HSBC multi-currency account: fees and rates


Wondering what the big deal is about foreign currency accounts? How about multi-currency accounts? They’re actually both the same thing, and in our increasingly global world, they offer users some benefits that you might want to take advantage of. Whether you’re a regular traveler, a student studying abroad, an expat, an entrepreneur who does business overseas, or just someone with family or friends living in another country, a multi-currency account may be for you. And if you’re an HSBC customer, there’s already an option for you at your home bank. Is it the right option, though? Read on to find out what you need to know.


Before we get started, a quick comparison between HSBC’s foreign currency account and Wise’s Borderless multi-currency account

Who can open an account?HSBC’s Everyday Global account is only meant for private customersBoth businessand private customers
Fee for incoming paymentsTo an AUD account - AU$10 To an account of the same foreign currency - 0.25% of the amount (minimum fee AU$10, maximum fee AU$200)³There’s no fee charged by Wise for receiving AUD, EUR, GBP and USD. You can’t receive the other supported currencies, yet.
Fee for outgoing paymentsOnline - AU$20 In branch - AU$25 ³A small fixed fee, that differs per currency.
Exchange rateHSBC states: The applicable exchange rate is the Bank’s TT/DD buying/selling rate for that currency against AUD.³Wise uses the actual mid-market rate to convert your money
Available currencies10 available currencies42 supported currencies. For AUD, EUR, GBP and USD you get your own local account details.
Minimum balanceThere’s no minimum opening deposit required⁸There’s no minimum balance required for any supported currency.

What are the benefits of having a multi-currency account?

Not sure if a multi-currency account is for you? Basically, multi-currency accounts offer a lot of benefits geared toward people who often need to handle their money in currencies different from what’s used in their home country. They offer more flexibility, like the ability to hold money in different global currencies and exchange it only when you choose. This is beneficial because you can not only use the local currency when traveling, transferring money or making purchases overseas, but you can protect your money from fluctuations in the value of certain currencies by storing it in stable ones.

HSBC offers a product that it calls an Everyday Global account, which comes with a few other benefits. This account allows you to¹:

  • Hold and manage money in up to 10 global currencies in the same, single account
  • Make purchases in stores, online or over the phone with no transaction fees
  • Withdraw money at home or abroad with no ATM fees (though the ATM owner may still charge an access fee)
  • Access your account 24-7 via phone, online or mobile banking

Which cards come with the HSBC foreign currency account?

HSBC’s Everyday Global multi-currency account comes with a Visa debit card. This card allows you to use the money in your multi-currency account to make purchases in-store, over the phone, by mail and online, both at home and abroad, in the currency of your choosing. It also comes with several mobile pay options, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Visa payWave. It comes with Visa protection against unauthorized purchases, as well as the ability to set up recurring debit payments for bills. You can also order an extra card if your multi-currency account is a joint account¹.

What types of foreign currency accounts does HSBC offer?

The Everyday Global account is the only type of foreign currency account offered at HSBC. According to HSBC’s website, the account is for¹:

  • People who want an account they can use both at home and abroad
  • Prospective travelers who want to save up in another currency before they go abroad
  • People who travel regularly for work
  • People who often need to send or receive money in another currency
  • People who want to trade or invest in global currencies.

The Everyday Global account is personal, not for business. Some currencies do earn interest, but not all do. Those rates, which are variable interest and per annum, are²:

CurrencyInterest rate, if applicable
AUD0.05% on balances of $9,000 AUD or more
GBP0.01% on balances of £4,000 or more
CAD0.05% on balances of $8,000 CAD or more
NZD0.05% on balances of $2,000 to $9,999 NZD; 0.15% on balances of $10,000 NZD or more
CNY0.05% on balances of ¥50,001 or more
USD, EUR, HKD, JPY, SGDNo interest

What are the fees for a multi currency account with HSBC?

The worst part about bank accounts? They often come with a bunch of fees. While HSBC’s Everyday Global account has fewer fees than some of the alternatives, some things are still going to cost you. Here’s what you should expect³:

Monthly service fee$0
Local transaction fees$0
International transaction fees$0
Overdraft fees$9 per overdraft plus daily interest at HSBC’s applicable base lending rate + 5% per annum

While the Everyday Global account is set up to make international money transfers, those are where the fees really start to add up. Here’s what to expect for telegraphic transfers with your HSBC multi-currency account³:

Incoming telegraphic transfer to AUD accountAU$10 per transfer
Incoming transfer to account of the same foreign currency0.25% of the amount (minimum fee AU$10, maximum fee AU$200)
Bank draft deposited to AUD account$20 per deposit
Bank draft deposited to account in the same foreign currency0.25% of amount (minimum fee AU$10, maximum fee AU$200)
Outgoing telegraphic transfer initiated in branch$25
Outgoing telegraphic transfer initiated online$20
Tracing, amending or canceling a telegraphic transfer$25 per request

There’s also an option to have all intermediary and receiving bank fees to be charged to you, when you send a telegraphic transfer from an HSBC account. In that case, a flat fee of $55 applies³.

It’s important to note that when you make a telegraphic transfer, those may not even be the only fees. SWIFT transfers(which comprise almost all international money transfers) generally pass through 1 to 3 intermediary banks, each of which can deduct a fee from the transfer amount. The receiving bank may also take out a fee.

And when you exchange currencies in your HSBC Everyday Global multi-currency account, HSBC will most likely not offer you the actual, mid-market rate. When you make an outgoing transfer and you have to exchange currency, than HSBC says³:

The applicable exchange rate is the Bank’s TT/DD selling rate for that currency against AUD.

When someone is sending money to you in a currency you don’t have an account for, than this will also need to be exchange to the correct currency. The rate that will be used will be³:

The applicable exchange rate is the Bank’s DD buying rate for that currency against AUD

HSBC’s rates are published online daily⁴, and it’s a good idea to compare them to the mid-market rates by using an online currency converter to see if you’re getting a decent deal on your conversion.

How to apply for an HSBC foreign currency account?

Applying for a multi-currency account at HSBC is a pretty simple, straightforward process (only five steps, as HSBC advertises online). To apply you must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid Australian residential address. Then, head to HSBC’s website and follow the steps onscreen. You'll need to know⁵:

  • Your full name
  • The currencies you want to be able to use in your account
  • Your date of birth, email address and mobile or home phone number
  • Your full - Australian - residential address
  • Your tax file number (TFN) or exemption
  • A valid form of Australian ID

If you’re already an existing HSBC customer, you can skip most of this process and apply for an Everyday Global account through online banking.

How can I get in touch with HSBC?

Still have more questions about HSBC’s Everyday Global foreign currency account? There are several different ways you can reach out to HSBC directly to speak with a customer service representative about your specific questions or concerns. They should be able to help you determine whether an Everyday Global account really is right for you.

  • You can contact HSBC personal banking via email⁶
  • HSBC phone: 1300 308 008 (English), 1300 309 388 (中文 - Cantonese & Mandarin)
  • Find an HSBC branch to ask your questions in person⁷
  • Contact HSBC via Twitter

Of course, only you know for sure what your needs are, and whether an account will be a good fit. You may choose to go with HBSC or another bank - or, have you considered an alternative service like Wise? Wise offers borderless multi-currency accounts that allow you to send, receive and hold money in dozens of local currencies. They also come with local account details, consumer debit cards and low-fee international transfers with no intermediary fees or exchange rate markups.

No matter what you choose for your multi-currency account, research is the first step toward finding the best option for you. Good luck!


¹ (June 5, 2018)

² (June 5, 2018)

³ (June 5, 2018)

⁴ (June 5, 2018)

⁵ (June 5, 2018)

⁶ (June 5, 2018)

⁷ (June 5, 2018)

⁸ (June 5, 2018)

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

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