Here's a quick summary of the OPA features:
- 2.50% APY on all balances over $1
- $1 minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirements
- Reimbursements of 3 per month ATM surcharges at US non-HSBC ATMs
- Instant transfers to and from your HSBC Online Savings Account (savings account not required)
- Links to unlimited number of external accounts
- No limits to number of transactions per month (similar to most checking accounts)
- Free online bill pay. Corporate check will be issued if required by merchant.
In the online application, they provide Terms and Charges Disclosure (pdf). Some of the important details in this disclosure include:
- Use of paper checks is not permitted. This account is intended for electronic transactions only. Checks presented against this account will be returned.
- No branch transactions are allowed
- Account requires use of E-statements
- Deposits may be made at an HSBC ATM or by mail.
- $25 account closing fee if closed within six months of opening
- $25 insufficient funds (NSF) fee for each withdrawal
When you sign up for the OPA, approval is not immediate. I received this note:
You will receive an e-mail confirming that we have received your request and we will process your application within 5 business days.
It's surprising the approval isn't immediate for someone who already has the Online Savings Acount. There was no wait when I signed up for ING Direct's checking account (see post).
I don't think I can recommend the OPA for those who don't already have a HSBC Online Savings Account. There are better checking account deals available. The best deal in my opinion is currently from Salem Five Direct (see post). This account has a yield that ranges from 5% to 5.30% APY. In addition to a much higher yield than HSBC's OPA, it has paper checks (with the first order free). The one advantage of HSBC's OPA is HSBC's ACH transfer system (if you don't mind the delays). For other high yield checking account alternatives, please see my best checking account post. More discussion and readers comments on HSBC's OPA is available at this post.
[Update 6/4/07: Correction in the recommendation.]