Because secured cards aren’t exactly viewed as being prestigious, it’s not surprising that many major banks over the past several years have:
(A) Stopped issuing secured cards altogether. Why? Well my guess is that part of the reason is for brand identity. Marketing high-end credit cards and low-end secured cards at the same time isn’t the easiest thing to do.
(B) The bank still issues secured cards, but they set up a separate division under a different name to do so.
Option B seems to be what HSBC does. They have a couple high-end cards like the Premier World MasterCard (available to customers with at least $100k in deposits). It probably wouldn’t look so hot to offer that next to secured cards for rebuilding credit, right?
Maybe that’s why HSBC’s USA division has a subsidiary called Orchard Bank, which is responsible for branding and issuing secured credit card offers. In addition, they have another subsidiary called Household Bank, which also caters to similar customers.
2013 update: HSBC no longer issues secured cards thru Orchard Bank. That division was sold to Capital One. To learn more about Capital One’s current secured card go here.
***Everything below is now outdated since HSBC no longer issues credit cards in the US*** I am leaving the info up for historical reference only.
List of available secured cards
|Issuer||Secured products available|
|Bank of America||BankAmericard Secured Card|
|Capital One||Capital One Secured MasterCard|
|Citi||Citi Secured MasterCard|
|Discover||Discover it Secured Credit Card|
|Primor||Primor Secured Visa Gold Card; Primor Secured Visa Classic Card|
|USAA||USAA Secured Card Platinum Visa; USAA Secured Card American Express|
This is by far the most popular provider of HSBC secured credit cards. They also issue entry-level unsecured accounts. Here’s a comparison of their offers:
Disclaimer: Even though I do my best to keep these fees and rates accurate, I cannot guarantee accuracy. Please consult the card issuer to see their current rates and fees.
As you see, there are 4 different offers but only 1 application. Why? Because when you apply, they automatically check your qualification for all of them. They’ll tell you which of the 4 cards you’re pre-selected for and from there, you can choose whether or not you want to accept any of the offers.
Which one is best? Well obviously, the unsecured version with no annual fee is preferred! But if you’re rebuilding your credit, then unfortunately you may not have that option. But either way, the fees are pretty reasonable regardless of which one you end up getting.
MasterCard or Visa? Yep that’s right, you can also get these cards as Visa. The fees and APRs are the same, it’s just a matter of which brand you prefer.
This is the other division where you can get HSBC secured cards. However it’s not nearly as popular and it appears they are phasing out the brand. As of 2012, you can’t even apply for them (but the website is still up for existing cardholders).
Unlike Orchard, the Household brand only markets one card… it’s a MasterCard. There was only one application and depending on your credit, you got either a secured or unsecured account. If you got the latter, the annual fee was $0. But if all you qualified for was the secured, then you were stuck paying an annual fee…
Either way, this credit card gave 2 points per dollar spent. Since each point equaled 1 cent cash back, it was actually a kick butt rewards program!
Orchard vs. Household… who wins?
So which secured credit card from HSBC is best? Well when it comes to selection, you have a lot more options with Orchard. However I think it’s safe to say that Household Bank wins because of the enticing rewards program (the only secured card I know of that has rewards).
So if you have an old Household account that’s still open… lucky you, because it was arguably the best secured offer on the market. If you want a new account from Household, tough luck. Because as of 2012, you can only apply for a HSBC secured credit card through Orchard Bank.