HSBC is a bank founded with the sole purpose of growing the trade relationships between Europe and Asia. This bank is now known as one of the biggest financial institutions globally. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited – or HSBC – has thousands of locations across the world. It is also a favorite among those who have global banking desires.
This review takes a closer look at HSBC to see how it stacks up against some of its competitors. The bank has a fairly good reputation. If it can weather the storms of the global economy, this will be the bank to beat.
Find out here how Royal Bank of Scotland managed the economic slump.
History of HSBC
First of all, when the bank started in 1865, it was due to the potential of trade between Europe and Asia. The bank had a global vision in mind and set forth to achieve it. Also, it was during this time that the Americans went through the abolishment of slavery. The recovery after the Civil war was long and painful. Furthermore, these events made investment in America difficult. This strengthened the bond between Asia and Europe.
The reluctance to branch out into the Americas relaxed somewhat. Also, by 1975 HSBC already had branches in seven countries across Asia, Europe, and America. Its main finance activity included the export of tea, silk, cotton, jute, sugar, and rice.
It was during the 1900’s that HSBC noticed the importance of bullion. This formed a solid investment base. Also, the bank strengthened its position in global markets with further expansion. Furthermore, the early 1900’s also saw the growth of the railway lines in Asia. Consequently, finance to governments for these projects became part of the daily business for the bank.
Although WWI hit Europe hard, Asia experienced massive growth and infrastructure changes. Furthermore, their trade in commodities such as rubber and tin increased. Just before WWII, Europe experienced another setback. The recession of the 30’s hit hard. This was followed by the war that left many of the Asian staff prisoners of war. Only London, India, and US staff were unscathed.
The relationship between Asia and Europe brought about by HSBC was beneficial. This ensured that the bank played a role in the reconstruction of Hong Kong. Also, this was followed by the purchase of Mercantile Bank and The British Bank of the Middle East. Despite the challenges of war, HSBC still had the resources to continue.
The nineties was the period where HSBC looked to America to increase its footprint. It bought Marine Midland Bank which was followed by headquarters moved to London. The bank made a ground-breaking announcement in 1998 that it would use one brand for all its operations. This ensured that customers could relate to the brand anywhere in the world.
Access to Bank
Due to its activities across borders, it’s important that the bank satisfies the needs of customers. Also, online banking provides customers with the tools to do their basic transactions. Also, there are services to add to streamline the process. Furthermore, clients can open some products online. Finally, customers can transact and view their accounts anywhere they have a safe connection. There is emergency support staff that are available anytime via the call center.
HSBC has many walk-in branches across the world. This provides customers with the flexibility to do all their transactions. Also, this provides customers who prefer to deal with bankers in person the opportunity to do so. The bank keeps the standard business hours of the country the branch is in.
There are branches in:
- Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, and Austria
- Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, and Brunei
- Darussalam, Canada, Channel Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands and the Czech Republic
- Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, and Hong Kong
- India, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, and Italy
- Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg
- Macau SAR, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, and Morocco
- Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Oman
- Palestinian Territories, Peru, Philippines, Poland, and Portugal, Qatar, and Russia
- Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Switzerland
- Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey
- UAE, UK, Uruguay, USA, Vietnam, and the Virgin Islands
Personal Banking Product Offerings
A current account is suitable for daily transactions. It also helps build an internal score with the bank, which is important when it’s time to apply for finance. Current accounts can be linked to internet banking. Also, it has access to a checkbook. Those who qualify may also apply for an overdraft facility.
HSBC Advance Bank Account
- First of all, this account offers no monthly service fees.
- Customers can access cash through ATMs.
- This account can be linked to a Regular Saver product.
- Reduced booking fees on the Standard mortgage range.
- A minimum overdraft offer at competitive rates to qualifying clients.
- The chance to earn interest cashback on loans.
- Customers need to apply in the bank or per telephone.
- This account is available as a sole or joint account.
- First of all, clients need to have at least £50,000 in savings. Also, are at least 18 years old.
- This account offers an interest-free overdraft facility of £500.
- Also, there is a dedicated account manager to take care of all the banking needs.
- Furthermore, special rates and terms for certain products.
- Global travel insurance for the client and their family.
- No fancy names for this one. An easy account with no fuss or hassles.
- Qualifying customers can apply for an overdraft facility.
- This account can link to a Regular Saver.
- The choice to apply for an HSBC credit card or loan.
Basic Bank Account
- A simple account for everyday use.
- Also, access to the account via VISA debit card.
- The chance to set up standing orders, direct debits, and payments.
Student Bank Account
- An overdraft linked to the account won’t attract interest charges.
- The overdraft starts off at £ 500 which could increase to £ 3,000 with good account conduct.
- The chance to earn interest on credit balances. Furthermore, this is on the first £ 1,000 in the account during the first year at university.
Graduate Bank Account
- Suitable for those who have made it through the university years.
- Also, special rates in overdrafts and credit balances.
- The option to apply for a graduate loan within the first five years after graduation.
- Access to the Regular Saver account.
Bank Account Pay Monthly
- Competitive overdraft rates with no overdraft fees.
- Also, a £ 50 buffer for emergencies.
- Finally, an account service fee is payable.
There are various savings accounts on the market and all of them provide the necessary tools to save. Some are fixed and some are flexible to suit various needs. Furthermore, some products offer some neat interventions by government to encourage saving.
Help to Buy ISA
- This is the best option for those who want to save up to buy a property.
- This product is suitable for those who are purchasing their first home.
- The interest is tax free.
- The opportunity to save an additional £ 1,000 in the first month.
- No minimum balance required to open.
- Instant access to the funds without any charges.
- The interest rate is variable. Furthermore, it is paid monthly.
HSBC Loyalty Cash ISA
- A tax-free savings account that allows flexibility.
- £ 1 opening deposit required.
- Customers have instant access to their funds without charge.
- Also, customers will receive a Loyalty rate. This is paid for 12 months from the date of each payment into the ISA.
- Furthermore, this account is only available to HSBC clients.
- Finally, interest rates are variable and paid monthly.
Online Bonus Saver
- First of all, this account gives a boost in the months where there is no withdrawal.
- Also, customers have instant access to their funds without charge.
- Finally, no rushing into the branch for this one. Clients only manage this account online.
- Suitable for those who are saving towards a specific goal.
- Customers have instant access to the account without charge.
- The opportunity to open as many of these accounts as need.
- Also, this account only requires a minimum balance of £1.
- Finally, a variable interest rate paid monthly.
HSBC Premier Savings
- The savings account that is exclusive to Premier customers.
- Only requires a £ 1 opening deposit.
- Customers have instant access to their funds without charge.
- Furthermore, customers can transfer funds in real time. Also, this is done to or from an HSBC Premier Current Account.
- In closing, the interest rates are variable and paid monthly.
Future Saver for Children
- An account designed for parents who want to save for their children.
- £1 deposit required to open the account.
- Finally, instant access without charge.
- The ideal account for those between the ages of seven and seventeen.
- £10 deposit required to open the account.
- Customers have instant access to the account without charge.
- Also, these withdrawals are made at the branch with a Cash Book.
- Clients will get a current account on their 11th Furthermore, this comes with an HSBC Visa Debit Card.
- Finally, the interest rates are variable and paid monthly.
- First of all, this account provides a fixed rate of interest for 12 months.
- Clients can save up to £3,000 with the account.
- It requires a minimum opening balance of £ 25.
- Also, clients need to deposit a minimum of £ 25 per month. Furthermore, the monthly subscription for the account is £ 250. However, if this amount is not saved, the unused subscription can carry over to the next month.
- Finally, the account does not make provision for partial withdrawals during the 12-month period.
Fixed Rate Saver Bond
- The choice of saving for a fixed term of 3 months to 3 years.
- The account can handle deposits between £ 2,000 and £ 1 million.
- Also, this account does not allow early withdrawals on deposits higher than £ 50,000.
- Furthermore, balances below £ 50,000 can accommodate partial withdrawals. However, this is possible subject to a fee of 90 days’ gross interest.
- The account is only available to HSBC current account customers.
- Finally, the interest rate is fixed. Interest is paid over monthly, annually, or on maturity.
HSBC Credit Card
- This card is the ideal option for those who wish to switch their balances. Furthermore, it provides a 0% interest on balance transfers for 32 months. Also, this applies to balances transferred within the first 60 days of account opening.
- Also, there is a fee on the balance transfer.
- Customers pay 0% interest on purchases for 3 months.
- Finally, there is no annual card fee.
HSBC Premier World EliteTM Mastercard ®
- This card is available only to Premier clients.
- Clients will receive 40,000 reward points when they spend £ 2,000 in the first three months of Card membership.
- Also, when they spend £ 12,000 or more on their Card within the first 12 months they will receive a further 40,000 reward points.
- Furthermore, this card carries international benefits.
- Customers pay an annual fee as well as interest rate.
HSBC Premier Credit Card
- This card is exclusive to Premier clients.
- Clients will pay 0% on purchases for 9 months.
- The account is linked to a generous rewards scheme. Furthermore, clients can redeem points for shopping vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
- Finally, those who opt to transfer their balance will be rewarded. They will pay 0% on these transfers for 18 months. However, this applies to balances transferred within 60 days of account opening.
HSBC Student Credit Card
- The ideal solution for those who are studying.
- Competitive interest rates, also, no annual fees.
- The card carries a limit of up to £ 500.
- Finally, this card is suitable for those who are traveling. It provides 24-hour worldwide assistance.
- A standard personal loan offering that is also available to non-HSBC clients.
- The loan packages are available between £ 1,000 and £ 25,000.
- Fast turnaround time once all documents are received.
- Existing customers could receive the funds instantly once approved.
- The chance to make overpayments free of charge.
- The choice to apply online, through the mobile app, or in the branch.
- Customers will receive a personalized loan quote.
HSBC Premier Personal Loan
- First of all, this product is suitable for Premier clients.
- Loan amounts between £ 1,000 and £ 50,000.
- Fast turnaround time and fast pay-outs.
- Customers won’t have to pay set up or arrangement fees.
- The option of a repayment holiday option.
- The choice to make unlimited overpayments free of charge.
- A suitable option for graduates.
- Loan amounts between £ 1,000 and £ 25,000.
- No set up or arrangement fees.
- Furthermore, the option of taking up a repayment holiday. However, this will attract more interest.
- The option to make unlimited overpayments free of charge.
- This is an option extended to existing customers.
- The loan allows clients to re-draw their available balance to the limit.
- Clients can choose their monthly repayment on their outstanding balance between 4% to 10%. A minimum payment, however, applies.
- Furthermore, customers only pay for what they use. If they don’t use the loan, they don’t pay for it.
- Finally, the account attracts no set up or arrangement fees.
First Time Buyer
Fixed Rate Mortgage
- This provides the security of fixed mortgage payments until an agreed date.
- Also, this applies whether the interest rate changes or not.
Tracker Rate Mortgages
- A mortgage that allows the customer to follow the Bank of England base rate.
- Also, this is for the term of the mortgage.
- The mortgage receives a discounted rate period.
- Finally, after the discounted period the rate reverts back to an HSBC variable rate for the remainder of the term.
Discount Rate Mortgages
- The chance to benefit from the Standard Variable rate for an agreed term.
- Also, this allows a lower initial monthly payment.
- An early repayment charge could apply to this product.
- Furthermore, this ERC applies when the client exceeds the annual overpayment allowance.
- The opportunity to refinance a mortgage.
- The chance to get a better deal.
- Customers can apply by phone, in branch or online.
- The chance to transfer the current HSBC rate to the new property.
- This takes place when customers buy and sell properties simultaneously.
Buy to Let
- The ideal option for those who wish to invest in property.
- The chance to apply for a 75% loan (to value).
- Buy to Let limits will apply.
Stocks & Shares ISAs
- Great options for those who wish to increase their portfolio.
- The opportunity to make the most out of the ISA allowance.
- A pre-selected portfolio or the opportunity to select their own portfolio of funds.
- A great variety of online options.
- The chance to research, track, and buy funds.
- Customers can top up or add to their investments at will.
- Customers can make their own investment decisions.
- The chance to build a portfolio with InvestDirect or InvestDirectPlus.
Car insurance is no longer offered by HSBC, however, existing clients have theirs administered by BISL Limited.
- Travel insurance that covers the family as well.
- Also, it covers travel by land, air, or sea.
- 15% Online discount on single trip or annual multi-trip. However, this offer is for new policies only.
- The policy offers up to £ 10 million medical cover. Furthermore, this is for emergency medical treatment and associated expenses.
- The insurance has added extras, such as baggage, extended trip, scuba diving, golf, and winter sports.
- Cancellation cover is also included up to £ 5,000. This refund takes place at non-recoverable travel and accommodation costs. Finally, this is when customers are forced to cancel or cut short their holiday.
- Cover for those precious items. Furthermore, this is a policy that combines building and content cover.
- Replacements on items other than clothing and household linens.
- No additional charge should clients wish to pay monthly instead of yearly.
- Water leaks are traced to the source and damage is repaired.
- Locks are replaced when keys are lost or stolen.
- Four levels of cover – £ 2,000, £ 3,000, £ 4,000 or £ 5,000.
- The chance to claim up to £ 500 per item that is lost or damaged.
- Also, students have access to accidental damage protection.
- Cash is covered up to £ 100.
Business Banking Product Offerings
There are a variety of different business accounts to suit various needs. Also, the accounts are determined by the turnover of the business, whether it is new or existing, and more. Finally, other types of business accounts include:
- Clubs and Charity Bank Accounts
- Client Account
- School and College Account and
- Foreign Currency Account
Business cards that allow customers to do all their purchasing and transactions. Furthermore, customers have the option of a credit or debit card.
Business Savings Accounts
HSBC Business Money Manager
An easy to open, instant access account. Furthermore, businesses can separate their savings from their day-to-day cash flow.
Business Money Market Account
A money market account that takes advantage of favorable interest rates.
Client Deposit Account
The ideal solution for those who need to safeguard their clients’ money.
Community Savings Account
An account designed for use by clubs, societies or charities. Furthermore, it provides instant access.
Finance and Borrowing
Various loan options that include business finance and overdrafts. Furthermore, businesses can check whether they are eligible to apply for loans with the checker tool.
Customers can pay by card faster and more efficient with this arrangement. The merchant services also include online payments and in a retail outlet. Also, this is open to UK and overseas debit and credit cards. This is a good way to improve cash flow.
Business insurance is slightly different to personal insurance. Also, this is where the right cover option can make a big difference. Furthermore, the options include fleet insurance, shop insurance, and commercial property insurance.
This type of finance provides working capital that will ease up cash flow. Furthermore, the opportunity to receive cash within 24 hours of issuing an invoice. Finally, options include:
- Invoice Discounting
- Factoring and
- Export Invoice Finance
Corporate Banking Product Offerings
Working Capital Solutions
The ability to conduct business even when there is no relationship established.
The option to finance working capital.
The option to trade with organizations that have a good financial status.
The choice to improve cash flow and enhance forecasting. Also, access to up to 90% of the invoice.
Clearing and Foreign Currency Payments
This eases working capital and makes the most of local and foreign currency transactions.
Global Corporate Cards
A variety of corporate card solutions that include travel, entertainment, goods, and services.
The chance to manage cash flow across a variety of global portfolios.
Customer Satisfaction Reviews
HSBC Holdings has a fair rating where employee satisfaction is concerned. Also, they enjoy a rating of 3.4 of 5. Furthermore, these ratings include a favorable rating of the CEO and many of the employees will recommend the bank to a friend.
My Bank Tracker
From a customer’s perspective, things don’t appear all that rosy according to these guys. Also, apart from the 1 of 5 rating, it also only received an overall C+.
Smart Money People
The bank manages to restore some of its glory with this rating of 3.57 of 5.
Financial Stability Rating
Although the firm affirmed HSBC Holdings PLC’s A1 long-term senior unsecured debt rating, it changed the outlook to negative from stable. Also, a positive is that the a1 Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) is affirmed. Furthermore, in this group is the Aa2 long-term deposit and senior unsecured debt ratings. Finally, this section enjoys a stable outlook.
Fitch affirmed HSBC at AA- with outlook stable.
Security of Funds
Eligible funds with HSBC Bank plc are protected up to the FSCS compensation limit. Also, this is through the Financial Service Compensation Scheme.
Review by Critical Reviews 9 of 10
First of all, the banking giant paved the way for business to take place on the Eurasia front. This allows the bank to enjoy healthy trade relationships. Also, the bank provides customers with a variety of products that will suit them through all walks of life. Furthermore, the bank seems to handle the economic crisis well and follow the laid-down procedures which mitigate risks. Finally, an area of improvement for HSBC would be customer service. If they manage to get these levels up, they may enjoy a full rating from Critical Reviews.