HSBC's Credit Card Policies Feel Like 1994 All Over Again

Victor knows that shopping at Best Buy isn’t a popular choice around here, but he really likes getting 4% back in Reward Zone points to spend on even more stuff at Best Buy. That does sound pretty sweet. In this situation, his actual beef is with HSBC, the bank that runs Best Buy’s credit cards. He made some big purchases, then made an electronic payment from his bank account to pay off the balance. Now there’s a mysterious hold on the account, and he can’t use the card. Turns out that large electronic payments are “held” for eleven days to make sure everything clears. Longer than it would take with a paper check. Unable to make any more purchases with his card, Victor just went and bought his iPad 3 somewhere else. Darn.

I know people whine about Worst Buy, etc, but with Reward Zone Silver, I do
just fine with them – or at least I did. Recently they talked me into
getting their credit card (managed by HSBC) to get an extra 2% back in the
form of RZ points, for a total of 4% on all purchases. Sounded great to me.
So the first month I used it for a number of large purchases and racked up a
bunch of points.

I paid off the whole amount of nearly $3000 using the online payment method
(BB is 20%+ interest – don’t want that noise!), which takes the money
directly from my bank using the routing and account number. It was debited
from my bank two days later. I went to use the card a few weeks later and
it was declined. I couldn’t figure out why until I called them. They
posted the payment, but did not adjust the credit available to reflect the
payment. I was informed they put a “hold” on large electronic payments for
11 days until they have verification the bank paid it. I can understand
this for a CHECK, but for an electronic payment from my bank to theirs it
made no sense at all. My bank clearly shows it was sent, but they would
not verify that their bank received it (which I’m sure it did). They wanted
me to fax them an unredacted bank statement from my bank’s online service to
show the payment. Of course, I refused and just waited out the 11 days,
buying my iPad3 elsewhere and getting points on my mileage card instead.
Their loss.

I’m now 15 days past when I made the payment and 12 days past when the funds
left my account and they STILL won’t release it. However, I was informed
that if I had called them and made a debit card payment on the phone instead
of an online payment, it would have been released in 2 days. Great news
going forward, but how is this different than a direct bank transfer, except
that the debit payment is more expensive FOR THEM and more inconvenient for

HSBC, Best Buy, it’s the 21st century. What’s the point of having your card
if I can’t use it even if it’s paid off? For a technology store and a major
financial institution, they are the personification of backwards.

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen: the one case in all of recorded financial history when sending a paper check might have been faster.