This guide takes a look at the HSBC Everyday Global Account Visa Debit card, which is HSBC’s prepaid multi-currency card offering.
What is the HSBC Everyday Global Account?
The HSBC Everyday Global Account is an all-in-one multi-currency bank account. Funds can be accessed through ATMs using the Visa debit card attached to the account, with the card able to be used worldwide wherever Visa is accepted.
This type of account will be attractive for global travellers or those who frequently purchase from foreign merchants who are either looking to lock in their exchange rate prior to making purchases, as well as those looking for flexibility in accessing the best possible exchange rate for their purchases, a unique feature of this card which is detailed further below.
Features of the HSBC Everyday Global Account Visa Debit Card
|Card Details||HSBC Everyday Global Account Visa|
|Card Type||Prepaid Debit Card|
|Frequent Flyer Program||N/A|
|Points Earned on Spend||N/A|
|International ATM Fee||$0|
|Currency Conversion Fee||0% of transaction amount|
The HSBC Everyday Global Visa Card is accepted worldwide wherever Visa is, meaning it can be used for purchases online, overseas, over the phone and by mail. The following currencies can be loaded onto the card:
- Australian Dollars (AUD) (‘Control Currency’)
- United States Dollars (USD)
- Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
- Euro (EUR)
- Hong Kong Dollars (HKD)
- Canadian Dollars (CAD)
- Japanese Yen (JPY)
- New Zealand Dollars (NZD)
- Singapore Dollars (SGD)
- Renminbi (RMB) (currency restrictions apply)
Other currencies are available, with funds deducted from your AUD account and exchanged into the local currency at the current Visa exchange rate.
Things to consider
A major selling point for prepaid travel cards is the ability to give yourself exchange rate certainty by locking in your exchange rate at the time of loading up your card. But remember, this may or may not work in your favour, especially when the AUD later appreciates after having loaded your card. So keep this in mind when deciding whether to load up funds prior to travel, as the marketing for these cards generally gives the impression that you will always win by locking in your rate.
A unique benefit of this card is the added flexibility and control it offers. It allows for unlimited online real time quotes, with the option to lock in a rate right up until you transact. To explain this benefit further, most travel cards allow you to exchange from AUD to an FX currency on only 2 occasions:
- At the time of loading your card with FX currency by depositing AUD; or
- At the time of transaction, but only if you do not have sufficient funds in your local FX currency. On these occasions, money is transferred from your default currency, which is usually set as AUD by the card provider and converted at the exchange rate at the time of the transaction. Of course this option is only open to you if you have sufficient funds in AUD. If not, funds may be exchanged from another FX currency that you may have loaded on the card, however not all travel cards allow for this and for those that don’t your transaction will likely be declined.
The HSBC Everyday Global Visa card allows for both options above, but with the first point, it takes the hassle away of other travel cards in that you don’t have to go to a special portal and load funds onto your travel card, and if you want a fee-free option to do this, would generally have to wait anywhere between 1-3 business days.
With the HSBC Everyday Global card, as long as you have sufficient funds in your Everyday Global Transaction account, funds are exchanged from AUD into your nominated FX currency at the online real-time rate and are immediately available to you at no transaction cost, with only FX margins will be applied as per other travel cards. More information on FX comparison rates are shown later in this guide.
What FX rate will be applied?
There are two types of FX rates that can be applied, the HSBC rate and the Visa rate. The rate that is applied will be determined by one of three scenarios:
- Pre-load a supported currency onto your card at anytime prior to the transaction
If you decide to pre-load funds onto your card prior to any transaction, as is the case with most travel cards, then your AUD will be converted at the HSBC rate at the time of loading, but note that this option is only available for the 10 supported currencies shown above.
Exchanging for a supported currency at the time of transacting
If you are transacting in one of the supported currencies without having had pre-loaded this currency onto your card before making the transaction, then your AUD will be converted at the HSBC rate at the time of transacting.
Exchanging for a non-supported currency at the time of transacting
If you are transacting in a non-supported currency, then your AUD will be converted at the Visa rate at the time of transacting.
The card can also be used around the world, even in currencies which are not immediately available above. In such circumstances, the transaction will occur in the ‘control currency’, which by default is the AUD.
While this card has attractive ‘no fee’ features, remember to look at the exchange rate that you are receiving to determine whether you are in fact getting value, or if there are better alternatives to accessing foreign cash, such as alternative prepaid travel cards, or taking some physical cash obtained from a competitive FX provider.
How does the card compare to its competitors?
The main cards in the prepaid travel market include:
- ANZ Travel Card
- CashPassport Mastercard
- NAB Traveller Card
- Qantas Cash
- Travelex Money Card
- Velocity Global Wallet
Similar to the above cards, the card does not charge any annual or international ATM fees. In addition to this however, the card is also free of any load and currency conversion fees, making it very price competitive.
Unlike the Qantas Cash or Velocity Global Wallet cards however, no frequent flyer points are earned on use, but remember to check the foreign exchange rate you are receiving from these providers to ensure that the value of the points earned is not eroded by uncompetitive exchange rates.
The HSBC Everyday Global Account Visa Card is an attractive proposition for those looking for a simple way to have maximum flexibility and control in locking in FX rates. Your AUD funds are transferred from your Global Everyday Transaction account into your nominated FX currency, and the FX funds will become immediately available without incurring any additional load fees for gaining immediate access to these funds.
The card is fee-free across the board, making it very price competitive, but remember to check the foreign exchange rate that you are receiving to determine whether you are indeed getting value over exchanging AUD from traditional foreign currency providers.
Drawbacks include the fact that you can lose out if the AUD strengthens after you load up the card, however this issue applies to all prepaid travel cards. The other drawback is that no frequent flyer points are earned on overseas transactions, with Qantas Cash or Velocity Global Wallet being your choices in this case. Again, the warning to review the exchange rate you are receiving applies here as well.
Overall, this card is worthy of consideration, especially for those looking to link an everyday transaction account to the card, something that it missing with its competitors solely in the travel card space.