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HSBC Newcomers Program Review

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The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will be purchasing HSBC Canada. As a result, HSBC products will be discontinued shortly. Please refer to the best high-interest savings accounts in Canada or the best credit cards in Canada for alternatives.

If you’ve recently moved to Canada, setting up a new bank account is likely one of the first things on your (long) to-do list. It’s also probably one of the most time-consuming and confusing. No matter how much you’re dreading that first trip to the bank, it’s definitely something that you’ll want to do sooner than later. Like anywhere else in the world, Canadians rely on their bank accounts. A lot.

Fortunately, at the cost of a little bit of research, you’ll find several options designed to ease the stress that many new residents feel when it comes to finances. As an international establishment, HSBC offers many exciting options that transcend geography. The HSBC Newcomers Program is an important program that all newcomers should be aware of — let’s take a look at what makes it stand out.

HSBC Newcomers Program

The HSBC Newcomers Program offers chequing accounts and credit card products to new arrivals in Canada. When someone moves overseas, their credit history often does not follow them. This lack of credit can make it difficult to obtain banking programs. The HSBC Newcomers solves this problem by targeting individuals without a Canadian credit history.

The HSBC Newcomers Program offers an opportunity to open a chequing account and build a credit history within Canada.

HSBC Advance Chequing Account

The HSBC Advance Chequing Account is the bank’s standard offering, but even at baseline, it comes with plenty to offer. Account holders enjoy no monthly fees provided a balance of $5,000 or more is maintained. The monthly fee will also be waived for any customer who holds a mortgage with HSBC Bank Canada for $150,000 or more. Otherwise, the monthly fee is $25.

HSBC Advance Chequing Account customers also have access to free ATM withdrawals at more than 3,000 country-wide locations and five monthly rebates for using non-HSBC ATMs. Unlimited free Interac e-Transfers are also available. This account is capable of sending international money transfers.

HSBC Premier Chequing Account

As its name would suggest, the HSBC Premier Chequing Account offers many perks to its customers. Premier customers gain access to financial advice through a Premier Relationship Manager who can help them navigate their everyday banking needs. They also receive dedicated phone support and access to unique discounts and rebates from companies worldwide.

Premier customers enjoy no monthly bank fees provided they meet one of the following criteria:

  • They have more than $100,000 of investments with HSBC Canada
  • They hold a mortgage with HSBC Canada for $500,000 or more
  • They have deposits of income of $6,500 or more within a month (and also have at least $100,000 in assets managed within Canada)
  • If they were Premier in their home country before moving to Canada

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

The HSBC World Elite Mastercard is a travel rewards credit card offered to HSBC customers. Cardholders receive 3% in travel rewards on any purchase they back that is travel-related. Plus, they don’t have any foreign exchange fees — only the default exchange rate.

The annual fee for this card is $149, but it’s often waived for the first year.

HSBC World Elite Mastercard

HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

  • 3% Earn 3% back in travel rewards on travel-related purchases.
  • 2% Earn 2% in travel rewards on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases.
  • 1% Earn 1% on all other purchases.

  • Welcome Offer None
  • Annual Rewards $310 Learn how we calculate this.
  • Annual Fee $149 (first year waived)
  • Minimum Income Required Individual: $80,000 Household: $150,000

Other accounts available

Aside from the aforementioned products, HSBC also offers a student chequing account, a high-interest savings account, foreign currency accounts, mortgages (the New to Canada Mortgage Program), accounts for small businesses, and investment options.

Eligibility for the HSBC Newcomers Program

The HSBC Newcomers program is exclusively available for new Canadians. HSBC defines a new Canadian as a person who is not a Canadian citizen and who has obtained permanent resident (PR) status sometime within the past five years. They may also be someone with a permit to work or study in Canada.

How to open an HSBC chequing account for newcomers

Customers can open an account through the Newcomers to Canada program through an online application. They can also opt to do it in person or via telephone. It’s even possible to open the accounts before they depart their home country by visiting an HSBC brand in their current location.

The stipulations surrounding each account will vary depending on every individual’s situation, but every applicant should prepare the following documents:

  • Proof of a primary address that you’ve lived at for at least three years
  • Your employment details
  • Your income details
  • Your tax ID (if applicable)
  • Your photo ID (passport)
  • Proof of authorization to enter Canada
  • Email address and phone number
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To open an account, visit the HSBC website.

Pros and cons of the HSBC Newcomers Program


  • Possible to open an account before even arriving in Canada

  • Offers the opportunity to build a Canadian credit history

  • Easily send money between 30 countries

  • Foreign exchange services


  • Monthly transaction fees are expensive

  • Income requirements for waiving fees are high

  • HSBC-branded ATMs are not as common as other banks

Alternatives the the HSBC Chequing Account

Many of Canada’s Big Five banks offer a program for new residents of Canada. Some of these include RBC’s Newcomer Advantage, Scotiabank’s StartRight program, and CIBC’s Smart Account for Newcomers.

Final thoughts

It’s stressful to pull off an international move. Although its monthly account requirements might be hefty, there’s no denying that the HSBC Newcomer Program is a great choice for most newcomers, whether they’re a student or working a career. The fact that newcomers can open up their account before they’ve even landed on Canadian soil is a huge bonus — and one that only an international force like HSBC would be able to pull off.

Frequently asked questions

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