HSBC, headquartered in London, is the world’s fourth largest bank by total assets (which currently sit at $2.67 trillion/£2.05 trillion) and offers numerous financial services including money transfers and travel money. HSBC was derived from the initials of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and HSBC considers both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong as the bank’s home markets. HSBC has around 6,000 offices in 71 countries and territories across the Middle East and Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Latin America, with approximately 47 million customers.
HSBC is organized into four principal business divisions: Commercial Banking, Global Private Banking, Retail Banking and Wealth Management. Investment banking falls into HSBC’s category of Global Banking & Markets.
Global Banking & Markets provides investment banking and finance for corporate and institutional clients, including corporate banking, investment banking, capital markets, trade services, payments and cash management, and leveraged acquisition finance. It provides services in equities, credit and rates, foreign exchange, money markets and securities services, as well as asset management services.
Global Banking & Markets has offices in more than 60 countries and territories worldwide, HSBCnet is the specific global service providing payments and foreign exchange.
Personal Exchange Services are available only to HSBC bank account members:
HSBC money transfers offers the Expat Bank Account. Multi-currency accounts and wealth management services are specifically designed for expats or customers who regularly make international payments.
HSBC Business and Corporate Services:
Dynamic sales and trading teams offer up-to-date market intelligence, advice and timely deals throughout any trading day. HSBCnet integrates real-time foreign exchange pricing tools into a secure transaction portal. With HSBCnet clients can:
HSBC offers modern tools such as a currency calculator (which doesn’t actually offer accurate rates) backed by more than 140 years of experience, according to the bank.
HSBC’s website epitomises information overload with a twist of under informing visitors. Seeking how to make a currency exchange is neither easy to find, nor is the very odd ‘HSBC Spot FX currency calculator’. Mid-market rates are given with the note: ‘This currency calculator supplies indicative information only and the data should not be used as the basis for any transactions or treated as either a definitive currency price or investment advice.’ Their rate is nowhere near mid-market and can’t be seen until the transfer process is activated, so account members can’t compare rates.
Services are impossible to access online without telephoning HSBC or visiting the bank as the single page HSBC devotes to foreign exchange services gives only a vague sense of what might be available once the visitor does contact the bank. Bank to bank service is much less convenient than that available from companies specialising in foreign exchange.
Consumer Affairs gives HSBC 1 out of 5 stars with 677 reviews. Customers endured super-long waiting times in their bank’s local branches all over the world. The average wait reported by account holders hoping to make fast transfers was over an hour in branches. Marathon times on the phone waiting for customer service when they tried to make transfers over the phone was also off-putting for those using HSBC for transfers.
TRUSTPILOT rated HSBC money transfers a bad 0.6 with 267 reviews. Consistently long customer service wait times provoked misery. In person at the bank, prospective account members waited a hour to be seen and then they waited weeks for their account information. Those telephoning waited on hold for typically 40 minutes and were dissatisfied with service afterwards. Online account members found seriously out-dated online and mobile features that didn’t work properly. After wasting time online, they wasted more time waiting on the telephone.
Mybanktracker rates HSBC 1 out of 5 stars with 75 reviews. Customer service is rated universally by those reviewing as being very, very poor. Online banking and customer service issues are a constant theme as with the other review sites.
HSBC has a market value of over £130 billion, so why should they offer dedicated customer support to each account holder that wants to save money when making an international transfer? Long holding times on the phone just aren’t seen when using foreign currency companies. Times are changing though and people have little reason to waste time with huge banks when they need to make transfers. HSBC is a mighty banking machine offering poor customer service to their account holders. HSBC’s travel money and foreign exchange services make it obvious why foreign exchange should be handled by a specialist company rather than a big bank that’s far too busy with myriad services to excel at transfers.
1 out of 5 stars for poor customer service and worse foreign exchange value.
Traditionalists may enjoy feeling secure with a familiar banking brand. Some of HSBC’s services like a weekly Expat email may feel like support from home.
HSBC foreign exchange seems to operate out of the old fashioned notion that the money they trade is theirs and not their account holders. HSBC behaves opposite to the way companies specializing in foreign exchange work. Time is money, and HSBC has average phone wait time of 40 minutes.