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Need euros, dollars or other international currency for an upcoming trip? If you need foreign money in cash, the HSBC Travel Money service could be a convenient solution.
In this guide, we’ll run through what HSBC Travel Money is and how it works. Plus, info on fees, exchange rates, how to order currency and more.
And for situations where a card is far more convenient than cash for travel spending, we’ll show you an alternative - the Wise international debit card. It can be used in 174 countries, including for ATM withdrawals whenever you do need some cash in your pocket.
But more on this later. For now, let’s get back to HSBC Travel Money and what it has to offer.
HSBC Travel Money is a service which lets you order foreign currency online, for delivery to your home or collection from a local HSBC branch. It’s provided via Travelex Currency Service Ltd, which is a foreign currency exchange specialist based in the UK.
If you’re planning a holiday, work trip or other short stay abroad, having some cash for spending could be really useful. With HSBC Travel Money, you can order online, select your desired amount and currency, and get your hands on the cash as soon as the next working day.
You can even order multiple currencies if you want, all in the same online order. This can be ideal for people heading off on more ambitious multi-country trips and gap year adventures.
It’s all pretty easy to do, and you can order online 24/7. However, there is an important condition to bear in mind. In order to use the HSBC Travel Money service, you must have an account with one of the following banks:¹
- First Direct
- M&S Bank
First Direct and M&S Bank are both owned by HSBC.
HSBC doesn’t provide a full list of all the currencies you can order with its Travel Money service. However, the bank does promise that ‘all major currencies’ are available.¹ So, it’s likely that you can get US dollars, euros, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, Swiss francs and many more.
You can also check here on the HSBC Travel Money website to find the currency you’re looking for, to see if it’s available. You’ll see a full drop-down list of the currencies available, along with the exchange rate.
If you don’t know the currency, you can simply enter the country you’ll be travelling to.
HSBC doesn’t mention a limit for the maximum amount of foreign currency you can order. But there is a minimum - you’ll need to order the foreign currency of at least £100 to be eligible to use the Travel Money service.¹
And remember, you’ll need to have an account with HSBC, First Direct or M&S Bank.
One of the best parts of the HSBC Travel Money service is how convenient it is. You have two options to get hold of your foreign currency. This includes:¹
- Home delivery - order online before 13:30 on a working day and your money will be delivered to your door by the next working day.
- Collection from your chosen branch - find your nearest HSBC branch here. The same cut-off times apply as for home delivery orders - order online before 13:30 and you can collect from your chosen branch the next working day.
If you need delivery to a remote location, such as the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, you can expect a longer delivery time of 2-3 days.
It’s pretty straightforward to order your travel money with HSBC. You can do everything online in just a few clicks.
Provided you’re an HSBC, M&S Bank or First Direct account holder, you can simply follow these steps to use the HSBC Travel Money service:
- Go to the HSBC Travel Money website page
- Scroll down and click the ‘Check rates and order online’ button
- Select your destination country/currency from the drop-down menu
- Enter the amount you’d like to order
- Check the exchange rate, then click ‘next’ to continue
- On the next page, you can add additional currency to your order if you wish.
- Otherwise, choose from Home Delivery or Branch Collection. For Home Delivery, you can choose a delivery date and provide your address. For Branch Collection, you’ll need to enter your postcode or city and select your nearest branch.
- Select ‘Next’ and enter your contact details
- Enter your payment details
- Review your order, then confirm to place and pay for it.
- Wait for your cash to be delivered, or collect it from your local HSBC branch.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to cancel an order made with HSBC Travel Money once it’s been confirmed.¹ So, make sure you’re happy to go ahead before paying for and confirming your order.
If you no longer need the currency, you can use the HSBC Buyback Service to exchange it back into pounds. Although bear in mind that the exchange rates are likely to be different, and you won’t get back the amount you paid initially.
Have some cash left over after your holiday? You can exchange foreign currency back into pounds using the HSBC Travel Money Buyback Service.
You can simply visit a Full Service or Cash Service branch of HSBC and the bank will buy back the currency. However, the buyback rates are likely to be different to the initial rate you were offered.¹
If you’re not thrilled about the idea of losing money to currency conversion, you could always hang onto the currency and use it for another trip in the future.
Now we come to the crucial question - how much does it cost to use the HSBC Travel Money service? The good news is that the service charges no fees, not even for home delivery. There are no commission charges or any other fees to pay.
But importantly, you should know that HSBC will use its own exchange rate to convert your money from pounds to your chosen currency. It bills its rates as competitive, and you can check live rates at any time on the HSBC website.¹ You’ll also see the rate you’ll get just before ordering.
When choosing a rate to convert your money, it’s likely that HSBC will add its own margin to what is called the mid-market exchange rate. Also known as the interbank rate, this is the cost of the currency conversion to HSBC. By adding a margin to this when passing on the rate to you, the bank can make money from the transfer.
Unfortunately though, it means that the transaction is more expensive for you - as more money is lost in currency conversion.
So even though there are no fees with HSBC, you might get more currency for your pounds if you use a service with a more favourable exchange rate.
For example, Wise - which only ever uses the mid-market rate with no margins or mark-ups added on top.
If the markup on the HSBC exchange rate could make your currency purchase a little too expensive, then consider an alternative - the Wise international debit card.
Open a Wise multi-currency account online and you can get a Wise card for a one-time cost of just £7, with no subscription fees.
This powerful contactless card can be used in 174 countries, anywhere that Mastercard and Visa are accepted. This means you can spend in shops, restaurants, bars and transport hubs worldwide.
When you spend, the card automatically converts your pounds to the local currency at the mid-market exchange rate. There’s just a small conversion fee to do so, or there’s no charge if you already have the currency in your Wise account.
Need cash? No problem. The Wise card lets you withdraw up to £200 a month (2 or less withdrawals) with no fee. Although you’ll need to watch out that overseas ATM operators don’t charge their own fee.
With the Wise card, there’s no need to worry about ordering foreign currency, or the potential security risks of carrying cash around. You can just tap and spend, just like a local, knowing you’re getting a great exchange rate.
What’s more, you can manage your account, card and spending on the move, using the handy Wise app.
And that’s it - everything you need to know about the HSBC Travel Money service. It’s a foreign currency purchase service like many others, but with the added perk of convenient and fee-free home delivery.
Just make sure to compare exchange rates carefully, as there could be a better deal out there for your holiday money.
Sources last checked on date: 22-Jun-2023
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 Wise Payments 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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