A guide to multi-currency accounts in HSBC Canada

Wise

If you regularly send, spend or receive money from abroad, you might decide it is worth getting a multi-currency account. Multi-currency accounts can help you manage fluctuations in the exchange rate, and cut down the costs of some international payments. There’s a wide range out there to choose from - so doing some research before you commit to one is essential.

Here’s all you need to know about multi-currency accounts from HSBC Canada.

HSBC Canada foreign currency account basics

There are various different types of foreign currency accounts available from HSBC Canada. Here’s an outline of some of their main features:¹ ² ³

Foreign currency account service HSBC Canada availability
Account types and currencies available chequing accounts are available in USD Savings accounts are available in USD, CNY, GBP, EUR and HKD
Monthly fees Performance chequing Limited - $4 Performance chequing Unlimited - $14.95 No monthly fee for savings accounts
Debit card Only CAD savings accounts can be linked to debit cards. You may be able to get a debit card for a USD chequing account, but there are eligibility criteria
Foreign exchange charges There may be foreign exchange charges to pay, depending on the account you hold, and the transaction you want to make See more, below about how to spot and understand some of these fees by knowing the mid-market rate
Savings account interest Interest is not paid on CNY savings accounts, but is on other foreign currency savings accounts, up to specific limits

One thing to look out for, if you’re converting currency when moving it to or from your HSBC Canada foreign currency account, is the exchange rate used. HSBC specify that there may be foreign exchange charges. To make sure these fees and charges are fair, it’s smart to know a bit about the mid-market rate.

The mid-market rate is the real exchange rate, and the one you’ll see if you google the conversion you need - let’s say you’re moving your CAD into a savings account held in euros, and you search for ‘CAD to EUR’.

However, many banks and exchange services don’t offer this mid-market rate to customers - instead they add a markup to the rate they use, which they keep as their profit. It’s worth checking out the exchange rate used - as well as any upfront fees - whenever you convert money to pay into or withdraw from your foreign currency account. If the rate doesn’t look fair, it might be time to find another option, such as a multi currency account from Wise.

Need to manage money in multiple currencies or countries? Wise could help

Banks often charge hefty fees for foreign and multi-currency accounts. And if you’ve already tried managing multiple accounts in multiple countries, you know it’s rarely simple.

Wise could help. With Wise, it’s free to open a multi-currency account with no monthly fees. There, you can manage and send dozens of different currencies all from the same account. All around the world.

Give it a try. Check out Wise today.

Now, back to what you came here to read.

HSBC Canada US dollar account (USD)

HSBC Canada offer a couple of choices if you want a US dollar denominated account. You could choose a Performance Chequing Account - Unlimited, if you want a chequing account with most services covered by a monthly fee. This fee is discounted for some students, and you may be able to get a debit card to use for spending and ATM withdrawals.

Alternatively, you might choose a Performance Chequing Account - Limited. It has a lower monthly fee, but you can only make 14 transactions per month before there are fees per transaction.

There’s also an option of a US dollar denominated savings account, which has no monthly fee, and pays interest on amounts up to $1 million. However, there are fees to pay for self service and in-branch transactions.

If you want a flexible account which allows you to hold your money in US dollars, but with no minimum balance or monthly fee to worry about, another option is to get yourself a multi-currency account from Wise. You can transfer money for free to friends and family in the US, and get your own local bank details to be paid fee free in US dollars, euros, Australian dollars and British pounds. There’s a linked debit card coming soon for Canadian residents, to allow you to spend on day to day purchases, and make ATM withdrawals.

HSBC Canada pound sterling account (GBP)

You can only get a GBP savings account with HSBC Canada, which has no minimum balance, and daily calculated interest on balances up to £1 million. Again, there are various fees and charges you’ll need to take into account to check, if this suits your needs.

HSBC Canada euro denominated account (EUR)

HSBC has a euro savings account as well. Although there is no monthly fee or minimum balance to worry about, there are charges for making some transactions.

For a flexible euro account which allows you to pay and be paid for free in euros, you could try a Wise EUR account, instead.

HSBC Canada indian rupee account (INR)

HSBC Canada do not offer an INR account for either saving or chequing. However, the multi-currency account from Wise offers an Indian rupee balance among it’s 40+ currencies, that you can store your money in. You can easily pay to Indian accounts from there or convert to any other currency, using the mid-market rate. Once the multi-currency card is available for Canadian residents from 2019, you’ll also be able to use that, if you’re planning a trip to India.

HSBC Canada foreign currency account fees⁴

Service Fees
Monthly fee Performance Chequing Account - Unlimited: $14.95 (reduced for students and seniors) Performance Chequing Account - Limited: $4
ATM withdrawals Performance Chequing Account - Unlimited/Limited: $1.50 within Canada, $5 abroad ATM withdrawals are not possible with savings accounts
Withdrawals and debits, in branch, online, or using telephone or mobile banking Performance Chequing Account - Unlimited: No additional charge - covered by monthly fee Performance Chequing Account - Limited: After the first 14 transactions, fees of $0.65 - $1 apply for each transaction USD Savings Account: $1 GBP Savings Account: £0.65 EUR Savings Account: €0.75 CNY Savings Account:¥6 HKD Savings Account: $8.50
Foreign exchange charges There may be additional foreign exchange charges, or an exchange rate markup added, when you switch between currencies
Inactive accounts $30/annual fee

HSBC Canada multi currency account for business

HSBC Canada have a few options for businesses, depending on the turnover of the company, and the functionality you need.

  • Business banking includes the option to make and receive foreign currency payments⁵
  • Business term deposits are available for USD⁶
  • Large businesses and corporates can use HSBC’s clearing and treasury payment solutions to process international payments⁷
  • Businesses can open multi-currency savings accounts in USD and 6 other currencies⁸

If you’re checking out which multi-currency account might be best for your business, it’s worth looking at the Transferwise borderless account for business. There’s also an integration with the popular Xero accounting software. All in, it can save you money when compared to an alternative like PayPal for your international payments, and can be quicker and more flexible than the accounts on offer from traditional banks.

Foreign currency basics for HSBC Canada

How much does HSBC Canada charge my account to receive foreign currency?

When you receive a wire transfer, you’ll be charged $15, plus a possible exchange rate markup. There may also be additional fees added by other banks who process your wire transfer, meaning that you receive less than you expect - here’s what the HSBC terms and conditions say about that:

“When you send wire transfers, other banks that process or receive your funds, may charge fees including foreign exchange fees, even if the transfer is rejected or returned”⁴

Do I need an account in HSBC Canada for foreign currency exchange?

It’s important to note that some HSBC foreign currency accounts will only let you transfer money from them to another HSBC account. Check out the details for the account you’re considering opening before you make a final decision.

Can I deposit or send another currency to my HSBC Canada account?

You can send another currency to your HSBC account, but the fees mentioned above will apply for receiving the payment, if it’s a wire transfer. If you’re making the transfer from a HSBC CAD denominated account to your foreign currency one, there may well be a cost for making the outgoing transfer, too - so better to check beforehand. Another cost may be wrapped up in the exchange rate used to process the transfer, which can make it hard to see the true costs of your transaction.

So, before you choose a multi-currency account, it’s a smart idea to think through what you’ll use it for. And what’s important to you in terms of features and benefits. You can then compare the range of options out there to find the right deal for your needs, saving precious time and money in the long run.


Sources:

  1. https://www.hsbc.ca/1/2/personal/banking/accounts/foreign-currency-accounts ( 15. November 2018)
  2. https://www.hsbc.ca/1/2/personal/banking/accounts/foreign-currency-accounts/foreign-currency-usd-details (15. November 2018)
  3. https://www.hsbc.ca/1/2/personal/banking/accounts/chequing-accounts (15. November 2018)
    4.https://www.hsbc.ca/1/PA_ES_Content_Mgmt/content/canada4/assets/pib/StatementofDisclosure_en.pdf(15. November 2018)
  4. https://www.hsbc.ca/1/2/small-business-banking-solutions/payments/ (15. November 2018)
  5. https://www.hsbc.ca/1/2/small-business-banking-solutions/everyday-accounts/ (15. November 2018)
  6. https://www.business.hsbc.ca/en-ca/payments/productfamily/clearing-and-foreign-currency-payments (15. November 2018)
  7. https://www.hsbc.ca/1/2/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gzD0tHQ69gAw8DIzMjA8-QYAsLH38XQwMvQ6B8pFm8s7ujh4m5j4GBQZinq4GniZOJgamvm6GBpzEB3QW5oYoA_ke-Qw!!/ (15. November 2018)

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.


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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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