HSBC Bank Review

HSBC Bank

Overall Rating

9

Bottom Line

HSBC Bank has a lot to offer. It has a wide variety of products that you’ll see with a big, national bank. With HSBC Direct, you can also find the minimalist, higher-APY options that are common in modern online banks.

Pros

  • Large, Global Bank
  • Traditional and Online Options
  • Numerous Products

Cons

  • Higher Fees
  • Average Interest Rates

HSBC Bank USA is the American subsidiary of HSBC — a British multinational investment bank headquartered in London.

HSBC was established in Hong Kong in 1865 as The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank and now serves more than 40 million customers in 65 countries across 6 continents.

HSBC US is based out of New York City and has 159 branches in 10 states.

Most of its brick and mortar banks are located in the NYC area, but they also have a presence in Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington, D.C. HSBC offers deposit accounts, personal and home loans, investment and retirement accounts, and credit cards.

Since 2005, HSBC has been operating an online-only banking platform called HSBC Direct, which includes high yield checking, savings, and Certificate of Deposit accounts — all online or from your smartphone.

In this post, you’ll learn about the ins and outs of HSBC. For starters, let’s jump into the bank’s best products and features:

In This Article

HSBC Checking Accounts

HSBC offers four checking accounts. Each account caters to different needs, but some shared features include access to HSBC’s global network of ATMs, optional overdraft protection, international banking services, and mobile banking.

HSBC Basic Banking

Basic Banking is a very basic checking account that comes with all of the usual features you would expect to find.

You’ll get a Mastercard debit card, online banking, and bill pay, and your first eight checks or withdrawal slips each month are free. (It costs $0.35 per check after that.)

Basic banking has no minimum balance requirements, and the monthly maintenance fee is just $1.

There’s no way to get this fee waived, but the low price point makes it manageable.

HSBC Choice Checking

Choice Checking is HSBC’s standard checking account. The account includes the same features that come with Basic Banking, but with a little more added flexibility.

There’s no limit on checks and withdrawal slips, and you’ll easily be able to waive the $15 monthly fee by setting up a direct deposit of any amount.

You can also avoid the fee if you maintain a balance of $1,500 in all linked deposit and investment accounts.

HSBC offers a student version of Choice Checking, too. Qualifying students get all the same features as the standard account, but with no monthly fee for six years, and no minimum deposit requirement.

You’ll also have a chance to earn a $100 welcome bonus, just by depositing $25 or more and spending $100 or more in each of the first three months after opening.

HSBC Advance

The HSBC Advance checking account is a premium checking option with a few added perks, a higher monthly fee, and a higher balance requirement.

On top of everything included in Choice Checking, Advance customers get free personalized checks and reimbursement up to four times a month on non-HSBC ATM fees.

The account has a monthly fee of $25, which gets waived with a direct deposit of any amount, or a combined balance of $5,000.

HSBC Premier

The Premier checking account is HSBC’s highest account tier and comes with some premium benefits if you can meet the requirements.

With a Premier account, you’ll have a dedicated relationship manager, preferred rates on home financing, and no foreign transaction fees when you use your debit card internationally.

Opening a Premier account also gives you the option to enroll in HSBC’s Premier Savings account, which you’ll read about below.

The requirements for HSBC Premier are pretty steep, to put it mildly.

There’s a $50 monthly fee, which you’ll only be able to avoid if you maintain a balance of $75,000 between accounts, make monthly direct deposits of $5,000 or more, or have an HSBC mortgage of at least $500,000.

HSBC Savings Accounts

HSBC has three main account savings account options: Everyday Savings, Advance Savings, and Premier Savings.

All three accounts have a minimum opening deposit of $1, and the only main differences between the three show up in the fees and interest rates.

HSBC Everyday Savings

Everyday Savings is a standard savings account that’s available to all HSBC customers.

With an Everyday Savings account, you can link up with your checking account, monitor your balance online, and set up automatic transfers between accounts.

You’ll also earn interest on any deposits, though at an Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 0.01%, don’t expect to earn much.

Everyday Savings doesn’t have any minimum balance requirements or maintenance fees, so there’s no need to worry about fees chipping away at your balance.

HSBC Advance Savings

Advance Savings is a higher-yield option for savings and is only available to Advance Checking customers.

Advance Savings offers the same benefits as Everyday Savings but comes with a different fee structure and a slightly higher APY.

The monthly maintenance fee is $25, but the same requirements to waive the fee on your Advance Checking account will take care of this one as well (direct deposit, and combined balance of $5,000).

The interest rate currently maxes out at (a still very low) 0.05%. Also, the interest rate for this account is tiered. To qualify for the highest rate, you’ll need an account balance of at least $15,000.

HSBC Premier Savings

Premier Savings is the closest thing that HSBC offers to a high yield savings account (outside of HSBC Direct, which is covered below).

You’ll need a Premier checking account to qualify for a Premier Savings account.

Similar to Advance Savings, the interest rates on Premier are tiered, so you’ll earn more based on how much you deposit.

At the moment, you can earn 0.01% on balances up to $24,999, 0.10% on $25,000 to $99,999.99, and 0.15% on $100,000 or more.

Looking at these rates, keep in mind that if your balance is between $15,000 and $25,000, you’ll earn more with an Advance Savings account than with a Premier Savings account.

Premier Savings comes with a $50 monthly service fee, which is waived with one of the same qualifying activities as Premier Checking ($75,000 in combined HSBC deposits, $5,000 monthly direct deposit, or a $500,000 mortgage).

HSBC CDs (Certificates of Deposit)

HSBC offers Certificate of Deposit accounts (CDs) with attractive interest rates.

If you’ve never looked into a CD before, it’s a hands-off savings account with a fixed interest rate.

CD rates are typically higher than in traditional savings, but you’ll be penalized if you withdraw funds before the account fully matures.

With HSBC, CDs are where you can expect to find the highest APYs. Account terms are 6 months, 12 months, or 24 months. The longer you commit your funds, the more you’ll earn in interest.

For example, if you open a six-month CD, you’ll currently earn a solid 0.20% APY. For the 12 and 24 month options, the rate gets bumped up to 0.30%.

These rates are pretty competitive for CDs, so if you’re looking to earn interest with HSBC, without taking any risks (other than having your money locked into a fixed term) a CD might be your best bet.

HSBS Credit Cards

HSBC currently has six different credit card options, all offered through Mastercard.

All HSBC credit cards can be used with Tap & Go contactless payment, as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

They’ll also automatically enroll you in HSBC fraud protection, and give you free access to your FICO score.

Let’s take a look at each card that HSBC has to offer:

HSBC Gold

The HSBC Gold card is a simple and very basic credit card.

There are no points or rewards to be had here, but it comes with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and a waiver on late payments once a year.

The Gold card stands out for balance transfers. if you’re looking to transfer a balance from a previous credit card, you’ll pay nothing in interest for the first 18 months after you open your account.

HSBC Cash Rewards

HSBC Cash Rewards is another no-annual-fee credit card option, but with this one, you can stack up some points.

Cash Rewards pays an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and you won’t be charged any international transaction fees.

Cash Rewards also comes with a nice introductory promotion, which nets you 3% cash back for your first 12 months, up to your first $10,000 in purchases.

You’ll also get an introductory APR of 0% for the first year.

HSBC Cash Rewards Student

HSBC Cash Rewards Student is only available to currently enrolled students who have an HSBC deposit account already.

You’ll get the same 1.5% cash back as with the standard Cash Rewards card, but you won’t be eligible for any of the intro bonuses.

Cash Rewards Student stands out for beginners looking to open up a first credit card because you don’t need any credit history to qualify.

HSBC Advance

HSBC Advance might be a good option for current Advance checking or savings account customers because you won’t pay an annual fee if you hold one of these accounts.

If you aren’t enrolled in Advance checking or savings, you’re looking at a $45 annual fee.

HSBC Advance offers point multipliers on dining and entertainment, with 2x points on qualifying activities.

The card earns 1x points on all other purchases, and you won’t have to worry about any foreign transaction fees.

The 12-month introductory period offers the same 0% APR. During this period, points on dining and entertainment are also increased to 3x points for each $1 spent. All other purchases will get you 2x points for each $1 spent.

HSBC Premier World

HSBC Premier World is the bank’s introductory travel rewards card. If you’re already enrolled in a Premier checking or savings account, it comes with no annual fee — otherwise, you’ll pay $95 each year.

HSBC Premier World comes with a solid set of benefits, including a 35,000 point bonus (worth about $400) if you spend at least $3,000 in your first three months of opening the account.

When it comes to earning points, you’ll earn 2x points on all travel expenses and 1x points on all other purchases.

You’ll also get an $85 dollar credit toward a TSA Precheck application fee, and $50 in annual statement credits toward rides with Uber or Lyft. Not bad!

Premier World has no foreign transaction fee, and sets you up with travel insurance that covers cancellations, accidents, and lost or damaged baggage.

HSBC Premier World Elite

HSBC Premier World Elite is HSBC’s highest-tier credit card and is effectively a supercharged version of Premier World.

The introductory bonus is bumped up to 50,000 points (worth about $750), and you’ll have to spend $4,000 in the first three months to get it.

You can also earn more points, too. Premier World Elite comes with 3x points on travel, 2x points on dining, and 1x points on everything else.

With this card, you’ll get the same TSA Precheck credit, along with $100 toward Uber or Lyft, $100 in air travel credits, and free access to over 1,000 airport lounges.

Furthermore, this card is only available to those who have a Premier checking or savings account. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid the steep $395 annual fee, no matter which HSBC bank account you hold.

HSBC Direct

HSBC offers an online-only banking branch, HSBC Direct, offering three additional online bank account options: Direct Checking, Direct Savings, and Direct CDs.

Here’s a quick overview of each account:

HSBC Direct Checking

Direct Checking is a truly online checking account. You won’t have access to HSBC branches, but you can still make fee-free withdrawals at HSBC ATMs, so that’s a plus.

Check deposits are made on the mobile app, and all transactions will be made digitally or with a debit card (the account doesn’t come with checks).

Direct Checking has no monthly maintenance fee and requires just a $1 minimum to open an account. The account is also interest-bearing, but the current APY is just 0.01%.

HSBC Direct Savings

The HSBC Direct Savings account is similar to Direct Checking in that all of your banking is handled online with mobile deposits, online transfers, and eStatements.

There’s no monthly fee, and a $1 minimum deposit for new accounts.

Direct Savings stands out from the bank’s traditional savings account options because it offers a higher APY of 0.15%, which is the highest APY you can earn from an HSBC savings account.

HSBC Direct CDs

HSBC’s online CD options are nearly identical to those that they offer under the main bank.

Account-holders have the option for a 6-month, 12-month, or 24-month term, and the interest rates are 0.30%, 0.40%, and 0.40%, respectively.

Once your Direct CD matures, you’ll have the option to automatically renew for another term, transfer the new balance to another account, or switch to a different CD.

HSBC Bank Fees

HSBC’s pricing structure is generally in line with that of the bigger American banks — think Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or Chase.

As such, you can expect to navigate a number of fees.

Monthly Maintenance Fees

First of all, if you hate the idea of having a fee of any kind associated with your bank account, consider looking into HSBC Direct — all three accounts are fee-free.

Otherwise, you can expect to see a monthly fee on most of HSBC’s accounts, ranging from $1 to $50. The good news is that these fees are all avoidable.

The steps for getting an account fee waived depends on the account requirements. In general, the more premium the account, the more difficult it is to meet the requirements.

When considering which account to sign up for, be sure to determine whether or not your personal financial situation will allow you to meet the requirements.

Overdraft Fees

If you overdraft your account with HSBC, you’ll pay a fee of $35. This overdraft fee can be charged up to three times per day if you continue to make transactions.

However, if the overdraft amount is less than $10, you shouldn’t see a fee, so that’s good news.

HSBC offers overdraft protection, but only in the form of credit. You can apply for Select Credit, which is a credit line that covers your negative balance.

The thing to keep in mind here is that, like any line of credit, you’ll be subject to paying interest.

The current APR on overdraft protection is 17.99%, so depending on the amount that you go over, you might be better off just paying the fee.

ATM Fees

HSBC offers fee-free ATM withdrawals at in-network ATMs. The downside is that HSBC ATMs can be hard to find, depending on where you live.

Only Premier accounts offer reimbursement for non-HSBC ATM charges. Otherwise, you’re looking at a $2.50 fee for using out-of-network ATMs.

If ATMs access is important to you, and you don’t live in New York (or another city with an HSBC presence) it could be worth looking into an option with more flexibility.

Other Fees

  • Account Closing Fee: $25 (if you close your account within 180 days of opening)
  • Stop Payment Fee: $30
  • Wire Transfer Fee: $15 (per incoming transfer). Fees for outgoing transfers will depend on your account.

Getting Started

Signing up for an HSBC account can be done in person, online, or over the phone. For the online HSBC Direct, you’ll of course need to sign up online.

To enroll in an account, no matter how you choose to do it, you’ll have to come ready with the following information:

  • Social Security Number
  • DOB, Telephone Number, E-mail Address
  • Employment Information
  • US Address
  • Driver’s License, Passport, or Other State ID
  • Banking Account and Routing Number for the account that will fund your new account

After you submit your application, you’ll get an email regarding your application status and directions for the next steps.

If the bank needs additional information they’ll let you know. Once you’re approved, you’ll have access to online banking and account information.

HSBC Bank Promotions

HSBC is currently offering a couple of pretty good bonuses.

With each bonus, you can expect to see the cash added to your account within eight weeks after completing the qualifying activities.

BankAmountExpiresRequirements 
HSBC Bank LogoHSBC HSBC Premier $450 January 5, 2022
  • Direct Deposit
HSBC Bank LogoHSBC Premier [Referral] $400 December 31, 2021
  • Direct Deposit (Optional)
  • Minimum Balance (Optional)
  • Referral
see all bonuses

Security

First things first — HSBC is an FDIC-insured bank, so all of your deposits are protected up to $250,000.

When it comes to protecting you and your banking information, HSBC has a $0 liability online guarantee, so you’ll be 100% covered on any losses that come with unauthorized transactions.

HSBC also has a global security network that tracks suspicious activity no matter where you are.

If you’re interested in learning more about HSBC’s security measures, feel free to check out their site for information on how they protect customers.

Customer Service and Support

HSBC has a wide customer service network and several options for how to get in touch.

One of the benefits to HSBC being a global bank is that firm operates in multiple time zones.

This flexibility allows them to offer live phone support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can also reach out on Apple Business Chat through the mobile banking app, hit them up on Twitter, or pop into your local branch.

If you have an issue that you think you can handle on your own, or just need a quick answer, you may also just want to check out the website for a helpful list of FAQs.

Overall, their customers seem to have mixed at best feelings about customer service quality.

For example, the bank’s average review score on TrustPilot is just 1.5-stars (out of 5), and 3.6-stars (out of 5) on WalletHub.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Large, Global Bank
  • Premium Perks for Higher Income Levels
  • Traditional and Online Options
  • Tons of Different Products and Services
  • Flexibility for International Travel

Cons:

  • High Fees (and lots of ’em)
  • Average to Below Average Interest Rates
  • Limited Physical Branches and ATMs
  • High Balance Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s go over some questions that often come up from potential new customers:

Is HSBC an online bank?

HSBC is both an online bank and a traditional bank. HSBC Direct is the bank’s online-only component.

Outside of HSBC Direct, HSBC Bank operates as a traditional bank, with physical branches, and ATMs in the U.S.

Is HSBC a good option for Americans?

HSBC is a global bank with locations and services offered all over the world. In the U.S., there are fewer branches that you could find elsewhere, but you’ll still have access to all of its products and services.z

If you live in the U.S. and want a traditional banking experience with HSBC, you’re probably better off if you live in one of the 10 states where the firm has a physical presence. If you don’t need ATM access, you might consider sticking to the online-only HSBC Direct.

Is HSBC the best international bank?

International banking is definitely one of the areas where HSBC stands out

You won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees on any of their credit cards. And, because it’s a global bank, you’re more likely to find a suitable ATM while you’re abroad.

There are a few other banks that have an international presence as well (e.g., Barclays and Citibank). That said, the best international bank for you comes down to exactly what you’re hoping to get from a banking experience.

Is HSBC Bank Right For You?

Now, the moment of truth — Is HSBC the right place to continue your financial journey?

In many ways, they have a lot to offer. It has a wide variety of products that you’ll see with a big, national bank.

With HSBC Direct, you can also find the minimalist, higher-APY options that are common in modern online banks.

There are two things that should help you make the final decision: your income level, and international services.

Overall, their accounts seem to cater more toward higher-income individuals. So, if you have a lot of money at your disposal, you can take advantage of some pretty good benefits.

Similarly, if you travel often for work or for pleasure, you’ll find a good partner in HSBC with its global accessibility.

On the other hand, if you don’t travel much, or live in a rural area in the U.S., there’s not much of an incentive to sign up with them (unless you go for the online option, HSBC Direct!).

It all comes down to understanding what you need from your bank and trusting your gut instinct from there.