Technically this is my first post about my wedding! How exciting! I’m pleased that my wedding posts will start with money. The first step to our wedding planning is to start saving right away since we are only receiving partial help from our families (bless them). It’s our first official savings account! I have grand plans for this account as once we have our wedding, I’d love to use it to save for other things like a home or emergency fund.
The application had the option to do a joint account from the get-go so we didn’t have to talk to customer service after we set up the account. Josh was the one that was in touch with customer service for the other issues we had (more on that below).
Basically, we did a lot of research and saw that the benefits of this account were better than many other online savings accounts. I think Ally Bank came in at a close second so I might open an account with them for something else (like Pet Savings) to see how it works.
Here’s our experience so far:
- $1 minimum to start! They do encourage you to set up transfers as part of the start-up process so ideally you should have some amount ready to transfer into the account, but it can be as little as $1.
- 2.28% APR: This is extremely high! Look at the APR for your regular bank’s savings account, it’s probably like 0.01% or something extremely low.
- Free Transfers: Once you set up a transfer account, you get free ACH (automated check handling) transfers between accounts. The transfer process can take about 3-5 business days, so be prepared for that. Luckily they send you an email letting you know your scheduled transaction is coming up, requested from your bank, and when it is completed. This is different from Wire Transfers, which do have a fee (see below)
- No maintenance fees: This is also a major bonus. Many banks connected to checking accounts will have monthly fees, but this does not (hallelujah!)
- Website and App are trash: I cannot express enough how badly the website and app are frustrating to deal with. I have 3 different apps for banking or credit cards and they are all sleek and intuitive. Both the HSBC website and app look like they were made in 1999 and haven’t been updated since. I wish I had known this going in. The website and app work. They are functional, it is just a mess.
- Wire transfers are $15: Let’s say you want to transfer money to an account very quickly, this requires a wire transfer. It’s not exactly cheap. This is probably something you would use in an emergency, but otherwise avoid at all costs.
- Customer support is slow: when Josh started the application process it kept crashing, it didn’t save, and when he contacted customer support they said that we just needed to wait a few days for approval. Well, we did and they didn’t even notify us that we were approved or that we could start setting up the account. I almost walked away at this point. From the bad interface to lack of communication, it took a lot to convince myself that it was worth having.
- No access to ATMs: This doesn’t really bother me. I just wanted to put this here because some people do have other HSBC accounts, but with this you can’t access cash via ATMs. There’s no card with the account.
Check out their terms of service for Online Savings here.
Basically, our experience with the user interface takes away from a lot of the benefits. Other banks also offer these incentives and I would be surprised if they were that horrible. We ultimately decided to go with HSBC because they are an established bank, unlike Ally. Though knowing what I know now, I am a bit hesitant to recommend this service. All in all, it does what I need it to do. I make transfers every month and it provides a safe place to put our money.