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How to get ready for Black Friday

With discounts on everything from tech to fashion, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big days in the retail calendar.

Taking place on 26 November and 29 November this year, an increasing number of retailers are offering discounts on a range of goods.

A little bit of prep can help you make the most of the sales and keep your money safe. 

5 tips to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

1. Set a budget – and stick to it

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be the perfect time to snap up some purchases you know you’ll have to make in the future, such as Christmas presents. But before you start spending, take some time to work out what you can comfortably afford

Our budget planner can help you see where your money’s going, and how much you may have left over.

Giving yourself a spending limit may also help you decide what to buy – or not buy. 

If you have the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app, you’ll get a notification when you spend on your card. You could use this to keep tabs on your spending to make sure you don’t go over your budget. Plus, the Balance After Bills feature on our mobile app can show you how much money you’ll have available once your regular standing orders and Direct Debits are taken into account. 

If you decide to use a credit card or Buy now pay later, remember you'll have to repay anything you spend. You may also be charged interest if you carry debt from month to month.

2. Decide what you need beforehand

After you’ve worked out what you can afford to spend, look at what you actually need. It’s easy to get swept up in all the offers, so deciding what you want to buy beforehand can help stop you needlessly spending.

To make the most of your money, you may want to try setting spending limits on certain items, or prioritise what you need. That way, you’ll buy the most important things before you blow your budget.

3. Look at who’s participating in the sales

Not every shop will be holding a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale. So if you can, do some research beforehand. You may want to:

  • see who’s participating – many shops advertise beforehand

  • look at what discounts participating stores are likely to have

  • find out where you can get the items you need – knowing this may give you a better chance of buying them before they run out of stock

  • sign up to newsletters – they may give you a preview of sale items or offer specific discount codes

  • compare the prices of items to make sure you’re getting the best deal

4. Keep your money safe while you shop

Be aware of purchase scams this Black Friday. These are when you pay for an item or service and it doesn't arrive and your money is lost. 

Some Black Friday scams may:

  • have limited availability or special discounts that appear too good to be true

  • put pressure on you to send payment before seeing goods, often using less secure means such as a bank transfer

Remember to: 

Paying by credit card offers greater protection than other payment methods. If you buy an item costing more than £100 and less than £30,000 on your credit card (even just part of it), your purchase may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

5. Make sure your items are protected

If you’re looking to buy specific items, like a mobile phone or laptop, you may want to consider taking out insurance. This can protect your items against a range of unforeseen events, such as theft or damage. 

If there are a few different items you’re wanting to protect, multi-cover insurance may allow you to tailor your insurance to your needs. 

For example, with HSBC Select and Cover, you can choose at least 3 options, including gadget insurance and mobile phone insurance. You’ll need to be an HSBC UK customer and registered for online banking to apply for Select and Cover.

If you already have insurance, it’s a good idea to review your policy when buying potentially high-value items, such as tech or jewellery, to make sure you have the cover you need.  

What to do if your payment is declined

If you’re paying for items online with an HSBC debit or credit card, we may ask you to confirm the purchase by logging on to our app, or by entering a one-time passcode. This is to confirm it’s you using your card to make the payment. 

If you’ve received an error message telling you your payment has been declined, but you have the money available in your account, this may be down to the company you’re buying from. 

They may need to do their own payment verification to confirm it's you using the card. If they haven’t done their necessary checks, it could cause your payment to fail. In that case you’d need to contact the retailer directly to ask how you can make the payment.

What to do if you don’t recognise a transaction

If you’ve been grabbing bargains all over the place, checking your bank statement and your budget can help you make sure you’ve not overspent. But if you don’t recognise a transaction from your account, there are a few things you can do, such as: 

  • remind yourself what you were doing around the time the transaction was made – looking at any other transactions from around this time may help

  • check with any other account holders to see if they made the transaction

  • check the name the retailer trades under (retailers sometimes trade under a different name, which could be the name that appears on your statement)

If you’re still not sure about a transaction, you’ll need to wait until the payment’s been processed then get in touch with your bank. If you’re an HSBC customer, you can raise a dispute here.