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Update 1/1/21: This deal has been extended through 1/31/21. Phone number under “The Deal” has been updated to a line many readers have reported as being more direct.
Update 12/11/20: It looks like the latest round of bonuses on this account posted on 12/8. This one has worked out well for many readers and is available through 12/31.
Update 11/11/20: Bonuses are posting for people who opened in September. This looks like an easy $1300 win for a couple playing in 2-player mode. Thanks to Josh and Jake for sharing relevant data points in the comments below.
The updated original post follows:
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 (update: as noted above, we now have positive data points about this account working out as expected) — 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”. Several readers have had success with this phone number as the most direct line: 716-841-6408. You can also try (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
- My referral code:
- Nick’s wife’s code (Samantha Axtell): S015111090
(those are zeros – the only letter is S)
- Nick’s wife’s code (Samantha Axtell): S015111090
- My referral code:
- 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 (note that many readers have reported the same type of experience):
- 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. See the phone numbers under “The Deal” above as several readers have reported more direct lines. This seems 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 according to the terms. Realistically, you will 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, but most readers have reported it posting near the beginning of the second month after opening (and it isn’t on a predictable day – bonuses seem to all post on the same day, but the date can vary anywhere between the first and tenth of the month so far. YMMV).
- The new account must “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 this data point and this data point). Readers who have reported receiving the bonus have met the $5K requirement.
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, 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.). Update: Given the attention this deal has generated, it is certainly possible that ACH transfers may stop working at some point. Phone reps say that ACH will not work, but reader experience thus far has been that it has indeed worked for many readers.
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). Again, phone reps indicate that direct deposit (or the mortgage or $75K balance requirements) must be met. Thus far, I think that all of the success reports we have received in earning the bonus have come from those who have met the $5K direct deposit requirement.
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 — and if you have a second player to refer, the referral offer puts an extra hundred bucks in your household’s collective pocket.
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. I was also targeted with an offer to earn $30 per month for six months by using my debit card for 10 transactions per month ($15) and to make 3 bill payments ($15). That will total an additional $180 (note that this offer is targeted, but keep your eye out for emails from HSBC).
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, though readers have now reported bonuses posting about two months after opening.
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 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.