HSBC Bank Review : Choice Vs. Premier Checking

(Money Under 30 Rating)

Ranking

6.5/10

HSBC offers three checking account options – Premier, Choice and Basic. Except for the Basic account, you must maintain high combined HSBC account balances to qualify for the account, and/or to avoid the (steep) monthly service charges. Each comes with an HSBC Debit Mastercard, as well as mobile banking with mobile check deposits. HSBC offers savings products, but they pay rates well below what is typically found among popular online banks. However, the bank offers home financing as well as investment products, and will be a good choice for consumers looking to conduct international transactions.

Open Account


Fees

6/10

Mobile App

10/10

ATM Access

7/10

Special Features

10/10



Best for:

 

  • Home loans
  • Investments
  • High asset depositor
  • Foreign transactions

Editor's Note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

HSBC may not be the first bank you think of when you’re looking to open an account, but they’re beginning to make some headway in the United States. And with these impressive checking accounts, it’s not hard to see why they’re doing so well.

Their primary footprint is in the UK, but with more branches and ATMs popping up in the states, you should consider looking into an account with them.

In this article, I’ll take a look at two different checking accounts being offered by HSBC right now—HSBC Choice Checking and HSBC Premier. As you’ll learn, each has a particular audience that would get the most benefit from it. In the end, I’ll share my overall recommendations so you can decide if any of these accounts are the best option for you.

Let’s get started with HSBC’s Choice Checking account.

HSBC Choice Checking

The HSBC Choice Checking is their second-tier account and offers a solid combination of convenience and value.

Features

The HSBC Choice Checking account is a no-frills, primary checking that will get you set up and ready to go in no time. Here are a few unique features we want to highlight about the HSBC Choice Checking:

  • No monthly maintenance fees—when you maintain the minimum balance or set up direct deposit, you’ll avoid monthly maintenance fees, which most banks will hit you with.
  • Massive ATM network—With nearly 2,500 dedicated branch locations and 1,700 standalone ATMs worldwide, there’s no shortage of places for you to get money fast. You’ll also enjoy no fees on most of these ATMs—here’s what HSBC has to say:

“You may be charged additional fees by the ATM operator or network used including a fee by another HSBC entity operating ATMs outside the U.S. Foreign currency conversion rates may still apply.”

In nearly every case, if it’s an HSBC ATM, there will be no fee, but there can be an odd case where there is. Currency conversions will trigger a fee.

  • Overdraft protection—Finally, you’ll have the option of getting overdraft protection by signing up for Select Credit—an optional line of credit to pair with your Choice Checking account that will protect you from overdrawing your account (and paying significant fees).

Who it’s for

The HSBC Choice Checking is for people who want a basic checking account with no fancy bells and whistles. It’s considered their entry-level checking account so you won’t get many bonus features, but you also won’t have to pay any fees (as long as you keep up with the minimum requirements).

This checking account would be ideal for someone in college or just starting out in the workforce, and either doesn’t have a checking account or opened one years ago with a parent. I would consider the HSBC Choice Checking a good option for your first checking account.

Pricing details

You’ll avoid fees if you keep up with the requirements, but if you don’t, you’ll end up shelling out $15 per month as a monthly maintenance fee. To avoid this fee, you merely need to set up a direct deposit with your employer or keep an average balance of $1,500 with HSBC.

Pros

  • HSBC has a great reputation
  • No monthly fees to worry about (assuming you’re meeting the requirements)
  • You’ll almost never find a place you can’t get money across the globe—including places like Sri Lanka and Singapore
  • Easy to use online banking and mobile app

Cons

  • If you can’t set up direct deposit or maintain $1,500 on average, paying a $15 fee is absurd—it’s way too high for a basic checking account
  • No bonus features or points for using the debit Mastercard or mobile app

Final verdict

Honestly, as an entry-level checking account, the HSBC Choice Checking is pretty average. Many banks will nail you with hefty fees, but this one doesn’t. It’s a step up from their Basic Checking, but I’d still consider it to be very basic.

If you’re looking for something that gives you a level of convenience and value and you don’t need a bunch of extra features, it might be a perfect option for you. As long as you can meet the minimum requirements to avoid the fee, I think it’s an excellent option for people early in their careers or even freelancers who don’t need to do a substantial amount of banking.

HSBC Premier Checking

The HSBC Premier Checking account is the top-tier checking account offered through HSBC. For the right person, this is one of the best checking accounts in existence.

Features

HSBC tags the Premier Checking account as “world-class banking with personal attention.” And it’s easy to see why. Yes, you get the features of the two lower-tier accounts, but there’s much more, including the following premium benefits:

  • Dedicated Relationship Manager—First off, when you are approved for the account, HSBC provides you a dedicated Relationship Manager who can assist you with anything that HSBC can offer you. It’s like having a personal financial concierge at your fingertips whenever you desire.
  • Premier Savings Account—You’ll get hooked up with a a money market savings account that provides the highest APY HSBC offers (check their site for the most current rates). This is nice because:
  1. It’s difficult to find a good APY on a money market account these days
  2. It’s an added bonus to have your banking in one place.
  • International features—The Premier Checking account features extensive international features, such as emergency financial support at branches in other countries and easy access and fund transfers between foreign accounts.
  • Mortgage rates—Finally, if you’re buying a home, you’ll get HSBC’s best mortgage rates with their Premier Deluxe Mortgage. This comes with credits on your closing costs and access up to $3 million in financing.

*Bonus*

Get up to a $500 Welcome Deposit for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Premier checking account with qualifying activities. Member FDIC.  These activities are as follows:

  1. Open a new Premier checking account by June 30, 2022.
  2. Set up a recurring direct deposit
HSBC Welcome Deposit Disclaimer - Deposit products are offered in the U.S. by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.

Who it’s for

The Premier Checking account is for people who hold large sums of money. I’ll go into more details on the minimum balance requirements below, but you’ll need to have quite a bit of cash on hand to have access to this account.

If you’re someone with a high net worth and plenty of cash flow, this account is one of the best. You pretty much get every checking account feature that HSBC offers, as well as a personal Relationship Manager that will answer your questions and connect you to the right products and services when you need something.

The goal here is not to have to wait in line at a branch or wait on hold when calling customer service. You get priority service with this account.

As you can see with the lending maximums above, if you’re planning to purchase a multi-million dollar home, you’ll have access (assuming you qualify) to the best rates available.

For the average person, though, this account is overkill. If you’re not pulling in at least a few hundred thousand dollars a year, or if you don’t have a couple hundred thousand dollars sitting in the bank, look for a different account.

Pricing details

I alluded to it already, but the monthly maintenance fee is $50. It sounds high until you consider the minimum balance requirements for this account.

As an account owner, you will need to meet one of the following three criteria:

  1. Maintain an average daily balance of at least $75,000 in combined U.S. consumer and qualifying commercial U.S. Dollar deposit and investment accounts
  2. Make recurring direct deposits of at least $10,000 or more each month from a third party to an HSBC Premier checking account(s)
  3. Have a HSBC U.S. residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000 (at the time it was issued), not an aggregate of multiple mortgages. Home Equity products are not included. Consumers who maintain existing Jade status.

Pros

  • Incredibly specialized services, catered to your specific needs
  • Access to the best rates possible—both on loans and deposit accounts
  • Every feature that HSBC can offer in a checking account

Cons

  • The minimum balance requirement is unreasonable to the average consumer
  • Once you qualify, you have to keep $75,000 in the account to avoid the fee OR make a direct deposit of at least $10,000 per month
  • Even at this “Premier” level, you still aren’t guaranteed qualification for loan products like mortgages

Alternative products

The only comparable checking account at this level is the Chase Sapphire Checking. It has the same deposit requirement ($75,000). The downside, though, is you don’t get a personal Relationship Manager, and it’s not available in some areas of the country. You can check out more here.

Final verdict

Let’s be honest—the HSBC Premier checking account is impressive, but it caters to a particular audience. If you can keep $75,000 in this checking account OR make $10,000 a month to direct deposit at all times then definitely consider this account (and good for you for having $75,000 in a checking account!).

Overall Pros & Cons

Pros

  • International bank — One of the premier international banks for foreign transactions
  • No fees — No banking fees if you can maintain the required combined account balances
  • Financial products — Offers above average level of related financial products

Cons

  • Rates — Microscopic interest on checking, and only ordinary rates on savings and CDs
  • Fees — High fees if you can’t meet the minimum combined account balances

Summary

HSBC has really stepped up their game, offering a delicate balance of checking account options for people at all different stages of life. They even have a Basic Checking account for people who are indeed just getting started.

Overall, both accounts I discussed above are great for the right consumer. The Choice Checking is a good option if you’re young in your career and just getting started with banking. The Premier account is on the other end of that spectrum and would be a perfect fit if you have the money to take advantage of it.

Either way, I’m thoroughly impressed with what HSBC is doing and would recommend any of these accounts to you. I don’t think you can go wrong.

The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Please refer to issuer website and application for the most current information.

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About the author

Chris Muller picture
Total Articles: 197
Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter.