HSBC’s paid-for Advance account could provide up to £500 of benefits for customers in return for a monthly fee of £12.95 and 12-month initial contract.
The account clearly has long term customer commitment in mind – offering exclusive deals to incentivise future business in its mortgage, lending and savings portfolios.
What are the perks?
As with the majority of packaged accounts, HSBC Advance offers a selection of inclusive insurance products in return for your monthly fee, including:
These products run for as long as you hold the account and do not require you to inform the bank of your travel plans or register a specific vehicle.
Be careful to check eligibility for each policy before you commit as this is a common pit-fall with fee paying accounts.
In addition, overseas cash machine withdrawals made with an HSBC Advance Visa Debit Card do not incur ATM transaction fees from HSBC. However, a foreign transaction charge of 2.75% will still apply to any transaction you make abroad.
If you are considering taking out a personal loan, you will receive 10% cashback when you make your last repayment if you have held Advance throughout the term. That could amount to as much as £236 if you borrowed £15,000 over 5 years. All loans are still subject to credit scoring and the standard rate of 5.9% APR still applies.
Advance customers also receive £200 off the standard booking fee for HSBC standard mortgages.
Additionally, customers can enjoy a preferential rate of 6% gross fixed rate for 12 months with a Regular Saver. The account lets you save between £25 and £250 a month, so if you invest £250 a month, you will save the maximum balance of £3,000 during the 12 month term and will earn approximately £98 interest (gross).
HSBC’s overseas call centres have proven distinctly unpopular with account holders, but as an Advance customer you will be put through to a dedicated team based in the UK any time, day or night.
Smartphone owners can download HSBC Fast Balance – a quick and easy way to view current account balances and last six transactions. However, this service, along with the much derided ‘Secure Key’ online banking security system, are available free of charge to current account customers.
Clearly the Advance proposition will appeal to some and not others. Frequent travelers will invariably benefit the most from the family travel insurance and free cash withdrawals abroad – while those who like to keep all of their banking under one roof are likely to profit from the mortgage deal and lending and savings perks.
On the downside, HSBC Advance does not offer mobile phone/gadget insurance or an interest-free overdraft facility – although the overdraft rate is reduced by a measly 1% compared to the standard HSBC current account. Advance does not pay credit interest on current account balances held – however, access to the preferential Regular Saver may mitigate the need for this.
At present there is no cash switching incentive on offer from HSBC which may make propositions from First Direct, Halifax or Bank of Scotland appear sweeter deals. Over the longer term however, Advance could prove a a savvy option if you’re already paying for travel insurance and/or breakdown cover elsewhere.