worth £100 each. Note, it is never optimal to withdraw less than £100 worth of currency, due to the £3 minimum cash fee—that is, you're charged £3 on any cash withdrawal under £100 in value.
Should I Pay in Pounds Abroad, to Avoid the Foreign Transaction Charge?
Usually, it's safer to pay in the local currency when you're abroad, because if you choose to pay in pounds then the retailer picks the currency exchange rate—which can be pretty poor. But using this card abroad, you'll either pay the suboptimal retailer exchange rate (pay in pounds) or incur a 2.99% fee (pay in local currency). You can learn more about cards that do not charge fees for foreign transactions in our section on Travel Credit Cards.