$25 or $75 Bonus For Opening HSBC Checking Account

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HSBC Bank is offering a $25 or $75 bonus for opening one of two types of checking accounts with them. This may be a good complement to their 6% HSBC Direct account (my opening review). Your two options:

Interest Checking ($75 bonus)
– To avoid fees, you need to keep $3,000 in combined balances, or simulate direct deposit with an ACH transfer from another bank each month. HSBC Direct balances count toward the $3,000 requirement!

Free Checking ($25 bonus)
– No monthly fees, no minimum balance, no direct deposit requirement
– You do need some sort of checking activity every 3 months, or you’ll be knocked down to Basic Banking checking, which does have fees.

Both offer:
– HSBC Debit MasterCard? Card with PayPassTM
– Free first order of selected wallet-style checks
– Check-writing ability, and thus the ability to link to banks like Capital One 360, Emigrant Direct, etc.
– ATM access to money and free Online Billpay
– Possible branch access to people who live near one.
– Instant Transfers between Checking and HSBC Direct accounts, and thus possibly avoid HSBC’s longer transfer times.

I recommend opening an Interest Checking account first, and either keeping $3k in HSBC Direct or simulating direct deposit for a while to grab the bigger $75 bonus, and then after 6 months downgrade back to the Free Checking account. I did this myself with a previous bonus offer with no problems. Fine print:

HSBC reserves the right to charge your checking account an amount equal to the bonus if your checking account does not remain open for at least 180 days. Limited to one (1) cash bonus per household. Offers expire April 10, 2007 and cannot be combined with any other offers.

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  1. What do you mean by “simulating direct deposit”?

  2. 0.05% APY on an interest checking account, they couldn’t get much lower if they tried, $75 bucks is nice though. What’s the average interest rate on an interest bearing checking account?

  3. Direct Deposit is essentially an online ACH transfer. Some banks scrutinize this to make sure it some from an employer, while most bank’s either can’t tell between that and an online transfer from another personal account or they just don’t care. Banks like such guaranteed transfers because it guarantees that money will be coming into the account and therefore increases the likelihood that you will still use the account.

    I don’t know about average, but at most big banks “interest” checking is pretty much useless.

  4. Kriton is right – 0.05% could not be much lower. If you were to put in A THOUSAND DOLLARS and keep that entire amount in there for an entire year, you will have earned a whopping fifty cents. I called them to confirm this rate as it sounded too low, but they confirmed that it pays APY of 0.05%.

  5. Is there a hard credit pull if when opening the checking account?

  6. Cool. I’ve been putting off opening a 6% direct acct. and decided that I would do it today.

    Jonathan, when you opened your account did it have a direct deposit requirement that you used ACH transfers for? That would be easier than setting up DD for 180 days..

  7. Put another way $100,000 at 0.05% gets you $50 in interest. 🙂 Get that bonus and run!

    No hard pull for me.

    There was a direct deposit requirement for me was well, but I just kept $3,000 in HSBC Direct to avoid it. Setting up a repeating transfer of $1 from another bank will also do the trick.

  8. I think they pulled off the $75 offer from their site…if i am wrong let me know…

  9. love your blog. 🙂

  10. I have with them HSBC Direct, however I had to fill all forms again, I will have to send the proof of my address, my signature card… This is insane!

    The blog is great.

  11. Jonathan,

    Quick process question. How much did you fund this account with? I have over 3K in an HSBC savings account for the 6%. Could I just fund the interest checking account with $1 and receive the $75?

  12. I called HSBC and a rep. told me that the bonus would only be issued to those the offer was specifically sent to. He said they keep track of who they send the offer to and referred to the fine print:

    “If you qualify for the Interest Checking bonus, $75 will be deposited in your checking account within 6 to 8 weeks after the account opening”

    He emphasized the “if you qualify” part, said if you accessed the site through another website, you would not receive the offer.

    Any salt to this?

  13. Alvin you are wrong 🙂
    I just went through the process after reading your post.

    A direct deposit is like an automatic transfer, but from your employer’s bank account instead of yours. So I feel comfortable having an automatic transfer instead.

    I called them and was told you have 60 days for your direct deposit to kick in since some people like to do “dry runs” over several pay periods for verification. And FWIW, after choosing only 1 option on the phone menu, it rang only twice before a human answered. Impressive for our times..

  14. Thanks for the promo link! Just called HSBC and got them to send me the application to sign up for an Interest Checking acct and receive the $75 bonus. The rep wasn’t aware of/see this particular promotion so I had to spell out the web page address for her over the phone. Spent about twenty minutes on the phone with her, but she was nice and I should be getting my application in the mail soon.

  15. I definitely want to do this, but want to wait and see if anyone who did NOT get an “invitation” to receive the bonus has tried it and can prove or disprove what B heard.

  16. I applied for the $75 interest checking offer a couple days ago using Jonathan’s link. (I have not received an invitation in the mail.)

    After reading some of the comments I decided to call HSBC to follow up on the application to see if I was eligible for the $75 offer; indeed, the phone rep said I was and that someone would be contacting me by phone within 2 business days to complete my application.

  17. Why would our blog authopr recomment locking up 3k for 6 months at 0.5% APR?

    Do the math….

    If your earning 4.5% somewhere with that 3k and you drop down to HSBC to get 75 bucks…to lose 4% APR then your are only making 15 bucks!

    Lets say your making 5% currently on your 3k…then your only making $7.50!!!!!

    Look do the math people…This offer by HSBC is obviously tricking many…they are not giving up anything on this promotion…

    not so humbly,

  18. Umm… this blog author is suggesting that you open the checking account for $1 and keep $3,000 in the OnlineSavings account earning 6% to 5.05%, as the fine print clearly states that you only need $3,000 in combined total balances to avoid fees and get the $75 bonus.

    Not only that, the checking account pays 0.05% APY, not 0.5% APY.

    Perhaps you should work on that humility yourself, eh?

  19. I called the HSBC CSR number listed on that link, but was told that HSBC Direct balances do not count for the bonus. Anyone run into this problem? I’ll try calling again tomorrow, hopefully catch another CSR who does open the account for me.

  20. I just called HSBC and here is a clarification on something I was confused about:

    The $3000 initially has to be new money. After the initial deposit, the $3000 in the account, the minimum, can include HSBC direct balances.

    The direct deposit requirement has to be a paycheck.

  21. I don’t know about this bonus, but the $3,000 minimum does include HSBC Direct as a qualifying account – I left $5 in my checking account for 8 months with $3,000+ in HSBC Direct and had no fees.

    Most CSRs for all banks say direct deposit has to be a paycheck – but in order to tell the difference between any other online transfer they pretty much have to check manually. Some banks, like Presidential, actually do check, but ACH transfers have worked for me as direct deposit for HSBC.

  22. Thank you so much for this information. I did get the $75 dollars 2 days after the initial deposit of 1 dollar was posted. I have HSBC Direct account with more than $3000 in it for around 6 months (and a low CL HSBC no benefit card, which I think doesn’t matter here). I was worried that since I wasn’t “invited” to get this bonus so I was not qualified but it was obviously wrong. Thank you Jonathan.

  23. Glad you got it, Jean!

  24. Steve Austin says

    A little experiment here: the $75 offer expires today, so I’ll see if I can make it happen in one day. I already have the HSBC Direct 6.0% (thru 30-Apr-07) account, so I’ll attempt what Jonathan says: $1 deposit in the HSBC Interest Bearing checking account (since combined balance w/ HSBC Direct will be over $3000), and monthly $1 ACH transfers from my account at another bank in order to defeat the Interest Bearing account maintenance fee.

    Question: I have had a lot of trouble trying to find the fine print (fee schedule with overdraft fees, etc.) online, for either hsbc.com or hsbcdirect.com. Can anyone point me to such links, if they have them handy?

  25. Steve Austin says

    Disregard my above question about fee schedule. I was provided the link to review those fees only after I began the online application sequence.

    One of the listed Service Fees is:

    “Funds Transfer-Out, per outgoing transfer $30 each”

    Does funds transfer-out == ACH transfer to another account, either at HSBC Direct, or at another bank?

  26. I am also trying this on the expiration date…we’ll see if it works! I just moved $5 into the checking account – I have over $3K in my Direct account.

  27. Do you really need to keep bumping this entry for the RSS feeds? If you don’t stop by Friday, I’m unsubscribing.

  28. Yes, I agree, stop bumping this entry for the RSS feeds please!

  29. Honestly, I am not trying to bump this post nor have I even edited it recently. It’s probably the new comments if anything. I don’t know why it is doing that, but if you are using Bloglines, simply turn off the option that “bumps” edited posts to the top. I don’t see any such problems using Newsgator or Google.

  30. Steve Austin says

    Kelli, or anyone else: any trouble with your $75 bonus for the interest checking account (and maintaining $3k in combined balances)? It’s been over 8 weeks since I both applied and had the account opened, and no bonus deposited yet, so I’ve sent secure BankMail to ferret out HSBC’s reluctance for fork over the coin they have promised me. Recall that my experiment was to apply in the last day of the bonus period (10 APR 07), although my account was not actually opened until the following week (16 APR 07).

  31. Steve Austin says

    Looks like HSBC has the same deal through 31 JUL 07.

  32. Steve Austin says

    Just wanted to follow-up on this: 8 weeks and 1 day since I opened the interest checking account, I received the $75 bonus, HSBC good for its word. I’ll keep the $3k in combined balances deposited at HSBC for 6 months to make sure that I don’t run afoul of the Small Print. (Meanwhile, the large money in my HSBC savings account has been transferred to FNBO.)

    Still, can’t complain about an easy $75. A lot easier than earning interest on a credit card grace period. 😉

  33. The same promotion is available now through Sep. 30, 2007.

  34. I called them up & asked the clarification regarding the cimbined balance. They told it is NOT the combined balance now, for $75 bonus. The moeny has to be in Checking account. In this case, there is no benefit to open this account.


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