Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

How saving a few cent will loose you big bucks - HSBC Internet Banking Blues

I'm a customer of a number of banks. HSBC being one of them. I also hardly visit any bank branches. I do my business online. I like HSBC's site. It is easy to use and fully functional (Short of a glitch that doesn't allow to set a date for all type of transactions). In recent years all the banks have added additional security to their online login by requiring a security token besides your user name and password. This token is either generated by a little gadget or send via SMS to your mobile phone. HSBC choose the first option (while some smarter banks actually let you choose what option you like). The token vendor they picked seems to be on the cheap site and with 99% probability the devices' internal clock will get out of sync with the security server (about every 2-3 month), so you can't login. A call to the help-desk fixes that, but it takes 3-4 hours.
In other words: you can't depend on the availability of HSBC Internet banking when you need or want it. I chatted a little with the help desk guy who was very pleasant to talk to and highlighted that this problem dents HSBC's reputation. So I asked if I'm just dumb out of luck or the problem is widespread. He admitted, that *all* HSBC Internet banking customers will experience that type of problem (Guess that's why there was a specific option in the voice menu just for that). I'm now seriously considering to close my account since I'm not amused. All other bank tokens I use(d) never fail(ed).
Note to HSBC: Fix the problem or loose customers

Posted by on 01 July 2009 | Comments (2) | categories: Business


  1. posted by Viren on Friday 03 July 2009 AD:
    I use the DBS online banking, they have both the options, since I have been overseas for a while, I chose the first one and the token generator (from RSA i guess) has been working perfectly for over 2.5 years now.
  2. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Monday 20 July 2009 AD:
    Viren, you must be a customer with a different DBS Bank than the one I know. According to their website: { Link } they only offer the RSA token but not the SMS option. Only OCBC does offer three options: { Link }