HSBC - Status Update

We have just sent this to all our HSBC users.

I am including it here for transparency. :smile:

Hey Saver,

this is Edoardo, co-founder and CEO of Emma.

I am writing to give you an update on your HSBC connection!

As of Friday, the bank has rolled out a new way to authenticate to your accounts, called Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). This means that you will need to use the digital secure key every time you want to login on the HSBC website.

This is a requirement of a big European regulation (PSD2) which forces banks to:

  • Adopt SCA on all their payment accounts (current, credit cards and savings)
  • Provide access to these types of accounts via API ([Open Banking](javascript:void(0)))

In terms of Emma, this meant that we needed to start adopting the second point, otherwise you would have needed to re-login every time to refresh data.

This is why we have started transitioning everyone to Open Banking, which is a backed government initiative that introduces a lot of innovation in the space - you won’t need to share your credentials anymore and will have to just authorise access on the HSBC app.

The Problem

Unfortunately, HSBC is not currently providing access to some payment accounts via API. Open Banking is only returning us Current Accounts. For this reason, we have filed several reports to the Financial Conduct Authority to understand why this is happening and if they have the legal right to do so.

At this point, we don’t have any news and are working with the regulator, the Open Banking directory, our service provider and legal team to understand how to take action and win the battle for an open and transparent financial system!

The Solution

For the time being, we are going to continue supporting HSBC (current accounts) via Open Banking and will transition any existing account not supported (credit cards & savings) to the “Closed Accounts” section of the app.

We hope these accounts will soon be back on Emma, alongside the 10,000+ banks we support across 2 continents; but this doesn’t really depend on us.

The ball is in the hands of the bank and regulator. We truly believe we are on the verge of a financial revolution and need your help to bring these accounts back! :point_down::point_down::point_down:

Tweet HSBC

How about First Direct?

We don’t have any news about First Direct, but they are part of the HSBC group, so fingers crossed. :pray:

Does the requirement really extend to savings accounts?

This summary from a law firm suggests it does not

It’s a question of whether a savings account is also a payment account. If not, then it doesn’t fall under PSD2. It looks like Natwest is removing payment capabilities from its savings accounts to stop them being payment accounts.

However, there’s nothing to stop banks including non-payment accounts in their APIs and there’s certainly nothing to stop national authorities leaning on them to do so or even amending their own laws.

The Directive only sets the minimum standard, so Member States are free to go further, if they wish anyway.

We have been chatting with HSBC and their Open Banking team.

They are working hard to bring savings accounts and credit cards back via Open Banking and they will soon share a date with us.

For the time being, they will offer a different method to connect, which will require constant re-login - I am not sure if we are going to implement / build this.


That’s good news. Even if savings accounts that don’t have payment functionality are not included within PSD2 requirements it would seem totally against the spirit of Open Banking for banks to elect to exclude them.

Every bank is pretty much free to do whatever unfortunately. :sweat_smile:

This is our second status update. HSBC - second status update v2

Hi Edo, any news from HSBC? Shall we continue to make pressure on them?

We are meeting on the 19th of October. They are keen to put all the missing accounts in Open Banking, but in all honesty, I think this will take a while - end of the year.

Is there any possibility in the interim of restoring the Screen Scraping method and just requiring us to log in with Secure Key whenever we want to manually refresh the balance of cards/savings? It isn’t as slick but would be a decent workaround until they’re rolled into Open Banking.


Yes, there is this possibility, but we haven’t made a move yet.

We are not even confident people will use it. :frowning:

What about Curve? Is Emma ready to connect with it? If we could use Curve at least the HSBC credit card transactions could be channeled through Curve until they fix this…

  1. curve sucks
  2. no it isn’t and they aren’t required to do anything in regards to open banking and likely won’t - as this is likely to be a revenue stream for them in the future

Are you sure? I already complained with HSBC and they told me they are going to fix it. I threatened to file a complaint with the FCA and the CMA as they are not making their information available to third parties. They responded that both authorities have been notified already…

I meant Curve has no Open Banking obligations, not HSBC

HSBC have to report ‘payment accounts’ which to my knowledge would include credit cards. FWIW though the FCA have given firms longer to implement this, so they’re not going to do anything to HSBC no matter how many times you file a complaint with them, right now at least.

Ah ok, understood.
We’ll see. This could be enough to push me getting a Virgin credit card…

I would recommend dual wielding an AmEx and a Virgin one if you’re big on flyer miles!

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Sssshhhhh, that’s a “secret”… :smiling_imp: