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Thousands of HSBC clubs and community bank account holders face being moved to a new account from November that costs £60/yr

Thousands of charities, sports clubs and community groups with HSBC's free Clubs and Community Bank Account face being moved to the bank's new Charitable Bank Account from 1 November. The new account comes with a £5/mth (£60/yr) fee but you can switch to a free charity bank account offered by other providers beforehand to avoid the charge. Here's what you need to know.  

From 1 November: 

  • Thousands of HSBC Clubs and Community Bank Account holders face being moved to HSBC's new Charitable Bank Account. Crucially, you'll only be moved across if you meet the new account's eligibility criteria, which states you must exist for a charitable purpose - although HSBC says most of its current members will be eligible. In this scenario, you should have received a letter detailing everything you need to know. 

  • If you don't meet the criteria for HSBC's Charitable Bank Account, you'll be moved to one of HSBC's other accounts. This could include HSBC's Small Business Bank Account, for example. This is free for the first 12 months on joining HSBC or £8/mth after. If you're still within your first year with HSBC when you're moved across, you'll get the account for free for any remaining months. For example, if you joined HSBC two months before 1 November, you will still get the following 10 months free.

    After the first year, internet banking and debit card payments will remain free, however, there is a 1.5% charge to cash in money at a branch or Post Office and a 50p charge to cash in a cheque.

There is no option for existing HSBC Clubs and Community Bank Account holders to keep the account from 1 November and new customers will only be able to open the Charitable Bank Account from 1 November. We've seen at least seven reports from MoneySavers over the past two weeks who are unhappy about the move. 

See our Best Bank Accounts and Student bank accounts guides if you're after an individual current account. 

The key difference between the two accounts is the monthly fee

The table below details the key differences between HSBC's Clubs and Community and Charity accounts: 

The key differences between HSBC's Clubs and Community and Charity accounts

Type of account Monthly fee Fee when paying in cash at a branch or Post Office Fee when withdrawing change Fee to cash in cheques Annual turnover cap
HSBC Clubs and Community Account (1) No charge No charge No charge No charge £100,000
HSBC Charity Bank Account (2) £5 0.4% 1.5% 40p/cheque No cap

(1) Will close from 1 Nov 21 for new and existing customers. (2) Will replace the Clubs and Community Account from 1 Nov 21. 

You can close your account or switch elsewhere if you're unhappy about the move

If you're unhappy about the shake-up, you have two main options: 

  • You can close your account for free if you'll no longer use it. You can access account closure forms on HSBC's website. Just bear in mind you will have to pay any account charges already accrued before the account's closed. 

  • If you'll still use the account, consider switching to a charity account elsewhere - if you qualify. With charity and community bank accounts you can't switch using the Current Account Switch Service for standard bank accounts. However, you can request to switch by contacting the new provider. HSBC will then send a list of your direct debits and standing orders within five working days to your new account provider.

    HSBC will also transfer your balance to your new account and close your HSBC account on the switch date confirmed by your new bank. Just remember that if you have given permission to third party providers to make payments on your behalf from the account, that these permissions will not be transferred automatically to your new account as part of the switch service. 

    If you're looking to switch, Barclays, Co-op Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest Banking Group, and Starling all currently offer charity accounts (or business accounts that will accept charities) with no monthly fee. Just bear in mind that these aren’t current accounts and can’t be used for everyday business banking purposes, although charities can use them to put money in and take money out. 

    You should also compare income requirements and any other transaction fees first. For example, Barclays only accepts those turning over up to £100,000, it's up to £1 million for Co-op, up to £50,000 for Lloyds Banking Group, up to £100,000 for NatWest Banking Group, and up to £250,000 for Santander. We've asked Starling if it has a maximum turnover and we will update this article once we know more.  

What does HSBC say?

An HSBC spokesperson said: "We will be increasing our charges in a way that more accurately reflects the ongoing costs associated with improving and maintaining a business bank account."

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