HSBC Review (February, 2024) – Pros, Cons, Features, & Pricing

With HSBC reaching over 64 countries and having over 40 million customers, it is no wonder this bank is worth checking. You may be on the lookout for an in-depth HSBC review to understand how the bank operates. You are in the right place because this post addresses that concern.

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Last Updated: Feb 23, 2024

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Launched in Hong Kong in 1865, HSBC is one of the most prominent international banking institutions. It has established its fingerprint globally, boasting over 40 million customers in over 60 territories.

The bank offers various services, such as everyday banking, loans, savings, and payment solutions. The US and Canada, however, only have a few physical branches, so one might have to use the HSBC online banking platform.

Read this HSBC review to learn more about the banking institution, what makes it an excellent option, and its pros and cons. Moreover, you will discover what HSBC offers, its service quality, and three alternatives if the bank is not a perfect fit.

What makes HSBC a good option?

Knowing what makes your preferred banking option the best is wise when choosing a bank. This is because you trust the institution to keep your money safe and available when you need it.

This HSBC review highlights what makes this financial institution the best option.

Popularity

The number of people using a bank can significantly affect your view. The more users, the more trust, and fewer users will induce less confidence.

When researching our HSBC review, we found that it boasts 40 million users worldwide, a sign that the bank is trustworthy with people’s finances. The bank holds the recognition of being one of the biggest banks internationally.

Banking experience

As you look to join a bank, you want one with experience in offering the best banking solutions. HSBC’s origins date back to 1865, as it has been operational for over 150 years, showing banking experience.

By opting to bank with HSBC, you are assured of dealing with a financial institution that has strong roots. Moreover, you trust that this bank will have the financial solutions you seek.

Flexible banking solutions

HSBC offers many personal, small business, and corporate banking solutions. With HSBC, you can comfortably scale your banking needs to cater to your individual and business needs.

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Pros and cons of HSBC

Understanding an institution’s pros and cons can help determine its strengths and weaknesses. Our HSBC review looks at this institution’s pros and cons in detail.

The pros of HSBC

Low minimum opening deposits

The process of opening a bank account with HSBC is simple and convenient. Our HSBC review research discovered that the bank does not charge account opening in physical branches. However, you must make a $1 deposit if opening an account online.

International banking

The HSBC Bank has branches spread across the globe in over 60 countries. So, its bank account holders enjoy the benefit of convenient banking wherever they are in the world.

Excellent rates on savings

With HSBC’s choice checking account, the institution charges a monthly fee of $15. However, as the bank states, the bank can waive this fee if you meet a $15,000 account balance.

No ATM fees

You can access your money at one of the HSBC and  THE EXCHANGE® Network ATMs at no charge. Other transactions applicable include deposits, transfers, balances, and bill payments.

The cons of HSBC

Suited for wealthy customers

HSBC’s accounts have high monthly fees that can only be waived if customers maintain a significant balance. Even though you can waive these fees with a fixed deposit or take a $500,00 mortgage, the financial obligation can be straining.

Low interest rates

An average person with a low balance earns low-interest APY rates of 0.01% with an HSBC Bank account. While this interest rate is subject to change, it will only change if you add more money to the account, which may not be possible.

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HSBC products and services

Before opting for an HSBC Bank account, you should know the different products and services the financial institution offers. This information gives you an insight into what to expect after engaging with the institution.

Here is a brief HSBC review of its products and services.

1. Credit cards

HSBC offers a variety of credit cards to make your life easier. Moreover, the institution can help you determine the ideal card if you are unsure of your preferred option.

With these cards, you earn redeemable points and cash back with continuous usage. Here is an HSBC review section of the available cards.

HSBC World Elite Mastercard®

A close HSBC world elite Mastercard® review reveals that this card has an annual primary cardholder fee of $149. However, it offers an annual interest of $20.99%(19.9% for Quebec residents) on your purchases

It also allows a 22.99%(21.99% for Quebec residents) on balance transfers and cash advances. As of this HSBC review writing, you can earn 80,000 points($400 in travel value), an annual fee rebate ($149) for the first year, and a yearly travel enhancement credit of $100. Quebec residents earn up to 110,000 points ($550 in travel value) and $100 in annual travel enhancement credit.

HSBC Travel Rewards Mastercard®

The HSBC travel rewards Mastercard® has a $0 annual primary cardholder fee and offers 20.99% yearly interest on purchases. It also allows a 22.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents) rate for balance transfers and cash advances.

As of this writing HSBC review, you can earn 25,000 points ($125 in travel value) if you spend $1,000 within your first 180 days. Moreover, Quebec residents get the same perks if they keep their accounts active for 180 days.

HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®

The HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® has a $25 annual cardholder fee. It offers an annual interest of 11.9% on purchases and 11.9% on balance transfers and cash advances.

As of this writing, you can earn 35,000 ($175 in travel value) if you spend $2,000 within 180 days of opening your account. Quebec residents earn up to 40,000 ($200 in travel value) if they keep their account open and active within the same 180 days.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard®

The HSBC cash rewards Mastercard® has an annual primary cardholder fee of $0. It offers 20.99% yearly interest on purchases and 22.9% (21.99% for Quebec residents) annual interest on cash advances and balance transfers.

Additionally, it offers 12.5% cash back if you spend $1,000 within your first 180 days. On the other hand, Quebec residents earn $125 in cash back if they keep their accounts open and active within their first 180 days.

2. Savings Accounts

HSBC offers various savings accounts to help you achieve your financial goals. Moreover, if you need help deciding which account to select, the bank can help you.

Here is an HSBC review section of the savings accounts you can get in this institution.

High-rate savings account

This HSBC savings account is ideal if you want to make your savings work harder, do not make many debit transactions, and want to save for the long or short term. It offers a competitive interest rate, calculated daily and paid out monthly.

The account does not have a minimum balance to earn interest, and your transfers to other HSBC accounts are free. The account has $0 monthly fees, maximizing your savings. You can access your funds through online banking, HSBC’S bank branches and ATMs, and THE EXCHANGE® Network ATMs globally.

Youth savings account

The HSBC youth savings account is an ideal way to grow your savings with zero transaction fees and daily interest, paid monthly. HSBC created this savings account with young children in mind because it teaches them about good saving habits.

It features unlimited withdrawals and debits, and rebates on ATM charges across Canada. It also includes free mobile cheque deposits and  INTERAC e-Transfers®.

Tax-free savings account

Another HSBC review section that most Canadians will enjoy is hearing how their savings can earn tax-free gains. With HSBC’s TFSA, you can save for your plans without worries about withdrawal and earnings taxes.

You are allowed to contribute $6,000 per year as per the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Moreover, you only need to have a Social Security Number (SIN) and be a Canadian who has achieved the age of majority in their province of residence.

3. Chequing accounts

You can unlock $958 in cash back and savings and get up to $500 with HSBC’s chequing accounts. Here is a brief HSBC review section on the institution’s checking accounts.

HSBC premier account

The HSBC Premier account is an ideal financial solution for individuals that want a unique banking experience. You unlock a dedicated Premier Relationship Manager who knows your needs and helps you plan on mortgages, investments, and lending.

The account also unlocks a no-monthly fee privilege with unlimited withdrawals, provided you meet the eligibility criteria. It also extends its benefits to your family and makes it easy for travellers to enjoy their vacations.

HSBC advance

The HSBC Advance account is a banking solution that lets you bank to your terms. The account guarantees a $25 monthly fee if you hold a $150,000 or more mortgage or maintain a $5,000 investment or deposit with the bank.

Other perks of the HSBC Advance account include Free INTERAC®  e-Transfers and unlimited day-to-day account transactions. Moreover, you also get free ATM withdrawals and five rebates per month when using non-HSBC and Exchange Network ATMs.

HSBC performance chequing-unlimited account

The HSBC Performance Chequing-Unlimited account is ideal if you want a banking solution charging a monthly flat transaction fee. Moreover, the bank waives this flat fee for customers of 60 years and above after confirmation of their birth date.

You can access your funds through HSBC and THE EXCHANGE Network ATMs countrywide. The account also includes a personal line of credit privilege that acts as overdraft protection.

HSBC performance chequing-limited

The HSBC Performance Chequing-Limited account is an ideal banking solution for individuals who make fewer transactions. The account includes 14 free monthly transactions and a $4 admin fee to cover account-related activity fees.

Moreover, the bank waives this $4 admin fee for 60 years and above seniors, Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) beneficiaries, students, and the youth. It also has a personal line of credit that acts as overdraft protection.

4. Mortgages

Another product featured in our HSBC review is the types of mortgages this bank offers. Here are three mortgage types HSBC offers.

HSBC equity power mortgage

This HSBC mortgage solution is ideal for individuals who want to use their home’s equity to simplify their borrowing needs. The significant perk about this mortgage type is that you get up to 80% of the value of your home.

HSBC traditional (residential) mortgage

This mortgage type is ideal for first-time home buyers who want to build equity but have limited options. You can prepay 20% of this mortgage, increase your repayments by 20%, or match a payment to miss one later.

HSBC home equity line of credit

This HSBC Canada mortgage product is ideal for individuals who want funds using their home equity. You can use this funding to consolidate high-interest debt and remodel or renovate your home.

5. Personal loans

Another product making it to our HSBC review is the bank’s loans. HSBC offers three loan types for its customers.

HSBC personal loan

Whether looking to pay down debt, renovate your home, or buy a new car, a personal loan is the best solution. Moreover, this product has competitive interest rates depending on HSBC’s prime rate. The bank guarantees preferential loan rates if you are an HSBC Private Client Services client.

HSBC RRSP loan

The HSBC RRSP loan is ideal for individuals who want to maximize or catch up with their RRSP contributions.

You can take advantage of the low-interest rate of 2% when you apply for a $500 or more loan. However, you will only qualify for this low-interest offer if you direct these funds toward your HSBC RRSP investment account.

HSBC personal line of credit

The HSBC personal line of credit is an ideal loan solution for emergencies. You only spend the amount you need and pay interest on it. Moreover, the bank gives preferential interest rates if you are an HSBC Premier or HSBC Advance customer.

According to our HSBC review research, the bank also offers investment solutions and services, such as

  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC)
  • Mutual funds
  • Market-linked GICs
  • Term deposits
  • HSBC wealth compass
  • HSBC Investdirect
  • Private investment counsel
  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
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HSBC product and service quality

An HSBC review of its product and service quality provides information on the institution’s operation. Moreover,  HSBC is an international corporation, so it is crucial to know how it runs its operations, handles customer information, and its recognition.

The bank guarantees full reimbursement of unauthorized transactions in your HSBC online or HSBC Canada mobile banking. However, it states that you must follow its security regulations and use your HSBC login device to be eligible for account protection.

HSBC is a Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) member institution with deposit protection of up to $100,000 per category. The insurance protection covers GICs and term deposits, certified cheques, chequing accounts, foreign currency, bank drafts, and money orders.

HSBC holds many awards for its quality services globally. Here is an HSBC review section of the awards as listed on the bank’s website:

  • Jade Canada Outstanding Client Experience in Wealth Management from Global Private Banker/The Digital Banker (2021)
  • Trade Finance Market Leader and Best Service Awards in Canada by Euromoney (2022)
  • Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada – Corporate Knights (2012 – 2022)
  • Best International Onboarding Experience – Canada, Cosmopolitan The Daily Business Awards (2022)
  • Best Small Business Bank – Canada, Cosmopolitan The Daily Business Awards (2022)
  • Diversity and Inclusion – Governance Professionals of Canada (2021)
  • Best Mastercard Travel Credit Card and Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card for HSBC World Elite and Best Low-Interest Credit Card for +Rewards – Milesopedia (2022)
  • Gold rating, Corporate Knights Social Purpose ranking (2022)
  • HSBC Wealth Compass Best Robo Advisory Experience – Digital Banker Digital CX Awards (2021)
  • Best Mastercard in Canada and Best No Foreign Exchange Fee Credit Card – Prince of Travel (2021)
  • Best Low-Interest Credit Card with Rewards – creditcardGenius (2021)
  • Best Technology Implementation by a Retail Bank and Best Retail Bank for a Frictionless Banking Experience – The Digital Banker – Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards (2021)
  • Bronze Award for Customer Experience for Pay Tribute – Canadian Marketing Awards (2021)
  • Business to business (’B2B’) Payments Innovation of the Year – Payments Awards (2021)
  • COVID-19 ECM Bank of the Year – Global Capital (2021)
  • Best global healthy workplace multinational employer – Global Healthy Workplace Awards (2021)
  • Climate Initiative Award – Central Banking (2021)
  • Best overall bank for global, onshore, and offshore renminbi products and services – Asianmoney Global RMB Poll (2021)

How to get started with HSBC

Getting started with HSBC is convenient since you can do so from a phone or computer. However, you want to know the best account for your financial needs since the bank offers different chequing and savings accounts.

You need to have the following documentation to open the account:

  • Personal information (name, date of birth)
  • Social Security number
  • Contact information (phone number, email, address)
  • Employment status and income

Moreover, you can also visit one of HSBC’s branches if you live near one. It would be better if you carried a government-issued ID or driver’s license for verification.

The online application is easy to follow, and all you have to do is;

  1. Open the HSBC homepage.
  2. Go to the “Banking” tab and click on the account type you want.
  3. Click on the specific account you want and go over what to expect.
  4. Click the “Get started now” tab.
  5. Fill out the necessary information.

Alternatives to HSBC

You should know its alternatives if HSBC is unsuitable for your financial needs. Here are three HSBC alternatives worth considering.

1. HSBC vs National Bank of Canada

The National Bank of Canada makes an excellent HSBC alternative since it is also one of the largest in the country. It makes it to our HSBC review for the many products and services like credit cards, mortgages, chequing, and savings accounts.

The bank’s cons include high fees, challenges obtaining mortgage rate information, and unclear NCB’s digital brokerage. When writing our HSBC review, we discovered that the National bank of Canada only operates within the country.

2. HSBC vs Scotiabank

Another excellent alternative our HSBC review covers is Scotiabank, the third-largest bank in Canada. It offers a wide range of banking products and services like credit cards, loans, and mortgages.

The cons of Scotiabank include high fees for account-related activity and challenges accessing interest rate information. The notable similarity we noted in our HSBC review is its reach, as Scotiabank also has branches globally.

3. HSBC vs Tangerine Bank

The third excellent banking alternative in our HSBC review is Tangerine Bank. It offers various banking solutions and products, such as a chequing account, savings accounts, loans, credit cards, and investment opportunities.

Since Tangerine Bank is online-based, it has some drawbacks. These include no physical branches, poor network connection issues, and low-interest rates after your promotional period. A notable difference is that Tangerine Bank only serves Canadians, unlike HSBC, which is multinational.

HSBC review conclusion

Securing an account with a trustworthy Canadian bank can be challenging. This is because there are many banking institutions countrywide.

However, you can make an informed decision with the proper guidance from the best bank review. The above HSBC review highlights everything you need to know about this financial institution.

Moreover, we have also listed three alternatives you can consider if HSBC is not ideal for your financial goals. You can now make an informed financial decision and join one of Canada’s largest multinational banks.

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FAQs about the HSBC review

What is HSBC?

HSBC is one of the largest financial institutions on the globe. It boasts over 40 million customers from 63 countries and offers banking solutions.

How to redeem HSBC reward points in Canada?

You can redeem the HSBC reward points in various ways, like financial rewards, merchandise, travel, gift cards, and lifestyle.

What does HSBC stand for?

The name HSBC comes from the institution's founder members, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited.

Can I send my rewards to another address?

HSBC allows its customers to send their rewards to another specified address. All you have to do is follow the instructions in the review shipping details section.

What should I do if I do not recognize a transaction on my account?

The best approach to unauthorized transactions is determining if you have authorized a user to access your account. And if the account is personal, you must report the issue.

Are HSBC mobile alerts safe?

HSBC prioritizes customer safety and partially hides some of the account numbers.

What is the use of HSBC’s security device?

The HSBC's security device generates a unique code when users transact or log in to their banking account. It works as a protective measure to keep the account secure against fraudulent activities.

Why is HSBC leaving the US?

HSBC is leaving the US retail and small business market since it lacked the scale to compete against other financial giants. However, it announced that it would leave a small physical presence to serve its international and wealthy customers.

What happens to HSBC customers in Canada?

According to Jeff Lanthier of RBC, HSBC account holders will be under RBC'S umbrella after the merge.

Is HSBC the biggest bank in the world?

HSBC is not the biggest bank in the world. However, it ranks among the top 10 biggest banks, according to Investopedia.

March 5, 2023
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