Rate Matcher deal branded a gimmick

Borrowers are likely to be left confused and disappointed by HSBC\'s Rate Matcher range.

This is the view of Scott Coghill, director at CompliancePoint, who says the offer is too good to be true.

Coghill says the deal is open to far fewer borrowers than it seems as it limits new clients to two-year remortgages at rates no lower than 4.54% and loans of up to £250,000.

This means borrowers with higher mortgages will be forced to take out second deals with HSBC to cover the difference.

He also says the additional fees charged on Rate Matcher deals are prohibitive as over a quarter of new borrowers will be subject to extra costs of more than £1,000.

But he believes the HSBC offer is likely to stir up significant interest among the 1.4 million borrowers coming off discounted or low fixed rate deals this year.

He says: “HSBC is only helping a small number of borrowers who are eligible for this short-term deal.

“This is a marketing gimmick that will leave many panicking borrowers confused and disappointed.”

And one lender source says: “This deal isn’t as good as it seems. Our ad-vice to customers is to look beyond the headlines to the small print.

“By adding fees to the rate, this deal is far from compelling and is equivalent to what is already being offered by other lenders.”

A spokesman for HSBC says: “This offer is not a gimmick. I recommend all borrowers look at our website and use our fee calculator to ensure they have realistic expectations of fees.”

He says HSBC has calculated that the average mortgage holder coming off a fixed rate deal in the first half of 2008 is expected to pay less than £600 in fees.