HSBC International Transfers & Exchange Rates
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Published On:
November, 25 2022
Edited On:
February, 21 2023

HSBC International Transfers & Exchange Rates

HSBC is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, connecting customers to opportunities for over one and a half centuries. Apart from mainstream banking, HSBC offers loans and mortgages, insurance, and investing services.

This review goes into detail on everything you need to know about HSBC most importantly how to open an account and make transfers.

About HSBC

HSBC stands for The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited. Incorporated in 1865 and headquartered in Hongkong, the bank has grown to serve 64 countries and territories. the bank’s full-time global workforce of 235,000 employees attends to more than 40 million customers across the different business lines.

The currencies supported vary from one country to another. In the UK, HSBC supports over 40 different currencies.

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HSBC exchange rates and fees

If you are considering using HSBC for international money transfers, you need to know the fees they charge as well as the exchange rate margins the bank applies. Here is a summary of what to expect:

Exchange rates

As with most banks, HBSC buys currencies on wholesale from the currency market and adds a margin when selling to its customers. A survey from a couple of account holders at HSBC shows that the bank adds between 2.4-3.5% above the mid-market rate - this is known as the exchange rate margin and it’s particularly important to pay attention to when transferring large amounts.

Transfers from £50,000 upwards attract margins of about 2.4% and below. Even with their multi-currency bank accounts, transferring money internationally using banks such as HSBC is much more expensive than with specialist money transfer companies.


If you are transferring funds to another HSBC account, you will not be charged any fees. However, sending money to another bank abroad will cost you £4 online and £9 when the transfer is made using telephone banking or in person at a branch. Customers using Priority Payment to a non-HSBC account will be charged £30 if the transfer is done using telephone or branch banking.

Additional costs

Customers pay £8 to receive money from outside the UK. Where intermediary banks are involved, additional charges may be imposed.

HSBC Pros and Cons

HSBC has an impressive global presence and a wide range of financial solutions. However, here are a few things you need to know before using their money transfer service.


Different types of bank accounts: Customers can open a current account, an instant access savings account, local accounts in overseas markets and so forth.
Extensive global presence: HSBC has a physical presence through branches and regional offices in 64 countries around the globe.
Free intra-bank transfers: If the beneficiary is also a HSBC customer, transfers are free of cost.


Transfer speed: Most transfers take anywhere from 1 day to 3 working days. However, due to local regulatory requirements, some transfers can take up to 5 working days.
High exchange rate mark-ups: At a 2.4 -3.5% mark-up on the mid-market exchange rate, large transfers can be quite expensive.
Limited payout options: Transfers can only be to bank accounts which can be limiting if the recipient has no bank account.
Fixed fees: Instead of adjusting according to the amount transferred, HSBC has a fixed fee structure. This can be a disadvantage for people making small transfers.

HSBC Bank Swift Codes

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How to open an account and transfer money with HSBC

Whether you are moving money locally or making an international payment, HSBC requires that you must first sign up for a bank account. Here is what to expect.

Opening an account

To open a HSBC bank account in the UK, you need to be 18 and above. You will also need the following documentation:

  • Proof of identity: This could be a passport, driver’s license, or EU identity card.

  • Proof of address: You could use your utility bill, telephone bill, council tax bill, rental agreement, or mortgage statement.

  • Other documents: You may have to provide pay slips, bank statements, or a letter from your current employer depending on your circumstances.

The account registration process is straightforward and here are the steps involved:

  • Step 1: Walk into any HSBC branch, make a call or go to the HSBC website to open an account

  • Step 2: While there, fill in your details on the application form which include your email address, name, nationality, and citizenship.

  • Step 3: Fill in your contact details which are your phone number and current residential address

  • Step 4: Provide your financial details including your employment status, income, and tax residency status.

  • Step 5: Provide a reason for opening your account and state how you will make your first deposit and where it will come from-salary, rental, pension, disability benefits or other sources.

  • Step 6: Review your personal details, contact details, financial details, email information, and then consent to submit the application.

Sending money

After your account is approved, you can transact online, over the phone, or at the branch. Here are the steps to follow when making an online transfer.

  • Step 1: Log in to your HSBC Mobile Banking app or online service.

  • Step 2: Select ‘Move Money’.

  • Step 3: Select the account you want to send money from.

  • Step 4: Click on the ‘Payees’ tab and select your beneficiary or add a new one.

  • Step 5: Put in the transfer amount, confirm the details, and send.


HSBC has a wide array of account types and financial products for both individuals and businesses. Customers can send and receive money both locally and internationally. The bank’s extensive global footprint and high sending limits make it convenient for people moving large amounts to different destinations around the world.

Having said that, HSBC may not be the best option where transfers are supposed to be delivered within a short time, and it’s also worth noting that the fees and exchange rate margins are high for international transfers. In addition to this, the fact that only beneficiaries with bank accounts can receive transfers locks out many users. When sending small transfers to the tune of £1,000, HSBC may not give you the best deal thanks to their fixed fees and poor exchange rates.

Before making a transfer, it may be worth looking at alternative solutions such as money transfers companies. Typically, their services are cheaper than banks and transfers can be delivered within minutes through a variety of payout options. To make your work even simpler, you can use our specialist comparison tool to scout for the best money transfer deals.

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April Summers
April Summers
April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she's not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.

Answers to key questions about HSBC

HSBC is such a massive bank with lots of products and services. For a person who wants to send money, this can be overwhelming. To help you cut to the chase and transfer funds smoothly to your beneficiary, here are some important things you ought to know.

Can I open a HSBC account in any country?
Does HSBC have an app?
Are there transfer limits?
How long do transfers take with HSBC?
What customer support options are available?
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