HSBC Global Money Account Review: Is It Any Good in 2024?

Byron Mühlberg, writer at

Byron Mühlberg


Feb 12, 2024
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The HSBC Global Money Account ('the GMA' for short) is HSBC's very own in-app multi-currency account, and although it's fast to set up and easy to use, it can be quite pricey all things considered.

In this short review, we go through what the GMA is, how it's different from other travel wallets and cards in the UK, and what its fees and exchange rates are like. Then, we decide whether we think it's worth it or not before highlighting a few alternatives instead.

What We Like

  • Available to all HSBC current account customers,
  • You can set it up in a few taps right from your mobile banking app,
  • More than 50 currencies are available,
  • No standard HSBC foreign transaction fees,
  • Built-in international money transfer feature.

What We Dislike

  • Hidden FX margins averaging from 6% to 8%,
  • Standing orders and direct debits not supported.
  • Overdraft not available.

What is the HSBC Global Money Account?

A standard prepaid debit card and account, the GMA lets you convert money in-app into over 50 foreign currencies and spend them with a VISA debit card in over 200 countries worldwide. It's nothing too special as far as travel wallets go, giving you all the basics you'd expect from a big bank like HSBC, but the number of foreign currencies it supports (over 50) is quite impressive and more extensive than most other options on the market.

HSBC Global Money Account Features

When you sign up for your GMA, you'll get access to all of the following perks and features at your fingertips:

  • a VISA debit card (a virtual version will be available right away and a physical one will be sent by mail to your door),
  • currency balances available in over 50 foreign currencies right from your Mobile Banking app,
  • in-app chat feature and push notifications,
  • funding possible from any other HSBC UK account,
  • international money transfers without service fees (though FX margins still apply),
  • live exchange rate reporting.

Here are the main features that the GMA doesn't include:

  • overdraft,
  • interest,
  • direct debits,
  • standing orders,
  • joint account.

Another thing to note is that if you lose your card while travelling, you'll need to call HSBC directly, as there's also no in-app card-blocking feature in the GMA.

How the HSBC Global Money Account Works

Here's a step-by-step overview of how to sign up for the GMA, assuming you're already an HSBC customer:

  1. open your 'Mobile Banking' app,
  2. go to the accounts section of the app,
  3. tap 'International Services' from the menu at the bottom,
  4. select 'Global Money',
  5. follow the instructions to finish setting up your GMA.

HSBC Global Money Account Fees

Using the HSBC Global Money Account Review to spend your pounds overseas is not necessarily much cheaper than using your ordinary HSBC debit card directly without the account. That's because, although it allows you to dodge the 2.99% currency conversion fee that's incurred by most HSBC debit card purchases abroad, you'll still need to pay the standard HSBC exchange rates. Here's a breakdown of what you are (and are not) charged by HSBC when using the Global Money Account:

Currency Conversion Fees

The HSBC Global Money Account Review charges no currency conversion fee whatsoever. This lets you sidestep the standard 2.99% fee on most HSBC debit cards.

Exchange Rates

The moment you convert your British pounds to another currency, HSBC charges you an exchange rate margin — a type of hidden fee that emerges when you pay the bank's exchange rate while the bank itself uses the mid-market exchange rate (i.e. the 'real' exchange rate you find on Google). To illustrate, here was the mid-market exchange rate for both currencies at the original time of writing this article (31 August 2023 at 15:00 GMT +2):

  • GBPEUR: 1.168624186
  • GBPUSD: 1.267234
  • GBPNOK: 13.48664

but here were HSBC's exchange rates at the same moment:

  • GBPEUR: 1.1123
  • GBPUSD: 1.2141
  • GBPNOK: 12.3426

Looking at the difference between these rates, we can see that HSBC charges margins of 4.8% for euros, 4.2% for US dollars, and a whopping 8.5% for Norwegian kroner. While this margin might fluctuate slightly, after analysing HSBC's exchange rates for over 20 currencies, we found that it's reasonable to assume you'll get a rate between 4% and 10% of the total value of your transaction when converting currencies, which, in our opinion, is very pricey for a travel card.

ATM Withdrawal Fees

Just like standard currency conversion fees, the HSBC Global Money Account charges no ATM withdrawal fees (which again allows you to dodge the same 2.99% fee that impacts cashpoint withdrawals with most standard HSBC debit cards).

How Does the GMA Compare?

The HSBC Global Money Account is a simple in-app travel solution whose exchange rates are quite high. But how does it compare to other travel card options in the UK? Let's go through a few below:


Probably the UK's most famous fintech, there's a good chance you've heard of Revolut. Using its innovative online platform, you'll not only have access to a broad range of financial services, but you'll also be able to take advantage of these services at a comparatively low price (though fair use limits and weekend FX surcharges may apply). However, Revolut is a travel card and not a bank in the UK, meaning we think it's best used as a powerful spending tool next to a main bank account instead of in place of it.

  • In-Balance Currencies: USD, EUR, CAD, SEK, NOK, DKK, CHF, and 25+ others
  • Foreign Currency Conversion Fee: £0
  • Exchange Rate Margin: 0%-2%
  • Foreign ATM Fee: 0%


Wise isn't a bank in the UK but a money transfer operator that's well-known for offering some of the cheapest international transfers globally. However, money transfers aren't Wise's only speciality — they also offer the Wise Account, a low-cost foreign currency spending account and card product that's best in class for foreign currency spending of all kinds, whether it's holidays overseas, online shopping, or international money transfers.

  • In-Balance Currencies: USD, EUR, CAD, SEK, NOK, DKK, CHF, and 45+ others
  • Foreign Currency Conversion Fee: 0.35% - 2.85%
  • Exchange Rate Margin: 0%
  • Foreign ATM Fee: 0%

Is the HSBC Global Money Account Worth It?

Overall, we think the GMA is a viable, albeit expensive option for HSBC customers travelling abroad, and we'd generally only recommend using it if you're happy with HSBC as a banking partner and don't mind paying the higher margins. (Keep in mind that HSBC's margins to popular currencies like the US dollar and euro are more palatable than those for less popular currencies, for which using the GMA becomes downright expensive.) The high exchange rates of upwards of 4% make HSBC a comparatively expensive travel card, not just when stacked against leading prepaid debit cards and other travel card options on the UK market, but even when compared to other banks like Barclays.

Therefore, if saving money is important to you, you can find much better deals elsewhere. We particularly recommend Revolut, whose debit card comes with no monthly fee, very good rates for foreign currency spending, and the capability to hold over 30 foreign currency balances in your app-based account.

How Does the HSBC Global Money Account Compare?

As we've seen, the HSBC Global Money Account isn't the only kid on the block regarding low-cost overseas spending. See how it stacks up against a few of the best travel cards in the UK below:


Starling Bank



In-Balance Currencies





Conversion Fee




0.35% - 2.85%

FX Margin










Virtual Card





Card Delivery Fee





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