Let me tell you the story from the beginning...
Problem no. 1
My relationship with HSBC never really had a great start. I needed two pieces of documentation to start an account for which I used my passport and my Spanish ID. After saying a number of times that my address was in London, and that's where my new card should be sent to, my mom calls me one day to tell me she's received the card at my home place. One more week without a card at my arrival in the UK.
As you do in London, you move, you upgrade apartments, you go to better places as your work gets better, you get to learn the city, etc. So last year I moved (for the third time), and when I went to my branch to inform them about me moving, they announced they've just sent me a new card. An upgrade they thought would be great for me to have. Very thoughtful, if it hadn't been I knew nothing about it, and therefore my card was lying on the floor of my old appartment, oh, and my current card was about to expire as a new one had been issued! Something one would usually really appreciate knowing.
And the reason of this post. Because this time, they've really done it. I visited one of the HSBC branches before leaving London to explore whether there were any changes I needed to do to my account to ensure my card would keep working through my 4 months of travels in South America.
Much to my amusement/desperation, the first person I spoke to at the branch thought I'd be absolutely fine to leave without changing anything. When I insisted there was a clause in my contract that said I had to have a minimum amount come into my account monthly to qualify for it, and what would happen if that stopped happening, well they really didn't know. So I was advised that the best was to downgrade already just in case.
Here's my favourite part. The guy who attended me didn't know whether a new card was going to be issued or not. So again, just to be safe we changed the sending address of any new cards (which should take a maximum of 5 days) to be sent to my parents address where I was going to stay another two weeks.
So of course, a new card was issued with no contact to myself, so again, my mom called me to let me know a new card had arrived just after I left Spain.
I contacted HSBC to request that my current card (expiring 2018) please continues to work as I'm travelling and can't get hold of the new one they've issued me, and for all response I got an email saying 'we're sorry, but once a new card has been issued there's nothing we can do'.
Frustrated is the slightest I can say about HSBC right now. Not only have they caused me problems in the past, but after spending a whole morning at the branch to sort my things so I would not have any issues with my card while travelling, well, here I am hearing again, we're sorry there's nothing we can do, can't your parents not send you the new card.
Honestly, this is not how a bank should work. A bank is a utility, a thing you use to make your life easier, they amongst everyone should understand the importance of our cards working, and the information coming from them being clear. But no, instead, all you hear is a personal sorry from the poor customer service attendant, and we hope this gets sorted, but no real solution.
Needless to say I'll cancel my accounts with HSBC the moment I set foot in the UK again. But I hope this post helps a few make the decision to avoid them, and skip this lot of nightmares I've been through. It should really never be like this.
To HSBC, tell them there are two very simple things they could do:
a) Start comunicating with your clients more clearly (a phone call with no message doesn't tell me my bank called, no email policy at all is really not helpful, even a 'you've got secure mail' would be great, and when a change is made in their account, be sure your clients hear about it)
b) Please train your personnel better, improve internal comms, and for God's sake, integrate your cards department once and for all, because right now, this really isn't working.