one stop bank - HSBC or Citibank?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    one stop bank - HSBC or Citibank?

    I need my bank to manage both my banking and advise me on, and manage my investment needs. I am not a financial expert and am moving to a country that's less internationally connected for investments. So I need a good adviser. I thought it may be easier to have my bank advise me on money management as they're well connected world over, and I can transfer funds more easily. I am considering HSBC and Citi due to their network.

    The pluses & minuses about HSBC:
    1. Great online banking service (I already have an account with them)
    2. Seem effficient
    3. Very high commission rates on all investment transactions
    4. All discussions with investment advisers end with their advising me to buy particular products rather than taking an integrated view of my portfolio
    5. Took ages to upgrade me to premier status though I had a balance way above the minimum for several months - which leads me to believe they're too big to be interested in someone who's not likely to be pumping in lots more money

    and about Citi:
    1. Already have a relationship with them outiside HK that's worked well
    2. seem to take a more integrated approach to managing my account
    3. Lag in online banking services
    4. Hidden charges???? (I have no experience of this- I have only read this on other websites
    5. Inertia of opening another account. At least temporarily will have to manage both Citi and HSBC accounts in HK if I open with Citi as well.

    I would want advise from my money manager on where to move my funds from time to time. I am more sensitive to returns ( and all associated risks) as I am taking a huge pay cut, and don't plan to return to the well-paid corporate life anytime soon. Would really appreciate inputs.


  2. #2

    temp, i haven't had any experience with citibank, but my personal experience with hsbc has been nothing but horrible. that is mostly due to the fact that hsbc has been trying to eliminate its "poor" customers. i suppose that is more of a problem for me than it is for you.

    i have used hsbc in both the US and HK, and in the US, they offer excellent services. but banks in HK are doing things very differently. they are increasing the fees, getting rid of the services included in the packages while keeping the service charges, and etc. in fact, there are many complaints, especially about hsbc, among the HK locals.

    as for my personal experience, i'm referring to the credit card services. a month ago, i authorized a website to charge my credit card for something that was never delivered, i called hsbc to abort the transaction. they refused and told me that, they had no credit card fraud protection for their customers and that i would be charged. and when i asked them what they would do to prevent other frauds on my card, they said, "if u would like to get a new card, u would have to pay $100." needless to say, i was furious with their service.

    but, as for online banking, hsbc rocks. it's very secured. and it's extremely easy to use. and the investment options offered are not bad. with a nominal fee, you can purchase ipo and make different types of transactions.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Having seen greenietea's comments I thought I would add my hkd 2 cents. I am a new Citibank visa customer and within minutes of registering the card with eBay I was telephoned by Citibank's credit card department to ask if I had authorised the transaction - impressive! HSBC did not do likewise and this is not detrimental to them but I certainly prefer Citibank's approach.
    I do agree that HSBC are cutting back with some services. Lack of branches is one area of contention. Personally speaking online banking satisfies most of my needs but the odd occassion that I need to visit a branch is very frustrating.
    I do find that HSBC's online banking restrictive with respect to only showing the last two months (or so) of transactions. I don't know what Citibank offers as I only have their visa card. I also find HSBC's security fob restrictive because we are forced to carry it with us wherever we go. Citibank, BEA and DBS don't need this. I also find the HSBC customer service on the end of the "email us" button lacking in common sense and useful knowledge.
    Temp, I would have thought that the Premier staff could provide the financial management that you're looking for.


  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by discobay:
    ... I was telephoned by Citibank's credit card department to ask if I had authorised the transaction - impressive! HSBC did not do likewise and this is not detrimental to them but I certainly prefer Citibank's approach.
    Citibank do seem to have a tighter fraud management (for some reason they always call me to confirm when I make purchases at a certain branch of Fortress) but this does have a flipside - sometimes they refuse transactions and you have to go through the hassle of calling their customer service and getting them to unblock it. This happens to me, for example, every time I get off the HKG-JFK flight and try to check into the hotel near our office there - my Citibank card is never accepted at check-in, so I end up making an international phonecall to get it accepted.
    Quote Originally Posted by discobay:
    I do agree that HSBC are cutting back with some services. Lack of branches is one area of contention.
    surely HSBC has FAR more branches in HK than Citibank?
    Quote Originally Posted by discobay:
    I do find that HSBC's online banking restrictive with respect to only showing the last two months (or so) of transactions.
    That I agree with.
    Quote Originally Posted by discobay:
    I also find HSBC's security fob restrictive because we are forced to carry it with us wherever we go. Citibank, BEA and DBS don't need this.
    Citibank online banking requires that you have a registered mobile phone and they SMS you a one-time password every time you try to log in to their service. Frankly I very much prefer the HSBC token I far more reliably have my flat keys (to which it is attached) with me than I do my mobile. And there are times when SMSs can take a significant time to be transmitted.

  5. #5

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    Citibank online banking requires that you have a registered mobile phone and they SMS you a one-time password every time you try to log in to their service.
    And there's me thinking that Citibank were secure AND flexible. I don't think I could put up with both HSBC and Citibank's requirements and fortunately I don't. A Premier member of staff agreed with me that the fob was a pain. I have a second one for my business a/c too.

  6. #6

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    Jul 2006
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    Does anyone know whether there is a Wachovia Branch in Hong Kong? That's my bank and they were a joy to work with while I was in Europe. I have also been to Ukraine, and took enough cash to last me for the duration of the trip because they do not generally use credit cards nor even checks. It seems to be a pretty much cash only economy.

    Cheers!


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Citibank online banking requires that you have a registered mobile phone and they SMS you a one-time password every time you try to log in to their service. Frankly I very much prefer the HSBC token I far more reliably have my flat keys (to which it is attached) with me than I do my mobile. And there are times when SMSs can take a significant time to be transmitted.
    are you using their hk online banking? i am using this but no need any SMS passward to login

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDLM:
    Citibank online banking requires that you have a registered mobile phone and they SMS you a one-time password every time you try to log in to their service. Frankly I very much prefer the HSBC token I far more reliably have my flat keys (to which it is attached) with me than I do my mobile. And there are times when SMSs can take a significant time to be transmitted.
    Not true! At least not in my experience. We use Citibank for both our personal and business (we have 2 seperate accounts). I've used their on-line banking for past 2 years. Password is set-up one-time only. No different from any other on-line banking I've done in other parts of the world. I've found their on-line to be reasonable. I download transactions, set-up time deposit, pay credit card...etc.

    Perhaps when you talk about the SMS text you mean their on-line payee service? When you set-up a new payee on-line they SMS you a Online Authorization Code (OAC). This is a one-time deal for bill-pay or transfer and they do it for security. It's the only time I recieve SMS from them.

    On a separate note find the queues and service to be a bit better at Citibank than HSBC. Have spent hours queuing at HSBC for payments, transfer etc.

  9. #9

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    Jan 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by temp:

    The pluses & minuses about HSBC:
    1. Great online banking service (I already have an account with them)
    2. Seem effficient
    3. Very high commission rates on all investment transactions
    4. All discussions with investment advisers end with their advising me to buy particular products rather than taking an integrated view of my portfolio
    5. Took ages to upgrade me to premier status though I had a balance way above the minimum for several months - which leads me to believe they're too big to be interested in someone who's not likely to be pumping in lots more money
    3. Very high compared to what?
    For funds I have paid from 0% to 5% commission. Pretty standard in HK.
    For stocks it's a bit higher compared to a discount broker but still 0.xx% (forgot the exact rate).

    4. We both know that. I always tell the staff not to try to sell me anything and I sure know that they do it because their boss ask them to do so. IMHO, the best adviser you can find is yourself, besides assuming all your assets are not managed by them they can't have a full view of your portfolio and therefore cannot possibly recommend the "best thing" according to your objectives.

    HSBC is still the best financial shop I can find around here for the time being.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    11

    HSBC & Citi

    I have both CIti and HSBC, and in general, and to my own surprise I am tending towards HSBC .
    Reasons
    Online banking is quite good, and I think their mechanism is more secure than reliance on PIN/password.
    Wrt branch service, I agree the waits are bad, but I tend to avoid the branch as much as possible. Also, they cope with much much larger crowds at their counters than other banks in HK. I have seen many other smaller banks go to pieces handling customer numbers much smaller than HSBC. I believe they are reasonably efficient, and I see the benefit of their size to some extent in operational efficiency in routine transactions ( but not necessarily in cost however!)


    People have mentioned CIti's calls for credit card transactions. I have had interesting experience
    1 - transacted in SE Asia, and quite a few times got a call immediately for large txns - Good
    2. Lost my card in Europe, the card was used within 30 minutes for some fairly big transactions ( 1000 EUR+), Citi reps tried to call me
    ( I had not updated my mobile and they couldnt reach me) , so they left voice mails at home and office and Authorised the transactions !!!. all of them!
    (In my book, multiple transactions within minutes , from same outlet, foreign currency, and no authorisation means No rather than Yes)

    It also took me about 20 minutes on hold when I wanted to report the lost card.

    Subsequently, through numerous conversations about trying to arrange a replacement card, they never mentioned that the card had been used immediately. SO I got a shock when I saw my monthly statement, immediately disputed the transactions, was met with substantial stonewalling for about 3 weeks. All's well that ends well however, as they suddenly accepted my disputes and reversed the debits.
    So I was not impressed with the incident but I stayed a customer


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