HSBC Premier Checking Account Review: Big Perks for Large Balances
Kailey is an industry specialist covering bank accounts, credit cards, and all things personal finance. Her work has appeared on USA Today, CNN Money, Fox Business, and MSN Money.
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The HSBC Premier Checking Account has definite appeal for world travelers with high average checking account balances. The bank expects a lot from its account holders if they want to avoid monthly maintenance fees. But it gives a lot back too, including cash back during your first year, preferential rates on home loans, and fee-free global bank transfers and international debit card purchases.
The one area where the HSBC Premier Checking Account comes up a little short is its APY, so if you’re hoping to earn a lot of interest on your checking account funds, you're better off looking elsewhere.
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Earn 2% cash back during your first year: Those who open an HSBC Premier Checking Account by March 29, 2020, and set up qualifying direct deposits will earn 2% cash back on their direct deposits, up to $60 per month with a maximum of $700 per year. Your cash back will automatically show up in your checking account approximately eight weeks after you've completed that month's qualifying activities.
Ideal for travelers: The HSBC Premier Checking Account is worth considering for those who travel overseas often because it includes worldwide access to surcharge-free HSBC ATMs, an HSBC Premier Debit World Mastercard that does not charge foreign transaction fees, fee-free transfers of up to $200,000 per day to linked international HSBC bank accounts, and priority customer service anywhere in the world.
Premier Savings Account included: When you open an HSBC Premier Checking Account, you're also opening an HSBC Premier Savings Account at the same time. This makes it a good choice for those who are looking to move all of their money over to a new bank.
Preferential rates on home loans: HSBC Bank offers preferential rates on mortgages to its HSBC Premier Checking Account holders. This won't be relevant to everyone, but it's something to keep in mind if you plan to purchase a new home in the future.
What could be improved
You won't earn much interest: The HSBC Premier Checking Account only offers 0.01% APY. This is a lower rate than what some online banks offer, but many checking accounts don't offer interest at all, so it's still better than nothing. If you open a high-yield savings account and put the bulk of your money there, the low APY shouldn't bother you too much.
You might have to pay a monthly maintenance fee: HSBC Bank charges a monthly maintenance fee to its Premier Checking Account holders unless they have a $75,000 minimum balance in combined personal deposit or investment accounts, recurring monthly deposits of at least $5,000, or an HSBC Bank mortgage with an original loan amount of at least $500,000. These requirements are pretty steep compared to many other checking accounts, and those who don't qualify could actually lose money over time as the monthly maintenance fees cost them more than they're earning in interest. If you don't meet any of the qualification requirements above, look into one of the other checking accounts recommended below.
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How to access your money
You have several options for depositing and withdrawing money from your HSBC Premier Checking Account.
Use any of the following methods to deposit money into your HSBC Premier Checking Account:
- ACH transfer
- Wire transfer
- Mailed check
- Mobile-deposited check
- Visit an HSBC branch location
You can find the nearest HSBC Bank branch to you using the Locator tool on HSBC Bank's website or in its mobile app.
You need only $1 to open your HSBC Premier Checking Account, although you need a minimum of $5 in order to earn interest.
You can withdraw money from your HSBC Premier Checking Account in any of these ways:
- ACH transfer
- Wire transfer
- Request a mailed check
- ATM withdrawal
- Point-of-sale withdrawal
- Visit an HSBC bank branch
HSBC Bank doesn't charge outgoing domestic or international wire transfer fees to Premier Checking Account holders. This is pretty rare and something to keep in mind if you need access to your funds quickly.
Alternatives to consider
The Discover Cashback Debit Account is a better choice for those who like the idea of earning cash back. Instead of rewarding your direct deposits like HSBC Bank, Discover gives you cash back on your debit card purchases, and this perk doesn't end after your first year as a cardholder. There is no minimum balance or maintenance fee, so you don't have to worry about losing money with this account. However, note you cannot earn any interest.
The Schwab Bank High-Yield Investor Checking® Account is a wise choice for travelers who want some of the perks of the HSBC Premier Checking Account without being bogged down by monthly maintenance fees. It offers unlimited domestic and international ATM fee reimbursements and excellent online and mobile banking tools. Its APY, while still lower than what many online banks offer, is better than the HSBC Premier Checking Account's rate.
This checking account is right for you if:
The HSBC Premier Checking Account is an ideal option for frequent travelers who want easy and affordable access to their checking account funds anywhere in the world. Few other banks offer free international bank transfers and no foreign transaction fees on debit card purchases. If you're interested in these features, you should definitely put the HSBC Premier Checking Account on your short list.
This account is also a smart choice for those with high balances who are interested in HSBC's other banking services, such as its Premier Savings Account or a home loan. The included savings account makes it easy to manage your money all in one place, and the option to score preferential rates on home loans could save you money when you find your dream home.