Anyone used HSBC Overseas Accounts?

Hi, new here sorry if Im not posting correctly

I would like to open overseas accounts, just for access to cash and also in preparation for when I leave New Zealand in ~1yr

HSBC allows you to open accounts in their overseas branches, for Australia and UK you can open accounts if you ‘have a valid reason’ to do so.

Does anyone have experience with this? And reasoning you gave that worked?


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About three years ago, I opened a bank account in Portugal remotely from Auckland. The bank got the NIF for me. I had to go and sign some documents before the Portugese honorary consul in Auckland. Unfortunately, this office is now closed. But I believe there’s one in Wellington. DM me if you need details.

I tried to look for an HSBC branch in Portugal but was unable to find one. They say that they ‘provide financial services from our branch in Madrid, Spain’. Obviously this did not suit

As a former premier client, I was able to remotely open accounts in HSBC US, HSBC Singapore, HSBC Expat, and HSBC France without giving a reason. In each case, I contacted the Premier department at the bank directly and asked how I could sign up as an International client. Other HSBC banks required to show ties to the country (e.g. UAE, Malta) or a visit in person to sign up (e.g. Canada, UK).

HSBC Expat might be a good option for you since allows you to hold a lot of different currencies and gives you a GBP debit card. However, you just need to ensure you have activity every 6 months on the account or you can be charged inactivity fees.

HSBC’s retail presence in Europe is currently limited to France, Greece and Malta. However, HSBC France and Greece will likely be sold off next year. Perhaps they will retain Premier clients and focus on affluent individuals like how HSBC US did when it closed retail operations last year. However, there hasn’t been any indication that this will be the case.

To that I’d like to add that in the last few years HSBC Malta has become quite restrictive on nonresident account: they strongly prefer clients with ties to the country, such as residential property or a locally-registered company.

This is probably becoming true in most countries, the need for local ties. It’s a lot of bother for banks to deal with non-residents and the amount of capital that non-residents bring in is probably just not worth their bother. A bank like HSBC Expat that focuses on the matter can do a better job of justifying the cost base.

How long ago was that? It doesn’t seem to work that way anymore; I got bounced from Expat because “I didn’t have plans to relocate offshore within 12 months”. I guess I could have provided a more sympatico answer to get around that, but … since I have more plans now I’d consider re-applying but Activo is just so much simpler.

I am a little sad about HSBC’s decline. When they were “the World’s Bank”, being a Premier client was quite cool. Now… shrug I still use them but it wouldn’t take THAT much for me to close it. And given that it is the “Hong Kong and Shanghai” bank, this might become an issue for other reasons soon anyway.

(Bison concerns me less as HQ is actually Portugal, and I imagine that the HK capital involved will be coming west at some point… indeed, maybe the bank is meant as an… escape hatch, if you will.)

Well, HSBC’s HQ are in London (although most of the profit is made in Asia).
I do have an account with HSBC Expat, but their offer has somewhat shrunk in comparison to the past. Now debit cards are only available in GBP, whereas here in Hong Kong and in Singapore the same bank (like some other banks, such as Citibank) offers multicurrency debit cards, which work similarly to Wise’s: if you do a transaction in, say, EUR, they first try to debit the account in that currency, and only if the balance is insufficient do they perform a currency conversion debiting the acvount in the local currency.

I set up all of the accounts between April and July 2021.

I don’t recommend HSBC anymore since they’re very trigger happy in terminating accounts and ask a lot of questions about transactions they consider suspicious. Furthermore, their currency exchange is not competitive at all.

I prefer having normal bank accounts in countries and using services like Wise and Interactive Brokers to transfer and exchange funds between them.

Yeah. They want 150bp for currency xfer which is pretty rough. And the landscape has evolved, there’s other banks whose services are good enough to get by for most transactions.


The big 4 UK banks which include HSBC although it is a Hong Kong bank about to be dominated by China, have a dreadful record for customer service. My experience is that they offer nothing but a local account with high charges for anything more

If you just want cash open a Wise account. You can move money between currencies instantly with good exchange rates and even open accounts in other countries instantaneously

A Wise account is adequate for any private banking in the UK when you move, but if you need more you will find much better offerings than HSBC once in the UK including on line banks such as Starling and also building societies

Yes i did that for my daughter traveling to uk so opened up a Canadian account and then a UK account no issues actually it was easier to open the uk account they were much more efficient and and professional the Canadian branch was a nightmare over an 1 and half hours to open a joint chequing account.

She never used it she only used the wise account and card linked to her bank account and I could also transfer monies easily. Wise is awesome

I also set up a revolute account online if you have a uk address if you need an account with uk base.

Once there if you are staying you can setup a local big bank

If you need a uk phone number early for text messages for setting up revolute I have a hushed uk number using the app

If you don’t have an address you can use one of the mail services to setup a local address the big banks won’t accept this but revolute seems to

For Portugal I will use my wise account and n26 euro account and then when I arrive will use my NIf that I ordered only to setup a local branch account or at least try

Hope this helps

HSBC’s increased pickiness largely depends on the giga-fines they got in the past decade, particularly the $1.9 billion one after their Mexican subsidiary was caught laundering money for the Sinaloa and Norte del Valle cartels … Other big international banks got stung as well: Standard Chartered, ABN Amro… In the end, most of them decided that the risk associated with offshore account is not adequately compensated by the fees they charge.