HSBC Bank Review

Most of this bank's products are geared toward wealthier customers

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HSBC

HSBC

A multinational bank with Hong Kong origins and headquarters in London, HSBC Bank has had a presence in the United States since 1980. This banking giant has branches in eight states, plus the District of Columbia, not to mention mobile banking options. In addition, HSBC Direct is the bank’s online-only institution, which offers branch-free banking direct to customers.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Minimum deposit of $1 for checking or savings account

  • Easily waived monthly checking account fee

  • Minimum balance of $1 to earn annual percentage yield (APY)

  • No minimum balance requirement or monthly fee for Everyday Savings Account

  • Bonuses available for new customers and referrals

  • International banking options

Cons
  • Present in only eight states and the District of Columbia with fewer than 150 branches

  • Low APYs on interest-bearing checking accounts

  • Overdraft protection possibly more than insufficient funds fees

  • HSBC and HSBC Direct unconnected online

  • The number of ATMs isn't available online

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1865
  • Official Website www.us.hsbc.com
  • Banking Products Offered Savings, checking, CDs, credit cards
  • Customer Service Phone line: Monday–Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST): 1-800-975-4722. Live chat available 24/7

Pros Explained

  • Minimum deposit of $1 for checking or savings account: Customers can open a new account online with just a $1 deposit. The minimum initial deposit drops to $0 if you go to a branch and have a bank representative open the account for you.
  • Easily waived monthly checking account fee: HSBC charges a $15 monthly fee for its Choice Checking account, which is the standard non-interest-bearing account. However, this fee is waived if you either maintain a $1,500 minimum balance or have a recurring monthly direct deposit, making it very simple to avoid the fee.
  • Minimum balance of $1 to earn annual percentage yield (APY): HSBC's interest-bearing checking accounts only require a $5 balance to earn interest.
  • No minimum balance requirement or monthly fee for Everyday Savings Account: These accounts do not charge any maintenance fees, nor is there a minimum balance for either.
  • Bonuses available for new customers and referrals: As of this writing, HSBC is offering a limited-time welcome bonus of up to $475 for new customers opening an interest-bearing checking account, as well as a referral bonus of up to $2,000 for successfully referring a friend to open a qualifying account.
  • International banking options: HSBC has branches and ATMs in more than 64 countries. U.S. customers can access any HSBC ATM in the world, as well as count on service and support at HSBC branches wherever they are located. 

Cons Explained

  • Present in only 10 states and the District of Columbia: HSBC is a multinational bank, but its presence in the U.S. is somewhat limited. You can find physical branches in only eight states: CA, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WA, and the District of Columbia. And there are less than 150 branches in those locations.
  • Low APYs on interest-bearing checking accounts: Customers cannot expect annual percentage yields (APYs) to be high anywhere right now; however, HSBC’s starting rate of 0.01% APY on both the Premier and Advanced checking accounts is a low rate even under current circumstances.
  • Overdraft protection possibly more than insufficient funds fees: HSBC offers something called “Select Credit,” a personal line of credit, as a method of overdraft protection. If you choose to sign up for this overdraft protection, you will pay up to 17.99% annual percentage rate (APR) on overdrafts, in addition to a transaction fee equal to the amount transferred to cover the overdraft up to a $10 maximum per day. This is compared to an insufficient fund fee of $35. While using Select Credit as overdraft protection may be cheaper for customers who can quickly repay the line of credit, it is expensive protection, and finding the details of these costs takes a little sleuthing on the site.
  • HSBC and HSBC Direct unconnected online: Despite both being under the umbrella of HSBC as a multinational bank, the HSBC U.S. website is separate from the HSBC Direct website, with no clear navigation between the two. Customers must know that each site exists to be able to find products from both.
  • Number of ATMs not listed on website: While you can search for an ATM near you on the HSBC website, it does not list the full number of ATMs available in the United States. There is a $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee, and considering that it is unclear just how many in-network ATMs exist, new customers may not be able to make an informed choice about the convenience of an HSBC account.

Who Is HSBC Bank Best For?

HSBC Bank is well suited to customers with robust savings accounts and those who may have international banking needs. In particular, you’ll find HSBC works great for you if you:

  • Wish to bank with a large multinational institution with a long history
  • Reside in CA, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WA, or the District of Columbia
  • Travel internationally on a regular basis
  • Want to open a savings account with no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee
  • Can receive regular direct deposits
  • Want a generous welcome bonus and have the necessary means to qualify for it
  • Want to receive generous referral bonuses

What Does HSBC Offer?

HSBC Bank customers have access to a full suite of deposit accounts and services, which include:

Savings Accounts

HSBC Premier Savings accounts require an HSBC Premier Checking account to qualify. To avoid a $50-per-month maintenance fee, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have monthly recurring direct deposits equaling at least $5,000 total to your HSBC Premier Checking account
  • Carry an HSBC U.S. residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000
  • Hold HSBC Jade customer status, available to customers who maintain a balance of $1 million in qualifying accounts.

Customers can qualify for an HSBC Premier Relationship Savings account and a higher APY by also spending at least $500 each month on a debit card linked to a Premier Checking account.

The APY for those who meet HSBC Premier Relationship eligibility requirements is 2.15% as of September 20, 2022. Otherwise, the APY is 0.05%.

Checking Accounts

HSBC Premier Checking requires you to have the above interest-bearing checking account in order to open an account. Expect to pay a $50 monthly maintenance fee unless you either maintain a $75,000 minimum balance in all of your HSBC accounts, have monthly recurring direct deposits totaling $5,000 or carry an HSBC U.S. residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000.

There are some pretty impressive benefits available to Premier Checking customers, including paying no foreign transaction fees when you make purchases with your HSBC Premier Debit World Mastercard and access to priority services and emergency financial support at any HSBC branch in the world.

The downside of this checking account is its currently low-interest rate. As with Advance Checking, you will only earn 0.01% APY on your balances above $5. The higher requirements for this account do not translate into a higher APY, at least not now. The APY may increase when the Federal Reserve raises rates again.

Overdrafts covered by Select Credit will be charged up to a 17.99% APR, and you will also have to pay a transaction fee equal to the amount transferred to cover the overdraft, up to a $10 maximum per day. Considering these costs, the $35 insufficient fund fee for overdrafts may be the cheaper option.

Certificates of Deposit

HSBC offers customers three CDs with terms ranging from six months to 24 months.

Term APY Minimum Deposit
Six Months 2.00% $1,000
One Year 2.75% $1,000
Two Years 3.00% $1,000
(As of September 20, 2022)

Credit Cards

HSBC offers eight credit cards, all under the Mastercard umbrella, with varying perks and benefits.

  • HSBC Cash Rewards Student Credit Card: Created specifically for students has no annual fee. Cardholders receive 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases.
  • HSBC Premier World Mastercard: HSBC Premier Checking or Savings account holders can get this card with no annual fee; all others will pay a $95 one. This card offers 35,000 bonus points for signing up, provided you spend $3,000 in the first three months. You also get 2X Points on travel and 1X Points on all other spending.
  • HSBC Elite Mastercard: This card has a $395 annual fee, plus a $65 fee per authorized user. In return, you receive 50,000 bonus points for signing up, provided you spend $4,000 in the first three months. You will also receive 3X Points on travel, 2X Points on dining, and 1X Points on all other spending. The card comes with some primo travel perks, such as a $400 travel credit per year, travel protection, access to airport lounges, and application fee statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
  • HSBC Platinum: This card doesn't offer any cash back or point rewards but has travel perks like Mastercard airport concierge, which gives 15% savings on Airport Meet and Greet services and rental car coverage. For the golf fanatics, cardholders receive Priceless Golf discounts and complimentary passes at TPC courses.
  • HSBC Platinum with Rewards: The HSBC Platinum with Rewards card comes with most of the perks of the HSBC Platinum card but offers 1x points per $1 spent. Each point is worth $0.01, and they can be redeemed as cash back, gift cards, and various items.

Other Financial Products Offered By HSBC Bank

In addition to the above products and services, HSBC also offers the following:

  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs)
  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Self-directed trading
  • Managed investment portfolios
  • Private banking
  • Financial advisors
  • Business loans

HSBC Customer Service

The customer service phone line is reachable from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. EST, seven days a week, at 1-800-975-4722. In addition, you can interact with live chat 24/7. Surprisingly, the bank also invites customers to tweet questions or concerns to the customer care Twitter account from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST on Saturday.

HSBC’s mobile app, 4.5 stars on Google Play and 4.6 stars on iTunes, offers some forward-thinking security features, such as fingerprint ID on Android and facial recognition on iOS, in particular. Having a mobile app is even more important for this bank, considering the small number of HSBC branches in America.

How to Bank With HSBC

HSBC makes it very easy to open accounts online, even if you do not reside in one of the eight states served by less than 150 bank branches. Once you have opened an account, both the online banking portal and mobile app make it easy to handle all your transactions, even if you can’t make it to a brick-and-mortar branch. However, you may find it’s a little difficult to find fee-free ATMs, so you may need to do some reconnaissance to access your cash if you do not live near an HSBC branch.

Verdict

As a multinational bank, HSBC has a great deal to recommend it for the right customer. International travelers, those who maintain large bank balances, and those looking for a bank to handle their mortgage as well as their regular banking needs would all be well served by HSBC’s offerings. The wide array of products and services mean there is something for almost everyone, but it is clear that most of its products are geared toward wealthier clients. The focus on higher-income clients is part of what may make this bank a bad fit for a lot of average customers.

If you do not live in the eight-state geographical footprint, the more basic accounts might be somewhat onerous to use. Several of these accounts limit or restrict check usage, meaning you will have to go into a branch for a cashier’s check. And that’s not to mention the low number of ATMs, making it expensive to access your own money with one of the basic accounts in a state that HSBC does not serve. However, if you have little cash, no need for checks, or can afford one of the more deluxe accounts, these issues will probably not bother you.

Methodology

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