I have dealt with HSBC in 4 countries - US, UK, New Zealand and China.
In China, they are OK.
In the UK, they are incompetent. They sent me an account statement by post, and someone with HSBC had whited-out someone else's name and account # that was printed on MY statement. I called them about it and the confirmed it was my information and they could not explain why someone else's information had been PRINTED on my statement, and then whited out. This is pure incompetence.
In New Zealand, they are fine.
In the US, they are the biggest nightmare and sorriest excuse for a bank on the planet. It took TEN WEEKS for me to get my checks, debit cards and credit cards. They forgot to issue a credit card for my wife, which took them another FOUR WEEKS to do. They lost forms that were supposed to have been submitted initially, then forced me to get new forms signed and notarized. The manager of the San Francisco branch (an Englishman) declared to me that they don't pay the highest interest rates because "we don't have to as we are one of the most popular banks". It took them a full WEEK (7 days) to execute a wire transfer for me, and I am a premier customer (this means I'm supposed to get better service). The account manager couldn't explain their products and services and it took nearly two months to get information out of them. A business banking person took 2 months to get me an answer about one of their branches in another country - and then it was only 1/2 the information and something I could have gotten off the website. In short, in the US they are both incompetent beyond belief and arrogant - the worst possible combination.
And yes, I am a HSBC Premier customer although "Premier" is simply an adjective and means nothing about their products or services.
Everyone has a negative view of banks, especially these days due the credit crunch, mis-handling of customer's money, bank charges and so on. But we rarely hear the good stories about banks!
I have more than one account with different banks and HSBC is the best. Their customer service is always excellent--
one exception on one occasion with a woman who treated me as if i was stupid- hilarious when you consider my degree and other qualifications but ok, she works in a bank and thinks she's all that lol--
---other than that this is a brilliant bank (i mean we hate them all but in varying degrees right?)
HSBC offer evertyhing from credit cards to overdraft facilities, home insurance to mortgages and personal loans as well as business accounts. Uniqely, they also offer something different, Amanah Mortgages, which are Shariah compliant, for Muslims.
I dont know any other bank that offers this and it reflects HSBC being quite an advanced bank, catering for all types of customers.
I use HSBC's online banking and I find it really useful. In fact its the best online banking system i have (between all three of my accounts). Barclaycard for example has a silly system which involves a little box that looks like a mini calculator which I have to se everytime i want to transfer money- how irritating!
And Lloyds TSB are SO SLOW for transferring money that it would be quicker to hop in the car, drive into town, queue up for half an hour (Lloyds customer service being appalling) and then bank over the counter than to transfer money online!
HSBC in contrast is so quick that the money is in there instantly. They say it will take up to 2 hours but it never takes that long, its soo speedy.
Also, the online banking is so easy to use. I can set up direct debits or cancel them, check to see if wages have gone in or what my balance is.
Also, I can make quick payments and store the information for easy use next time. This might involve payments to friends or family as well as regular payments for bills or into other accounts.
Overall, HSBC is my favourite bank. They are polite and helpful (usually lol) in branch, the telephone customer serice is also excellent and if they mess up they apologise and put things right (refunding a bank charge for me within days). Highly recommended.
The Greedy organisation. Exessive bank charges of £25 everytime you go over £10 over your limit.
I was charged £100 in one month for 3 small transactions less than over my limit.
Asking them why the ~Excessive fee there response was
To: Mr Wilson
Subject: Case: 7268612 General Enquiries
Date: 20 Aug 2008
Account details: **************
Dear Mr Wilson
Thank you for your e-message dated 18 August 2008.
I am sorry to learn that you are not satisfied with the informal arrangement fees applied to your Bank Account (number:)*********.
Please be aware that I am unable to suspend or prevent informal arrangement fees from being applied to your bank account should your account be overdrawn with no agreed formal limit.
In this instance, I confirm that the informal arrangement fees of GBP75.00 incurred during charging period of 8 July 2008 to 7 August 2008 were due to the following :
15 July 2008 - GBP36.21 request for an informal
17 July 2008 - GBP76.54 request for an informal
24 July 2008 - GBP106.38 request for an informal
We will charge an arrangement fee of GBP25.00 every time you make a formal or informal overdraft request which we agree to. However, we promise that we will not charge arrangement fees for:
- Any formal or informal overdraft requests that we agree to, if this is the first time this has happened in the last six months.
- Small overdraft requests we agree to that are not more than GBP 10.00.
Furthermore, please be informed that the informal arrangement fees are service fees for considering the overdraft requests and providing customers with overdrafts.
As such we believe they are legal, fair, reasonable, and transparent.
This was explained to you in the revised terms and conditions that were mailed to all of our customers between mid September and end of October 2006.
Therefore, please note that these fees have been applied correctly in accordance to bank's standard tariff. As such, no refund is due on this occasion.
In order to avoid a similar situation occurring in the future, I would recommend careful monitoring of your account to ensure your balance remains in credit at all times. You can check your balance via our telephone banking, Personal Internet Banking or branch service.
Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at 08457 404 404 (UK) or +44 1226 261010 (Overseas). Lines are open from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm daily (excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day).
Meanwhile, I trust this clarifies matters.
Senior Service Improvement Manager
HSBC Bank Plc
Well Maybe its time to show the Banks that we will not just sit back and except these riduculous bank charges, which are not for any administratrion costs but are just used to add to their already over flowing coffers
I propose that we hold the banks to randsom, A mass of account closures will show the banks that they rely on us, and we are important.
I get pretty tired of people complaining about the services that their Bank offers them, without really trying to make the accounts that they chose to open work for them. I have been with HSBC for twenty years, and whilst not the perfect bank, it does cover my needs quite adequately, in that my bills are paid on a regular basis in an orderly manner, my statements arrive on time and are detailed enough to give me the information I need to know, and their Internet Banking service compares well against my other Banks, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.
The problem stems from people not understanding how to use a bank account to their advantage, accepting that this is the way it works, and then grumbling. HSBC offers me a lot of things that I don't like, need or desire. For example, I never asked them to give me an evaluation of my account on a regular basis showing graphs of how much I overspent, but they send it anyway. I never asked for increases in my credit card allowances, although they gave them to me anyway.
What I do ask for is personal service. It's my money. The bank should and does work for me, although only because that is the way I use it. For example, if I take a cash withdrawal from the account, here in France where I live and work, I am expected to pay the princely sum of 1.50 GBP for the privilege. I don't. I simply use the bank in a different way and avoid the pitfall. Money spent by using my current account card is not charged, and therefore doing my shopping with the card which takes money directly from my account, and is not a credit card, means that I cut down the expense and that the funds are available free of charge.
The call centres.
I hate call centres. I detest being on a line, pressing this button and that button, and giving out details of what my dog is called and the last letters of my mothers maiden name. It's rubbish, and a way of keeping the banks busy doing their thing, whilst filtering out customer enquiries. I don't do that. From the early days of being with the bank, I developed a rapport with the Bank staff at my Branch, determined the telephone number that takes me directly to a representative that knows me, my account, etc., and that is consciencious enough to be able to deal with my enquiries in minutes. It works.
I have had a deposit account with the Bank for many years, and interest rates fluctuate. They do at any bank and comparing with Bank of Scotland and Barclays, don't fluctuate any more than other banks. I have instant access to my savings, can transfer money online into my savings account and am satisfied with the service I get.
Transferring Money overseas.
Upon selling my house in the UK, I had to transfer the money made from the UK to France. It was a worrying time. The girl at the bank helped me through it, and made it all very simple. We sorted it all out in advance, and then waited for a good moment in the exchange rate. All it would take was a phone call, and that would be the chosen exchange rate day. By careful planning, I made 2000 pounds on the exchange rate, and this is my point. If a client uses their common sense to enhance their banking experience, it doesn't always mean paying out extra or losing.
I have a 3000 Pounds overdraft facility that I have seldom used. The reason is simple. Explaining the logic to my husband, the easiest way to explain is that going into overdraft without prior consent of the bank is like stealing money out of your mums purse and telling her later. He never understood why he had so many bank charges and grumbled at the amounts, and yet overdrew on a regular basis, not even being aware of what he had in the Bank. The idea of an arranged overdraft facility is that you agree with the bank in advance that you may wish to overdraw at some stage in the future. The charges are less for an arranged overdraft, and can often be negotiated. In my case, I was only charged once, and after discussion with the Bank, the charge was quashed.
Sending Money by post.
Often, as I live in another country, I send cheques to be paid into my account and ask for confirmation of their arrival. This costs me nothing, and gives me the instant reassurance that the money has gone where it was intended.
Everyone is aware that credit card interest rates are appalling and no matter which cards you have or what the promise made, at some time you will pay excessive interest. I have two cards with this bank, and use them sensibly, paying off the balance at the end of each month and avoiding interest. I have been tempted to try out new cards like Egg and ones that promise better than my existing cards, although having learned that sensible use costs nothing, stayed where I am with the devil I know.
Using the Bank to store papers.
For many years, my Will has been stored by my Bank for which they charge me nothing. It means that papers are kept in a safe place, and together with my Will, all the papers relating to Life Insurances are also stored free of charge.
I have known my Bank a long time. My personal assistant was about to leave and telephoned me to introduce me to the lady taking over from her. I am old fashioned. I demand courtesy and respect and get it, and although am not a super rich person or mega client, even little people get friendly and personal service if they ask for it, if they tailor the experience to suit themselves, rather than just waiting for the Bank to make the first move. On their own, they won't. They are an establishment that want to make money and do not have time to canvas personal service, preferring to leave those people that do not require it to be dealt with through customer service call centres.
Downsides : Charges for cash machine withdrawals are appalling. I do not use the cash machine.
Call centres are appallingly wasteful in customers' time.
Credit card charges on balances left outstanding as as appallingly high as they are
Queues although I don't do queues. My time is too valuable. If I have anything that
requires me to be in the bank in person, I tend to make an appointment, though most
things can be dealt with by telephone.
Upsides : I get the service I demand. If I didn't there are more banks out there waiting for my
account and it isn't important enough to a bank to go out of their way to offer service
to those that do not ask for it. Used as a friendly family bank, it works for me.
I suppose that there are banks out there that offer more financial reward, though my forty years of experience of Banks tells me that if they offer incentive in one direction, they take it away in another. Banks are much of a muchness, and tailoring your banking experience to your needs is important and with HSBC works better than with Barclays and Bank of Scotland.