Posted by sirtheta on January 28, 2017
Bank Account Bonuses HSBC Logo

Published on January 28th, 2017 | by sirtheta

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The Persistence of Memory: HSBC Travails. & Lesson Learned.

The very beginning of Chuck’s post about the recent $350 HSBC checking bonus notes: While this bonus is excellent, beware that it’s an extended process and hassle getting approved and setting up this account (and some people end up getting denied). Only do it if you have the time and patience to deal with it and feel it’s worth the $350.

Those who’ve attempted to open an HSBC checking account online know that truer words have never been laid down in the history of the English language. I’ve written up my travails (and many more lie in the comments of Chuck’s post) to serve as a warning: heed Chuck’s wisdom! And follow up quickly.

Background

I have had accounts with my local credit union for many years and had never banked with a major bank until I opened a Bank of America Core Checking account for the $300 bonus, over the summer. However, I also opened that account to build a relationship with Bank of America and get that sweet 10% relationship bonus on cash rewards, and I changed my work’s paycheck to direct deposit there, in full. HSBC was thus the first bank account I signed up for purely for the bank bonus (although I wouldn’t have minded building a banking relationship with them).

I chose poorly.

Opening the Account: My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

The promotion was set to end on November 18, but I decided to get in very early and applied November 1. The application process is lengthier than any other bank, and for some reason, HSBC requires you to fill out an additional form after completing the application. My confirmation screen told me that an initial review of my application could take up to 72 hours and that I would receive in e-mail in 24 hours confirming receipt of my application.

Nada.

Mistake #1: Failing to Immediately Follow-up.

Reading back over the confirmation documents I printed, the following was the prominent information on the confirmation page, under “what to expect next”:

We may call you within 1 business day or you may call us Monday - Friday at 844-867-5750 between the hours of 8:00am-8:00pm (ET); or you should receive an email within 24 hours confirming receipt of your application and reminding you to call an HSBC representative if you have not already been contacted.

I had decided to be patient and wait, assuming it may take HSBC a while to set things up. Were one to assign blame from what follows, it would be fair to say that a good portion lies with me for not following up much sooner at each juncture.

Follow-up #1: Thursday, November 17.

After receiving no communication from HSBC, I finally called in to customer service near (bank) closing hours. That’s when I found out that I needed to provide documentation to verify my identity and address. A copy of my driver’s license would work to verify my identity, but would not work for address verification! I was fortunate to have an electronic copy of my lease, as my other options were utility bills (all in my wife’s name). I submitted the requested documents by e-mail, with the suggested subject line of “Attn: {representative’s name}”, approximately 20 minutes after our phone call ended.

Follow-up #2: Tuesday, November 22.

After again receiving zero communication from HSBC, I called in to customer service. A different representative found my e-mail, linked it to my application, and recommended me for approval. I was told I would receive an e-mail or call either requesting further information (if the first representative I spoke to did not agree with the recommendation for approval) or approving me.

Nada.

Opening Deposit: Thursday, December 1.

I keep a close eye on my bank accounts and this is when the opening deposit is taken from my credit union checking account. A week or so later, I check my spam and notice that there’s an e-mail titled “Your Opening Deposit For Your New HSBC Account Has Been Processed”–HSBC is the only bank I’ve dealt with to have their e-mails routed to spam!

Online Banking: Woe is Me.

Also on December 1, I received a “Welcome to HSBC” e-mail, which informed me that:

For your security, you will receive your Temporary Username and Password separately. Your Temporary Username will be delivered via email, usually within 1-2 business days. Your Password will be sent via postal mail; you can expect to receive the Password within 4-6 business days.

Attempting to set up online banking without my HSBC debit card or a temporary registration ID and temporary password is a bust, so I decide to be patient and wait.

Nada.

Paper Statement! December 29.

With Christmas vacation and other bank accounts opened in the mean time, I let HSBC fall by the wayside until after Christmas when I finally received my first piece of HSBC mail: a statement with my account number on it! I call in to customer service again and am able to request a debit card be sent—and the representative tells me that I can use my account number to request a temporary registration ID and temporary password online, or I can be transferred to the online banking department who will help me set things up. I opt to take down their direct number and request the information online.

Temporary Registration ID & Temporary Password, January 3.

The temporary registration ID & temporary password are sent separately—the former by e-mail and the latter by SMS (or by mail, but I never got that information by mail in the first place and didn’t want to wait 5 to 10 business days). The SMS came through within the stated timeframe of 24 to 48 hours, but I didn’t receive my temporary registration ID by e-mail until January 3. Finally, I was able to set up online banking and get rolling!

What’s My Account Open Date?

The obvious question now is what counted for my account open date? I assume it was November 30, but I wanted to confirm by SM. Alas, they cannot provide “sensitive information” such as my account opening date, but did confirm that I was registered for the $350 bonus and would get the bonus if I met the requirements (which naturally depends on my account open date). I am confident enough that it’s late November that I don’t wish to spend yet another 20 minutes on the phone with HSBC.

Lessons, Lessons, Lessons…

Reflecting on the two-month period it took to open & access my account, I’m drawn to the famous Dali painting that titles this post. The erratic nature of time strikes me as a succinct representation of what it feels like to try to bank with HSBC. I’d be completely nonplussed to find out that the reason for bill pay and/or direct deposit having to take place in three consecutive months within 120 days of account opening is due to HSBC making it impossible to open an account in a reasonable timeframe.

Lesson learned: don’t be me. Do be persistent & relentless about calling within one to three business days every step of the way (depending on the timeframe you are given). You should be able to go from account application to access to online banking in a couple of weeks–a month at most. This is remarkably bad compared to other banks, and it is an enormous pain. Make sure you’re prepared for it, and for one of the worst online banking websites in existence. I get an infinitely better online & mobile experience from my credit union, which is 1/100 the size of HSBC’s US holdings.



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Credit
Credit

I had written in the first post that HSBC is a horrible bank. I spoke from experience.

Tim
Tim

I had similar issues getting it started. I even had an additional step where I received a letter that I had to come in branch and answer some questions. I showed up in branch, and they had no idea what to do, so they called around a bit. It turns out they wanted to know why I was transferring money into the account, which seemed like a pretty dumb question, since there’s a min for the bonus. I received a follow up mailing saying they were going to close the account. When i followed up to ask why, they stated that it was a mistake and disregard. They later sent another mailing saying I’m in good standing. I did receive the bonus, though. I will also say that I still found this easier than banking with Chase (no branch near me, so it’s a headache).

Sean
Sean

I opened my HSBC account in branch (DC area) and it was relatively hassle-free, opened that day and had online access soon after. I will still rate HSBC’s website as the worst banking website I have ever used. Also ConsumerReports rated 104 US banks recently, and HSBC was the worst bank on the list by far.

DD
DD

It’s been a Nightmare, however I have had zero issues with their Website. And their app was so poorly rated I never did download it.

DD
DD

What I meant was, after I opened it at a branch, using the website was fine. When I initially tried to open the account online it was a 100% nightmare. I never received any online communication AT ALL – no intro, thank uou, welcome – until I finally went to a branch.

V
V

Surprised that people found this one difficult – I opened everything online, the approval wasn’t immediate but was within a week and the bonus came easily. The only thing was that their online system isn’t the best compared to other banks, but was still useable.

William Charles

Sometimes you get lucky, or unlucky in others cases. Glad it wasn’t a nightmare for you.

PG
PG

Opened online and was fairly hassle free. Only problem I’ve had that I can remember is having trouble logging in- but finally discovered that I had somehow wound up on their Canadian website. Just made my 3rd $1000 DD this month. Remains to be seen on the bonus…

Stvr
Stvr

I had even more troubles than you OP…

Kensington Chubb
Kensington Chubb

I dealt with the same hassles of filling out the annoyingly long online application, and then filling out another form with more information, a phone call where I answered the same questions again (after waiting 45 minutes), having my online access temporarily suspended, calling again to answer more questions, and then receiving a letter threatening to close my account if I didn’t call to verify information. I did, and finally everything was fine, did the bill pays for 3 consecutive months. The $350 bonus posted, and sure as hell the next day after I used the remaining funds I closed the account.

Now I’m just waiting for the $150 bonus on the HSBC Platinum Rewards Credit Card that I opened back in October. The offer stated that for a $500 spend by December 31, 2016, there’d be a $150 bonus (or 15,000 points). The small print said allow 4-6 weeks after the promotion ends for the bonus. We’ll see what happens at the end of February statement.

For such a tediously pain in the bleep bank they sure still are prone to money laundering from some shady entities.

Sara
Sara

What were your datapoints…when did the bonus post? The 350 bonus.

Dave
Dave

I received a mailing stating if didn’t call in within 7 days they’d shut down my account. Well I was out of town so barely made the cut-off. Turns out they wanted to more information about me. They started asking me very detailed questions about my job and what exactly I did on a day to day basis. (Not enough detail for me to be worried about identify theft) but some very odd detailed questions. Once I get my bonus I will never bank with this trash organization agai.

DD
DD

Very invasive. smh

Gadget
Gadget

I already documented my issues w/ this bank under the promotion post. I agree it is a huge hassle to deal with this bank. I suggest calling about a week after any action where you expect to hear from them, because if you call 1-3 business days, they probably won’t have any new information to give you. You do have to be proactive; for my account, I found out they wanted to verify some of my income information, but if I didn’t call, who knows when they would have contacted me or ever opened the account.

I recommend taking notes; get a “no later than date” for the next step. My account opening took a month, but that was during the original promotion rush. My SO got her account in about 3 weeks well after the promotion started. I am in the home stretch, trying to get them to pay the bonus, and I have it in SM that I WILL be paid the bonus in “X” amount of days. That gives me a specific date to call/SM again when they don’t deliver.

Lively
Lively

I opened an account with bank. I have a newbie question. Assuming I get my bonus…how long do people typically leave the account open after receiving a bonus?

Jay
Jay

Six months to avoid a $25 closing fee I believe.

Jay
Jay

Six months from account opening date!

Kensington Chubb
Kensington Chubb

Chase usually has language on requiring a minimum amount of time in keeping the account open for checking account bonuses, typically 6 months from the date of opening or they’d retract the bonus. HSBC didn’t include any restrictions on minimum length of keeping the account open (at least it didn’t in the promotion I applied to in the fall. I can’t speak with authority to the small print in the offer to which you applied).

DD
DD

Here Here. 6 Months or “180 days” from account opening date.

Jay
Jay

I opened the account in branch and had no problems at all. Got the managers card just in case but never needed it. Did my bill pay and got the bonus sooner than promised. I have zero complaints about HSBC.

Joe
Joe

Received a promotion by mail & Email, followed every step and even confirmed by phone and online chat (kept screen shot as proof). Never received bonus from HSBC, called rep and was told to move on even I was definitely eligible.What a sucker bank !

DD
DD

Time to file a Complaint.

William Charles

File a complaint with the CFPB.

Jasen
Jasen

If you did a manufactured DD should you still call or file complaint with CFPB, even though you know it technically didn’t fall within the guidelines.

William Charles

I don’t think so

Gadget
Gadget

Receiving a promotion in e-mail/mail does not guarantee you qualify. Try HUCA, or SM to resolve the issue – Don’t take the first “No” as the answer. What was the reason you were not going to get the bonus? If it is because you did not follow the T&C’s and they caught it later on, you are SOL.

patrick
patrick

I signed up for this in the branch in September. I didn’t have any problems getting the account open. Perhaps it is easier to avoid identity verification problems when you are signing up in person. I also received the $350 bonus in December qualifying with bill payments without much trouble (they were temporarily unable to process payments to Chase but that was fixed fairly quickly).

I did however have a problem with the debit card — for some reason they didn’t include the apartment number in the address on the account (even though it was definitely on the ID I showed them when signing up) so I didn’t get the card. After calling in about not receiving it, they told me they would send another one to the correct address. A couple of weeks later I still hadn’t received it, and calling again they told me the problem was that they hadn’t verified the new address — even though they didn’t tell me it was needed on the previous call!

Neil
Neil

It wouldn’t have mattered if you called every few days. Everytime I called they would say things were being “reviewed” or “processed.” It was the longest most painful bank account opening I’ve experienced.

DD
DD

You have Preached o.m.g.
Impossible to exaggerate.

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