HSBC Student Loan Alternatives

 July 12, 2019
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Private Student Loan rates starting at 0.99% APR

0.99% to 11.98% 1

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1.13% to 11.23% 2

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0.99% to 11.44% 3

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  • Variable APR

One of the world’s largest financial services organization, HSBC serves more than 39 million customers across 66 countries and territories. While this banking giant offers a variety of financial products, an HSBC student loan isn’t one of them — at least not in the U.S.

In other countries such as France and the U.K., students can borrow HSBC student loans to fund their education or study abroad as international students in the U.S. But American students will have to look elsewhere for a student loan; HSBC doesn’t offer them through its U.S. division.

Since you can’t take an HSBC student loan to pay for college or graduate school, here are some affordable alternatives to consider.

HSBC student loan alternatives

Student loans fall into two broad categories: federal government loans and private loans. Your options depend on which type you borrow:

Submit the FAFSA for federal student loans

Before exploring private student loans from a bank, credit union or online lender, look into your options for federal student loans. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) offers subsidized and unsubsidized loans to students, as well as Grad PLUS loans to graduate students who need additional funding.

Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans tend to have the lowest interest rates, and they come with a variety of flexible repayment plans. If you run into financial hardship, you might have the option to postpone payments through deferment or forbearance.

And graduates who work in eligible jobs or organizations could potentially qualify for loan forgiveness. Plus, you don’t need a cosigner to take out federal student loans — all you need to do is submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and your financial aid award letter will tell you how much you can borrow.

Since federal student loans tend to be preferable to private loans for these reasons, you should probably max out your eligibility before looking to a private lender. But if you run up against your borrowing limits and still need money for school, a private student loan could fill the gap.

Shop around for the best private student loan

The process of applying for private student loans is a little more involved than with federal loans. Since private lenders set their own rates and terms, it makes sense to shop around with several lenders before choosing one.

Plus, you need to meet underwriting requirements for credit and income, or else apply with a cosigner who can. The vast majority of undergraduates (about 92% in 2018-2019, according to academic data firm MeasureOne) apply with a cosigner, such as a parent.

Once you qualify and decide on a lender, you’ll likely choose between a variable and fixed interest rate, as well as repayment terms that might typically range between five and 15 years. Since you probably can’t change your terms (unless you refinance later on), make an informed decision when you borrow.

Using a student loan calculator can help you estimate future monthly payments and choose a loan term you feel comfortable with. That said, no matter what term you choose, you can typically make extra payments without penalty to get out of debt ahead of schedule.

3 alternatives to HSBC student loans

Since you can’t borrow an HSBC student loan, here are some great alternatives for private student loans. All of these lenders offer competitive rates and flexible terms to student borrowers, while maintaining a strong reputation for customer service.

CommonBond College Ave Student Loans Citizens Bank
Fixed APR 3.74% – 10.74% 2.99% – 12.99% 4.18% – 11.70%
Vairable APR 3.80% – 9.36% 0.99% – 11.98% 1.16% – 11.02%
Length of repayment terms 5, 10 or 15 years 5, 8, 10 or 15 years 5, 10 or 15 years
How much you can borrow From $2,000 to the full cost of attendance of your school From $1,000 to the full cost of attendance of your school From $1,000 to $150,000 for undergraduates
Repayment plan options
  • No payments while in school or for six months after you leave
  • In-school monthly payments of $25
  • In-school interest-only payments
  • In-school full payments
  • No payments while in school or for six months after you leave
  • In-school flat payments
  • In-school interest-only payments
  • In-school full payments
  • No payments while in school or for six months after you leave
  • In-school interest-only payments
  • In-school full payments
Origination or application fee? No No No

CommonBond, College Ave Student Loans and several other lenders offer instant online rate quotes, so you can see if you prequalify in a matter of minutes. This rate check won’t impact your credit, so you can compare offers from multiple lenders without worrying about harming your credit.

Preparing to pay back your student loan

While most private student loans defer payments while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate, you might choose to pay sooner to get ahead of interest. As you can see from the chart above, various private lenders let you make payments as a student, possibly including interest-only or small fixed payments.

If you can swing in-school payments, you can prevent interest from growing out of control. Even if you don’t start paying until your grace period ends, make sure you’re prepared to tackle repayment once it starts. Write down the details of your loans, and estimate your future monthly payments. Find out if your lender offers any borrower protections, such as forbearance if you lose your job or head back to school.

While private student loans typically aren’t as flexible as federal ones, your lender might work with you if you need to adjust your repayment plan. Even if they don’t, you can always look into refinancing your private student loans for new rates and terms.

Need a student loan?

Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
Variable APRDegrees That QualifyMore Info
0.99% – 11.98%1 Undergraduate

Visit College Ave

1.13% – 11.23%2 Undergraduate

Visit SallieMae

0.99% – 11.44%3 Undergraduate

Visit Earnest

1.50% – 11.33%4 Undergraduate

Visit Ascent

1.12% – 11.23%5 Undergraduate

Visit SoFi

1.15% – 11.01%6 Undergraduate