HSBC USA international wire transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

17.04.18
8 minute read
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If it’s your first time making an international money transfer, or it’s just been a little while, you may need some answers before you get started. Sending an international wire can be costly and time-consuming, and clear guides can be few and far between. The good news is, you might be able to save your time and money if you use a service like TransferWise, all through your own HSBC account in the US. But more on that later.

HSBC USA allows you to make international wire transfers into numerous foreign currencies. If you have either a checking or savings account with HSBC USA, you can make an international wire transfer. The following articles walk you through the steps of making a transfer at HSBC USA.


A quick example before we get started.

Here’s a theoretical bank transfer sending $1,000 in the US to a pound sterling account in the UK.

Provider Fee Exchange Rate Total Cost
HSBC USA Displayed at the time of the transfer¹ Exchange rate + markup Displayed fee + exchange rate markup + likely fees from intermediary and recipient banks
TransferWise $8.70 The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google $8.70

HSBC USA is one of the few banks that don’t publish the costs of their outgoing international wire transfers. Which means it can be pretty tough to compare costs.

However, there’s more to the cost of an international transfer than just the fee. Keep in mind that many banks mark up the exchange rate by 4-6%, plus there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.

This is getting expensive.

There’s something you can do to make sure you’re getting the best deal, though. Compare the exchange rate offered for your transfer to the mid-market rate using an online currency converter so you know if the rate is marked up and by how much.

What are the fees for an international transfer with HSBC USA?

HSBC doesn’t make rates available for outgoing and incoming international wire transfers until the time you request them.¹ And, as noted, from a customer’s perspective when trying to make sure you’re making the most cost-effective transfer, that can be frustrating as it’s quite difficult to compare pricing.

Likely, the fees charged will vary based on your account type and the amount of money you’re transferring and many run anywhere from $10-$50 for an outgoing or incoming international wire transfer.

Another option, if you want to make your transfer through HSBC from the convenience of your home is to actually use TransferWise. After you go through verification for your first transfer, you can connect your HSBC US account to your TransferWise profile or pay for your transfers with your debit card. TransferWise skips the expensive international SWIFT transfer system in favor of new world technology that connects local bank accounts all over the world. Meaning you get to skip the international fees. Get a great exchange rate. And be sure you’re counting all the costs upfront.

HSBC USA international transfer Fees
Incoming/Outgoing international transfers May range from $10-$50
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s) Most international transfers are processed using the SWIFT system. That will likely mean that up to 5 banks deduct their own fees ranging $10-$50 as your money passes through their systems.
Stop payments¹ $30
Incoming Wires¹ $15
Exchange rates Markup is likely, see next section

HSBC USA Exchange Rates

When you’re transferring money to a different country, an exchange rate is used to determine how much the recipient will get in their respective country. This is an area that may actually cost you the most. In fact, on average banks take an additional 4-6% of the amount being sent. That’s a lot.

If you want your recipient to receive a currency other than US dollars, then the exchange between 2 currencies is often made by a corresponding or recipient bank, unless you specifically request HSBC to make the exchange themselves.

However, regardless of who converts your money be it HSBC or another institution you should know that most banks and money service providers even note themselves in the small print that they won’t offer you the interbank or spot rate. That’s a name for an exchange rate which is also called the mid-market exchange rate. In layman’s terms, that’s the rate you see when you Google it.

However, if you decide to use a service like TransferWise you can sleep well knowing that you’ll actually be receiving a good exchange rate (the same rate you’d find on Google). Because TransferWise believes everyone, from big bankers to the little guy, all deserve fair exchange rates. So, you can know if you use your HSBC bank account to send money abroad through TransferWise, that you won’t be losing money on poor exchange rates.

Keep reading to find out more.

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

If you’re sending money abroad, there are so many things to keep in mind:

  • Upfront fees
  • Poor exchange rates (in essence, a hidden fee)
  • Intermediary flat fees
  • Recipient bank’s flat fees

Many banks and transfer services appear cost-effective by seemingly charging low up-front fees, but in the end, you’ll find you’ve been taken advantage of because sending money internationally through your bank also means correspondent bank fees and bad exchange rates that leave more in the pocket of banks.

To transfer money and have the largest amount left over when you collect it, give TransferWise a try. That way, your money will be converted at the real exchange rate the same one you’ll find on Google or XE and that should put more money back in your pocket.

If you need to make transfers often from one country to another, the TransferWise borderless multi-currency account may be helpful. It’s free to sign up, and there are no monthly fees. The borderless account allows you to have “local bank” status in several regions including the EU, the UK, the US, and Australia while still living in a different country. From there you can send, manage, or receive money through the account in dozens of currencies.

To see TransferWise’s revolutionary exchange rate method in action, check out the exchange rate calculator on the TransferWise homepage. Everything is laid out for you: the fee, the guaranteed exchange rate, the final amount the beneficiary receives in the converted currency, and the amount you can save using TransferWise.

How do you make an international bank transfer with HSBC USA?

Specific types of international transfers such as Global Transfers may be restricted to a few different types of HSBC accounts and even then, may not be available in all countries.² However, to make normal international wires, you should likely be eligible. To be sure, double check your terms and conditions or get ahold of someone in your local branch.

There are 2 different ways you can send money internationally with HSBC online.

Directly online through HSBC USA³

  1. Login to your HSBC USA online banking
  2. Under My Banking choose the account you want to make the transfer from.
  3. Then select Move Money
  4. Assuming this is your first time sending money to this recipient, click New Payee
  5. Follow the rest of the on-screen instructions and you’re all set

By connecting your HSBC USA account to TransferWise

  1. Go to TransferWise.com
  2. Choose the originating currency and amount in the top box and then choose the corresponding recipient currency in the bottom box
  3. To find out how much TransferWise fees will cost you, click on Show fee breakdown (the cheapest total cost to you as a consumer will be to pay with Bank debit (ACH) or debit card)
  4. Click the green button Get started
  5. Fill out your personal details†
  6. Enter your recipient’s information††
  7. Make sure you’re happy with the cost and exchange rate
  8. On the final step, you’ll have several options to pay for your transfer†††

† Especially on your first transfer, you may be asked to verify your identity with an ID, address proof, the reason for your transfer, or even your SSN just like you would when you open a bank account in person at a regular financial institution.

†† It may be helpful to note that when sending money through TransferWise you won’t actually need international banking details for your recipient. You’ll need their local banking details the same information they would give to a friend inside the country for a domestic bank transfer. That likely means you may not need their SWIFT/BIC code, but more like the domestic equivalent.

††† The cheapest option for you will likely be Bank Debit (ACH) which occurs by deducting the money directly from your HSBC bank account, but the fastest option will be paying by debit/credit card if limits permit.

For more information, visit how TransferWise works to find out a bit more.

What do I need in order to make an international wire transfer?

Before you can make an international wire transfer, every financial institution will require you to have some information readily available.

If you’re sending money directly through HSBC USA, you’ll need to collect the following information:⁴

  • The recipient’s full name, address, and bank account number (you may also need the recipient’s phone number)
  • BIC/SWIFT of the recipient
  • The amount of the transfer
  • The recipient bank’s name and full address

If you’re sending money by connecting your HSBC account through TransferWise, you’ll likely need:

  • Recipient’s full name (as it appears on their local bank account)
  • Recipient’s address
  • Recipient’s bank name and address
  • Recipients local bank details (normally consisting of either an IBAN or an account number coupled with a sort code/routing number equivalent)

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

If you’re receiving an international wire transfer through HSBC USA, you’ll need to have the following information with you:

  • Your full name and account number
  • Your HSBC branch’s address
  • The BIC/SWIFT code

However, if you’re receiving money from abroad through TransferWise, you’ll need the following information you can find on your checkbook your full name, your 9-digit ACH routing number, and your account number.

How long does an international bank transfer with HSBC USA take?

With HSBC, in many cases, you can choose to have a wire transfer sent processed immediately or sent at later date.⁵

Wire transfer requests submitted before 4:15 PM EST (New York time) on a business day will be processed the same day. Wire transfer requests to international banks can be completed online at any time, however, those completed after 4:15 PM EST (New York time) on business days will be automatically processed the following business day.⁴

But just because a wire is sent doesn’t mean it has yet arrived to the recipient. Depending on the number of intermediary banks needed and the country the recipient bank is located in will make the time vary greatly. In most cases, however, international wire transfers can take anywhere from 1-5 days to complete.

Have more questions about your transfer? Contact HSBC USA

Armed with the right tools, your international transfer should go off without a hitch.

Sources

  1. https://www.us.hsbc.com/content/dam/hsbc/us/docs/pdf/deposit-terms-and-charges/12-29-2017/basic_banking_chking_tcs.pdf (April 10 2018)
  2. https://www.us.hsbc.com/international-banking/#global-transfers (April 10 2018)
  3. https://www.us.hsbc.com/online-banking/move-money/move-money-faqs/#Wire_Payment_2 (April 10 2018)
  4. https://www.us.hsbc.com/online-banking/move-money/#wire-transfers (April 10 2018)
  5. https://www.us.hsbc.com/faqs/#Transfers (April 10 2018)
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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