Matt opens Hong Kong account in business charges protest at bank

Matt Smith in Hong Kong
Matt Smith in Hong Kong

A COMPANY director has switched his bank account to a branch on the other side of the world in protest at what he calls high bank charges.

Matt Smith, of Willen Road, Newport Pagnell, is the single director of debt website Debtpal and his company’s accounts are held by the multinational HSBC.

Mr Smith said: “I was utterly disgusted when HSBC Milton Keynes charged me a two per cent charge for cash handling when paying cash in and out of my business account.

“This meant I was charged £188 when I paid in and out a total of £9,400 of cash during the month of March this year.”

Mr Smith said he believes the charge to be “ridiculous and unjustifiable”.

Mr Smith added that HSBC has both confirmed the charges and said they could not be altered. However, HSBC later told Business Citizen that Mr Smith may not be on the correct tarrif.

Mr Smith said: “I made calls to HSBC but was told there was nothing they could do despite me explaining my small business could not possibly afford to lose £188 for such charges and I felt sure anybody in their right mind, if asked, would find the charges totally unjustifiable especially considering how people like Vince Cable of the government has repeatedly stated this sort of banking issue would never be acceptable for small businesses in the UK.”

Mr Smith has been in business for seven years, including five running another company importing children’s furniture from Hong Kong.

Mr Smith said: “Being completely enraged with HSBC Milton Keynes I decided to visit the HSBC in central Hong Kong.”

After explaining his business banking he was offered a Hong Kong-based bank account, both business and personal which he could use when in Hong Kong but could also use online like any other bank account, including from the UK. He was also told that there was no charge for transactions similar to the one he faced in the UK.

Mr Smith added: “When I showed the business manager my HSBC statement from my UK business bank account he was shocked and went to speak to a colleague about it as he was unaware such charges would be made.”

He added that he would fight on in the UK for changes in account charges.

He added: “I will never accept the charges and neither will they ever be justified, anywhere. How can Hong Kong not charge but the UK be allowed to charge such an unjustifiable and ridiculous amount?”

After being contacted by Business Citizen, a spokesman for HSBC said: “HSBC offers a range of tariffs to our UK business customers dependant on their needs. We believe our tariffs provide good value for money in a competitive UK market. With regard to the case you have highlighted, our initial investigations indicate the customer may not be on the most appropriate tariff for the type of transactions he is completing. We will be contacting our customer to discuss their activity and banking needs, and will provide a recommendation as to which tariff would be the most suitable.”