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What is a VISA card? How to apply for a VISA card online?

As cashless payment is becoming more popular, picking a bank card that suits your financial lifestyle is important. If you are wondering "What is a Visa card?" and what differentiates it from other cards, we are here to help.

What is a VISA card?

A VISA card is an international payment card introduced by Visa International Service Association, a payment network based in the US, cooperating with financial institutions to issue different branded VISA cards. Currently, VISA cards are available in over 190 countries worldwide and are the most commonly used card type.

You can use VISA cards to do online shopping and transact at almost everywhere that accepts VISA around the world, including cash withdrawal, bank transfer and savings deposit. Also, VISA cardholders often enjoy more exclusive promotions and offers. Currently, HSBC has a variety of cards to suit every lifestyle.

Some of the VISA cards we want to introduce are: VISA debit card and VISA credit card. With different benefits for different kinds of cards, you should choose a card that best matches your financial lifestyle.

What is a VISA debit card?

A VISA debit card directly links to your checking account. That means, the money on the VISA debit card is your own, and you can use the card to withdraw, pay and transfer the money as much as your account balance. There are banks that don't put a limit on amount of money you can use in your bank account while others will require the debit cardholders to maintain a minimum account balance.

You can use your VISA debit card at any VISA-accepting points, for example, local and overseas ATMs with VISA/ PLUS logo, POS (Point of Sale) or for online payments.

Most debit card issuers also pay you interests on the credit balance in your VISA debit account. Generally, all debit cards, including VISA debit card, won't allow you to do transactions for amounts greater than the account balance to which your cards are linked.

Learn more about HSBC VISA Debit Card
While VISA debit cards are mostly used to withdraw cash, transfer money, etc., within credit balance in the account, VISA credit cards let you borrow money to prepay for goods, services, instalment payments, etc., under the agreement that you'll repay it

What is a VISA credit card?

A VISA credit card has most of the features of VISA debit card with the outstanding advantage of having a credit limit granted under the agreement with the card issuer.

Normally you will have from 21 to 51 days, depending on the card and its issuer, from the moment you use the card for advanced spending to the day you make the repayment. HSBC VISA Cashback Credit Card and HSBC VISA Platinum Credit Card have an interest-free period for up to 51 days, This means that as long as you repay the total outstanding amount before the payment due date, you are free from all financial charges. Otherwise, the bank's interest rates will be accrued on your outstanding balance as the result of missing the payment due dates or not fully paying off the amounts due every month.

Enjoy cashback on your daily essentials, telco and online transactions with an HSBC Cashback Credit Card

Benefits of VISA cards

Introduced to overcome the limitations of cash, VISA cardholders get benefits when making domestic and international transactions.

Convenient shopping experience

Instead of a bulky wallet, a bank card as small as a business card will serve you better than cash. You can enjoy your shopping anytime and anywhere. Have you ever been in a situation where you do not have enough money in hand to close on a good deal at a supermarket? A VISA card can be extremely helpful at this time.

HSBC currently has many discount offers for all areas such as food, education, shopping, sports, beauty, entertainment, travel… at hundreds of stores across Sri Lanka. Don't miss our daily offers.

High security

Almost every VISA card is equipped with an EMV chip to prevent fraud and data theft.

You carry risk when you carry a lot of cash, whether it be dropping cash or having it stolen, never to be recovered. In the case you lose your card, you can immediately lock the card via the banking support center, preventing any loss of money. Note that your card will only be successfully locked when you receive a confirmation from the card issuer.

You can also set a transfer limit on your debit card or credit limit if it is a credit card for maximum security.

Manage your finance easily

With any type of VISA cards, all your purchases get recorded online with all the essential details—where, when, how much. This helps you self-assess and reconcile your spending so that you can budget better.

Using your VISA card responsibly with proper planning is a great way to get yourself a savings later down the road.


It's easy to understand how to use the VISA card:

  • Simple process even when using online
  • Accepted form of payment in many countries worldwide
  • Money transfer services and support costs when transferring money internationally

HSBC is offers VISA Credit Cards to suit your lifestyle.

How to use VISA cards?

Direct payments at merchants

When you go shopping or pay for services at a store or service provider, usually, the store clerk will swipe the magnetic strip on the back of the card or insert the card into the POS or mPOS.

VISA also offers contactless payments where you can pay for lower value items with a tap of your HSBC Credit or Debit Card. Find out more on the benefits of contactless payments.

So, what is POS?

POS (Point of Sale) is a payment terminal that takes credit or debit cards to make a payment instead of cash. The device can be held in hand and is usually placed at checkout counters at shopping points.

In addition to a traditional POS, the Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) is also a compact device providing convenient card payment services.

Online payments

You can use VISA cards to make online payments for merchandise both domestically and internationally.You generally only need to provide your full name, card number, CVV, expiration date and OTP to proceed with the payment. The OTP will be sent by text message to your registered phone number with your bank.

Cash advance via ATMs

You can withdraw money using VISA cards at any ATMs with international payment network logos such as VISA / PLUS. However, cash withdrawal fees will be applied as specified in the card issuer's fee schedule.

Which VISA card should we use?

3 important factors in choosing your card

Choosing the right VISA card is important. Here are the 3 most important factors to consider when applying for your first VISA card.

  • Your needs and lifestyle
  • Card features and offers
  • The convenience of application

Although nearly all banks in Sri Lanka have issued card lines associated with VISA, card scheme rules may differ from bank to bank. 

Credit cards from different issuers may also vary in terms of features, limit, charges and fees, conditions for card registration or promotion programs. As each variant has its own advantages, you may want to search the information beforehand to find the right card that best suits your needs.

In case you can't make it to the bank during office hours to apply for a VISA card, there are several banks, including HSBC, that assist users in applying for a VISA card online, instead of only face-to-face applications.

Requirements for HSBC VISA cards application

Specific conditions depend on the bank and type of card you choose but you can refer to the general requirements below:

  • Individuals aged 18 years or over
  • Residential proof of current home
  • Proof of work and income if opening VISA credit card

How to apply for an HSBC VISA card online

The steps to apply a VISA card online is quite simple. You can refer to How to apply for VISA card Online.

The whole process is done entirely online, ensuring you will have a VISA card without moving your feet.

We hope this overview helps you to understand "What is a VISA card?".  VISA cards are a valuable tool to help plan and manage your financial goals.

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