HSBC Advance Checking Account Review: International Banking and a $200-$600 Bonus

When I was younger, I didn’t look forward to the twenty-four hours of flying it took to get from our home in New York to our family in Taipei, Taiwan.

I always loved it when I got there, especially the street food, but the flight that took us to California, then Alaska, then Japan, and then finally to Taiwan was felt like an eternity for a kid.

It was especially unnerving to sleep for 8 hours and STILL be flying.

What I wouldn’t appreciate until much later was how complicated the finances of life could be when your worlds are separated by currencies and banking systems.

Personal checks! Look at these relics!

The banks that operated in Taiwan, especially in the 1980’s, were not the same ones that operate here. Nowadays, things are more streamlined but there are still these lines of demarcation.

This was the first time I’d heard of HSBC, which is short for The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (though the first time I heard of them it was their subsidiary, Hang Seng Bank). They were founded 1865 to help finance trade through Hong Kong and Shanghai with the West. The bank is over a hundred and fifty years old!

HSBC would expand internationally out of Asia in the mid-1900s and would find itself in the United States after acquiring a majority stake in New York-based Marine Midland Bank in 1980. HSBC would acquire the balance of Marine Midland Bank in 1987 and rename it HSBC Bank in 1998.

HSBC Bank USA (FDIC #57890) is the arm of the bank that operates in the United States and is headquartered in New York City, New York.

Table of Contents
  1. HSBC Advance Checking Account Details
  2. HSBC Advance Checking Fee Structure
  3. Is It Worth It?

HSBC Advance Checking Account Details

HSBC Bank USA has a lot of banking products – from deposit to loans to credit cards.

The product that is most interesting to me is their HSBC Advance Checking account. As a long time Bank of America customer, I know that the central hub of most financial maps is a checking account with a physical location so you can withdraw (and in rare cases, deposit) cash.

More importantly, as a traveler and as my parents realized, one of the big benefits of the HSBC Advance Checking account is international support – you get access to HSBC ATMs worldwide (there may be fees, but you can get access). If your wallet is lost or stolen, you can get up to $10,000 USD in local currency at any HSBC branch.

The interest rate on the HSBC Advance Checking account is on par with other brick and mortar banks – a far cry from the interest rates at online banks – but that’s to be expected.

HSBC Advance Checking Fee Structure

There is a $25 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived if you qualify as an HSBC Advance relationship. The HSBC Advance relationship requires you to maintain a total U.S. balance (deposit and investments) of at least $10,000 or maintain a $5,000+ balance plus have a recurring direct deposit every month. If you have a business account, that also counts towards the total balance requirement.

If you compare this with other brick and mortar banks, the balance requirements are slightly higher than some others. Bank of America’s Core Checking Account has a $12 monthly fee that is waived if you have a qualifying direct deposit of $250+ or maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance. You don’t get the same level of international support (or any kind of opening bonus), but it’s a data point to compare.

HSBC’s fee waiver requirements are slightly higher but all within range with similar banks – and you get all the international perks.

Is It Worth It?

If you want ease and integration internationally, HSBC Bank is a strong option.

Many banks have international partnerships. For example, Bank of America partners with a variety of banks that give you the opportunity to use international ATMs while avoiding the non-Bank of Ameria ATM $5 usage fee. If you’re in the UK, Barclays UK is your best friend. If you find yourself in France, look for a BNP Paribas. If you are in Germany or Spain, Deutsche Bank ATMs are where it’s at.

The downside is that you are still responsible for a 3% international transaction fee since the funds are converted from USD to the local currency. You can always opt to have the local bank do the conversion, which may be more or less than 3%. You avoid the $5 fee though.

If you are willing to jump through a few hoops, you may be better off going with one of our favorite online banks, Ally Bank. Ally Bank charges a 1% fee when you use international ATMs but they also pay you interest on your checking account.

Barclays – $200

Barclays Bank will give you a $200 if you open a new savings account and deposit $25,000 or more within 30 days and maintain at least $25,000 for the next 120 days. The savings account also pays a competitive interest rate of 4.35% APY while you wait.

👉 Click here to learn more

BMO Relationship Checking – $400

BMO Bank is offering a $400 bonus* when you open a BMO Relationship Checking and when you have at least $7,500 in qualifying direct deposits within the first 90 days. It is a very straightforward offer that is available nationwide.

*Conditions apply

👉 Click here to learn more

Bank of America – $200 Bonus Offer

Bank of America offers a $200 Bonus Offer cash bonus if you open a new account and Set up and receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $2,000 or more into that account within 90 days of account opening. It has a monthly fee that is easy to have waived.

👉 Click here to learn more

Chase Total Checking® – $300

Chase Bank will give you $300 when you open a Total Checking account and set up and receive direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days. There is a $12 monthly fee that is waivable with a monthly direct deposit of just $500, so no gotchas on this deal!

👉 Click here to learn more

HSBC Premier Checking – up to $4,000

HSBC has an offer where you can get up to $4,000 for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Premier checking account, make a sizable deposit, and make recurring monthly qualifying direct deposits of at least $5,000 for 3 consecutive months.

👉 Click here to learn more

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First Horizon Bank has a $450 bonus on their checking account with very reasonable qualification requirements. If you've been thinking about getting this account, see how you can get a $450 bonus.

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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