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HSBC Review

Bottom Line:
APYs only outcompete those of traditional banks; however, the service excels at accessibility and is a strong contender among the brick-and-mortar banks

Full Review:
HSBC is a large multinational banking institution. While it's not an online bank formally, it offers services that can be utilized in a branchless-like manner if you choose to do so.

Key Features

Despite HSBC being a multinational bank, deposits in the U.S. are insured by the FDIC. HSBC has three savings account offerings, one of which, the HSBC Advance Online Savings account, is optimized specifically as an online account. It should be noted the other two account types — HSBC Premier Savings and HSBC Everyday Savings — do allow Internet-based personal banking as well.

HSBC's APY yields are lackluster, specifically when compared to the exclusively branchless direct banks we've reviewed. HSBC's highest yield 0.15% is reserved for Premier Savings accounts with $100,000 or more. The Advanced Online Savings account, which is optimized for online usage at maximum, only yields 0.05% APY when the account balance is $10,000 or more and 0.01% for balances less than that. Opening an account online requires $1, while no opening balance is required if you open a Premier or Everyday account in a branch. No minimum daily balance is required to maintain any of the account types. It's important to note that the maximum daily contribution to any of the accounts is $350,000 online and no account can exceed $2,000,000 in value. As with all U.S. Banks, no more than six online withdraws may be made per month. There are no fees associated with going over the federal limit, however, HSBC reserves the right to convert your account type or close out the account.

Although HSBC doesn't have any maintenance fees, it does have fees associated with certain types of transactions. All accounts have these fees, but slightly different rates apply based on the account type. The rates listed here reflect those of HSBC Advance Online Savings accounts. There are no ATM fees when using ATMs within HSBC, however using an associated ATM card for transactions might cost a 25 cent fee, unless your account was opened in a branch in California. There is also no fee for an ATM or debit card linked to a Premier account. HSBC also charges a 3% fee for foreign transactions. Letters of verification cost $20 initially and $5 for each successive copy. For chargebacks or bounced purchases there is a fee of $10, and legal holds on your account cost you $100. Canadian processed checks have a fee of $2. Domestic collection of checks drawn from one of your other banks may cost $25. Incoming transfers cost $12 to receive and outgoing transfers have a variable cost.

Access and Ease of Use

Because of HSBC's size, in terms of customer service, it has the most offerings. An email address and Twitter handle allow customer service representatives to be reached online. Account holders can also call or visit local branches to speak to representatives in person. HSBC's main customer service number can be reached from Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. Branch phone and store hours vary by location. Branch usage can be optimized by making an appointment ahead of time. Finally, there are phone numbers for different types of accounts which also allow for telebanking. A general customer service number allows you to inquire about a broader range of issues, such as online services support and feedback.

HSBC has mobile apps for Apple and Android platforms. In the U.K. and a few other non-U.S. markets, other platforms such as Blackberry are supported. There is also a mobile optimized site that is offered as an alternative. Both online and mobile platforms support similar features which display account balances and transfers of money.

Certificate of Deposit Offerings

HSBC's Certificate of Deposits also serve as a somewhat viable alternative to its low savings account interest rates. HSBC's CDs have terms ranging from six months to four years. The APYs range from 0.01% to 0.95% and accounts require a minimum balance of $1,000. It is interesting to note that the 24 month CD has an APY of 1.30% which is decent for its term length.

These low APYs mean that within the bank there aren't any more competitive or appealing savings options. However, on occasion HSBC has special short-term offers, such as the 1.50% APY rate for all six months savings accounts that the bank offered earlier in 2015.

Bank Standing

HSBC is one of the largest banks in the world, its asset size exceeds $1 trillion and the bank is valued at over $100 billion. Additionally, all U.S. deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000. HSBC is not an accredited institution with the BBB, but the organization has given the U.S. branch a C rating.


HSBC is only competitive when comparing it to other traditional, brick-and-mortar banks. Its APY yields are simply too low and its fees are far too extensive to make it an ideal option for someone looking to substantially beat the cost of leaving their money in a traditional bank.

Compare to Other Savings Accounts

If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.

Service Details

APY:0.01%; 0.05% on $10,0000+; 0.15% on $100,000+
Monthly Fees:None
Minimum to Open Account:$1 ($0 in branch or via phone)
Maximum Withdrawals Per Month:6
Deposit and Withdrawal Methods:Electronic transfer, wire, check, ATMs

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