HSBC Foreign Currency Account Review

In the following review, we’ll give you the details of the HSBC Foreign Currency Account works, highlight the pros and cons, and help you decide if it's right for you or your company.

For HSBC customers who are looking to manage their foreign currency needs with easy access from wherever they are around the world, HSBC has an easy-to-manage foreign currency account with several great features, including no monthly fee.

 

If you aren’t already familiar with foreign currency accounts, these are accounts in currencies different from their home country, used by those who travel regularly, do business overseas, or deal with international clients. They are also a convenient way to cut down on transfer and exchange fees as well as protect yourself from the fluctuations in exchange rates.

 

Many banks offer customers a separate account, in the denomination of their choice, which can be accessed as needed.

 

In this case, HSBC has made it even easier to make transfers to and from your foreign accounts in 10 major currencies by making your account accessible by phone, online, or in person.

 

But, like any foreign currency account, HSBC’s Flexi Saver has its positive and negative aspects.

Pros
  • Up-to-the-minute exchange rates.
  • No monthly fee.
  • Manage your account online.
  • Available in 10 major currencies.
  • Make your payments at your convenience, in person, by phone, or online.HSBC foreign currency account logo
Cons
  • Fees apply to external or international transfers.
  • Charges apply for depositing checks into your account.

Features of an HSBC Foreign Currency Flexi Saver Account

The chief selling point of the HSBC Foreign Currency Account is that because HSBC is a large, international bank, it can not only do away with monthly fees, but it can give you access to your foreign currency from wherever you are through their online banking system.

 

Like many similar accounts, the HSBC Foreign Currency Flexi Saver Account is only available to those customers who already have accounts with HSBC.

 

There is no ongoing minimum balance required to maintain the account, nor is there a minimum amount required to open it.

 

Once you’re set up, you can make transfers from your HSBC Sterling account online, in person, or by phone with no internal transfer fees. There is never a charge for withdrawals or deposits, nor is there a charge for transfers between this account and other HSBC accounts, either yours or someone else’s.

 

Interest

With an HSBC Foreign Currency Flexi Saver Account, your interest is calculated daily and credited to your account monthly. Your interest may be credited to this account or another eligible account held with HSBC.

 

Interest rates will vary based on the denomination of your account, as well as the size of your balance. In addition, interest rates are subject to change at any time, according to the bank’s discretion. Be aware that the day count convention, which affects interest payments, differs from country to country as well.

 

Payments

Payments made inside the European Economic Area will usually transfer by the following day. Payments outside of the EEA can take up to 6 working days.

 

Diversification

Because there is no minimum balance required and no minimum opening balance, customers are welcome to open multiple foreign currency accounts in different denominations.

 

For those customers to whom it is applicable, HSBC also has available the Multi-Currency Account, which is one account capable of holding a variety of currencies.

 

Foreign Currency Term Deposit Account

For those looking to invest in foreign currency who don’t need access or plan on making withdrawals, HSBC also offers a term deposit account. This account holds one deposit in the foreign currency of your choice at a fixed rate for a set amount of time. The bonus here is that your interest rate is locked in.

 

Once your deposit has reached maturity, you’re welcome to withdraw or re-invest at a new rate. Unlike the foreign currency account, in the case of the Foreign Currency Term Deposit, there is a minimum deposit required.

Currencies Available

Major currencies which are available include the following:

 

AUD (Australian Dollars), CND (Canadian Dollars), EUR (Euro), HKD (Hong Kong dollars), GBP (Great British Pound), USD (US Dollars), JPY (Japanese Yen), NZD (New Zealand Dollars), SGD (Singapore Dollars), CNY (Chinese Renminbi).

Fees

There are no fees for transfers between your various HSBC accounts nor for payments to other HSBC accounts around the world. There are no fees for electronic payments into your account, but there are fees on cash deposits as well as check deposits.

 

Other fees will vary based on the currency of your account.

Exchange Rates

HSBC will use its own exchange rate, which is updated by the second during market hours. The exchange rate applied to your transaction will be the HSBC Exchange Rate that is applicable at the time. Each time a payment is made from your account, HSBC will communicate to you the exact exchange rate which has been applied.

How to Apply for an HSBC Foreign Currency Account

If you’ve decided that HSBC’s Foreign Currency Account is a good fit for your banking fits, and you’re already an HSBC customer who uses online banking, you’re welcome to log onto your account and apply online today.

 

If you’d prefer to apply in person, go to an HSBC branch. To save time, you can download, fill out, and print the application form at www.hsbc.com.au.

Other Similar Accounts

If HSBC’s Foreign Currency Account doesn’t seem like the right product for you, many of Australia’s banks will also have their own foreign currency accounts available to their customers.

 

All of Australia’s major banks, whether its CBA (Commonwealth Bank of Australia), Westpac, ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group), or NAB (National Australia Bank) all offer some version of the foreign currency account, each of which has its own pluses and minuses regarding fees, exchange rates, accessibility and services.

 

Similarly, if you’re interested in a multi-currency account, but don’t like what HSBC has to offer, Citibank has a similar product available as well.

A better multi-currency account with lower fees

TransferWise released the Borderless Account in Australia. At first glance, it is significantly easier to set-up, receive and send foreign currency. The fee structure is also better than any of the other foreign currency account we've reviewed in Australia.

The thing that makes it different to every other foreign currency account, is that it allows you to up a local bank account in AUD, GBP, EUR or USD. That means if you open up a USD account, you’ll have your own ABA and account number (think BSB and account number).

It’s a big deal. Why?

Having your own local bank account makes it significantly easier, faster and cheaper to receive money.

To read our full review of the TransferWise Borderless Account, click here or watch this video

Learn More About the Borderless Account