"FGN Payment Limit" - HSBC £6 charge

HSBC FGN Payment Limit - £6 charge
HSBC FGN Payment Limit???
I was reviewing my HSBC Business banking statement over the weekend, when I noticed a £6 charge for "FGN Payment Limit". Not having a clue what this charge was, or what "FGN" stood for, I immediately phoned the bank to get some answers.
Once I managed to navigate the awful automated telephone banking system (press 1 for this, press 2 for that etc etc) I finally managed to reach a human operator.

The operator informed me that the FGN Payment Limit Charge was a newly introduced monthly fee of £6 to allow me to transfer up to £10k per transaction from my UK HSBC business bank account to international bank accounts via the internet – a service that until now had been included with internet banking for free!!

FGN Payment Limit - HSBC

When I explained that I didn’t make international transfers, so didn’t need a £10k limit in place, and therefore didn’t want to pay the £6 fee, I was informed that if I didn’t pay the fee, I would not be able to transfer any money at all via the internet to international banks.

So, its either pay HSBC £6 per month for the ability to transfer money electronically to international banks, or don’t pay the £6 fee and have to resort to telephone banking to transfer money internationally. It’s a kind of “Internet Banking Tax”. If you wish to use the internet for moving money, you must pay HSBC a fee.

When I opened my HSBC business bank account, the promise of “Free banking for 18months” wasn’t entirely correct. What they seem to have neglected to mention was that during my 18 month free banking period, elements of the service that were free would quietly get charged for…

And I’m not alone! Having spoken to business contacts and fellow HSBC business account holders, they too have been charged £6 for "FGN Payment Limit", and they also don’t remember ever being notified that this previously free service would suddenly become a premium chargeable service. Can we really all be wrong? Can anyone else rememebr receiving a letter or email explaining that we would soon be charged for this servic??

I tried doing a search on the HSBC website for “FGN Payment Limit” – the result was zero results found (see screenshot)

Even though HSBC were “kind enough” to reverse the charge (and very quick to offer to do so, suggesting I wasn’t the first customer to complain) , I’ve now lost the ability to transfer money internationally. In my view, this is very poor service. For a bank that sells its self as “The worlds local bank”, to charge UK customers a fee for the privilege of using internet banking to transfer money out of the country is very bad.

But what really annoys me is the sneaky underhanded way they have implemented this charge. How many companies wont notice this fee? Its just like someone at HSBC as said, “Lets stick a six quid charge on everyone’s account for something that was previously free, hopefully the wont notice, but and if anyone complains, we’ll just refund them”.

And after all this, I still have no idea what “FGN Payment Limit" actually means…

HSBC – you have lost a lot of credibility with this little stunt…


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for this. Just phoned HSBC and said there was a precedent for refunding so have got my charge removed and refunded as well.

    Sneaky HSBC!

  2. I just had to call up to get this refund, and be told about the letter etc. I got the refund, then asked the nice phone op to register a compliant about the banks general behaviour. If interested, you can complain online via this form:
    This is my complaint:
    I wish to complain about the £6 a month charge that was added onto my account recently. To remove the charge I had to ring up and go through several security checks to opt out of a service I never signed up for in the first place.
    I was informed that the service was for international bank transfers, despite me never making any international bank transfers in the past from this account.
    This charge also occurred during my 18 months no charge period, in which I was under the impression no charges would be added to my account. To find that this was false, and that I had to phone up to opt out rather than being contacted to ask if I wanted to opt in I find poor service I expected from my bank. Whilst it is at least now been credited back, I find it unacceptable that this was needed in the first place.
    I was informed whilst getting the charge paid back that due to a letter being sent to my address, this was deemed acceptable notice for this service. I wish to register my complaint that for my purposes, this is not suitable contact. I was also disappointed that I could not update my contact details to make similar messages go to email or phone. I suspect this is because the bank has made a calculation that letters are more likely to be ignored, and so the charge will go unnoticed by your clients.
    This gives the impression that my bank is looking to make money by trying to slip past charges unnoticed, which makes the bank less trustworthy to this customer. I will be relaying this experience to many would be customers of the bank as well as publicly via social media and forums.
    I would like to register in writing, if possible, that I will not want to opt in to any additional services without explicit permission from me. Assume no contact from me means I do not wish to register for the service. This I would expect from any honest business. I will also now be much more likely to be open to alternatives for my business banking.