HSBC Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs


NerdWallet rating: 3.5/5.0

Where HSBC Bank shines:

  • Easy to avoid (if steep) fee on basic checking.
  • Great rate on online savings.
  • Low opening deposit on basic checking and savings.

Where HSBC Bank falls short:

  • Low rates on most savings products.
  • Relatively small number of branches and ATMs.
  • Hard to find basic information on the website.

Where HSBC Bank shines:

  • Easy to avoid (if steep) fee on basic checking.
  • Great rate on online savings.
  • Low opening deposit on basic checking and savings.

Where HSBC Bank falls short:

  • Low rates on most savings products.
  • Relatively small number of branches and ATMs.
  • Hard to find basic information on the website.

Where HSBC Bank shines:

  • Easy to avoid (if steep) fee on basic checking.
  • Great rate on online savings.
  • Low opening deposit on basic checking and savings.

Where HSBC Bank falls short:

  • Low rates on most savings products.
  • Relatively small number of branches and ATMs.
  • Hard to find basic information on the website.

 

The bottom line

HSBC is a massive international bank with locations in a handful of U.S. states, mostly on the East Coast. Access isn’t its strong suit — there aren’t many branches or ATMs, especially outside of major cities, and the website can be difficult to navigate. However, you can easily open and avoid fees on HSBC’s basic products, and its online Direct Savings account pays a competitive rate to boot.
Best if: You’re looking for an online savings account from a well-known brand.


Read on for details on HSBC’s checking, savings, app ratings, ATM fees and more.

HSBC Bank Checking: 3.5/5.0

HSBC has four checking options. If you don’t have a lot to deposit, your best option is Choice Checking.

The upsides:

It’s easy to avoid the monthly fee: You won’t be charged if you receive a qualifying direct deposit of any amount each month. Unlike some competitors, HSBC doesn’t require that you receive a minimum amount.

There’s no opening deposit requirement: You can open a Choice Checking account with any amount.

The downsides:

The monthly fee can be steep: If you don’t receive a direct deposit or meet other criteria, you’ll pay $15 each month to use Choice Checking.

Few ATMs: HSBC covers 11 states, including some of the nation’s most populated, and it has only 395 ATMs among them. Unless you live in a major city, you’re unlikely to have one close by. And you’ll have to pay at least $2.50 each time you use a non-HSBC cash machine.

» Looking for a bank that’s close to home? Check out our best national banks

HSBC Bank direct Savings: 5.0/5.0

Curiously, you won’t find HSBC Direct Savings on the bank’s standard U.S. website, but the online account is competitive with the best.

Balances you hold in Direct Savings can help you avoid fees on Choice or other checking accounts, and you can transfer money between these accounts. You’ll also be able to view Direct Savings balances along with other HSBC balances on the website and mobile app.

The upsides:

Easy to open: You need only $1 to open the HSBC Direct Savings account.

High rates: Direct Savings pays 2.01% APY, one of the highest savings APYs on the market.

Low fees: There’s no monthly fee to use HSBC Direct, so if it’s your only HSBC account, you don’t have to worry about meeting monthly minimums.

Great features: Use tools to track your spending and progress toward goals with HSBC’s online interface.

The downsides:

Initial deposit must be new money: Your initial deposit into Direct Savings must be new money, that is, you can’t move money from an existing HSBC account at first. This is a small inconvenience, especially since you can open the account with $1, but it’s something to consider if you’re an existing HSBC customer.

» Check out the competition with NerdWallet’s best online savings accounts

HSBC Bank direct CDs: 1.5/5.0

The upsides:

Some have decent rates: CDs with 6-, 12- and 24-month terms pay reasonable rates — not quite as high as some online banks, but higher than many brick-and-mortar competitors.

Reasonable opening deposits: HSBC requires $1,000 to open a CD, no matter the term length. This amount is more than some other banks require but much less than others.

The downsides:

Low rates on other HSBC CDs: Other listed rates are so low that you wouldn’t see much growth.

Fewer term lengths: HSBC’s listed term lengths stop at four years, shorter than those of many other banks, which extend to five years or longer. And currently, the only terms available for sign-up through HSBC’s website are six months, a year and two years.

» See how HSBC’s rates stack up compared to the best CD rates this month

HSBC Bank experience: 3.0/5.0

You can count on HSBC for many support options, but in-person support isn’t always one of them, and some of their web resources are lacking.

The upside:

Excellent phone and chat support: Both have extended hours on weekdays and weekends. HSBC also provides some support on Twitter.

The downsides:

Few branches and ATMs: HSBC maintains a little more than 200 branches in 11 states, and spread out across states such as California and New York, that’s not a lot. They also have 395 ATMs, mostly clustered in major cities including New York and San Francisco.

Low-quality web resources: You’ll have to do some serious clicking to learn basics about HSBC’s accounts on its main website, and its mobile apps have low-to-middling ratings.

HSBC Bank Overdraft fees: 2.5/5.0

HSBC’s overdraft policies are about average for a large bank. They’re not terrible, but if you tend to overdraft, you can find better options.

The upside:

No extended overdraft fee: HSBC doesn’t charge you extra for remaining in the red for consecutive dates. Some of its competitors do.

The downsides:

Average overdraft fee: HSBC charges $35 for each overdraft, up to three times per day. This is about in line with most banks — but you can find many banks and credit unions that charge less.

Few overdraft protection options: HSBC offers a line of credit to cover overdrafts, but it has a high interest rate. And it doesn’t allow overdraft protection transfers from savings.

» Compare HSBC’s overdraft policies: NerdWallet’s guide to overdraft charges

HSBC Direct Savings is a great account from a brand-name bank, so if you’ve been waiting to take the plunge into online banking, now might be the time.

But you can find better options than most of HSBC’s other accounts.

 

Or, if you’re looking for a full-service online bank with great rates, consider Discover (read our review) or Ally (read our review).

 

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Mila has been writing both opinion based articles as well as hard news for over either years both for Tutor Times as well as other reputable news organizations. Mila specializes in political news and world news.