HSBC International Transfer: Fees and Exchange Rate [2022]

HSBC Australia customer looking to make an international transfer? This guide is for you, covering everything you know about HSBC transfer fees, delivery speed, and how to make a payment.

HSBC Australia is part of the global HSBC Group – second largest banking group in Europe, and a big name the world over. It’s a proudly international bank – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for sending an international payment.

As well as walking through how HSBC Australia international transfers work we’ll also take a look at the costs of popular money transfer specialists like Wise, OFX and Western Union to see if you can get a better deal with an alternative provider.

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HSBC international money transfer comparison

HSBC offers a couple of different ways to send money overseas from Australia. If you’re an HSBC Premier customer you may be able to access a range of services through HSBC’s Global Transfer feature.

Customers holding regular accounts can make payments online and in branches – this guide will focus on customers with standard HSBC accounts, and walk through the options available. If you’re a Premier customer, check out your options over on the HSBC Australia website.

To set the scene it helps to understand that sending money overseas with a regular bank can mean you run into 3 key charges:

  • Transfer fee – usually easy to see, often a fixed cost regardless of the transfer value
  • Exchange rate markup – a percentage fee on the exchange rate used, can mount up quickly with high value payments
  • Third party charges – usually as a result of payments being processed using the SWIFT network

We’ll go through these costs one by one in just a moment. Let’s start with a look at the costs and transfer times available when you send 1,000 AUD to a friend in the UK with HSBC compared to a couple of specialist services:

Provider Total fee Transfer time
HSBC 8 AUD + exchange rate markup + average 27 AUD third party charges 1 – 3 business days
Wise 5.14 AUD Estimated to arrive instantly
Western Union 0 transfer fee + exchange rate markup 0 – 1 banking day
OFX 15 AUD + exchange rate markup Most transfers are delivered within 24 hours
  • Data correct at time of research – 1 March 2022

When you send an international payment to an account held in a different currency with HSBC you’ll pay a transfer fee of 8 AUD. There’s also an exchange rate markup, and if you’re sending to GBP, third party costs which can be around 27 AUD.

Of these 3 potential fees, the exchange rate markup can often be the highest. Bank markups are typically about 3%, which would be about another 30 AUD fee for our transfer of 1,000 AUD.

Specialist providers can often offer lower overall fees, and a faster delivery time compared to banks. Because international money transfers are their core business, getting set up and using the platforms is usually straightforward, too.

HSBC international transfer fees

Here’s what you need to know about HSBC international transfer fees for standard accounts (different fees may apply for HSBC Premier customers).

Service type HSBC fee
Incoming international payment 10 AUD
Send international payment online
  • 8 AUD transfer fee if sending in a foreign currency
  • 20 AUD fee if sending in AUD
Send international payment in a branch 20 AUD transfer fee

HSBC exchange rate

The HSBC exchange rate for many major currencies is updated every few seconds for accuracy, and is available online during foreign exchange trading hours. If you’re setting up a payment out of hours or need a future dated transfer, the rate which is live at the time of processing the payment will apply.

HSBC exchange rates are likely to include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. It’s very common for banks to add a markup to the rates offered to retail customers, but it’s a fee which can be tricky to spot and which can push up overall costs significantly.

Bank exchange rate margins can be about 3%. Here’s how that builds up for a few different payment values:

  • Sending 1,000 AUD – the exchange rate markup adds 30 AUD to the total
  • Sending 5,000 AUD– the exchange rate markup adds 150 AUD to the total
  • Sending 50,000 AUD – the exchange rate markup adds 1,500 AUD to the total

And here’s a reminder of the total costs from the providers we looked at earlier. This is what you’ll pay with each when sending 1,000 AUD to a friend in the UK:

  • HSBC: 10 AUD transfer fee + exchange rate margin + up to 27 AUD third party fees
  • Wise: 5.14 AUD (no exchange rate margin applies)
  • Western Union: 0 transfer fee + exchange rate margin
  • OFX: 15 AUD transfer fee + exchange rate margin

HSBC additional fees

Third party fees are an additional cost which usually comes up when international payments are processed through the SWIFT network.

The SWIFT system works by having one or more correspondent banks pass on a payment until it reaches the right account. Correspondent banks deduct their own fees as they process the payment.

With HSBC, correspondent bank fees will be deducted unless you opt to pay an upfront fee yourself to cover these costs. In this case you can pay an extra 30 AUD which is passed on to correspondent banks moving your money.

If you don’t pay this upfront fee, the correspondent fee deducted can vary by currency. However, HSBC gives a few examples to help build a picture[3]:

  • Sending a payment in USD to the US: estimated 30 AUD third party fee
  • Sending a payment in GBP to the UK: estimated 27 AUD third party fee
  • Sending a payment in HKD to Hong Kong: estimated 24 AUD third party fee
  • Sending a payment in NZD to New Zealand: estimated 24 AUD third party fee

Finally, it’s also good to know that the recipient’s own bank might also deduct a fee before the money is deposited into the destination account.

How long does a HSBC international money transfer take?

HSBC transfers typically take 1 – 3 business days to arrive with the recipient. However, the exact length of time it takes to send money overseas does vary depending on factors including where you’re sending to, and HSBC does warn that some payments can take 5 – 7 days or longer to arrive.

Here’s a look at HSBC’s processing times compared to average delivery times for the specialist providers we looked at earlier:

  • HSBC: 1 – 3 business days
  • Wise: 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
  • Western Union: Up to 2 days
  • OFX: 1 – 2 business days

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with HSBC

Pros:

  • Familiar and safe
  • Send money online or in a branch
  • Flat transfer fees

Cons:

  • Exchange rate margins are likely to be used
  • Some payments may take 5 – 7 days to arrive
  • Correspondent and recipient bank fees will apply

When HSBC processes an international payment they use the 50+ year old SWIFT network. That’s well established and reliable – but also slow and expensive.

Specialist providers have invested in new ways to process international payments, cutting out intermediaries and making the entire process more efficient. That can  mean you get a better exchange rate, more transparent fees, and a faster delivery when you use a specialist instead of your normal bank.

How to make an international transfer with HSBC

You can send an HSBC international transfer online or in an HSBC branch. In a branch a member of staff will walk you through the process to make your payment.

Alternatively here’s how to make your transfer online with HSBC:

  1. Log in to your HSBC online banking account
  2. Select the option to make an international transfer
  3. Follow the prompts to enter the recipient’s name, address and account number
  4. Add the recipient’s bank details including the bank name, address, branch and SWIFT code
  5. Confirm the payment amount and currency
  6. Check everything over and confirm

What information do you need to make an international transfer with HSBC?

When you send an HSBC international transfer online you’ll have to follow the onscreen prompts to provide some details about the recipient. If you’re sending money in a branch, a team member will help you with this process. Information required can vary a little depending on the destination country but typically includes:

  • Your recipient’s name and address
  • Your recipient’s bank account name
  • Your recipient’s bank account number or IBAN
  • Your recipient’s SWIFT/BIC code

Transfer limits and available countries

With HSBC you’ll be able to send up to 50,000 AUD per day overseas. You can send higher amounts to nominated accounts – but you’ll have to request this service in advance to get started.

You can send an HSBC international payment to most countries in the world. 18+ currencies are supported with real time exchange rates on the HSBC website, to make it easier to see the costs of your payment.

Receiving money from abroad with HSBC

There’s a fee of 10 AUD when you receive a payment from abroad to your HSBC account.

To get your payment safely and without delays you’ll need to give the sender some information about you and your HSBC account. Details required may vary depending on the details of your payment, but usually include:

  • Your name as shown on your account
  • Your HSBC account number
  • Your HSBC branch address
  • The HSBC SWIFT code

HSBC SWIFT code

It’s important to give the sender the HSBC SWIFT code. SWIFT codes are used by all banks which operate the SWIFT network – they’re like using a postal code for a street address, and help to make sure the payment gets to where it’s going as quickly as possible.

HSBC’s SWIFT code is HKBAAU2S.

Conclusion

It may feel like sending your international payment with your normal bank is the obvious choice. But in fact, this can be a slow and costly process, with extra charges bundled into the exchange rates, and correspondent fees reducing the amount your recipient gets in the end, too.

Alternative providers often avoid the SWIFT network to make processing payments faster and cheaper. That saves you money, and might also mean your recipient gets more in the end.

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HSBC international bank transfer FAQs

 

How much does a HSBC international transfer cost?

Sending a HSBC international transfer online costs 8 AUD, plus an exchange rate markup and third party fees.

How long does a HSBC international money transfer take?

HSBC international transfers normally arrive in 1 – 3 business days, but can take up to 7 days or longer for some countries.

How to transfer money internationally with HSBC?

The easiest way to send a HSBC international money transfer is through the online banking system. Log in and follow the prompts to get started.

 

By Ileana Ionescu Updated March 14th, 2022