I am leaving HSBC after 18 years because when i travel overseas they gouge me on the currency conversions.
I do not mind paying a conversion, but i do not expect my bank to make money on me by doing the transaction!
The charged me $22 on a $500 ATM withdrawal in USA.
So Beware, find a bank that does not profit on currency conversions.
December 12, 2009
Yes, all the banks generally have a service charge that is payable when an account is closed within either 60 or 90 days from account opening. As there is a lot of paperwork required in an account opening, banks charge this fee to recoup some of that cost for people that don't maintain their account properly or open an account and close it right away. I don't agree with a lot of service charges but this is definitely one that makes sense.
In the case of HSBC Bank Canada, to avoid this fee, you can wait 90 days and then call or e-mail to close the account. You can also pick up a copy of the Personal Service Charges brochure which acts as the bank's Statement of Disclosure at any HSBC Bank Canada branch.
As far as currency conversion goes, are you referring to foreign exchange spread or the international ATM surcharge? All banks take a commission on foreign exchange of at least 2-3% added or subtracted from current exchange rates. That seems reasonable to me and because it's not noticeable like ATM surcharges, you don't even realize it.
I fully recognize that banks need to make money somehow. The HSBC Direct Savings Account has absolutely zero service charges and allows unlimited transactions (phone, Internet, BMO Bank of Montreal/credit union ATM deposits & withdrawals, pre-authorized payments, direct deposits, Interac Direct Payments) and pays a high rate of interest. It may not pay the highest rate of interest (it's still 3%) but the rate is exactly the same as that of ING Direct and virtually the same as PC Financial, Canadian Tire Bank, Achieva Financial and Outlook Financial. The only banks to offer higher interest rates on their high-interest savings accounts are Peoples Trust Co. of Canada, ICICI Bank Canada and Citizens Bank of Canada. Still, it's pretty hard to argue they're any better than HSBC Direct Savings Account since it offers the most free access to the account.
I will gladly pay foreign exchange spread and take a bit less interest on my high-interest savings account (0.40%) in exchange for the best access in Canada and the security of knowing my deposits are backed by one of the most conservative, best capitalized banks in the world, HSBC Holdings plc.
Hope that helps,