Banelco now charging 11 pesos - Any experience with HSBC?

thomashobbs

Registered
I used to work at a large bank and so I know for a fact that their foreign currency desks pay something like 0.2% to change money. If Citibank is charging their retail customers 3% on transactions that's a 15x mark-up.

Citi and HSBC are the only banks with branches both here and in the US. Citi is a total disaster but HSBC seems to be pretty competently run and their whole marketing touts them as a global bank. I currently have a US-based checking account with First Republic that doesn't add any charges for foreign currency transactions. If you do the math the rate is always within a centavo of the bid price on Ambito Financiero. It sounds like Schwab has a similar type of a account. Most big banks in the US now charge 2-3% on these types of transactions, figuring that most Americans can't do math.

Here is HSBC's page for US-based checking accounts:

http://www.us.hsbc.com/1/2/3/personal/checking?code=WES0002564&WT.ac=HBUS_WES0002564

According to the page none of their accounts charge for using HSBC ATM's [I wonder if they mean globally or just New York state?]. The page mentions nothing about foreign currency charges. I've contacted their customer service and I'll post their response here.

Of course you can always bring in $9,999 in cash. Then you can buy pesos at the Ask price [or even higher if you know a good, trustworthy arbolito]. It doesn't seem worth it for the theft-risk, however.
 

citygirl

Registered
Well..ever since the switch to the new charges, I can't use my Citibank ATM card at 90% of the ATMs here. I am calling Citi now to find out what the problem is. I don't see how one is related to the other but the timing is exact.

Grrrrrr.

Edited to say Citi has no idea why my card is no longer accepted but as of now - no go at Galicia, Santander and HSBC. Really, really annoying.
 

Kyra

Registered
Hmm, I'be been reading a lot about this 11 peso fee, but somehow I've never seen it! And I withdraw money almost every day...am I just lucky, or does it not always say: "We will charge you 11 pesos for this" on the ATM screen?
 

thomashobbs

Registered
Kyra - please let us know which banks!!!

Anyway, here's the response I got from HSBC's US customer service. Bottom line: they charge 3% just like everyone else. With my current account which charges nothing, paying 11 pesos is roughly 2% on 600 pesos so I'm still better off with my current account. Looking at this philosphically, an extra 2% on everything is like, what? 2 months worth of inflation.

HSBC's Response:

When traveling outside the U.S., your ATM card, HSBC credit card or HSBC
Debit MasterCard can be used at any ATM displaying the CIRRUS or
MasterCard logo as noted on your card to withdraw funds. Not all
savings accounts can be accessed outside of the U.S. As such, it is
recommended that you open a checking account before traveling. To
locate an ATM worldwide, please visit www.mastercard.com.

If you choose an ATM not within the HSBC network, a $1.50 fee may be
deducted from the account you withdraw from depending on your banking
relationship at HSBC. You may also be charged a fee from the institution
you choose to withdraw the funds from. The amount of the fee is
normally posted on the ATM. By using a non- HSBC ATM, you agree to
HSBC's fee and the fee charged by the institution.

When using an ATM to withdraw foreign currency, the ATM network
calculates the converted amount using either 'a government mandated rate
or a wholesale rate' (depending on the country/currency), increased by
3%. We receive the transactions already converted to U.S. Dollars and
post them to the account. HSBC does not set the currency conversion
rate and does not receive any portion of the conversion.
 

porteña

Registered
To the person that had asked about HSBC: a couple of months ago I had asked HSBC here if they were the same as the US HSBC and they told me that they are not... It sounded to me that if someone has an account in the US, the HSBC banks here are not a "branch" of the US banks and may need to have the person open an Argentinian HSBC account, independent of what they had in the US. May be worth double checking...
 

John.St

Registered
thomashobbs said:
I used to work at a large bank and so I know for a fact that their foreign currency desks pay something like 0.2% to change money. If Citibank is charging their retail customers 3% on transactions that's a 15x mark-up.
Well, yes - but also no.

If we are talking credit cards, which I for one use, the 2% (which is what Eurocard is charging) is also coverage for

1. credit - 19 days on average (Eurocard - my VISA is charged on my bank account within a couple of days, and so only use VISA if no alternative) and if possible I postpone major CC withdrawals until the invoice date, thus getting 37-38-39 days of credit

2. the (small? - these days?) risk of customer's default on debts
 

elhombresinnombre

Registered
citygirl said:
Well..ever since the switch to the new charges, I can't use my Citibank ATM card at 90% of the ATMs here. I am calling Citi now to find out what the problem is. I don't see how one is related to the other but the timing is exact.

Grrrrrr.

Edited to say Citi has no idea why my card is no longer accepted but as of now - no go at Galicia, Santander and HSBC. Really, really annoying.
My UK issued HSBC card no longer wants to work at my local HSBC branch but will work at the local Santander Rio with the 11.50 charge added on.

On the other hand, my UK issued Nationwide card works at the local Santander Rio without any charges being added. Local = Villa Devoto. I haven´t tried anywhere else.
 

superpacko

Registered
Hi i was taking alook at the msgs and i found this one particulary interesting since i work at Banelco and i've been working in this very same project.
The whole thing is the result of a contract between banelco and the US network PULSE so every PULSE customer is being charged the new extra fee.

Debit cards are much better.. but of course, i dont know how a foreigner could get one.

im sorry about that, but anyway, international transactions are expensive everywhere.
 

John.St

Registered
superpacko said:
... im sorry about that, but anyway, international transactions are expensive everywhere.
Depends on the amount.

If I can have a bank account in Argentina I shall be charged AR$ 72 for a transfer of any amount up to AR$ 18,100 bank-to-bank if I can provide the IBAN & SWIFT numbers of my argentino account - that's 0.4%.

For the same fee I could actually transfer any amount up to 149,000 AR$ provided my solicitor in Danmark or I myself sign the necessary papers in Danmark, less than 0,05% + fee or travel expenses.
 
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