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HSBC Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Feb. 6, 2020
Banking, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
HSBC Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs
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NerdWallet rating: 3/5.0

Where HSBC Bank shines:

  • Easy to avoid $15 monthly fee on basic checking by setting up direct deposit.
  • Great rate of 1.85% 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 $15 monthly fee on basic checking with direct deposit.
  • Great rate of 1.85% 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 huge international bank with about 220 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.
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: 2.5/5.0

HSBC has four checking options, Choice Checking being the best if you don’t have a lot to deposit.

The upsides:

It’s easy to avoid the monthly fee: Choice Checking doesn’t charge a monthly fee if you receive a qualifying direct deposit of any amount each month. Unlike some competitors, HSBC doesn’t set a minimum amount that you must receive.

Opening minimum is $1 or less: The $1 minimum is for online account openings, $0 when opened by a bank representative.

The downsides:

The monthly fee can be steep: Choice Checking charges $15 per month if you don’t receive a direct deposit or have at least $1,500 combined in all your HSBC accounts.

Few ATMs: HSBC covers 10 states, particularly in major cities, and it has only 390 ATMs among them. It’s hard to find ATMs outside big cities, 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-only account is competitive with the best. To see complete details, check our HSBC Direct Savings review. Here are some quick points:

The upsides:

Cheap and easy to open: There’s no monthly fee, and you need only $1 to open the HSBC Direct Savings account.

High rate: Direct Savings pays 1.85% APY, one of the highest savings APYs on the market.

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

If you stick with the bank’s savings offerings on its main website, the Everyday Savings won’t earn you a lot with its 0.01% APY, and there’s a $5 monthly fee. The other two savings accounts have higher rates but not by much.

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

HSBC Bank direct CDs: 2/5.0

The upside:

Low minimum deposit: HSBC requires $1,000 to open a CD, which is on the lower end for bank CD minimums.

The downsides:

Lower rates than online banks: HSBC’s CD rates fall short of those at online banks. They’re higher than brick-and-mortar bank CDs, but those are the least competitive offerings.

Limited online options: HSBC’s website lists only three terms — six months, one year and two years — while many banks provide terms that go up to five years.

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

HSBC Bank experience: 3.5/5.0

HSBC has many support options, but in-person support isn’t always one of them, and some of its web resources are lacking.

The upside:

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

The downsides:

Fewer than 230 branches: HSBC maintains about 220 branches in 10 states. Spread out across states such as California and New York, that’s not a lot.

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: 3.0/5.0

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).


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, bank experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

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