HSBC Bank Review

HSBC Bank Review

HSBC isn't the most accessible bank in the U.S. by branch location, but it does deliver a high interest rate in its online savings account and strong premium features for international travelers.

Good for

  • High-rate online savings account with no monthly fee or minimum
  • Useful features for banking abroad with HSBC Premier Checking
  • Customer-friendly policies on overdrafts and dispute resolution

Bad for

  • Limited branch network in United States
  • Access to best features requires a very high deposit balance
  • Mobile banking experience not as strong as major competitors

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

Opening an account with HSBC Bank generally means access to better account features, but the bank lags behind major domestic banks in branch accessibility and the quality of its mobile app services. HSBC has especially strong banking options available for customers with very high account balances and people who travel enough to take advantage of its broad international presence.

HSBC Bank Review: Who Is it Good For?

HSBC provides several strong travel-related benefits to customers with higher balances. With HSBC Advance and HSBC Premier Checking, you can move funds between accounts around the world via automated transfer or the bank's online app. Wherever you travel, you can monitor and manage all your HSBC balances through a single login on your mobile device. If you opt for a Premier Checking account, you can also avoid paying any foreign transaction fees on debit card usage abroad.

HSBC Premier Checking
HSBC Premier Checking

Like any major U.S. bank, HSBC Bank is a member of the FDIC, which means your accounts will be protected by deposit insurance. However, HSBC is somewhat limited in the U.S. and isn't the strongest option for domestic banking if you don't live within its service footprint. In addition, HSBC's travel-friendly features are reserved for premium checking accounts. If you want a more affordable account with fewer bells and whistles, HSBC's other checking accounts will certainly do the job. However, the bank's low number of U.S. branches means that you'd probably get more convenience from another major bank.

Still, HSBC offers at least one product that anyone can take advantage of. The new HSBC Direct Savings account is an online-only account that earns 2.30% annual percentage yield (APY) on any amount, with no monthly fee or minimums. This makes it one of the best savings account options currently on the market, especially when compared to the low interest rates that other brick-and-mortar banks offer. Finally, HSBC's customer-friendly fee policies and transparent disclosures make it a top choice for anyone trying to switch away from a bad banking experience.

HSBC Checking Accounts

HSBC's checking account options make it easier for you to waive the monthly fees than accounts at other banks, especially at higher balance levels. They're also supported by HSBC's fairer-than-usual approach to overdrafts, dispute resolution and disclosure language. However, HSBC checking accounts are limited by the small number of U.S. branch locations and by a lower level of reliability in its mobile banking app.

HSBC Advance CheckingHSBC Premier Checking
Monthly fee$25$50
Monthly fee waiver$10,000 balance OR $5,000 balance and 1 recurring direct deposit from third party$100,000 balance
Out-of-network ATM feenonenone
Overdraft (NSF) fee$35none

In terms of fees and requirements, the HSBC Advance Checking account is similar to those available at other national banks. HSBC does offer a few minor advantages. For instance, HSBC charges no penalties on ATM and debit card overdrafts, keeping your balance safe from the usual overdraft fees found at other banks.

HSBC also gives customers fair treatment in parts of the deposit agreement that normally go unnoticed until problems arise. For instance, it's one of the few major banks where the deposit agreement doesn't bind customers to mandatory arbitration agreements or waives their right to join class-action lawsuits against the institution. These differences in HSBC's policy may seem minor when all goes well, but they can make a significant difference if you encounter overdrafts or banking errors.

map of HSBC Bank's U.S. branch locations

However, HSBC isn't the most easy-to-find retail bank in the U.S. Its branch locations are concentrated in just a few cities, which makes it less than ideal for those who prefer to have a physical bank nearby. On the digital side, HSBC's mobile banking app is functional, but it falls behind the steadily improving usability and new features of banking apps at rivals like Chase and Bank of America.

HSBC Savings Accounts

HSBC's regular savings accounts don't offer any unique advantages, but the bank's newer HSBC Direct Savings account is great for anyone willing to give up brick-and-mortar service in exchange for online banking. HSBC Direct Savings earns 2.30% APY on any amount you deposit and costs no monthly fee, making it one of the best all-around savings account options available.

Max APYMinimum Balance to Earn Max APY
HSBC Direct Savings2.30%$1
HSBC Everyday Savings0.01%$1
HSBC Advance Savings0.05%$15,000
HSBC Premier Savings0.15%$100,000

The advantage of the HSBC Direct Savings account becomes clear when you compare it to the bank's traditional savings options, which have much lower interest rates and stricter requirements. In order to open an HSBC Advance Savings account, you must already have an HSBC Advance Checking or HSBC Premier Checking account. HSBC Premier Savings requires an active HSBC Premier Checking account. HSBC Everyday Savings is open to all consumers, but it costs $5 for every month your balance falls below $500.

How Does HSBC Compare to Other Banks?

After looking at HSBC's accounts and features in detail, we thought about the bank in relation to other choices and came up with a quick summary of how HSBC compares to its most popular competitors.

HSBC vs Chase

HSBC doesn't have as many U.S. branch locations as Chase, but both banks are concentrated in the largest cities. Chase's consumer banking products focus heavily on enhancing traditional services with new technology, such as mobile payments and cardless ATMs. HSBC isn't as convenient as Chase in these areas, but the two banks' accounts and fees match up evenly. HSBC does have a far superior savings account in HSBC Direct Savings.

HSBC vs Bank of America

Bank of America has a more widespread network of physical locations than almost any other U.S. bank, giving it a major advantage over HSBC in accessibility. There are few differences in the costs of the two banks' account options, although you do receive a much better savings interest rate and a few travel-related advantages at HSBC. Most people will find that Bank of America is the more convenient choice, although HSBC should be considered if it's located nearby.

HSBC vs TD Bank

TD Bank is concentrated on the East Coast, which makes it a more convenient brick-and-mortar choice than HSBC in most places. With more branch locations, lower monthly fee waiver requirements on its premium accounts, and perks like unlimited ATM fee rebates, TD Bank is a better fit for most U.S. consumers than HSBC. If you find TD more convenient but still need a better savings option, consider obtaining the HSBC Direct Savings account separately to supplement your TD checking account.

Comments and Questions

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.