USD account HSBC/Barclays & Transferwise/revolut

Hi,

I am considering to open a USD account with either HSBC or Barclays here in the UK. I need to be able to make/receive payments from an investment account I hold in the US and this would make life much easier (and cheaper too).

Now, of course I need to get my GBP to and from the USD account at some point without getting stuffed on 2.5+% mark-ups. So I figured to use transferwise (or revolut) to make the actual conversion. So, for an outgoing payment, I would transfer GBP from my main current account to transferwise. Exchange it there, make the USD payment to the USD HSBS/Barclays account and then the USD payment from HSBC/Barclays to US.

Has anyone experience with HSBC/Barclays and their USD accounts? Naturally they expect their clients to exchange in-house by transferring from their GBP accounts. That I hope to be able to avoid by going through the Transferwise (potentially also revolut).

Is there a better (lower cost but equally safe) way to do this? Catch is, my US account does not accept transferwise as payment provider, hence my interest in a "proper" Dollar account with a bank.

Thanks

Replies

  • edited 5 December 2020 at 11:58PM
    couthcouth Forumite
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    edited 5 December 2020 at 11:58PM
    Might be cheaper to use a currency broker? I used a company called Baydonhill FX in the past. I don't know if they are still in business. Torfx or OFX are similar. That way there is no need for a USD account in the UK. 

    PS. Not sure about HSBC, but Barclays charges £6 for incoming overseas payments (unless they are SEPA). I have the Barclays Euros account, not the USD, but they have similar T&Cs.
  • bd10bd10 Forumite
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    Many thanks, couth. If I may take your EUR account for example (I've been on their website and the T&C's are pretty much the same for their USD account). Would you know whether Barclays would accept incoming EUR from transferwise or another payment processor if you would choose to do so? Also, on the return side, would they allow EUR payments to a transferwise account.
    I know it's a bit cumbersome but a direct transfer to my US account via transferwise or other FX payment processors does not work since the payment needs to have instructions included: "further credit to (my account name and number) and that's where a proper currency account comes into play which would let me add these instructions.
  • ZellahZellah Forumite
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    I suggest opening a Fineco multicurrencies account. In which case no need to have the HSBC or Barclays USD accounts as well. Fineco's rates are more or less the same as Transferwise but they don't charge any currency conversion fees.
    https://finecobank.co.uk/public/banking/
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
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    All the transfers would need to be SWIFT as Barclays UK /HSBC UK don't accept domestic US ACH credits.
  • WestinWestin Forumite
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    Have you considered having both a GBP and USD account at TransferWise? You can then move USD to GBP within TransferWise when conversation needed, then on to your U.K. GBP HSBC/Barclay account.

    My business used to have a USD account through Lloyd’s for our US transactions. I however got fed up with the fees and fx rate used.  We moved foreign currency accounts to TransferWise about 18 months ago, now holding GBP/EUR/USD accounts there. Very happy with system, service and cost.
  • edited 9 December 2020 at 8:10PM
    bd10bd10 Forumite
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    edited 9 December 2020 at 8:10PM
    Hi Westin, I have tiny balances on Transferwise (for testing and playing around purposes) but I need all my accounts FSCS protected, am just a bit paranoid in that respect.
    So I figured out this solution:
    Outgoing payments in USD:
    GBP balance with Starling bank, transfer as USD with Starling to Barclays. Starling use Transferwise but can be cheaper apparently. SWIFT from Barclays to US. (Naturally Barclays expect the funds to come in as GBP into their GBP account, but no siree, lol). I checked their T&Cs. They do accept USD coming in from outside US.
    Incoming USD payments:
    Transfer of USD from Barclays to Transferwise account, convert there and send on GBP to my GBP accounts. Can't use Starling on the income side as they charge 2%. Don't expect any incoming payments anytime soon and can just leave the currency balances with Barclays. Also, apparently HSBC is planning a rival solution/platform to Transferwise, might check that out next year.
    As for fees, having to pay SWIFT charges is not an issue, having to pay 2.5-2.7% mark-up, that's a big issue.
  • bd10bd10 Forumite
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    The reason I cannot use Transferwise into the US directly is Transferwise itself. I need to give special instructions ("further credit to ...") in the SWIFT and they said in the small print that this feature is not supported and for me that's critical.
  • alexxx1alexxx1 Forumite
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    bd10 said:
    Hi Westin, I have tiny balances on Transferwise (for testing and playing around purposes) but I need all my accounts FSCS protected, am just a bit paranoid in that respect.
    So I figured out this solution:
    Outgoing payments in USD:
    GBP balance with Starling bank, transfer as USD with Starling to Barclays. Starling use Transferwise but can be cheaper apparently. SWIFT from Barclays to US. (Naturally Barclays expect the funds to come in as GBP into their GBP account, but no siree, lol). I checked their T&Cs. They do accept USD coming in from outside US.
    Incoming USD payments:
    Transfer of USD from Barclays to Transferwise account, convert there and send on GBP to my GBP accounts. Can't use Starling on the income side as they charge 2%. Don't expect any incoming payments anytime soon and can just leave the currency balances with Barclays. Also, apparently HSBC is planning a rival solution/platform to Transferwise, might check that out next year.
    As for fees, having to pay SWIFT charges is not an issue, having to pay 2.5-2.7% mark-up, that's a big issue.
    @bd10 I have a similar problem, did this solution using a  Barclays foreign currency account and transferwise to do the conversion work for you ? Thanks
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