Personal Finance

HSBC: So hard to reach, so aggravating to deal with. Does anyone like them?

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 1st, 2020 10:15 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 26, 2020
189 posts
32 upvotes
Canada

HSBC: So hard to reach, so aggravating to deal with. Does anyone like them?

I've noticed HSBC getting more and more uncompetitive over the years but did notice a very good offer for a 3% cash back credit card on US soil. This seems very unusual. Its impossible to get anything good in the way of a credit card offer in Canada if its in US$. So I called them. After a few minutes on hold with the same messages repeating ad nauseum I was transferred to the right department or so she thought. On hold there for over 30 minutes hearing the same message at least 30 times with the same infuriating music droning on, repeating endlessly, just 1 song to wear you out so you hang up and give up. Then when that person got to the phone she said I got the wrong department and when I called another number I was offered a messaging option which I took as I didn't want to spend the rest of the day on hold. What was incredulous about this experience is that the 3rd place I contacted was their "International" department. Can you imagine losing your wallet, you're stranded with not a dime in a foreign country where you may not speak the language, and you're waiting on hold for an hour to tell these idiots to freeze your card? What if you need a cash emergency? How do you contact them? There wasn't even a chat option I saw. Here's their contact us page. Do you see chat on this page?
https://www.hsbc.ca/contact-us/
Here's their US page.
https://www.us.hsbc.com/customer-servic ... 3Afalse%7D
There seems to be a chat option there but its just a bot. Useless. More lies.
How could they possibly not have chat? If you find the local number of a branch that's also a no go. They don't pick up the phone! Its the exact same recording you get when you call their main number. More lies. More total disrespect to the customer.
This has to be the worst customer service imaginable.
35 replies
Sr. Member
Apr 23, 2017
961 posts
1597 upvotes
HSBC Canada I don't have direct experience with. The annual customer service surveys of Canadian big banks usually has them near last place I recall, but not sure what they did or didn't do to get there.

In the US they have been greatly reducing their branch numbers lately, so I don't think the US market is one they are too keen on at the moment. In Canada they seem stable at present. Not sure what the Hong Kong security law will do for them (especially as regards the USA). I think their main profit regions are 1 Hong Kong, 2 Asia other than Hong Kong, 3) UK, and 4) Canada.

In Canada their offerings seem nice - Premier all inclusive (closest comparable would be CIBC Imperial Service), 'Advance' mostly inclusive with lower financial requirements to open (sort of comparable to an all-inclusive plan at TD or BMO Premium), and then regular chequing accounts non-plan. Cards follow the tiers with colour coding - a regular MC, an 'Advance' MC in red, and a 'Premier' MC in black, as well as a Premier W.E. MC, and the ultra-premium 'Jade' W.E. in metal, and the no-customer relationship required W.E. that RFD likes due to the no FTF and 3% on travel spend. Branches don't seem shabby when I walk by. Not sure if the staff are nice or not. The one thing they have that others don't is the 'global transfer' service that lets one move one's money country to country between one's accounts in different countries.

https://www.jdpower.com/business/press- ... tion-study
Sr. Member
Apr 23, 2017
961 posts
1597 upvotes
^
The study measures customer satisfaction in six factors (listed in alphabetical order): channel activities; communication/advice; convenience; new account opening; problem resolution; and products/fees. Channel activities include seven sub-factors (listed in alphabetical order): assisted online service; ABM; branch service; call centre service; IVR/automated phone service; mobile banking; and online banking. The study is based on responses from nearly 14,000 retail banking customers of Canada’s largest and midsize banks regarding their experiences with their bank. It was fielded from July 2019 through January 2020.

Mid-size Banks in Canada 2020 J.D. Power customer satisfaction ranking: (1,000 points being the highest ranking)

Tangerine 839
Simplii Financial 819
ATB 801
National Bank of Canada 788
Desjardins 782
HSBC Canada 762
Laurentian Bank of Canada 742

Big Banks (1,000 being the highest score):

RBC 794
TDCT 790
CIBC 787
BMO 784
Scotia 782

If we combine these two lists together:

Tangerine
Simplii Financial
ATB
RBC
TDCT
NBC
CIBC
BMO
Desjardins
Scotia
HSBC Canada
LBC
Member
Oct 12, 2005
308 posts
267 upvotes
BC
I like HSBC. I have the Advance Package so free unlimited banking with a mortgage of $150k+ or $5000 invested (you don’t have to keep it in the chequing account like other banks). I also get free cheques, free e-transfers, and five non-Exchange Network ATM rebates up to $2, 5x per month. However, the Exchange Network is massive in BC since we have a lot of credit unions.

Their World Elite MasterCard is also a good deal with no FX fees, 3% back on travel purchases, 1.5% back on everything else. $150 AF with $100 travel credit, so net $50 AF.

The customer service has been overall above average. The chat feature on the website works decently, and yes, you can connect with a real person. They are able to help with most banking inquiries (although some questions about credit cards or investments they cannot help you with). Telephone service is usually prompt, professional and friendly, even with the overseas reps. Their product training seems really good.

The app is a bit outdated and limited in functionality, and their debit card still does not tap or support Apple Pay. (The MC does).

I’ve used all of the big 5 for various products. In my personal opinion, HSBC is miles ahead of Scotia, a bit better than BMO, TD & CIBC, and about on par for me with RBC (which has been the best to me) in terms of their customer service.
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2018
3186 posts
3256 upvotes
Vancouver
As a Premier customer I would rate them poor on service, bureaucracy, response time, helpfulness, competitive rates, web services... well, I guess that's about everything, so just call it poor.

But in this COVID-19 year it's a race to the bottom. It would be hard to beat TD Direct Investing, which basically stopped responding to customers at all for 4 months while markets were going crazy. It was literally impossible to get hold of them by any means.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 13, 2010
6693 posts
1223 upvotes
Scarborough
Cdn banks have been exposed during this covid about their unhelpfulness, only care anout their profits
Ofcourse they discourage anything when people want access to their money
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2006
1349 posts
994 upvotes
Toronto
Scote64 wrote: As a Premier customer I would rate them poor on service, bureaucracy, response time, helpfulness, competitive rates, web services... well, I guess that's about everything, so just call it poor.

But in this COVID-19 year it's a race to the bottom. It would be hard to beat TD Direct Investing, which basically stopped responding to customers at all for 4 months while markets were going crazy. It was literally impossible to get hold of them by any means.
I tried contacting Scotia Itrade twice with questions during these Covid times and only reliable way of doing so ,if I didn't want to wait a long time on the phone , was by complaining to the Scotiabank Office of the President who relayed my question to Itrade.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 15, 2005
1209 posts
563 upvotes
I find it interesting that people even have low standards for the Canadian banks and expect something from them. They are all about profits and dividends, so get a free account where you don’t pay fees and leave whatever money there that you need. Then invest in their blue chip stocks for some dividend income Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes

As for HSBC, I find them less helpful than RBC, but it’s all about which reps you’ve dealt with.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2006
8058 posts
3551 upvotes
Markham
Big banks are pretty much same if you look at another RFDer survey results

Like TD, I feel call waiting time is relatively short , but then again, they increased minimum balance for chequing account . It's really just what is more important for you
Sr. Member
Oct 27, 2012
807 posts
766 upvotes
Toronto
I've been with HSBC for 12 years and I think they have the worst service by far of all the big banks and most midsize banks I've dealt with (save for National Bank).

Everything is always a "no", they don't proactively offer solutions, slow to respond to requests and they are really bureaucratic with certain things. This is despite having been a Premier client with them the entire time (and Jade for a year or so after it was introduced). The only reason I haven't cut them loose is the seamless Global Transfers between countries, but otherwise their service and product offering has really gone to the dogs over the years.

Scotia seems to be universally hated on RFD and in surveys, but they've been the best experience so far for me. Even before I became a Private Banking client with them, I found their service exceptional, and they've always been generous with waiving fees, granting credit and being able to get things done quickly/efficiently, but that's probably because I had a dedicated account manager for professionals.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2003
2224 posts
224 upvotes
apnayloags wrote: Cdn banks have been exposed during this covid about their unhelpfulness, only care anout their profits
Ofcourse they discourage anything when people want access to their money
How so? Examples?
Sr. Member
User avatar
Mar 23, 2009
757 posts
527 upvotes
Toronto
I've been Premier with them 10 years or so and they're my main bank. It's probably more difficult than other banks to get things setup, and they're very conservative in approving and granting credit, but once you're setup they're good. Stick $100k+in InvestDirect (rrsp is a good one to transfer over since most won't need to withdraw for a while), and you get free banking. I like the decent Premier CC, the enhanced bank security that uses 2 factor with their app, the instant cross country transfers to your HSBC accounts in other countries, and the uloc is attached to your chequing account and can act like a low interest overdraft.
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2006
1349 posts
994 upvotes
Toronto
@ozzie16 @astroboy100
Why would you want instant cross country transfers between HSBC accounts? Has to be cheaper transfering money using XE, OFX, Transferwise,Revolut etc.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Mar 23, 2009
757 posts
527 upvotes
Toronto
Bull Dog wrote: @ozzie16 @astroboy100
Why would you want instant cross country transfers between HSBC accounts? Has to be cheaper transfering money using XE, OFX, Transferwise,Revolut etc.
I'm not converting, cdn-based USD Chequing to US based checking account to pay U.S. bills, etc.
Sr. Member
Oct 27, 2012
807 posts
766 upvotes
Toronto
Bull Dog wrote: @ozzie16 @astroboy100
Why would you want instant cross country transfers between HSBC accounts? Has to be cheaper transfering money using XE, OFX, Transferwise,Revolut etc.
Not converting here either. I do have accounts and credit cards in the US, UK, HK, Singapore and Malta, where I can pay bills, get better deposit rates (e.g. HSBC Singapore had a time deposit promotion for USD that paid 2%+), and have real bank accounts with an established bank (e.g. I would trust depositing my GBP in HSBC UK or EUR in HSBC Malta more than the Transferwise Borderless). Global Transfers used to have good rates, but then they went downhill a few years ago. That said, HSBC HK and Singapore do have more reasonable spreads if you exchange currency in the local account (e.g. move CAD to HSBC HK first, then convert to HKD, and the spread ends up being around 0.5%, or at least it was when I last did it.)

I think there are better solutions for US banking, but the UK and HK are important jurisdictions for me to maintain accounts in. Even though I'm a UK citizen, it seems I would have trouble opening another account in the UK without being able to prove residency, whereas I opened the HSBC UK account more than a decade ago using my Canadian address. I suppose I could use a bank in Jersey, but the alternatives have high minimum deposits too.

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