HSBC to make life easier for customers withdrawing cash abroad

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 October, 2013, 10:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 October, 2013, 11:55am

The wait is over for HSBC’s long suffering customers who have been unable to withdraw cash in many countries, particularly outside Asia, using their ATM cards.

HSBC will announce on Tuesday that customers can start applying for a new ATM card that uses the Plus payment network, which can be used in addition to the bank’s current ATM cards that use the China UnionPay payment system.

The arrival of the new card, will hopefully for HSBC, bring to an end what has been a hugely embarrassing saga for the bank.

HSBC customers have complained that on arriving in foreign countries they found that they were unable to use their ATM card to withdraw funds from their accounts. The reason for this is that although the China UnionPay card works in China and in most other parts of Asia, it is virtually useless outside the region, with some users reporting that the card didn’t even work at ATMs in Europe showing the China UnionPay logo.

Previously HSBC’s ATM cards used metallic strips that enabled customers to withdraw cash overseas at machines that accessed both China UnionPay and Plus payment networks.

But last year, in an effort to improve security, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority ordered banks issuing ATM cards in Hong Kong to adopt chip-based cards. These cards only use one global payment network and HSBC chose to adopt China Union Pay. Other banks displayed more foresight in providing customers with the option of two cards.

To apply for the new cards, customers can either download forms from the internet and take the forms in person to a branch or fill out the forms at a branch. It is expected to take at least six working days to receive the card, which will have to be collected by the customer.

Customers will be able to access their current and savings account when using it in Hong Kong and at HSBC ATM’s overseas. But the ATMs of other banks will not necessarily give customers access to both of their accounts. So where an ATM only allows the customer access to one account, funds will be withdrawn from the current account.