View Full Version : HSBC cards no longer work in many overseas ATMs

12th May 2013, 07:36
HSBC customers have complained the bank has made it more difficult to draw out money abroad.

Many on business trips or holidays have said they were unable to get their hands on their cash from ATM machines.

That's because the bank has switched to chip-embedded cards that connect to a single global payment network.

Previously, access was provided to the Link or Plus networks. Plus is owned by Visa and claims to have access to 1 million ATMs in 170 countries. But HSBC has chosen China's UnionPay as its network provider for the new chip cards.

One Hong Kong resident told the Sunday Morning Post: "Since the issuing of new cards, I have been in London, Istanbul, Tokyo, Morocco, Vancouver, Vienna and Paris.

"I had no joy getting cash in any of them. It always said card error, card invalid, or simply spit the card back out with no explanation."

HSBC did not reply when asked whether changing from Plus and Link would mean customers would have access to fewer banks worldwide.

The Monetary Authority has instructed all banks in Hong Kong to adopt the chip-based technology for ATM cards.

The new cards have an embedded microchip on the face, but retain the magnetic stripe on the back. The new technology is designed to make it harder for criminals to use stolen data to manufacture fake cards.

But in adopting the technology, several major banks forced customers onto the UnionPay network this year, instead of the Plus system.

The UnionPay network was launched on the mainland in 2002 and is operated under the supervision of the People's Bank of China. UnionPay cards are accepted at merchants and ATMs in 141 countries.

But Hongkongers say UnionPay is a poor substitute for Plus and Link, as it is not recognised by as many banks worldwide.

UnionPay-friendly terminals outside Asia can be difficult to find. Even if you do locate one, it may not have been updated to handle the new cards.

HSBC said customers would encounter problems if they had not yet activated their ATM overseas cash withdrawal limit - a new procedure put in place by the bank to improve security.

But customers said it was the change from using the Plus and Link networks to UnionPay that was causing the problems. An Australian resident in Hong Kong said only National Bank, Citibank and HSBC would accept the card in his home country.

An industry source said HSBC put the networks out to tender and decided which one to use based on the best deal.

An HSBC spokesman said: "For security reasons, we are allowed to link to only one pay system - we use UnionPay."

He added that ATM card customers can withdraw cash from all HSBC ATMs in the world - except in Argentina, Brazil, France, Greece, Malta, New Zealand, Panama and Turkey - as well as from ATMs covered by the UnionPay network.

The bank aims to complete the card replacement process by the end of March next year.

A Monetary Authority spokesman said it was a purely commercial decision for a bank to choose which network they used.


12th May 2013, 07:54
I've been left cashless abroad because of this change, and has taken my loathing for HSBC to new lows. Of course, you CAN draw cash on your credit card.....funny how the method that still makes them money off you still works!
Will be closing all my accounts with this utterly contemptible bank soon.:yuk:

12th May 2013, 07:56
Yeah what a pain the [email protected]<hidden>@<hidden> that is!!:* I went to Europe in February and couldn't access my bank account, had to live off the credit card for everything. Very annoying to say the least!

However, there is a way around this. You can link your savings account to your Visa card together with a pin. This will then enable you to access your savings through any Plus ATM, just like the old days :O

Bottom line is that, if something makes sense and makes your life easy, then HSBC will say CANNOT-LA!

12th May 2013, 09:05
I was in Canada and tried to withdraw from my HK savings account using my HSBC visa card. The machine sat thinking for about 5 minutes and then swallowed my card. Tried to get the bank to give it back but they said it was automatically destroyed when the machine took it. I Had to get it declared lost/stolen with HSBC and then a new one was issued - for a fee of course. All my autopays had to be changed.

HSBC customer service was USELESS! :mad:

Complete nightmare.

Side note - new policy with HSBC, you have have to set up your card to allow overseas withdrawals from now on.This can only be done at any HSBC ATM in Hong Kong. I did this with my new card and with trepidation tried another withdrawal on my next visit to Canada. Thankfully everything worked fine this time.

12th May 2013, 09:09
It seems as if I had a very lucky escape, as I almost changed to HSBC last year after a series of problems with my own bank. I had an intuitive feeling about 'the devil you know' and my intuition was correct.

12th May 2013, 10:33
I arrived in Istanbul a fortnight ago after 'setting up o/s ATM limits' to find that my card would not work in ANY ATM, not the HSBC, Citibank or even Union Pay machines as it constantly came back with "chip card error".

THEN I was delighted to find that HSBC 'the worlds bank' wouldn't change RMB or HKD!

Thankfully the branch manager there was patient and worked non-stop for 5 hours against HSBC HK to get an 'emergency encashment' for me.

I'm changing to Citibank!

crwkunt roll
12th May 2013, 10:45
Also inconvenienced by the above. We were all informed of this new security measure however, and as usual, most of us just wipe our arses with any correspondance from these pr1cks, instead of actually reading it.

broadband circuit
12th May 2013, 12:37
He added that ATM card customers can withdraw cash from all HSBC ATMs in the world

Flat out lie....

12th May 2013, 17:13
It would be a lie if he'd said that. I'm not trying to defend HSBC :E but the article actually said:

"He added that ATM card customers can withdraw cash from all HSBC ATMs in the world - except in Argentina, Brazil, France, Greece, Malta, New Zealand, Panama and Turkey - as well as from ATMs covered by the UnionPay network."

For those who haven't set their overseas withdrawl limit, you DO NOT need to do so on an HSBC ATM in Hong Kong. You can do it online very easily, I just did mine a minute ago.

12th May 2013, 20:43
Down in OZ and have I the same problem. Tried Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac(the 3 biggest banks in OZ - ) and it wouldn't work. Rang HSBC and they gave me the location of the nearest HSBC ATM - just a few hundred miles away. However, they do work in most NAB ATM's, which although not prolific, may save some pain.

The situation is, as the SCMP reports, due to the switch to the Union Pay system, the Chinese based and CONTROLLED provider. I won't go down the trust road.

I also noted the apparent deflection from the main issue by HSBC spin doctors in bringing in such things as the requirement to activate the ATM for overseas transactions. HSBC and Cx Corporate Communications staff must go to the same Spin School.

12th May 2013, 21:26
I ran into the same problem in Germany. I tried Deutsche Bank with no joy. Volksbank didn't work either. The only bank that worked was Sparkasse. The world's local bank, don't think so.
As an aside, has anyone figured out a decent car rental place in Frankfurt. I couldn't rent a car from the Lufthansa Carpool. CX is no longer on the list.

12th May 2013, 22:20
I was surprised to fine that on my annual trip to Italy the regular ATMs I used were not now accepting my card. On trying other ATM's nothing.

Called HSBC and they said no banks in Italy now worked. Well thanks for telling me! I had spent hours prior to my trip ensuring HSBC security knew I would be using my cards in Italy and so please don't cancel them ( as they've done before ).

I had to use the emergence cash advance off my credit card to get money. HSBC waived the charges after my phone fury! Deutche BAnk was the only bank that could do this and I had the branch manager and deputy manager at work trying to make it happen. They said HSBC was a very difficult bank to do business with and the whole process took hours instead of the normal 1o minutes.

13th May 2013, 03:08
You can add Indonesia to the list of countries where your HSBC cards won't work. The only ATMs that will handle them are HSBC and Citibank, which are very few and far between.

Also, standard chartered also uses union pay, so no joy there. If anyone can come up with a non union pay bank in HK it would be much appreciated.

13th May 2013, 04:41
On this trip.. Chile and Hawaii.. No joy.. Only happend to have decent funds in another account which worked.
I can believe what absolute c*nts HSBC is to try this.. They are supposed to be a world bank

otis cornbread
13th May 2013, 05:26
Just came back from Mexico and was denied at an HSBC bank machine there.

13th May 2013, 05:49
I always assumed that the HSBC card would not be honored by overseas banks other than HSBC ATM machines.
Never been disappointed.

Now cancelled HSBC for other reasons, glf

13th May 2013, 06:46
What do you expect from a company that launders money for Mexican drug cartels and as yet has still to be properly punished for it. Not to mention the role they play in illegally naked short selling gold and silver prices. This institution like most other banks you find in HK is an utterly contemptible institution with zero shame!

13th May 2013, 08:19
Okay hope this helps
For any ATM that displays cirrus or plus cards accepted, simply use your credit cards along with PIN and it will give you the opportunity to withdraw cash from your savings with No charges, or so they say, It works , but I have yet to see if there are any charges applied If there are I will be phoning the bank to complain but I was assured that charges would to be raised

For anyone in Canada use HSBC or Scotia Bank with your new chipped ATM card which will work with either bank.

I have had some issues in the states and had to use my credit cards,

oz in dxb
13th May 2013, 09:16
And I thought that the UAE HSBC was bad!!!!

13th May 2013, 09:18
This where the cards should work.

Destinations-UnionPay (http://en.unionpay.com/englobalization/all_globzlization/index.html)

Im glad to see that it will work in Zimbabwe and Iraq...yeah..:mad::ugh:

13th May 2013, 09:19
Which Kong kong bank card works everywhere? Standard charter? Citi bank?

13th May 2013, 12:49
I must say that I did not actually click on any of the country links...but I would not expect anything less than that from such a high class institution.

13th May 2013, 13:08

Just a reminder of the scumbags that are HSBC.

13th May 2013, 15:06
How timely....

After several recent trips overseas, I lost it last week after finally locating a Union Pay ATM in Canada only to be rejected yet again. I telephoned HSBC to lodge a complaint. I told them how rediculous it was that the main banking facility from an international city such as Hong Kong is peddling customers a bank card that is totally useless outside Hong Kong. It would be laughable if not so inconvenient to people stuck abroad without access to their hard earned funds. What mid-level manager thinking was allowed to run amok and come up with this stupidity? Who approved this?

The inertia that HSBC was running on has apparently dissipated......

14th May 2013, 04:57
How is DBS, or any of the other banks here? any experience? I was stuck in Chile with no ATM servies from HSBC.

seat 0A
14th May 2013, 12:57
Is this strictly a problem for HKG HSBC cards?
I have an HSBC account in Malta and that works just fine all over the place.

Mach .80
14th May 2013, 19:01
Had problems withdrawing money in Cyprus couple of months ago.


14th May 2013, 19:41
I assume there were two reasons that HSBC changed to UnionPay.

1) It is cheaper for them. They need to economise everywhere in their business as they keep losing a bundle on investment banking.

2) Beijing said if you want to continue to do business in HK here is our system and you will use it. We shall give you a really good deal on it.

As a business strategy it makes sense. As a tactical improvement to clients it is a joke.

Mysteriously in Africa there are many banks that accept UnionPay. I guess it is so that the hundreds of thousands of engineers, bankers, developers and assorted hangers on can get a wad out of an ATM.

Go with the flow.

15th May 2013, 04:31
Is this related to the overseas banking approval that was required to be given months ago? I got some crap in the mail about it too.

I did it when it popped up during a transaction using a HK HSBC ATM. I can't remember exactly what it was for but it definitely had something to do with withdrawing money from overseas ATMs it may have just been the allowed daily amount of $$$ but if its defaulted to $0 and activated recently perhaps this is the problem.

However I did have an issue with an ATM in Brisbane arrivals but the departures level was fine (ANZ bank ATM).

broadband circuit
15th May 2013, 04:46
Mysteriously in Africa there are many banks that accept UnionPay.

Unfortunately not in Sth Africa.

Doesn't work at HSBC ATMs in France either.

15th May 2013, 04:59
Mysteriously in Africa there are many banks that accept UnionPay.

Not so mysterious if you consider China's neocolonial ambitions for the Dark Continent.

Any bank that makes you feel it's a rare privilege for you to meet with your money is a den of thieves. As it not-so-shockingly turns out... that's precisely what HSBC are. We're also fishing for alternatives. For one, no mortgages with HSBC, second, taking advantage of HSBC's precious metals paper dump to transfer digi dollars to cold hard metal. HSBC have decided to be gigantic pricks. We'll treat them accordingly.

15th May 2013, 05:19
I am moving to Standard Charter, not to big a fan of City Bank, ( big bail out recipient) but I am keeping my H.S.B.C account open with H.K.$ 99. From being a Premier member to annoying them with less then $ 100 might get their attention, if not just to irritate them to run such a small account.

15th May 2013, 20:48
Broadband, ABSA is UnionPay compliant, I have used my HSBC card with them a couple of times for HK cash.

There may be others but Standard Bank (different from Standard Chartered as you know but others who read here may not...) will not accept the Chinese card processor.

Black Cloud
16th May 2013, 03:21
Hot Smelly Bottom Corporation

29th May 2013, 11:24
Its time to occupy HSBC.

They are by far the Worlds Worst Bank - The only local bit is their thinking!
They provide no service - eg the cash cards/ATMS
Charge every which way - eg cash cards/ATMS
Embezzeled using the LIBOR rate fixing - admitted to the UK Govt and fined
Help launder money - admitted guilt in the US and fined.
Their Internet Banking has more roadblocks than the road from Baghdad Airport to the City.

29th May 2013, 11:24
And no one at the top is fired or goes to jail......

29th May 2013, 14:33
Just like Starbucks, or McDonalds.

So do not expect to receive a world wide quality of service.

Sorry that's what you do get from the FF Franchises.


29th May 2013, 15:15
This is not new. I held an ATM card with HSBC, previously Martins bank in Jersey since the late '60's and then several years ago it would not work in Canada or the US, where I just happen to live??

Many letters and 'phone calls that never got me to the letter signer?? and even a vist to their fancy New York empire, nothing happened and no change.

Pulled my account from Jersey and the wifes, not small, account from the UK never to do business with them again.

The lack of service together with the huge charges, for anything, make them a bank to be avoided at all cost. I am sure there may be others but HSBC have been doing this for many years.

Speedbird 48.

30th May 2013, 02:01
In South Africa you can only use FNB (First National Bank) with the new UnionPay card. Max ATM withdrawal is R2000 with a transaction fee of R25 per withdrawal.

30th May 2013, 06:07
I take it you guys haven't been in HK for a few months? Every time I've stuck my card in an ATM here for the past few months its warned me to activate the overseas ATM function.
Easy to do and no probs with the card anywhere once it was done.
Not sure what all the fuss is about. :rolleyes:

30th May 2013, 06:17
Has anyone tried linking your visa card with your savings? Does that work?

30th May 2013, 06:31
Not a matter of activating it mate, it's that UnionPass doesn't exist in most other places.. Pairing your visa to your savings.. Works for now

30th May 2013, 07:00

In answer to your post yes you can link your credit card to savings . In fact it is not necessary it's done automatically but perhaps worth contacting the bank to confirm: see my post on previous page .
Anywhere you have a PLUS or cirrus displayed on an ATM simply use your credit card which then has a link to withdraw from savings . No bank charges other than the usual $25 per transaction

30th May 2013, 10:03
Thanks. By the way the charges are $40 now!:ok:

7th Jun 2013, 12:25
HSBC apologises for UnionPay ATM-card fiasco in Hong Kong

Ever since HSBC started sending out its new ATM cards with an embedded chip, internet chat rooms and our own organ's letters page have been humming with disgruntled HSBC customer complaints. The problem is that customers have been unable use the card to withdraw cash from their accounts in many parts of the world, aside from the mainland.

Lai See approached HSBC to ascertain what progress they were making in finding a solution to the current mess. They responded by saying:

"We apologise to the customers who have been inconvenienced by the new arrangement. Customer feedback is important to us. We are working on improving the ATM access in markets including those mentioned by your readers and we hope more details can be provided soon. Similar to most banks in Hong Kong, UnionPay was chosen as the network provider for ATM chip cards. A majority of our customers increasingly uses cash withdrawal services in China and Asia. We encourage customers who have encountered problems in markets covered by UnionPay's network to contact us so we can investigate the cases individually. In the meantime, HSBC customers can link their bank accounts to their Visa/MasterCard credit card to use the ATM services of the PLUS/Cirrus network."

HSBC's problems started when it issued the new cards with only one global payment network - UnionPay. Previously it used the Plus network which can be used more widely than UnionPay. Banks issuing ATM cards in Hong Kong were instructed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to adopt chip-based ATM cards to increase the security of the card. In an earlier story by the SCMP, an HSBC spokesman said: "For security reasons, we are allowed to link to only one pay system. We use UnionPay."

A Hong Kong Monetary Authority spokesman said it did not insist on this requirement and when asked to elaborate HSBC responded: "UnionPay was chosen as the sole ATM network provider for our chip cards as part of an agreement the details of which are confidential."

Chip-embedded ATM cards issued by other banks in Hong Kong appear to have only one international payment network on their cards. But they appear to have avoided the mess that HSBC has ended up in by giving its customers a choice of cards.

Standard Chartered, for example, offers a card connected to the Jetco payment network for use in Hong Kong and Cirrus for international use. It also has a card with both Jetco and UnionPay. This may well be the path which HSBC will have to adopt. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: "You can always count on them to do the right thing, having tried everything else."


7th Jun 2013, 14:42
Before departing on leave i confirmed with the bank that my accounts were linked to my Visa card.....
Well...arriving at an overseas drive through teller, I tried to use my Visa card to withdraw cash and it was denied. I left the bank in frustration.
I returned to the branch a few minutes later and fortunately my ATM card worked....
This fiasco has proven to be a real frustration. The responsible party at HSBC should be sanctioned.

B Leigh
8th Jun 2013, 04:53
Having had a Smartvantage account with HSBC HK for a few years, I've been using their old magnetic stripe ATM card at HSBC branches in Brazil, primarily in Florianopolis where I spend most of the year. I've never had a problem withdrawing Brazilian currency (reais) from any local HSBC ATM.

The conversion to chip-based cards by all HK banks is old news. I just received my new HSBC HK chip card. I was forewarned that it would not yet work at HSBC branches in Brazil, but, that it would work on any ATM machines on the UnionPay network. In Brazil that consists of Banco Itau S/A and some Citibank branches I think.

If I may backtrack a moment, I also have an account with DBS bank in Hong Kong and received their ATM card not long ago. Given that there are no DBS Bank branches in Brazil, I was advised that their card would also function via the UnionPay network. I promptly brought the DBS card to an Itau ATM, activated it, and withdrew funds without any problem. That was several weeks ago.

That said, today I brought my HSBC ATM chip card to the same Itau UnionPay ATM, which was wholly unable to even read the card. I had already reactivated my overseas transaction limits and knew there was and is no problem there. More to the point, this UnionPay ATM, which had no problem reading and transacting with the DBS Bank ATM chip card, could not even read the HSBC ATM chip card.

I phoned the HSBC HK customer service and explained the problem. The customer service agent told me that the UnionPay network was not active in Brazil yet. I assured her that the DBS ATM cards with chips worked just fine in Brazil and her response was to tell me to fly to Argentina and activate my card at a Citibank branch in BsAs. She had no idea whether or not a flight of that distance was easy for me or not. I told her that Brazil is a very large country (which is it) and that, as a consumer, a flight of that length is both time-consuming and expensive... and seemed wholly unreasonable just to activate an ATM card. The bottom line... at this point, there is no solid timeline for when these cards will function seamlessly in many jurisdictions, including Brazil.

What I find odd is that the DBS ATM card works fine in Brazil on the UnionPay network, while the HSBC ATM card does not. :ugh:

17th Jul 2013, 12:47
BECAREFUL GUYS... aboout going overseas with HSBC cards... YOU NEED A OVERSEAS PIN.

This was cut and paste from SCMP, about a guy who went overseas to England..(btw overseas does not include China:})

One day a customer is going to go POSTAL on HSBC..

HSBC: The hardly serious banking corporation

It seemed simple. Pop into HSBC on a visit to England – it’s “The world’s local bank,” - and check my account. I poked my HSBC card into the Taunton HSBC ATM and got my balance, but no option for mini-statement to show recent transactions. Inside the helpful branch manager, Ivan, ushered me to a different machine – but still only the balance. The machine offered me cash. Important to remember this – my pin number was definitely working when I entered the bank. Ivan suggested a quick call to Hong Kong from the “Premier Suite”, which he said housed the branches only international phone line. It took 15 minutes to get it to work.

Remember this was not me calling cold from a mountain top, but an HSBC branch manager calling the mother ship. Someone in Hong Kong Premier Telephone Banking Centre answered and hung up, three times. It was clearly Ivan’s first experience of HSBC’s phone banking. “Sorry, I’m learning something here,” he said, trying to be upbeat. Finally, Benny at HSBC premier telephone banking answered and got my account number correct at the fourth attempt.

“Please input your phone banking pin,” he said. I replied I didn’t do phone banking. Benny said he could not identify me then. Ivan grabbed the phone and explained identification was already done. Punch in your ATM pin then, said Benny. Four times he said it was invalid. This was the same pin that had given me a balance and offered cash 20 minutes earlier. How could it suddenly be invalid? I’m sorry, said Ivan, squirming. Benny reluctantly put me onto his superior, Ivy Cheung, who refused to accept it was really me. Ivan was by now incandescent. He seized the phone and begged Ivy to assist. “How can I help the customer? Her request is very simple,” he implored: “What is wrong with the phone banking system? Security has been cleared.” But Ivy kept repeating the mantra “invalid pin.”

I gave up. Ivan really wanted to help. “Can I go the extra mile? I will speak to someone centrally.” On the way out he stopped me at the ATM, saying: ”I’m a fatalist and this is 2013, so let’s just try the machine and check that your card still works.” Try withdrawing a little bit of cash, he said. “I just wonder if they’ve done something silly with your card.” Ivan’s premonition was right. The ATM spat out the card.

Later Terry, claiming to be my relationship manager in Hong Kong, rang, telling me this was my fault for going overseas without getting an overseas pin. Overseas pin? I went to Shanghai in early March, no overseas pin needed. “Since March 1 you need to register for an overseas pin.” News to me. “Its’ OK, you can “re-set” your pin for overseas now,” said Terry hastily. ”Re-set?” But I never changed it. Aha. So it would seem the Premier Phone Banking Centre had indeed managed to “invalidate” my pin. ”Just input in your old pin now, that will do,” said Terry. Nice try guys. Amazingly, the card now works again. I went back to Taunton HSBC to thank Ivan. He gave me an Easter egg to say sorry. What else, but a "Flake" one. Compliments of HSBC.


19th Jul 2013, 20:32
So when you call in you wsill see the same product on display amd prepared with loving care.

But just try to ask to go into one branch, and order for collection at another.

just my portion of fries worth....


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