HSBC Confuses, Angers Online Customers With Vague New Fees

UPDATE: A rep for HSBC has finally responded to our request for clarification on the fees.

From HSBC:

“A recent communication to HSBC Online Savings Account customers was intended to advise of both an account name change and some account fee changes effective September 23, 2012.

“Feedback from our customers has indicated some confusion about our fee change relating to ‘Funds Transfer-in.’

“This is an existing fee for this account. It relates only to outside ‘wire transfers’ into this account, and it is decreasing from $15 to $12. It does not apply to Bank to Bank transfers, check deposits, or direct deposits of payroll and tax refund checks.

“We apologize for any confusion to our customers and are always available to talk with our customers regarding any questions about their account.”

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In the last couple hours, our tip line inbox has been flooded with e-mails from angry and/or confused HSBC customers who received an e-mail from the bank alerting them to a slate of new fees associated with their online savings accounts.

Each of the people who wrote in received the following from the bank:

We want to let you know that as of September 23, 2012, your Online Savings Account will be renamed to HSBC Advance Online Savings…
The following account fees will change as of September 23, 2012:
* Funds Transfer-In, per incoming transfer – $12 each (the transfer of funds from another person’s account, or another financial institution to your HSBC account)
* Foreign Currency Draft (DD Commission) – $25 each* (official bank check purchased in another currency)
* US Dollar Draft- DFT (Commission USD) – $10 each* (official bank check)

It’s that first fee that is causing the most confusion as “the transfer of funds from another person’s account, or another financial institution” is how some might describe a majority of bank transactions.

Does this mean that any deposits to the account would be pinged for a $12 fee? What about direct deposits?

One reader says a HSBC customer service rep claims that the fee is only for wire transfers, and that they could hear several CSRs in the background apparently trying to explain the same thing to other angry callers.

Between those who are angry about the e-mail and those that say they usually make several transfers a month from other accounts to their HSBC savings, most readers who have written about these fees have expressed interest in ditching HSBC.

We’ve made repeated attempts this morning to get clarification on the fees and when exactly they would be charged, but have yet to hear back from anyone at the bank. If HSBC decides to send us a statement, we’ll be sure to add it to this post.