Like Tree5Likes
  • 2 Post By CharSiuNow
  • 2 Post By jrkob
  • 1 Post By walkup

Another HSBC thread - how do TT's work?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2014

    Another HSBC thread - how do TT's work?

    I'm thinking about whether I want to respond to an HSBC message that I received today.

    I recently transferred USD from Hong Kong to Vietnam (both are my personal accounts). I transferred USD500 and HSBC charged me USD45 + HKD65 (not sure if I got the HKD transfer fee correct) for the transfer.

    I was very confused and asked HSBC about the fees.

    Initial response from HSBC: they didn't take the fee, check with Vietnam
    So I checked with the Vietnamese bank and they said that they don't charge any incoming fees

    Second response from HSBC: they did take the fee, but it was one of the remitting branches and not HSBC Hong Kong

    So when transferring money, HSBC provides two options regarding fees. One option is that the recipient (ie: the bank account in Vietnam I believed - and it turns out they take it during transit) pays. The second option is that the transfer (ie: my HK HSBC bank account pays). During this transfer (was a test transfer for me), I had selected the first option, that the recipient pays. So I was confused to why HSBC had charged my HK bank account fees.

    Third response from HSBC:

    a) recipient pays allows HSBC to charge my HSBC HK payment with remittance fees during their routing of the payment and the amount is outside of their control, hence no information on the transfer fees

    b) transferer pays means that HSBC will not charge any transfer fees

    At this point I was slightly annoyed (these are strange options, of course I would always pick the "no fee transfer" had I known) and told them that they hadn't labeled things clearly and asked for a refund. Obviously they said they weren't going to refund me. So I asked them to escalate my case because based on what they've told me, their labeling doesn't make sense.

    So the high ups reviewed my account and refunded the charges and told me they would prepare a statement explaining what happened. 1 week after the refund, I received a message that they had drafted their explanation to me but needed 2 weeks to clear the explanation with an even higher up. 3 weeks after the refund, they sent me this:

    1) apology
    2) explanation that TT involves many banks, of which any bank can charge any fee
    3) that they take note of my expectations of their labeling and they're taking it "very seriously" and it's been relayed to the relevant department for improvement
    4) that they're acting on a best effort basis
    5) they mention again that fees are not under their control (implying that they don't have a responsibility to inform the client of any actual related transfer fees?)
    6) stress that this is a goodwill measure

    So my questions are:

    What stops HSBC from sending my payments around the world and incurring a ton of fees?
    Is there anything that stops HSBC from sending payments back and forth between their own banks in different countries?
    WTF do they give two options, which ultimately boil down to: we charge fees on the transfer, we don't charge fees on the transfer - is there no legal requirement to label transfers in this manner with reference to the actual fees charged?

    My understanding is that they're not admitting to any legal fault, everything they do is for customer satisfaction and not because they have done anything wrong. I'm not familiar with the rules within banking, but the way they've presented things doesn't seem kosher/logical. Was wondering if anyone could provide more context/insight.

    It's not like HSBC wanted to refund the fees. I had to message them and also contact the relationship and branch managers, all of whom refused to refund the charges as it was outside of their control. In the apology one of the things they apologized for was for the multiple refusals to offer me a refund. It was only until I escalated that my charges were refunded and then they re-escalated (whatever that means?) to provide me with their explanation.

    edit: and this was one of those matter of principles which is why I'm even considering sending a follow up to understand the situation better. Paying 10%+ on a transfer in a low rate environment seems ridiculous to me.

    Last edited by Viktri; 23-11-2019 at 01:45 AM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Quote Originally Posted by Viktri
    Initial response from HSBC:
    Second response from HSBC:
    Third response from HSBC:
    Obviously they said they weren't going to refund me.
    So the high ups reviewed my account and refunded the charges.
    TL;DR: HSBC are a bunch of wankers who couldn't find their own arse with a map and a mirror if you gave them instructions.

    Avoid at all costs. 90% of posters here will confirm. Even the HSBC banker I met at a party agreed.
    Last edited by shri; 25-11-2019 at 12:24 PM.
    Paxbritannia and Loz_2 like this.

  3. #3
    bdw is offline

    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Next time use instarem to transfer HKD/USD to Vietnam. You'll get better rates and fees are only $2.50

    Name:  instarem.jpg
Views: 265
Size:  125.1 KB

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    @Viktri HKD65 is the TT fee from HSBC HK and USD45 must be the fees charged by the correspondent bank(s) for USD settlements: from memory HSBC NY in the case of HSBC HK, and who knows who it is for the Vietnamese bank. So up to 4 banks involved in total.

    HSBC HK and the Vietnamese bank don't cash-in the correspondent bank(s) fees obviously, don't have control over them as they can change at any time without any prior notice, they just pass them through. The monkeys you spoke to probably don't know that but operationally, this is how it works.
    I don't think you will get much much cheaper from others banks, IF what you want to do is stick to banks transfers.

    Have you considered options like what @bdw and @pin have advertised before, like the Transferwise things. May work better for you especially for tiny amounts like this one.

    * edit: ok I didn't even need to call up our good friend bdw

    Last edited by jrkob; 23-11-2019 at 10:15 PM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2019

    What @jrkbob said....
    @Viktri - Were you transferring USD from HSBC HK to USD in XYZ Bank, Vietnam?

    If so, frankly, HSBC HK is quite right to charge you those fees as they would have to go through HSBC US (or other US based clearing bank) which manages USD movement from bank to bank. They never got a chance to earn any money from offering the service; the equivalent of which is you personally carrying over USD 500 to Vietnam and depositing it yourself.

    That said, there is a good reason why cryptocurrency and blockchain based transaction servicing has the capability of upstaging these horrible FX services that banks and remittance companies offer.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    I find transferring money out of HSBC is really smooth now using Transferwise.

    rkenia852 likes this.