Newest Review: ... a very safe system. You're then presented with a screen showing all your accounts and credit cards (either solo or joint accounts). For e... more
Internet Banking with HSBC Bank
Member Name: Deru
Date: 26/12/07, updated on 28/12/07 (726 review reads)
Advantages: Check statements, perform transactions online and at home 24/7, Secure, Easy to use
Disadvantages: Some functions not available during maintenance
The website follows their red and white colour scheme and is organised neatly. It looks very professional, as expected from a bank's website. Being the computer gee...techy that I am, I just could not resist the thought of being able to bank online. I've been using Internet banking with HSBC for about eight years now.
When I started, I had to phone them to set everything up. I gave them answers to security questions, gave them a security code I wanted to use and I had to tell them who my last cheque was written to. I think you may be able to set it all up online nowadays though.
Different product types (i.e. credit cards, loans, mortgages, etc) are divided up using a tabbed interface so go each product can be easily found. Internet banking, which is current the most popular part of the site is on the very right along the top. Finding stuff isn't difficult either. If something is not under one of the main product headings, then they have a site map and a search box for you to find what you want on their site. They literally have information on everything from banking to employment with them as well as information on online security. The site is very quick and I've never experienced any slowness except when my Internet connection is a bit dodgy, but that's just on my end so they're not to blame.
Aside from just being able to view your statement online, you can do all sorts of things like pay bills, transfer money, set up standing orders, stop direct debits, request credit/debit card PIN and loads more. You can even opt to stop receiving paper statements to help the environment. This is all within my Internet banking account. One thing that I do is, I set up a weekly Standing Order to automatically send £10 to a savings account with another bank. It will send that money every Monday so I don't have to do it manually. What you can also do is set up your account so that it pays the minimum amount you need to pay every month for a loan or credit card using money from your current/savings account. With this, you cannot forget to pay at least the minimum. You can set it to pay the full amount if you're confident that you always have enough.
Transferring money is quite easy and only requires someone's name, sort code and bank account number. Money can be sent to non-HSBC accounts too but they take a bit longer to show up in the receiver's account and vice versa. Money transfers from HSBC to HSBC accounts are usually instant and I find this to be true.
Other areas of the site let you apply for financial products online, contact HSBC, etc. One particularly useful feature is their branch locator, which lets you find your nearest branch. This feature is not obvious to find and so I use their search to find it. Google also brings it up if you use the correct search terms.
I've never seen the site go down completely but in the early hours (1am onwards), some information regarding your accounts with HSBC when logged into Internet banking become unavailable. This is usually due to routine maintenance and can be a bit annoying if you want to check certain things which are unavailable. This is usually just the credit card management area whereas you are left with your current, savings, etc accounts but I've never found the site to be unavailable, which I find to be better than other bank's Internet Banking sites.
Sometimes, it tells me it cannot handle the request. This can happen throughout the day but all I do is navigate again using the navigation bar or press the Backspace key (to go back a page) and then try again, which normally works, so the site isn't exactly bug-free. Very minor as I do manage to get the page I want on the second attempt and it doesn't happen too often.
I do feel safe when banking online with HSBC. They ask for a 12 digit IB code, then your date of birth and three random digits from your security code to log in. I don't usually get it wrong too many times consecutively but I'd assume that too many failed login attempts could result in your accounts being blocked off for security reasons. I later found out that telephone banking uses the same security code. I didn't know this at the time and got it wrong too many times and had my account blocked off after three failed attempts.
Once logged in, if you are idle for a certain amount of time, you get a pop up with a count down, and telling you that you will be logged out, 'Do you want to stay logged in?'. This is a new feature since a site revamp a few months back and I do like it as I often navigate away from the window to check on other things but do still want to return to the HSBC website. Once the count down reaches zero, it logs me out. This is good in case you forget to sign out in a public place. The pages are secure as indicated by the golden/yellow padlocks in my browser. After the first login screen where I enter my IB code, a new window opens. This new window has all the address bars, browser buttons, etc hidden away so you must navigate using the links they give you.
If you bank with HSBC, then I highly recommend setting up an online banking with them. It's great to be able to check your statements for unusual activity on a daily basis without having to visit a branch or wait for paper statements to be posted to you. It can also be very convenient if you don't have time to go to a branch to pay bills or transfer money, etc as you can do it in minutes and do it in the middle of the night. Only thing is, paying bills usually take about 3-5 working days for the money to get there. I pay my HSBC credit card bill online sometimes and it usually takes that amount of time. Best time I've seen is about 1 working day, which is incredible but very rare. If you're cutting it close, then it might be best to visit a branch and pay cash. Payments from HSBC to accounts other banks and vice versa also take that amount of time but as my credit card is with HSBC, I usually expect it to be quicker.
The site is definitely easy-to-use because even my dad can work it out without asking me and he's below average when it comes to computers. Using it does mean that you have to be extra careful online though. There are thieves who send out emails that look like they come from banks telling you that there's been some sort of security breach and that you need to login by clicking on a link in the e-mail to deal with the problem. That link will take you to a 'spoof' or 'phishing' site, in other words, a site that looks like the bank's site. If you login on that insecure site or enter any other of your personal details, you will be submitting your details to a scammer and letting them access your online accounts to do as they wish. Simply be weary of such emails and only log in by typing the website address into your address bar or using a bookmark/Favorite you have saved. Also check that pages have a yellow padlock on them and that the address begins with https, if the address bar is available.
Oh and it's free to use.
Thanks for reading!
Summary: Manage your accounts with the World's Local Bank online and 24/7