Newest Review: ... an acceptable form of communication, but in this case, a letter was sent home. Maybe the HSBC thinks this justifies some of the charges??... more
The World's Local Bank???
Member Name: onlyliana
Advantages: Easy access to accounts without having to trudge down to the branch .
Disadvantages: None for me .
I have banked with HSBC for just over 2 years now and thought that seen as banks seem to be getting a lot of hammer lately I'd write about my positive dealings with them.
At the moment I have a current account, various savings account, a credit card and personal loan with HSBC so I will only be commenting on the products and services I have had direct encounters with.
I have the HSBC Advance account, as it has been recently renamed as. This is a monthly fee based account that offers preferential benefits. It is £12.95 per month and includes:
- Preferential rates on savings, mortgages, personal loans.
- Fully comprehensive, worldwide family tavel insurance, provided through Aviva.
- Roadside breakdown assistance that covers you personally, not the vehicle.
- Identity theft assistance.
- Free cash withdrawals overseas.
- £3,000 of life cover.
- UK only call centres.
- Leisure benefits.
- Preferential service in branch.
Those are the main benefits but I'm sure there are more. I've been nothing more than pleased with this account. I don't use all the benefits but I'm quite fickle and only took the account for the black debit card it offered at the time, however, it is quite nice knowing that if I decide to go away for the weekend I am covered by the travel insurance.
HSBC also offers several other current accounts including,
- Basic bank accounts that provide a cash card only service for people who don't qualify for debit cards or have adverse credit.
- Amanah accounts for Islamic banking.
- A free bank account with a visa debit card if you don't want to pay for your account, you just need to credit £500 per month.
- The Premier service for high value customers. This is a free service and is the next level up from the account I have so has more benefits.
- Student account.
One of the main reasons I switched to HSBC was that Halifax were slamming me with bank charges for going overdrawn by the smallest amount. I had a student account with them and they once charged me £28 for going over my agreed overdraft limit by 3 pence.
Bank charges are a massive pain in the bum for a lot of people but I have found HSBC to have, probably, the fairest fees policy out there compared to other banks.
You will not be charged if:
- It is the first time you have gone overdrawn in the last 6 months.
- You pay funds in to cover the overdrawn balance on the same day.
- You go overdrawn by ten pounds or under.
They also don't charge you for multiple transactions taking you overdrawn debiting all on the same day.
I have heard that they will also be introducing an account in April that does not charge any overdraft fees, you just pay a one off fee of £15 per month and you physically cannot go overdrawn. They will not pay any direct debits or visa transactions if the funds are not in the account. I imagine that if you are paying £150 in charges every month then £15 might be a worthwhile investment.
I myself have never had any overdraft fees as I find my accounts easy to monitor and manage through the banks various interactive channels.
HSBC is not renowned for having the highest interest rates but I think that people deposit their money with them for security. After the recent bashing banks like HBOS have taken lately I feel reassured that HSBC have not had to take a government bail out and am happy to keep my meagre savings with them.
They do have a wide variety of savings accounts though so I imagine there will be something suitable for everyone's needs.
I have a regular saver which is a 12 month account into which I can pay up to £250 per month. The money is not accesible until the 12 months are up but you can close the account and access the funds if you need them and there are no penalties. This account pays 8% for me as I am an Advance account holder but they do a 4% equivalent for standard account holders.
They have a range of ISA's, fixed term deposit accounts and instant access savings to choose from also.
They also offer free appointments with Financial Planning Managers or Independant Financial Advisors who can give advice on how to get the most from your money. This service is for everyone but would benefit people who have at least 15k.
I opened a credit card withHSBC to take advantage of their balance transfer offer of 0% for 15 months. The interest rate is pretty standard with a typical APR of 16.9% and the card itself is a MasterCard so is widely accepted all over the world.
I took my loan to consolidate my debts from when I was a student. I managed to get a very competitive rate which in the long run has saved me a heck of a lot of money.
You can borrow between 1-25k over a period of 1-8 years, depending on how much you borrow.
I found the loan very easy to arrange, I telephoned up and applied and signed the paperwork in my local branch. The money was in my account on the same day.
One thing I thought was very impressive was that the staff I spoke to explained they wanted to make sure that the loan they provided me with was affordable and went through my income and outgoings to make sure taking on the loan wouldn't cause me any financial strain. They also offered me an appointment to make sure that if I was unable to work for any reason that I had sufficient income protection.
I know a lot of people will just think that this is the opportunity for them to flog me something, which it is really, but the underlying reason behind it would be to protect both the banks and the customers interests.
I already have income protection so I declined to have an appointment but if I didn't then it would've been worth it for me to speak to someone and make sure I was sufficiently protected.
Reading between the lines of why so many banks are going down the drain is that they were reckless with the mortgages and loans they were providing customers with, clearly they weren't checking that they were affordable and that customer would be protected if they were unable to work.
I very rarely go into branches as I prefer to manage my accounts online. I do go in sometimes to use their express paying in machines and occasionally if I want to apply for a loan or similar.
I always find the paying in machines easy to use and if I do struggle there are always staff available to assist me.
The branches are very smart looking and futuristic. Lots of bright colours and wooden floors. I always find the staff to be very polite, professional and willing to help.
I cannot praise the internet banking site enough. It is easy to navigate and it is so simple to move money around, pay bills and check balances.
I use the green service so receive all my statements on line, both for my current account and credit card as I can't be doing with bits of paper all over my house (I am not v ery organised). It also makes it easy if I need to look back through my transactions, I think your last 6 years worth of statements are saved.
You can also apply for products online and send a secure e-message to a customer service rep if you have a non urgent query and don't want to telephone or visit a branch.
I use the telephone service from time to time. It's an automated service so you just enter your account details, date of birth and 3 digits of your security number to access your balance and recent transactions. It's the perfect way to check your balance on the go, if you're out for a day of shopping and want to check how much of a hammering your card has taken.
One of the main things that I hear people moan about a lot is that the person they're speaking to on the other end of the phone is in India and that they can't understand them. I have always found that the call centre staff are very efficient but heavily accented and if I ask them to speak a little slower I have no problem understanding them.
It's complete double standards, people want 24/7 access but complain when the person they're speaking to doesn't work in a UK postcode. One of the reasons I bank with HSBC is because they have a massive international prescence, I'm sure many people do so far the same reasons.
When you want the benefits of banking with such a global giant but don't want to speak to someone in another country then you are being unrealistic and I'm sure you'd probably be better with your local building society. That way you can speak to the same person everytime you want to transfer some money but you'll be stuck in between a rock and a hard place when you loose all your cards and cash on holiday and need to go to the bank.
All large companies have their stumbling blocks and with as many customers as HSBC has there are bound to be some unsatisfied ones. I'm sure the bank does have it's problems but for someone like me it is the perfect bank.