HSBC is offering what appears to be a very sweet bank account bonus that looks like an easy $600 with relative minimal effort — and a couple playing in 2-player mode may be able to eke out an easy $1300 total. The easiest form of the deal requires opening your new checking account over the phone via a referral code, but it otherwise beats their current online offer in terms of reduced requirements. A caveat here: I haven’t personally tried HSBC’s referral system, so I don’t know for sure how easy this deal will work out to be — but based on the one commenter at Doctor of Credit who has done this and the wording of all of the terms, this deal looks fast and easy. I thought it was worth reporting given the unusually high value ($600 cash) — which beats many new credit card bonuses — and what may be quite easy bonus requirements. Read on for more detail and analysis.
- HSBC is offering referral bonuses for several of their account types. The best deal (outlined in this post) is a new HSBC Premier account, which offers a $600 account opening bonus (that theoretically posts within a month or so – potentially without any direct deposit requirements — see more detail below). If you refer others, you earn $100 per referral up to a cap of $2,000 per calendar year.
- To open over the phone, you’ll need to call
800.975.HSBC (4722).According to the comments, the Premier Checking account needs to be opened by calling the “Premier Relationship Team” at (866) 788-5583 . You’ll want to mention that this is the “Share The Experience” offer. That department is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm Eastern (though note they will be closed over Labor Day weekend and on Monday the 7th).
- My referral codes:
- Nick’s code: S015104477
- Nick’s wife’s code: S015111090
(those are zeros on both cases – the only letter is S)
- My referral codes:
- Link to more information (though note that for the referral deal, which does not require keeping the account and may not require direct deposit, you’ll need to open over the phone or in-branch)
The new referral’s Eligible Account must remain open for at least 15 business days.
Consumers who currently hold, or have held in the past 3 years, an HSBC consumer deposit or investment account are not eligible.
Businesses who currently hold, or have held in the past 3 years, any HSBC business account are not eligible.
The individual you refer must provide your personalized referral code at account opening for you to qualify to receive credit for the referral bonus.
- Consumer New Customer: This offer is only valid for new Eligible Accounts opened during the Offer Period in a U.S. HSBC branch or through HSBC’s customer service line 800.975.HSBC (4722) during which a valid personalized referral code is provided by the new customer. The new account must meet qualifying requirements within 90 calendar days of account opening pursuant to the relationship requirements discussed below.
Account opening date is considered day one of the 90 calendar days count.
Consumer Accounts/Assets that are ineligible from qualification requirements for this offer include: insurance products; fixed and variable annuities; 529 College Savings Plans; any retirement accounts including but not limited to IRAs, Keogh, Simple IRAs and 401(k) Plans; UTMA and UGMA; commercial accounts; and revocable or irrevocable trust accounts.
Customers who currently hold, or have held in the past 3 years, an HSBC consumer deposit or investment account are not eligible.
You will automatically receive the $600 referral bonus to the new qualifying HSBC Premier checking account, a $250 referral bonus to the new qualifying HSBC Advance checking account, a $100 referral bonus to the new qualifying HSBC Choice Checking within 8 weeks from the date the new account is fully qualified.
The new Eligible Account must be open without being changed to a product with lower requirements and in good standing at time of gift fulfillment.
Limit one Referral Bonus per new customer, including all individual and joint accounts — the first line name on the joint account is considered the customer for gift purposes.
A customer can use only one referral code at the time of account opening.
For both you and the individual who referred you, the bonus deposit(s) to your Eligible Account will be reported on the applicable IRS form.
Note that a key exclusion is that “Customers who currently hold, or have held in the past 3 years, an HSBC consumer deposit or investment account are not eligible.” There has recently been a savings account bonus available through Slickdeals. If you’ve done that bonus, I assume you are not eligible for this one.
To break down the way this works based on the terms and the experience of commenter Jay at Doctor of Credit – link to his comment here:
- The new account holder needs to open an HSBC Premier account using a referral code either in-branch or over the phone (via the Premier Relationship team at (866) 788-5583). This looks to be available nationwide. (Note: There are also some other account types you can open for lesser bonuses: HSBC Fusion Business ($300 bonus), Advance ($200 bonus), or Choice Checking ($100 bonus), but given the easy requirements it makes the most sense to go after the Premier bonus. See more below for why I recommend this).
- The new account must remain open at least 15 business days (though realistically you may need to keep it open a month or two for the bonus to post. Jay reported that his bonus posted on the first day of the calendar month following account opening. YMMV).
- The new account “meet qualifying requirements within 90 calendar days of account opening pursuant to the relationship requirements discussed below.” I’ll interpret that to mean that you may need a direct deposit of $5K per month until the bonus posts, though this may not be as big of a hurdle as it sounds (see more below).
The last point above is the one that may turn some people off, but it may not be so tough (and given that the terms of the deal say that the account needs to be open at least 15 business days, I’m not even sure it is relevant unless you’re going to keep the account beyond the bonus).
There are a couple of unknown variables here. The highest bonus ($600) requires opening an HSBC Premier account. I think that’s the one to do for most people, so that’s what this post focuses on. The usual requirements to keep an HSBC Premier account fee-free are one of the following:
- Balances of $75,000 in combined U.S. consumer and qualifying commercial U.S. Dollar deposit and investment* accounts; OR
- Monthly recurring direct deposits totaling at least $5,000 from a third party to an HSBC Premier checking account(s); OR
- HSBC U.S. residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000, not an aggregate of multiple mortgages. Home Equity products are not included.
- Consumers who maintain Jade status.
- A monthly maintenance fee of $50 will be incurred if one of these requirements is not maintained.
Two keys here: first, I know from experience in my own household that ACH transfers from an external checking account have been triggering the direct deposit requirements (I’ve written about it here. See methods that might work here.). You typically need a total of $5,000 in direct deposits over the course of the calendar month (not necessarily a single deposit) to keep the account fee-free. However, I’m not sure whether or not you actually need to keep the account free-free as paying the monthly maintenance fee seems to me as though it maintains the Premier relationship (and I’m not sure they even charge this fee in the first month or two).
If you fail to keep the account fee-free by meeting the direct deposit (or other) requirement, I would think that the worst that will happen is that it’ll cost you $50 (thereby still making it a $550 money-maker if your bonus posts as quickly as that commenter at Doctor of Credit or perhaps only $500 if it takes an additional month — a far better deal than any of the other account types even if you are charged the monthly fee). I guess maybe they could say that you didn’t meet the relationship requirements if you did not have any of the other Premier requirements (e.g. direct deposit). I’m not sure. The single data point at Doctor of Credit indicates that he opened the account in August and funded it with $5,000 and then received his $600 bonus on September 1st. Given that the terms indicate that the account only needs to remain open for a minimum of 15 business days, there appears to be no requirement to maintain the account beyond that time frame.
The key snag here is needing to open the account over the phone or in-branch for this version of the offer that posts the $600 bonus in one shot. There is also a $600 online offer (see this Doctor of Credit post for full details), but that offer is structured differently. The online offer gives you a bonus of 3% of your direct deposits up to a max of $100 per month and a max of $600 over the first six months, so that online version requires you to keep up with the direct deposit requirements for longer if you want the full bonus (and given that the bonuses for that account begin posting 2 months after you meet the requirements, you’ll need to keep the account open 8 months under the online offer to get the full bonus). I am currently working on the same type of online-opening bonus (my offer was a smidge higher at up to $120 per month / $700 total, since expired). The referral offer seems substantially better than the current $600 online offer since you’ll have the option of closing the account earlier if you want to.
That said, I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised with HSBC. They have some kind of archaic stuff in terms of setting up your online account and generating a security code with the phone app, but once you get it set up I’ve found it quite easy. The slightly frustrating thing is that scheduled ACH transfers are kind of slow. However, once you have established an external payee by making a bank-to-bank transfer the old-fashioned way, you can then use the app to send real-time transfers of up to $2500 at a time (up to $5K per day) if your external bank participates, so I’ve been able to move $5K out of the account instantly (immediately posting to my external account – no need to wait even a single a business day). I’ve found that convenient.
Ultimately, whether you like and want to keep the account or not, the quick $600 bonus here looks like an easy win. Indeed, it is as good or better than the welcome bonus on many credit cards with no purchase requirement. The reader comment I’ve linked to above indicates that his bonus posted the very next calendar month after opening. Personally, I found that a little surprising; I wouldn’t be shocked if it takes a second month to receive the bonus given that the online offer which requires direct deposit posts the bonuses 2 months after you receive the qualifying direct deposit (and indeed the terms indicate that it could be 8 weeks from account opening to receive the $600 bonus). That means that if you aren’t going to bother trying to meet the direct deposit requirements, you may possibly end up on the hook for a second $50 monthly fee (many banks waive that fee for at least the first month given that it takes time to set up direct deposit for those using an employer deposit, but I’m not sure whether or how long HSBC waives it).
Overall, this $600 bonus looks pretty good. HSBC has offered referral bonuses in the past that were not as good as the online offers, but given that this offer is for as high a bonus as the online offer and it posts in one shot with a very low minimum timeframe for keeping the account open, it looks to me like a substantially better deal than the online offer and probably the best bank bonus I can think of in recent memory. A couple playing in 2-player mode could make a nice splash here:
- Player 1 opens through a referral and collects the $600 bonus
- Player 1 refers Player 2, earning a $100 referral when Player 2 opens the account
- Player 2 collects a $600 bonus
That’s $1300 cash for a 2-player team. If it actually does post in a month, that’s a phenomenal deal. If you know others who might be interested in that, it can get $100 better for each person you refer. My wife and I opened our accounts under the online deal (when it was up to $700 each) and I’ve honestly been thrilled at the prospect of picking up $1400 in essentially free money between the two of us for a few clicks of the mouse — but in our case, it’ll take 8 months with monthly direct deposit to get there, so I don’t think this offer is substantially worse (and I’m sure some would prefer the quick hit of cash).
Note that it says that “If you’ve recently registered for Personal Internet Banking it may take up to two business days to receive your personalized referral code”. You can find your referral code here:
Clicking “learn more” brings you to a page where you’ll find your referral code under “Step 1” of “Two Easy Ways To Share The Experience”.
Keep in mind of course that bank bonuses are typically reported as interest income, so expect a 1099 and to pay tax on them. The juice is still worth the squeeze if you ask me.