HSBC business account review: The only guide you need

Wise
05.29.19
8 minute read

HSBC is a global financial brand, offering personal and business banking to clients all over the world. Here in the US, HSBC business banking operates under the name HSBC Fusion, and has a range of products from specialist accounts for lawyers and realtors, to checking accounts for small businesses.

To be eligible for an HSBC business account, you’ll need to have a business registered in the US, with a turnover of under $5million per year. This handy guide will walk you through the options available, the features and fees, as well as how to learn more.

We’ll also cover the Wise multi-currency borderless business account, as an alternative for comparison, to help you select the best possible account for your business needs. Here’s everything you need to know.

HSBC business checking accounts

Having a business bank account to keep your company funds separate from your own personal spending money is pretty much essential. It makes it easier to manage your company’s accounts and cash flow — and also makes managing your own money much more straightforward.

Most businesses will need a checking account for day to day transactions. HSBC offer a few different products which may suit different sorts of businesses. Here are the details of the HSBC small business checking accounts on offer:¹ ²

Fusion First

This account is for entrepreneurs, small businesses and startup companies looking for an HSBC business checking account. It’s aimed at companies with a fairly low turnover, with up to 200 transactions per month for free, subject to paying the monthly maintenance fee or hitting the monthly average minimum balance requirements.

Fusion Smart

The Fusion Smart product gives account holders a greater number of free transactions per month - but the minimum average balance you’ll need to hold to avoid a maintenance fee is higher. More established businesses, with a bigger turnover, are more likely to benefit from this account type.

Fusion Analyzed

If your business has more complex cash management needs, or you hold a higher average balance over one or more HSBC business account, the Fusion Analyzed account might work for you. Instead of an average minimum balance, you’ll earn credits based on the total amount of funds you have in your eligible HSBC accounts, and can offset this against the fees you incur, such as a monthly maintenance fee and transaction costs.

Other specialist HSBC Business account types

Checking accounts are perfect for managing the day to day cash flow of your business - but you may also decide that you need additional financial services and products for your business.

HSBC also offers a couple of specialist account types, for businesses looking to save or invest their profits. Choose from the following:

  • Business savings accounts - interest bearing accounts which allow you to save your money, and still offer easy access to funds
  • Business Certificates of Deposit (CDs) - fixed term savings options, if you don’t need to access your money for a while
  • Specialist accounts by profession, such as Escrow accounts and IOLA (Interest on Lawyer Accounts)

The checking accounts highlighted above are available to business owners who have a registered company in the US, with an annual turnover of under $5million.

If you can’t find an account type to meet your needs, or simply want to compare the other options out there, have a look at the Transferwise borderless account. The multi-currency borderless account is designed to make cross-border payments cheap, simple and quick - perfect for businesses which have customers, suppliers or employees based in other countries. More on that, later.


How to choose the best bank account for your business

How to choose the best bank account for your business

Finding the right financial products for your business is a big decision. Getting the right checking account — and of course any other specialist products you may need — can make life much easier, and also save you money.

When choosing a checking account, you’ll need to first ensure your business is eligible for the accounts you’re looking at. For HSBC, this means you must have a company which is locally registered in the US, and with a turnover of under $5million a year. If your company doesn’t meet these criteria, HSBC offers international or corporate banking products - or you could try an alternative like the Wise borderless account. More on that later.

The next thing to look at is the cost of operating your account, and the sort of transactions you’ll need to carry out on a regular basis. It’s worth thinking at this point about how you’ll use the account. Will you need to make regular cash deposits, use a credit card, or send money to suppliers and employees overseas, for example? Check out the costs of the transactions you’ll make most often, to find the right account product for your business.

As well as individual transaction charges, you can expect to pay a monthly maintenance fee. Some accounts — including some of those on offer from HSBC — will waive the monthly fee, if you keep above an average minimum balance on the account over the month. You might find that you’re entitled to make a certain number of transactions per month for free, subject to paying the maintenance fee or keeping a high enough balance. Check which types of transactions are included, to see how useful this may be to your business. Some transaction types are more expensive than others — so understanding what’s covered is important.

Cross-border payments are a great example of a typically expensive transaction type that may catch you out. If you or your company works with customers, suppliers, or employees based overseas, you will probably need to make frequent international transfers. The costs can quickly mount up, especially as it’s common for traditional banks to add an exchange rate markup to the mid-market rate for currency conversion, and charge an administration fee on top of that.

It can really pay to research a wide range of alternatives before you choose a business bank account. There are some great modern alternatives out there as well as the products from traditional banks.

Check out the Wise borderless account for business for a simple, safe and efficient way to manage your money across different currencies. You can hold over 40 different currencies in the same account, and send cheap and convenient international payments, using the mid-market exchange rate for just a small upfront fee. Wise uses for the majority of their international payments a clever network or local transfers, avoiding the high cost of international wires that way.

With a borderless account you also can activate your own local bank details for the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the euro area. That means you can receive money for free, like a local, in these major currencies. Great news if you need to receive customer payments in a different currency from your international clients.

Here’s how the Wise borderless account compares to business accounts from HSBC:

HSBC¹ Wise
Monthly maintenance fee $30 Free
Minimum monthly average balance Monthly maintenance fee may be waived if you hit the minimum monthly balance of $5,000 – $25,000 on some account types No minimum balance
Transaction charges For some accounts, you can carry out a fixed number of eligible transactions for free, subject to paying the maintenance fee or maintaining the minimum balance. You may pay a fee for additional transactions, or transactions which are not covered by this offer. Receiving money in US, Australian or New Zealand dollars, euros, or British pounds — Free Sending money to an account held in a different currency — upfront fee, mid-market rate on conversion Withdrawing money to an account without currency exchange — upfront fee You can see the exact pricing here

What do I need to open a business account with HSBC?

If you’re interested in opening an HSBC small business account, you’ll need to either call their service centre or visit your local branch to discuss your eligibility and the process you’ll need to follow. Call on 833 7224722, or book an appointment online at your local branch.³

HSBC business account fees¹

Here are the fees you need to think about when you’re considering a business account from HSBC.

Fee or limit type HSBC business account costs
Included monthly transactions 0 – 400 depending on the account chosen
Minimum average monthly balance to waive monthly maintenance fee $5,000 for Fusion First account, $25,000 for Fusion Smart account The Fusion Analyzed does not have a minimum balance, but offers credits based on the balance held, to offset fees
Monthly maintenance fee $30

We’ll cover each account in a little more detail below – and for more about HSBC business account requirements and fees, check out the HSBC business banking website.

Breakdown of HSBC business accounts

Each of the different HSBC business checking accounts is designed to suit a different type of business. Here’s an overview of the features and fees of each of them, to help you choose the one which may best suit your needs.

With all of the business checking accounts, you’ll also get a debit card, free online banking and the services of a relationship manager from HSBC.¹

Fusion First

Fusion First is the entry level business checking account from HSBC. It offers a balance between a relatively low minimum balance to avoid the monthly fee, and a reasonable number of transactions included in the package. It’s helpful to know that the minimum balance could be met across more than one eligible HSBC commercial balance.

Fee or limit type HSBC Fusion First Account
Included monthly transactions 200
Minimum average monthly balance to waive monthly maintenance fee $5,000
Monthly maintenance fee $30

Fusion Smart

If you have a growing business with larger cash flow, or have already got personal savings and checking accounts with HSBC, this account type might work for you.

The minimum balance you have to maintain to avoid a monthly fee is higher, at $25,000 – but this can include qualifying commercial and personal account balances you already hold with HSBC. This means that if you already have personal savings with HSBC, for example, you could use these towards the minimum balance to help avoid the fees.

Fee or limit type HSBC Fusion Smart Account
Included monthly transactions 400
Minimum average monthly balance to waive monthly maintenance fee $25,000
Monthly maintenance fee $30

Fusion Analyzed

This is a different type of account and may suit a business which uses a broader range of cash management solutions. Instead of having a minimum balance amount, this account offers credits linked to the amount you hold. A higher balance gets more credits - and you can then use the credits to offset some or all of the maintenance fee each month, and any transaction costs you incur.

Fee or limit type HSBC Fusion Analyzed Account
Included monthly transactions 0
Minimum average monthly balance to waive monthly maintenance fee Instead of a minimum balance, you’ll earn credits linked to the balance you hold, which can be used to offset the maintenance fee
Monthly maintenance fee $30

Wise Business

An alternative to HSBC business checking accounts — Wise Business

HSBC do offer a good range of day to day banking products for small businesses, but they’re not the only option out there. It’s well worth researching both the big name, traditional banks, and some modern alternatives, when you’re looking for the account which will best serve your business.

Check out for example, the Wise borderless account for business. This account is made with business owners in mind, and is a convenient online, multi-currency account, with a few extra benefits for busy entrepreneurs. You’ll have the option to integrate your account with Xero for simplicity and make batch payments to reduce admin. Use the Wise API to automate payments and workflow to save yourself both time and money, leaving you free to focus on growing your business.

As your business gets bigger, you’ll likely want to enter new markets - which can mean dealing with ever more international transactions. This is where the borderless account really comes into its own. You’ll be able to keep over 40 different currencies in the same place - and send and receive money around the world using the mid-market exchange rate, for just a low upfront fee. You can also create and send your invoices by using our downloadable free invoice templates, and use our balance sheet template, profit and loss statement template, cash flow statement template or an independent contractor agreement template.

Ready to choose a business account? Don’t forget to do your research, and think about both where your company is today - and where you expect to go over the coming years. By choosing an account which will grow with you, and continue to offer the perks you need, you’ll be better off.

See if you could save money, and get set up for great business growth, with the Wise borderless account for business.


Sources:

  1. https://www.us.hsbc.com/fusion/banking/
  2. https://www.us.hsbc.com/fusion/
  3. https://www.us.hsbc.com/fusion/banking/#checking

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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