HSBC Direct Savings Account Review

HSBC Direct’s Savings account offers an excellent combination of low fees and minimums, a user-friendly platform, and one of the highest APYs in the industry. This high-yield savings offering from one of the largest banks in the world is one of our favorites on the market for these and a few other reasons, which we’ll get into in this review.

To be clear, this review is about the HSBC Direct Savings account, which is an online-based savings account. HBSC offers a wide array of branch-based checking and savings account products as well.

What I like about HSBC’s savings account

There’s a lot to like about the HSBC Direct Savings account. To name some of my favorite features:

  • High APY -- The HSBC Direct Savings account currently offers a 2.30% APY (annual percentage yield) which is among the best interest rates offered by high-yield savings accounts.
  • $1 minimum deposit -- To open a new HSBC Direct Savings account, you’ll need an initial deposit of just $1, which must be made from new money (not from another HSBC account).
  • No maintenance fee -- Unlike many branch-based savings accounts, the HSBC Direct Savings doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee.
  • Mobile check deposit -- You can use the HSBC mobile app to make check deposits into your account, and to move money between accounts.
  • FDIC insured -- To be clear, this should be a feature you look for with any savings account you consider, but it’s important to mention that the HSBC Direct Savings account is FDIC-insured to the maximum amounts allowed by law.
  • Live chat -- HSBC offers live chat assistance to customers, which can be a major time-saver as opposed to waiting on hold to speak with a customer service representative.
  • Financial tools -- Account holders can use HSBC’s “Our Money Management Tools” which assist with things like budgeting, savings goals, and more.

What can be improved

There’s no such thing as a perfect savings account (or if there is, I certainly haven’t found it). With that in mind, there are a couple of big drawbacks to the HSBC Direct Savings account that you should be aware of:

  • Online only -- Despite the fact that HSBC has over 200 U.S. branches, the HSBC Direct Savings account is online-only, meaning that you can’t walk into a branch and open a high-yield savings account. You can open a savings account in an HSBC branch, but as of this writing, the bank’s other savings accounts have APYs ranging from just 0.01%-0.15%. You can, however, move money between HSBC accounts through the mobile app -- for example, if you have an HSBC checking account.
  • No ATM/debit card access -- Unlike some other online-based savings accounts, there’s no ATM card or debit card of any kind available with the HSBC Direct Savings account. This could be a major disappointment, considering how HSBC not only has a large network of ATMs in the U.S., but around the world.

Funding options

There are a couple of ways to fund a HSBC Direct Savings account. Like most online savings accounts, you can transfer money from a linked external bank account. You can also transfer money from another HSBC bank account, or you can make mobile check deposits through the bank’s mobile app.

Withdrawal options

The HSBC Mobile Banking app allows for transfers between the HSBC Direct Savings account and other qualified HSBC accounts. You can also use the app (or the online portal) to withdraw money from your HSBC Direct Savings account to you external linked bank account(s).

Mobile app

As I’ve mentioned several times throughout this review, HSBC does have a mobile banking app, which allows account holders to deposit checks with their mobile devices and transfer money between accounts, in addition to viewing account balances and transaction history.

To be fair, while there is an app, the HSBC Mobile Banking app isn’t exactly highly-rated by consumers. The app has a 1.4-star ranking (out of five) in the App Store and a 3.3 out of five in the Google Play Store.

Alternatives to consider

Because there’s no such thing as a perfect savings account, if certain features are important to you, it may be a smart idea to look at some alternatives.

If ATM access is important to you, for example, it might be a good idea to look at the Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account. Not only does the Synchrony account offer ATM access at thousands of ATMs with Plus, NYCE, or STAR logos, but the account will reimburse as much as $5 in out-of-network ATM fees each month, a somewhat rare feature among online savings accounts.

On the downside, while Synchrony’s website is mobile-friendly and there is a mobile app for Synchrony’s credit card products, there isn’t an app that is compatible with the High-Yield Savings Account.

Furthermore, it’s important to mention that banks offering high-yield savings accounts update their APYs frequently, so if a high yield is your primary motivation, be sure to check our regularly-updated list of the best high-yield savings accounts to see what the current APYs are. Plus, some banks often offer bonuses and other promotions for new account holders.

Speaking of yield, if you don’t anticipate needing your money for a while (say, a year or more) a high-yield CD offered by an online banking institution could be a better option. As of March 22, 2019, there are one-year CDs with APYs as high as 2.80% and five-year CDs that pay rates as high as 3.10%, so be sure to check out our list of the best high-yield CDsstyle="text-decoration: underline"> as well.

How to open an account

The account opening process for the HSBC Direct Savings account is a quick and easy one. You can apply online, and the entire process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Before you start, be sure you have a valid U.S. ID available, as well as information about the bank account you plan to use to fund your new account.

In order to open a HSBC Direct Savings account, you need to be at least 18 years old, have a Social Security number, have a current U.S. address, and have resided in the U.S. for the past three years.

Final take

Ideally, we’d like to see HSBC add features like ATM access to its Direct Savings account. Having said that, this is still a highly-competitive product with an excellent APY, low minimum deposit, and mobile functionality.