HSBC NRE Account

Despite the superior technical support and extensive overseas presence, HSBC is not trusted by many NRIs. Here’s why.

HSBC is the seventh largest bank in the world and the largest in Europe. It has a presence in 67 countries, including countries in Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, and North and South America. This makes it a highly popular banking destination for NRIs, especially to park their foreign earnings in India, as well as for conducting daily banking transactions, when they are abroad.

However, do the features of the HSBC NRE savings account justify such popularity? Here’s a look.

HSBC NRE Account Features

  1. Interest rate of 3.5% on savings account p.a.
  2. Interest rate of 7% p.a. on NRE fixed deposits, for both short and long duration deposits.
  3. Average monthly balance requirement of ₹1,50,000. This could be maintained as a combination of savings account and fixed deposit balances.
  4. You can open an account online, via phone banking or by visiting a physical branch.
  5. International Visa debit card offered with the account, accepted across a wide network of ATMs, online and retail merchants in India and abroad.
  6. Online banking and phone banking services to track and access accounts 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
  7. Customers can pay utility bills for family members in India, including electricity and mobile bills, via the net banking facility.
  8. Personalized cheque books for account holders as well as appointed mandates. Individual debit cards are issued for mandates as well.
  9. Joint NRE accounts can be opened, even with a non-NRI family member residing in India.
  10. Nomination facility is available for NRE accounts
  11. Customers can issue rupee drafts and cheques for payments in India. They can also issue foreign currency drafts through the same account.
  12. Easy, quick and smooth money transfers to India from foreign banks and NRE/FCNR accounts in any other Indian bank, and vice versa.
  13. Cheques and drafts in foreign currencies can be deposited in Indian accounts.
  14. Zero margin rate for inward money transfers to India
  15. Customers can request for periodic e-statements.
  16. 24/7 customer services through toll-free numbers.

Limitations

  1. High transaction fees and surcharges levied on account usage, transfers and purchases. This has been an issue across all types of HSBC accounts, and has been a cause for concern for senior account holders.
  2. Money transfer is not cost-effective.
  3. Maintenance minimum average monthly balance requirement.
  4. Extremely low interest rates on savings account, as compared to other banks like YES Bank, which offers similar banking facilities.
  5. Low interest rates on fixed deposits, as compared to banks like Kotak Mahindra and HDFC.
  6. Customer service lines are always busy and response time is very slow.
  7. Frequent changes brought about in account maintenance rules, including KYC requirements. Customers have complained that new regulations are brought on as a surprise, once accounts are opened.
  8. Lengthy document verification process, not to mention the necessity of much paperwork for NRIs.

Advantages

  1. Good overseas presence
  2. All modern banking facilities offered
  3. Easy remittance services

Disadvantages

  1. Low interest rates
  2. Lack of clear and transparent communication with customers
  3. Lack of prompt customer services
  4. High fees and extra costs

Have you banked with HSBC? What has been your experience so far? Please share in comments so others can benefit.

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