HSBC to go ahead with €5 monthly charge on customer accounts

Bank claims that 75% of its existing customer base will be exempt from this fee

HSBC Malta have confirmed that they will be proceeding with the introduction of a monthly €5 customer account fee, which will be applicable only to personal banking customers. 

The bank said that approximately 75% of its existing customer base will not be impacted by the introduction of the fee as they already meet one of the exemption criteria set forward. 

Customers paying in a minimum of €2,300 (€1,250 for account-holders aged 61 and over) over a three-month period into any of their current or savings account will be excluded from paying the fee, as will customers receiving a disability, medical sickness or unemployment benefit directly into their HSBC bank account. 

Those receiving a local Social Security pension directly into their bank account will also be exempt from the charge. If a part of the customer's localy pension pays for their elderly home expenses, while the remainder is paid directly into their HSBC bank account, that customer will be exempt from the fee.

Further exemptions will be in place for customers already paying a monthly HSBC Advance proposition fee, and those holding a Home Loan, Home Owner Loan, Personal Loan, or Wealth Product distributed through HSBC.

Students up to 25 years of age and following a full-time program of studies will also be exempt. 

Following discussions with authorities over the bank fee, three further exemptions will be added to the list:

  • Customers only holding a Term Deposit account with HSBC will be exempt from the charge
  • Customers registered with the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability but not eligible for a Social Security Disability benefit, will be exempt so far as they provide relevant documentation to the bank
  • Customers in part-time employment, with their salary paid directly into their HSBC account, will be exempt as long as they provide the bank with the relevant documentation

Crawford Prentice, Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, said that the bank needs to concede that the banking environment has changed, and that the costs associated with operating a bank account have changed as well.

“The introduction of this fee, which has been designed to give customers a choice, will partially cover that cost,” he said.

The bank experienced major backlash over the €5 fee, with the Consumers' Association arguing that it unfairly targets low-income earners and pensioners. HSBC ended up suspending the fee, and went on to hold discussions with the Central Bank of Malta and the MFSA over the matter. 

READ ALSO: HSBC suspends €5 customer fee pending talks with Central Bank, MFSA