September 26, 2018 12:00 PM PT

HSBC Bank Review: Is It Good?

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HSBC Bank offers a full array of services for different needs, including a high-yield online savings and several checking options. But there are downsides. Read on for the pros and cons.

HSBC Promotion
HSBC Direct Savings - 2.30% APY

Overall Score






Customer Service

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Global presence
  • High online savings APY
  • Not in every state

Bottom Line

Large full-service global bank

HSBC is one of the largest banks in the world, with physical branches all over the globe. It also has an online banking operation called HSBC Direct.

This means it offers a variety of products for almost every need. HSBC provides the traditional banking and investment services, while the online operation is able to offer higher interest rates on its deposit accounts.

This may be right for people who want the convenience of a large traditional bank, yet higher interest rates for their savings. However, there are downsides.

Let's go over what you can get with HSBC.

Products Offered

HSBC is a full-service bank offering a range of services and products, including:

Note: HSBC branches are not available in every state. There are 230 branches in the U.S., but most are located on the East and West Coasts. You can, however, apply for an account online no matter where you live in the U.S., just as long as you have a U.S. residential address.

HSBC Direct Online Savings

HSBC Direct Online Savings offers one of the highest interest rates on the market. It has no monthly service fee, and the minimum opening balance is just $1.

This is a basic online savings account without any bells and whistles. There is no ATM card. The only way to access your money is by transferring the funds to a checking account (whether to HSBC or another bank).

This is offered through HSBC Direct - the online bank. So this account can only be opened online.

Compare Savings Account Promotion

HSBC Checking Accounts

HSBC offers a few checking accounts for different needs. All checking accounts offer a HSBC Debit Mastercard, access to HSBC ATMs worldwide, free online and mobile banking, and optional overdraft protection.

  • Basic Banking. This basic checking account has no balance requirement, so it's best for low-balance customers. But it does have a $3 monthly service fee. There is no fee for the first 8 checks written per month, but each additional one will have a small $0.35 fee.

  • Choice Checking. This account has unlimited free check writing. There is a $15 monthly service fee that can be waived if you set up at least one direct deposit per month OR maintain a combined balance of $1,500 in deposit and investment accounts.

    These requirements are pretty reasonable and easy to meet. So if you can do so, then this account is a better option.

  • HSBC Advance. This account gives you Advance relationship benefits, which can give you perks like better loan rates and access to exclusive credit cards.

    This account has a $25 monthly service fee that can be waived if you maintain a combined balance of $10,000 in deposit and investment accounts OR have a combined balance of at least $5,000 with recurring direct deposits every month.

      HSBC Bank

      HSBC Advance Checking - $350 Bonus

        Get $350 when you open an Advance checking account, fund account with at least $5,000 in New Money in combined checking and savings accounts within 30 calendar days of account opening and maintain balance for 90 days AND set-up monthly direct deposits from a third party into the checking account for 3 consecutive months
      • Offer expires July 31, 2019
      • Deposit products are offered in the U.S. by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
      Expires 7/31/2019

  • HSBC Premier. This is best for high net worth individuals who need global access. You get a Relationship Manager who can help with all services HSBC offers. There is no foreign transaction fee for purchases made with the debit card.

    There is a $50 monthly service fee that can be waived if you maintain a combined balance of $75,000 in deposit and investment accounts.

      HSBC Bank

      HSBC Premier Checking - $750 Bonus

        Get $750 when you open a Premier checking account and make recurring Direct Deposits totaling at least $5,000 from a third party per calendar month for 3 consecutive months from the first full calendar month after account opening
      • Offer expires July 31, 2019
      • Deposit products are offered in the U.S. by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
      Expires 7/31/2019

HSBC Certificate of Deposit

With a Certificate of Deposit, you must leave your money in the account for the entire term, or you'll incur a penalty. You get a locked-in interest rate for the whole term. The minimum required to open an account is $1,000, and there are no service fees.

HSBC offers 3 term CDs: 6-month, 12-month, and 24-month. The APY is decent, but not the highest on the market. You can actually get a much higher interest rate with the online savings account (and your money won't be tied up, either).

Investment Services

HSBC also offers investment services. Their financial professionals can help you develop an investment strategy best for you. Some options include:

  • Self-Directed: HSBC offers a range of products, including stocks, ETFs, options, no load mutual funds, and fixed-income securities. There is no fee to open.

  • HSBC Spectrum: Choose between 5 asset allocation models. Financial professionals can help you choose the best one for your goals and risk tolerance. The minimum investment required is $25,000.

  • Managed Portfolio: An investment advisor will help you customize a portfolio and come up with the best asset allocation for you. The minimum investment required is $250,000.

Retirement Accounts

HSBC offers the following types of retirement accounts:

  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • SEP Retirement Plans
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan
  • 403(b) Retirement Plans

For IRAs, you can choose between a self-directed or a managed account. The IRA has no maintenance or termination fee if you are an HSBC Premier client. For all others, the annual service fee is $35.

Reasons to Bank With HSBC

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  • New customer bonuses. HSBC often offers high cash bonuses to new customers for opening a new checking account (and meeting certain requirements). It's worth it to wait until a bonus offer comes out. Check out the list of current HSBC promotions.

  • Global access. HSBC is a global bank operating in 67 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, the Middle East and Egypt. So if you travel often, it's nice to know you can still find your bank overseas. This makes it easier to withdraw from ATMs and get emergency financial support if you need it.

  • No ATM withdrawal fees worldwide. You can use the debit card to access ATMs globally, most with no withdrawal fees. However, the ATM operator or network may charge a fee for ATMs located outside the U.S.

  • High Savings APY. HSBC Direct's online savings account offers one of the highest APYs on the market. There is no monthly service fee and you only need $1 to open.

  • Potential for better loan rates. If you have an Advance or Premier checking account, you may be eligible for preferred loan rates or special financing options. If you're planning to take out a mortgage or need a personal line of credit, this can come in handy.

  • Overdraft protection. All checking accounts come with an optional overdraft protection feature. You can get a personal line of credit that allows you to borrow money as you need it (up to your available credit limit). If you accidentally overdraft your checking account, this line of credit can be used to cover it.

Reasons to Look Elsewhere

  • Fees. HSBC's checking accounts come with some pretty steep fees. There is a monthly service fee, unless you can meet direct deposit and/or balance requirements. The basic banking account doesn't even have a way to waive this fee.

    If you want to avoid fees, there are online checking accounts that are completely free to maintain.

  • Interest rates are not competitive. Except for HSBC Direct's online savings account, the other accounts offer low interest rates. If you have a lot of money to park in a bank, other online banks offer better deposit rates, so your money can grow faster.

How It Compares

Ally Bank: Ally Bank is a completely online bank. The good thing about this is that since online banks have low overhead, there are no service fees at all and interest rates are high. The downside is that there are no physical branches to do banking business. There is also no worldwide presence.

Ally Bank provides some of the highest rates on the market for their deposit accounts. It offers a full breadth of services, including checking, savings, CDs, IRA, and investment accounts. If you're looking for high interest rates and don't mind web-banking, then it's best to go with an online bank.

Ally's investment services also offer either self-directed investing or a managed portfolio. You only need $2,500 to open a managed portfolio, so that's a better choice for those with less to invest.

Charles Schwab: Charles Schwab is a big name among investment brokerages. It also offers online checking and savings with no service fees or account minimums. However, the interest rates are low. The good thing about their checking account, though, is that it refunds all ATM fees worldwide. Plus, the debit card has no foreign transaction fee, so it's great for travelers.

Charles Schwab's main business is investment. It offers both self-directed and a managed portfolio. The unique thing about the managed portfolio is that there is absolutely no management fee, and you only need $5,000 to open.

You might also consider:


    Chase Total Checking® + Chase Savings℠

    • Enjoy up to $350 when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account with Direct Deposit and/or open a new Chase Savings℠ account, deposit $10,000 or more in new money and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days
    • Enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
    • Enjoy a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings℠ account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 20 days, and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days
    • Access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and nearly 5,000 branches
    • Apply online in minutes. Open your account online now.
    • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
    • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit
    Discover Bank

    Discover Online Savings - $150 Cash Bonus

    Apply for your first Discover Online Savings Account by 8/5/19, 11:59 PM ET, online or by phone. Enter Offer Code CD719 when applying. Deposit into your account a total of at least $15,000 to earn a $150 Bonus or deposit a total of at least $25,000 to earn a $200 Bonus. Deposit must be posted by 8/19/19, 11:59 PM ET. Maximum bonus eligibility is $200.

    Offer not valid for existing or prior Discover savings customers or existing or prior customers with savings accounts that are co-branded or affinity accounts provided by Discover. Account must be open when bonus is credited. Bonus will be credited to the account by 9/2/19. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. Offer may be modified/withdrawn without notice. See advertiser website for full details.

    Expires 8/5/2019

Bottom Line

HSBC is a huge bank with a solid reputation. It could be for you if you're looking for a bank with a huge global presence. High net worth individuals also have more of an incentive with premium service and better loan rates. However, just make sure that you can meet the checking activity/balance requirements, or you'll pay a monthly service fee.

HSBC Direct's online savings account offers very competitive rates. It's a good choice if you're looking for a bare-bones savings account.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on September 26, 2018. Information including rates, fees, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the bank's website for updated information.

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