HSBC is one of the world’s largest banks, and frames itself as “the world’s local bank”, so it’s no surprise there’s an emphasis on global features. You can transfer funds overseas right off the bat and there’s even a comprehensive currency converter built in. Premier users can also access a Global View page that gives access to all international HSBC accounts on one screen.
Besides these few features, the HSBC site is relatively unspectacular, although it handles all the basic functions well. Accounts can be viewed online and the last 90 days of transactions can be displayed. You can also export your transaction history via a range of formats or you can print them directly from your browser, although not all pages can be printed cleanly. Back statements can also be ordered, but you’ll need to brace yourself for a $7 charge for each statement period covered, at least until HSBC implements paper-free statements, which it’s in the process of doing now.
Transfers can be made immediately or for a future date and you can save the details of a particular transfer to be used as a template for future transfers to the same recipient. Your transaction limits can be changed, although specifying certain payees as regulars with higher limits needs to be done over the phone or in writing. And to shunt your limits to the maximum requires printing and filling out a PDF form then mailing it off to HSBC HQ in Sydney.
The interface is clean, but we found it relatively slow and clunky; it took a few seconds to process and refresh the screen after just about any click. You can customise your online banking experience to a degree by selecting which accounts are accessible online, as well as renaming them to something more intuitive, if you so choose.
Security is well handled through a password that can handle capital letters, numbers and a bit of punctuation. There’s also a security token used for logging in and invoked whenever you make a transfer. On the downside, there’s no reimbursement guarantee in the event of fraud.
HSBC’s online banking site clearly caters for a particular type of user: one with an international focus. If you fit that mould, then HSBC’s various global features will appeal. However, for every day banking there are alternatives that offer more features – like mobile banking – and have more easily navigable sites.
This Review appeared in the September, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing