HSBC expat account in Singapore: Everything you need to know

Elle Kasser
30.03.21
6 minute read

Expat banking services can be useful for people living abroad, planning a move to another country, or receiving payments in foreign currencies. With an expat account you can usually hold foreign currencies, as well as making investments and even borrowing in currencies aside from your local one.

HSBC offers a comprehensive suite of expat banking services for eligible customers. This review walks through the account types that are available, as well as key features and fees. We’ll also cover a smart alternative if you need to make international transfers - payments with Wise - which could be up to 7x cheaper than other providers. You may also consider a Wise multi-currency account as a great way to manage your money across borders day to day.

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Table of contents:

What is the HSBC expat account?

HSBC offers a range of account options for expats¹, and recommends its expat banking service to anyone living and working overseas, sending and receiving frequent international payments, or travelling often for business.²

There are services available covering expat mortgages and credit cards, investments and foreign exchange. There are also a broad range of expat accounts, including:³

  • Expat bank account (current account)
  • Fixed term deposit account
  • Little expat savings account
  • Quarterly bonus saver
  • Online bonus saver
  • Currency savings account
  • Saver account

We’ll look at each of these accounts in more detail in just a moment. Aside from the accounts and products themselves, HSBC has lots of online resources available for expats, including country guides, information about moving abroad, support for people looking to invest or borrow while overseas and more.


HSBC expat FX app - how does it work?

⚠️Sending money overseas? Watch out for the exchange rate
When you send an international payment there are a few costs you’ll want to watch out for. The upfront transfer fee is one - but there can also be additional charges added onto the exchange rate being used.

Getting a bad exchange rate will push up your costs overall. So how can you tell if you’re really getting a preferential rate? Compare the rate for your transfer against the mid-market exchange rate for your currency. You can find this easily with a Google search or a reputable currency converter tool. The mid-market exchange rate matters because it’s the rate the provider gets when buying currency in the first place. If you’re not getting the mid-market exchange rate then the chances are that a markup or margin - an extra fee - has been added to the rate. Compare alternatives to check you’re getting the best available deal.


HSBC expat FX app - in detail

If you’re an HSBC expat customer you can download the HSBC expat FX app to see all your accounts in one place, manage your money across currencies, and - at the time of writing - access preferential currency exchange rates⁴. This means that the margin HSBC usually adds onto the mid-market exchange rate may be lower for certain transactions made by expat customers. More on that in a moment.

Use your app to place a limit order - an instruction to automatically convert currencies when certain rate thresholds are reached - or get rate alerts as the market changes. You can also get HSBC’s insights and analysis into how the currency markets are moving.


HSBC expat preferential exchange rates

As we noted above, markups and margins added onto the exchange rate can push up the prices of international transactions.

At the time of writing, there’s a promotion which offers preferential exchange rates for expat customers. That means that while HSBC adds a margin to its rates as a standard, the amount of margin used for expat customers may be reduced, with the following:⁵

  • 20% discount on margin for exchange transactions up to the equivalent of USD7,499
  • 14.5% discount on margin for exchange transactions from USD7,500 to USD18,749
  • 7.4% discount on margin for exchange transactions from USD18,750 to USD26,249
  • 5.9% discount on margin for exchange transactions from USD26,250 to USD44,999
  • No discounts are available for larger transactions

*Offer subject to change, available to 31 March 2021

There’s still a markup on the rates available for most transactions with HSBC expat, so you’ll definitely want to compare the exchange rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate, and some other providers, to make sure you’re getting a good deal. There may also be extra fees depending on transaction type - so check the terms and conditions carefully before you proceed.


One smart choice is to use a provider like Wise, which passes the mid-market exchange rate on to customers, and charges a low transparent fee per transaction There are no hidden fees and no surprises - which means that international transfers with Wise could be up to 7x cheaper than alternative providers. You could also look at the Wise multi-currency account as a simple way to hold multiple currencies and manage your money. There’s no monthly fee, no minimum balance and no hassle - making it perfect for people with an international lifestyle.

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HSBC expat Singapore account overview

If you’re considering HSBC’s expat services, you’ll want to know a bit about your options. We’ve covered the key features of the different account products here - don’t forget to read the terms and conditions carefully before you select the account which is right for you.


HSBC expat accounts - eligibility

HSBC expat accounts and services are not available in all countries. Singapore residents are able to open HSBC expat products, however if you’re interested in opening an account because you plan to move overseas, you’ll need to check the availability in your destination.

Aside from your location, there are also the following eligibility criteria to get access to HSBC’s banking products:

  • You must be 18 or over
  • You must either
    • Hold the equivalent of GBP50,000 in an HSBC account
    • Have a sole salary of the equivalent of GBP100,000 or more
    • Be an existing HSBC Premier customer in another country

HSBC expat accounts - features

Expat current account⁶
Available in GBP, USD and EUR - you can also add savings account products in 16+ currencies
Visa debit card available for USD and EUR accounts
Online and mobile banking services + HSBC relationship manager support
Additional interest on new savings accounts in select currencies
Opening offers - at the time of writing you may get up to GBP200 cashback

Fixed term deposit account⁷
Minimum balance requirement of GBP5,000, USD5,000, EUR10,000 or GBP10,000 currency equivalent for other currencies.
Available in 19 currencies
Interest rates which track the market
Select the deposit term you want, from 1 to 12 months

Little expat savings account⁸
Children’s savings account option with multi-currency functionality
Preferential interest rates on the first GBP2,500 or currency equivalent
Available in USD, HKD, AED and GBP
You must be an existing HSBC expat customer to open this account, so the same eligibility criteria apply as for the adult accounts

Quarterly bonus saver⁹
Minimum opening balance of GBP5,000 or USD5,000
Earn additional interest each quarter if you meet the minimum balance and make no withdrawals in that quarter
Available in USD and GBP
Online access with no notice required to make withdrawals
You must be an existing HSBC expat customer to open this account - eligibility criteria apply
Online bonus saver¹⁰
Minimum balance requirement of GBP5,000, USD5,000 or EUR5,000
Earn additional interest each month if you meet the minimum balance and make no withdrawals in that month
Available in USD, EUR and GBP
Online access with no notice required to make withdrawals
You must be an existing HSBC expat customer to open this account - eligibility criteria apply

Currency savings account¹¹
Minimum balance of GBP10,000 or the equivalent in your chosen currency
Available in 16 currencies
Interest is calculated daily and paid twice a year - minimum balance must be maintained to earn interest
Online access with no notice required to make withdrawals
You must be an existing HSBC expat customer to open this account - eligibility criteria apply

Saver account¹²
Minimum balance of GBP5,000, USD5,000 or EUR5,000
Available in GBP, USD and EUR
Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly- minimum balance must be maintained to earn interest
You must be an existing HSBC expat customer to open this account - eligibility criteria apply

If you live overseas, travel often or receive an income from abroad, having expat and multi-currency account services can be a big help. You’ll be able to manage your money across currencies, and could also cut the costs of international transactions.


There’s a broad range of options for expats, depending on your personal preferences and situation. To get the best deal, check out the HSBC expat products alongside other providers like Wise. The Wise multi-currency account can be a smart and simple way to manage money when you live an international lifestyle - and cross border payments with Wise could be up to 7x cheaper than alternative options. That means you spend less on fees, and have more money left to enjoy yourself.


Sources:
  1. HSBC Expat
  2. HSBC Expat - What is offshore banking
  3. HSBC Expat - Compare Savings Accounts And Products
  4. HSBC Expat - HSBC Expat FX App
  5. 1120 HSBC Expat Q1 2021 FX App Campaign T&Cs
  6. HSBC Expat - Offshore Bank Accounts
  7. HSBC Expat - Fixed Term Deposit
  8. HSBC Expat - Savings Accounts For Kids
  9. HSBC Expat - Quarterly Bonus Saver
  10. HSBC Expat - Online Bonus Saver
  11. HSBC Expat - Currency Savings Account
  12. HSBC Expat - Saver Account

All sources checked on 25 March 2021


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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