HSBC UK is part of HSBC Holdings plc which provides accounts in over 67 countries. HSBC UK offers a huge range of products and services for individuals and also provides HSBC UK business banking to organisations of all shapes and sizes. HSBC share prices remain strong and it is the second-largest company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
HSBC UK originated in Hong Kong before becoming established as a Group Holding Company in London, where it has their iconic head office in Canary Wharf.
As of 2018, HSBC was the largest bank in Europe and the 7th largest in the world. Its total assets are worth over $2.558 trillion and it employs over 235,217 people.
About HSBC UK
HSBC has been around since the 1980s, although it didn’t arrive in the UK until the early 1990s when it took over Midland Bank. Today, HSBC UK has 600 branches throughout England and Wales.
HSBC is split into four business groups: Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, and Global Private Banking.
What does HSBC stand for?HSBC stands for The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, a nod to its origins which date back to 1865 when it was founded by Sir Thomas Sutherland.
HSBC UK timeline
- 1836 - Birmingham and Midland Bank is established by Charles Geach in the City of Birmingham on 22 August.
- 1898 - The bank acquires City Bank Limited and becomes one of the four largest banks in the UK.
- 1930 - The bank opens its first London Headquarters, known as 'The Palace of Finance'.
- 1958 - Midland Bank becomes the first bank in the UK to offer an unsecured personal loan.
- 1966 - The bank becomes the first British bank to issue cards to guarantee cheque payments.
- 1989 - Midland bank launches First Direct - the first telephone bank.
- 1992 - Midland bank becomes part of HSBC - The biggest banking merger of its time.
- 1999 - The Midland Bank name is retired and replaced as HSBC.
- 2002 - HSBC UK moves to Canary Wharf.
- 2004 - HSBC UK buys the retail financial services arm of the Marks & Spencer Group.
- 2017 - HSBC UK appoints Ian Stuart as CEO and Amanda Murphy as Head of Commercial Banking.
- 2018 - HSBC UK opens a new head office in Birmingham.
HSBC has a dual primary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the Hang Seng Index and the FTSE 100 Index.
HSBC is the second-largest company listed on the London Stock Exchange after the gas and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, who operate Shell Energy. It has secondary listings on the New York Stock Exchange, Euronext Paris, and the Bermuda Stock Exchange.
Collectively, HSBC has around 200,000 shareholders and is the seventh-biggest bank in the world with a market capitalisation of £102.7 billion.
According to Marcotrends market data, the highest closing share price for HSBC was 99.52 per share in October 2007. Shortly after, the UK was plunged into the Great Recession, and HSBC hit a low share price of 31.21 on the stock markets in 2016.
Over the last 5 years, HSBC share prices peaked at 55.42 in 2018 but decreased again in August 2019 to 35.9, as the UK is still feeling the effects of the recession.
- April 2012, HSBC UK announces that it is cutting 2,000 jobs in the UK, citing cost-cutting measures as the main reason for the layoffs. It further confirm that it plans to cut 30,000 jobs worldwide by 2013 to save $3.5bn worth of annual costs.
- July 2012, HSBC apologises after it is revealed that HSBC Mexico operators helped move $7.5b into the bank’s US operations. The money was tied to drug cartels, rogue states, and terrorist groups. It was the largest HSBC scandal since its inception and cost the bank $1.9b in fines.
- April 2013, HSBC UK announces that it is cutting even more jobs. This time, over 3,000 UK jobs were to be cut.
- February 2015, It is revealed that HSBC helped wealthy clients throughout the world evade hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of tax, and faced a criminal investigation over the scandal.
- April 2015, HSBC UK considers moving its headquarters out of the UK.
- July 2015, HSBC misses Apple Pay UK launch. Seen as one of the most in-demand features of modern-day banking when it was launched, it came as a surprise when HSBC announced it would not be ready to launch the feature until later that year.
- August 2018, HSBC UK confirms it is moving seven of its Europe-focused offices from London to Paris.
- July 2019, HSBC UK compensates 18,000 customers for historical unfair debt charges.
Is HSBC a good bank?
High street banks are known for providing poor customer service. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but unfortunately, HSBC UK doesn’t seem to be one of them.
90% of Trustpilot reviews believe that HSBC UK customer service is poor or bad
However, HSBC is one of the worlds largest banks and has stood the test of time. Because it has been around for so long, it has built up a huge product catalogue covering almost every financial need a person or business may have.
Whether HSBC is a good bank or not depends on your needs. If you are looking for a straightforward bank account that gives you great customer service with an easy to use online or mobile banking application, then perhaps a digital bank is more suited to you. If you have more specific needs or prefer a bank with a long trading history, then HSBC UK may be the right choice for you.
There are plenty of other high street banks to choose from along with HSBC UK, and we have put together a handy guide to help you decide which is the best current account for you.
Read more about HSBC customer service in our HSBC Customer Service Review.
Which banks are HSBC affiliated with?
HSBC operates in multiple countries through affiliates and subsidiaries. Although they mostly follow the HSBC name and brand, there are a few exceptions.
HSBC affiliates - UK
- HSBC UK
- First Direct
HSBC affiliates - Europe
- HSBC France
- HSBC Malta
- HSBC Greece
- HSBC Trinkaus und Burkhardt (Germany)
- HSBC Private Bank Suisse (Switzerland)
HSBC also has affiliates in the Americas, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Asia- Pacific regions.
HSBC and Midland Bank merger
Midland Bank was one of the largest banks in the UK throughout modern-day Britain until it was taken over by HSBC in 1992. It continued trading as Midland Bank until 1999 when it became HSBC Bank.
In 2015, when HSBC announced that it would rebrand it`s UK branches, Midland Bank became a popular choice to return to as the name for the high street branches. However, later that year it was announced that the Midland Bank brand would not be making a revival, and it would brand the branches as HSBC UK.
HSBC and First Direct
In 1989, when Midland Bank was still in operation, it set up First Direct.
When it launched, First Direct was a bank aimed at the younger generation and was arguably one of the first banks to steer away from the norm of traditional high street banks. It had no branches and pioneered new services such as telephone banking, SMS notifications, and internet banking.
HSBC took over First Direct along with Midland Bank, but it still trades today under the First Direct brand, with over 1.3 million UK customers.
HSBC customer service
Customers can contact HSBC UK in a few different ways
- Live chat
- By post
- In branch
Depending on how you prefer to do your banking, you can access your account and carry out most transactions 24 hours a day.
Most HSBC UK branches are open
- Monday - Friday | 9 am - 5:30 pm
- Saturday | 9 am - 2 pm
- Sunday | Closed
You can check out the exact opening times of your nearest bank using the HSBC branch locator.
HSBC online banking is available 24/7. Once you are logged in, you can view your account information, balance, direct debits, send bank transfers, and move money between your accounts.
HSBC has had a few instances of its online banking services being unavailable. However, this is often rectified quickly.
Customers can access 24/7 telephone banking to perform certain requests such as checking their balance, making a payment, and transferring money.
Is HSBC customer service 24 hours?
HSBC UK customer services for existing accounts is open 8 am - 10 pm every day. Advance and Premier customers receive 24/7 customer service
To get through to the right department, we have detailed all the ways you can contact HSBC UK for existing accounts, new accounts, and complaints (Coming soon).
HSBC UK has a mammoth collection of products and accounts. It has accounts available for individuals and businesses, and also offers additional products such as investment solutions and home, car, life, and travel insurance products.
HSBC UK has products and services for most personal banking needs, including offers for new and existing customers.
HSBC UK offers 8 different current accounts. A basic current account is available, along with student/graduate accounts and premium accounts that come with additional benefits
HSBC UK provides 7 different credit cards. Including reward, balance transfer, student, and classic credit cards.
HSBC UK has a wide variety of savings products depending on your goal. Savings accounts, ISAs, flexible savings, and child savings accounts are all available, plus more.
Loans and mortgages
A wide selection of lending products are available with HSBC UK, including personal loans and a variety of mortgage options.
What is an ISA?An ISA (Individual Savings Account) is similar to a regular saving account except that it offers tax-free interest, giving you the possibility of getting more for your money. There is no limit to the number of ISA accounts you can have, but there is a limit to how much you save across all of your ISA accounts each year.
Premium accounts are becoming more and more popular. In fact, you’d struggle to find a UK bank that doesn’t offer a premium account in return for a monthly fee or by meeting certain criteria. HSBC UK offers a service called HSBC Premier, which is aimed at customers who use HSBC UK as their main account or have additional HSBC UK products and services.
To become an HSBC UK Premier customer, you will need to pay your annual income into your HSBC UK Premier bank account and meet one of its eligibility criteria:
- Have an individual annual income of at least £75,000 and have either an HSBC UK mortgage, investment, life insurance, or a protection product
- Have savings or investments of at least £50,000 with HSBC UK within 6 months of opening your account
- Hold and qualify for HSBC Premier in another country.
The benefits of being an HSBC UK Premier customer come in the form of exclusive products and services, such as current accounts, credit cards, loans and mortgages with exclusive benefits, rates, and a dedicated account managers.
HSBC Business Banking
HSBC UK provides products for businesses of all sizes. Business customers can enjoy dedicated account managers, exclusive products and services, and additional features to help with their everyday business needs.
Compare the best bank accountsStill unsure if HSBC is the right bank for you? Then why not compare the best bank accounts to see what other options are available.
How to apply for an HSBC UK account
You can apply for an HSBC UK account in a few different ways:
- In branch
- By telephone
Who can apply for an HSBC UK account?
You will first need to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for the account you wish to apply for.
For most accounts, customers need to be over 18 years of age. However, HSBC also offer accounts for people aged between 7-17 years old.
To open an account in the UK, it may also require you to pass a credit check. HSBC UK provides a wide variety of products, and although some accounts are designed for people with an exceptional credit history, there are other products available to people with poor credit.
We always recommend that you check the eligibility criteria before you apply for an account, and it is always best to shop around and compare.
What do I need to apply for an HSBC UK account?
To complete your application for an HSBC UK account, it will require you to provide proof of ID and proof of address. Sometimes, it may also require you to provide proof of your income or ask you about your expenses.
Accepted forms of ID include:
EU identity card
| Utility bill
Council Tax bill
Letter from a recognised employer
If you are new to the UK and don’t have the required proof of ID or address, then you may provide a letter from your university or employer.
Switch to HSBC
HSBC UK offers the Current Account Switch Guarantee, which makes it easy for customers to switch their current account provider.
Once you have chosen the account you wish to apply for, simply let HSBC UK know that you wish to switch using the Current Account Switch Guarantee. HSBC UK will then look after getting everything moved over from your previous bank account.
HSBC UK will arrange for the following to be transferred from your old account to your new HSBC UK account:
- Your existing balance.
- Your incoming payments, such as your salary.
- Your outgoing payments, such as your direct debits and standing orders.
The Current Account Switch Guarantee takes up to seven days from the date your new HSBC UK account is opened to complete. HSBC UK will provide you with the exact date for the switch over to be completed by, at which point your old account will be closed down for you
Don’t want your old account to be closed?You can request a partial switch when you open your HSBC UK account. This isn’t covered by the Current Account Switch Guarantee and takes longer than seven days. You will also need to arrange for your credit payments to be transferred to your new account yourself.
Using your HSBC UK account
HSBC UK cards can be used anywhere that accepts Visa or MasterCard payments in the UK and abroad. Contactless is available and, if you have the HSBC UK mobile app, you can monitor your spending wherever you are.
The HSBC app
All customers have the option to download the HSBC app to their phone, which allows you to log on and view your account. It keeps your account safe with a user ID and password, and optional touch ID and Face ID with compatible phones.
The HSBC app is rated very well, with 4.8/5 on the App Store and 4./5 on the Google Play store. In our experience, we have found the HSBC app easy to use. However, it is missing some key features that we have seen in the mobile apps available with digital banks for quite some time.
The HSBC app allows you to:
- Pay bills.
- View account balances.
- View your transaction history.
- Transfer funds between accounts.
- Transfer money.
- View your overdraft.
Some transactions are unnecessarily complicated, require card readers, a visit to your branch, or a phone call to complete.
However, for a traditional high-street bank, who are often seen as outdated the HSBC app is one of the easiest to use with some excellent features to help you with your everyday banking.
The HSBC App is available on the App Store and Google Play Store for free download.
Using your card abroad
With HSBC operating throughout the world, it should be no surprise that you can use your HSBC UK account when you go on holiday, or if you are about to set off travelling.
With HSBC UK, you can:
- Use your debit or credit card in stores and restaurants, and at ATMs.
- Access your mobile banking app and online banking to monitor your spending while you are away.
As with most high-street banks, there are fees for using your card abroad.
|HSBC Debit Card||2.5% Transaction Fee||2% Cash Fee|
|HSBC Premier Debit Card||2.5% Transaction Fee||0% Cash Fee|
|HSBC Advance Debit Card||2.5% Transaction Fee||0% Cash Fee|
|HSBC Credit Card||2.99% Transaction Fee||2.99% Cash Fee + 2.99% Transaction Fee|
|HSBC Premier Credit Card||2.99% Transaction Fee||2.99% Cash Fee + 2.99% Transaction Fee|
|HSBC Student Credit Card||2.99% Transaction Fee||2.99% Cash Fee + 2.99% Transaction Fee|
If you use your card abroad frequently, then you could consider a Revolut card, which is free to use in the UK and abroad.
HSBC UK customers can send money abroad fairly easily 24/7 using the HSBC app, online banking, or telephone banking. Customers also receive live exchange rates, so you always receive the lowest rate available.
It is free to send an international transfer to another HSBC account. International transfers to non-HSBC accounts incur a fee depending on how you make the transfer.
- Online Banking - £4
- In Branch - £9
- Telephone Banking - £9
Direct debits and standing orders
HSBC UK accepts direct debits with all of its current accounts and provides the option to set up standing orders.
A Direct Debit is usually set up by a business to charge an individual. They decide how much you pay and when. Payments have to be authorised by you and are covered under the Direct Debit guarantee.A Standing Order is typically set up by the individual to pay a business, similar to a recurring bank transfer. You can set up and change how much you pay, and when.
Customers have full visibility and control of their direct debits and standing orders. You can set up, view, edit, and cancel direct debits and standing orders from the HSBC app, via online banking or telephone banking, and at your nearest branch.
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