With the recent launch of HSBC’s Global Money Account we assess its features and see how it compares to the best travel debit cards for spending abroad, and the best euro account for UK residents.

The HSBC Global Money account is a multi-currency current account allowing the holder to send, spend and receive money abroad with no additional fees. Set to rival the likes of Revolut and Wise, the new account launched in October 2022, and is currently available to HSBC customers directly from the banking app.

How much does the Global Money Account cost?

The account is free to hold and there are no fees when making debit card payments, cash withdrawals, or sending money abroad. Delivery of the physical debit card is also free, as are any replacements or reissues.

How do I open a HSBC Global Money Account?

The account is only available to existing HSBC current account holders. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include First Direct customers, or those with a basic bank account from HSBC.

It can be opened within seconds from the HSBC banking app, and as an existing HSBC customer there is no credit check for doing so. Once open you can allocate your own PIN for the card and add the card to ApplePay and GooglePay immediately. The card issued is a VISA card, so serves making it a nice complement to those with Mastercard’s such as those issued by Starling, or Halifax Clarity.

Which currencies can I hold with the HSBC Global Money Account?

The Global Money Account all­ows the account hold to hold balances in 18 popular currencies. We’ve added the full list of currencies below.

  • GBP – pound sterling
  • EUR – euro
  • USD – US dollar
  • AUD – Australian dollar
  • ZAR – South African rand
  • PLN – Polish zloty
  • CAD – Canadian dollar
  • NZD – New Zealand dollar
  • CHF – Swiss franc
  • SEK – Swedish krona
  • HKD – Hong Kong dollar
  • AED – UAE dirham
  • CZK – Czech koruna
  • NOK – Norwegian krone
  • DKK – Danish krone
  • SGD – Singapore dollar
  • JPY – Japanese yen
  • CNH – Chinese yuan renminbi

What are the exchange rates and mark up?

Card transactions use the VISA daily rate for currency conversion. This would apply for example when you are spending in euro but do not hold enough of a euro balance in the account to pay for the item. The bank will then automatically charge covert from GBP using the VISA daily rate.

When manually converting balances from one currency to another within the account HSBC will use its own rate. This is based on the interbank exchange rate plus a small mark up. Recent tests (19 October) found the HSBC rate to be slightly better than that Wise, Revolut or Finneco across major currencies. Although as rates are in a constant state of flux, there’s no guarantee this will alway be the case.

A premium of 1% applies when exchanging between currencies while the market is closed. This is typical with multi-currency accounts and the additional mark-up is to protect the banks from large swings in the exchange rate once the exchanges open again.

To put this into perspective, Revolut also applies a 1% surcharge on weekend exchanges across 15 major currencies, and a 2% surcharge on all others.  Wise on the other hand continues to use the mid-market rate even at weekends, making it the cheapest way to do currency conversions at the weekend.

Can I send and receive payments with the Global Money Account?

Currently you can send payments via the Global Money Account, in any currency you hold. Unfortunately for euro payments these are not SEPA instant payments so may take up to 24 hours before they show up in the recipient’s bank account. That may be subject to change in the future though as recent draft legislation by the EU Commission looks to force payment to providers to offer 24/7 instant payments. Think of it like Faster Payments in the UK.

You can’t receive payments just yet, but it is a feature that is coming soon.

What are the HSBC Global Money Account ATM limits?

As ever with multicurrency accounts it’s not all about the foreign exchange rate. Sometimes the various transactional limits can make or break the account. The Global Money account has a daily ATM cash withdrawal limit of £500 (or equivalent foreign currency).

For those that are big cash spenders abroad, that limit beats Starling’s £300 a day, Chase’s £700 a month, and Revolut’s measly £200 a month. That being said, it’s dwarfed by Finneco’s massive €3,000 limit.

International payment limits for transfers are capped at £50,000 or equivalent, so those wishing to make large purchase or transfers for example buying a home abroad, would need some forward planning.

Should I get a HSBC Global Money Account?

Whether the HSBC Global Money account is worth it to you, all depends on your current circumstances. If you already bank with HSBC then even if you have a Wise, Revolut, or Finneco account, the Global Money Account could be a worthwhile addition, if only for streamlining the process of moving money around, or for the piece of mind that you’re dealing with a major UK bank with full FSCS protection.

If you aren’t already a HSBC customer, then it doesn’t really make sense to open a current account just to take advantage this Global Money Account, but since HSBC is now running a £200 switching offer, it might make sense for those who’ve already been considering switching.

While the exchange rates are some of the best around, Finneco, Revolut and Starling (EUR/USD only) are extremely close. Added to that, the account is still very new, and some features haven’t yet been turned on receiving foreign payments for example, while others still need developing further (SEPA instant transfer).

Overall the Global Money Account is a step in the right direction. It will make a massive difference to those who’d normally just use their standard HSBC current account debit card when abroad, and help to retain customers who’d otherwise use services from other multi-currency accounts. Those who aren’t currently HSBC account holders, would be better served by Starling for Euro and Dollar accounts, or general holiday spending, or Revolut for regular currency exchanges.

If you have a HSBC Global Money Account we’d love to hear your experience with it? Please comment below.

 

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