HSBC Bank Review

HSBC originally started their operations in Hong Kong, China about 150 years ago. Today, HSBC is an internationally recognized financial institution that allows its users to easily bank almost anywhere in the world. In fact, out of all the banks in Canada, HSBC has one of the best networks for international banking. For frequent travellers, users will benefit from HSBC’s services, but individuals who live a localized lifestyle may prefer to bank elsewhere. HSBC offers a large variety of products and services, especially investments.

HSBC Advantages & Disadvantages

Before reviewing the products offered by HSBC, check out the overarching pros and cons of the bank below:

Advantages

  • Easy to bank across the globe and access foreign currencies.
  • Useful products and services for individuals who are new to Canada.
  • Option to bundle certain products and save on banking charges.
  • Large network of ATMs and user friendly online portal.

Disadvantages

  • Limited branch locations if you prefer to do your banking in person.
  • Not suitable for people who live local lifestyles as opposed to nomadic lifestyles.

Financial Product Overview

The products and services offered by HSBC make them a fierce competitor in the Canadian banking market. The investment accounts are the most notable, but the other products and services have ample benefits as well. A summary of all their offerings can be found below.

Bank Accounts

HSBC offers an assortment of chequing and savings accounts to their clients, as listed below.

Chequing

  • Premier. This account features unlimited day to day banking which is offered for both Canadian and US dollars. Users benefit from free personalized cheques, Interac e-Transfers, bank drafts and wire transfers under $10,000. The monthly fee is $34.95 unless you either: have $100,000 in combined balances with HSBC, hold a mortgage of $500,000 or more with HSBC, have deposits of $6,500 or more to your account monthly, or qualify for an HSBC Premier account in another country.
  • Advance. Enjoy unlimited day to day transactions, up to 5 free non-HSBC ATM transactions per month and free Interac e-Transfers with this chequing account. The $25 monthly fee is waived if you have a combined balance of $5,000 or more with HSBC, or hold a personal mortgage with an original amount of $100,000 or more.
  • Unlimited Performance. This account offers unlimited transactions, including Interac e-transfers, ATM withdrawals and bill payments, for a monthly fee of $14.95. International access to your funds and accounts is offered as well. Discounts are available to seniors and students using this account.
  • Performance Chequing-Limited Account. Users have 14 monthly transactions with this account for a low monthly fee of $4. Other banking services will come with a cost, but you’re only required to pay for what you use. Youth, seniors, students and Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) beneficiaries can use this account for free.
  • Student Chequing. To help students during their education years, this account has no monthly fees, no minimum balances and unlimited transactions. Interac e-Transfers and HSBC ATM withdrawals are free as well.

Savings

  • High Rate Savings Account. Enjoy competitive interest rates on your savings with this account. No minimum balance is required and there are no monthly fees.
  • Youth Savings Account. Start learning about personal finance and saving early on in your life with this account. Interest on savings, no transaction fees and unlimited withdrawals and deposits are the key features of this account. Interac e-Transfers are also free which makes this account a hybrid chequing savings account.
  • Foreign Currency Savings Accounts. HSBC offers savings accounts that can hold US dollars, Renminbi, British Pounds, Euros and Hong Kong dollars. All foreign currency accounts have no monthly fees and no minimum balance. Some accounts offer interest rates depending on the currency.

Credit Cards

  • World Elite Mastercard. This travel based credit card features no foreign transaction fees and access to the HSBC World Elite Rewards Program. Cardholders earn 6 points per dollar spent on travel and 3 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. The annual fee is $149 and additional users cost $50 per year each.
  • +Rewards Mastercard. The annual fee for this credit card is $25 and the interest rate is reduced at 11.9%. Additional card users cost $10 per year each. While spending, earn points under the HSBC Plus Rewards Program at a rate of 2 points for every dollar spent on dining or entertainment and 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Premier World Elite Mastercard. Card holders benefit from no foreign transaction fees and can earn points towards the HSBC Premier World Elite Rewards Program. The yield is 6 points per dollar spent on travel and 3 points per dollar spent on all other purchases. The annual fee is $149 and additional cardholders are free.
  • Premier Mastercard. This unique credit card gives users access to the HSBC Premier Rewards Program and the HSBC Premier Cash Back Rewards Program. Cardholders earn 0.75 rewards points and 0.75% cash back for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. Users also benefit from airport lounge access through LoungeKey, unlimited wi-fi through Boingo and 10% discounts on select hotels.
  • Advance Mastercard. Users can choose between the HSBC Advance Rewards Program and the HSBC Advance Cash Back Rewards Program. You can earn 0.75 points per dollar spent or 0.75% cash back per dollar spent depending on the rewards program you choose. This credit card has no annual fee and no extra costs for additional cardholders.
  • HSBC Mastercard. This basic credit card only offers travel and medical insurance. There’s no annual fee and no extra cost to add other card users.

Mortgages

HSBC offers mortgages for residential home buyers looking to purchase their first home, subsequent properties or refinance an existing mortgage. Their featured rates are 1.44% on a five year term with a variable interest rate and 1.59% on a five year term with a fixed interest rate. When you obtain a mortgage with HSBC, you’ll obtain a 120-day locked mortgage rate and flexible pre-payment options. HSBC also works with individuals wanting to buy a home after recently moving to Canada.

Lines of Credit & Loans

Your financing needs can be met with HSBC’s various lines of credits and loans, as listed below:

  • Personal Loan. This loan can be used for an array of purposes including refinancing debt, home renovations and purchasing a car. Interest rates can be either variable or fixed and the term is between one and five years. Interest rates are competitive and you can choose to pay weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
  • RRSP Loan. Keep up with RRSP contribution tax benefits with this loan. The term is one to five years and payments can be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
  • Personal Line of Credit. Only pay interest on the amounts you use with this account, scheduled payments are not required. Obtain a competitive interest rate and enjoy the benefits of revolving, flexible debt.
  • Home Equity Line of Credit. Secure this line of credit using the equity you’ve built in your home. Funds from this line of credit can be used to invest in your home and consolidate other debts. Only pay interest on the amounts you use and benefit from competitive interest rates.

Investments

HSBC has a variety of investment options for their clients, including international and foreign currency choices. Check out their investment products below:

  • Tax Free Savings Account. All income earned on deposits and investments within a TFSA is not taxed because it’s a registered account. Make withdrawals and deposits as you’d like, just be mindful of your TFSA contribution limit.
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan. Start saving for retirement with a RRSP. Income earned within this account is tax free, but strict government rules apply to withdrawals and contributions. When you turn 71, you can convert your RRSP into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) with HSBC as well.
  • Registered Education Savings Plan. Help grow funds for your children or grandchildren’s post secondary education with this registered account.
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs). Invest your Canadian dollars into HSBC’s low risk GICs. There are registered and non-registered options in addition to a redeemable option.
  • Term Deposits. Similar to GICs, term deposits are a low risk investment. With HSBC, you can invest in term deposits using registered and non-registered accounts. There is also an option to invest in term deposits using foreign currencies.
  • Mutual Funds. Choose from HSBC’s mutual fund options including fixed income, equity and multi-asset funds. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are accessible with HSBC’s mutual funds as well. There’s an option to invest using registered and non-registered accounts.
  • Wealth Compass Funds. Invest your funds into a portfolio that’s managed by HSBC professionals. The risk levels are conservative, moderate conservative, balanced, growth and aggressive growth, the choice is entirely yours.
  • Private Wealth Planning. Create a goal whether it’s related to education, retirement, business investments or any financial goal and HSBC will help you devise a wealth plan.
  • InvestDirect. Create a customized investment portfolio with a wide selection of products from 30 domestic and international markets.