In today's increasingly connected world, there is a greater need for security especially when it concerns banking. At HSBC, we are committed to protecting our customers from fraud and financial crime in the best way possible.
Fraud and financial crime is becoming increasingly sophisticated and globally organised. That is why we are introducing HSBC Safeguard, a global HSBC Group initiative driven by our commitment to protect customers and the financial system from fraud and financial crime. To do this, we are implementing measures to prevent financial crime everywhere that we do business.
Our systems and processes rely on us having the most up-to-date information about all of our customers. From time to time as the situation arises, you may be contacted by us to do one or all of the following:
We apologise in advance that this may cause some inconvenience, but we will work with you to ensure the process is as simple and straightforward as possible.
The purpose of updating the information of existing customers and collecting the information of new customers is to ensure our systems and processes can protect both our customers and the bank against financial crime. We take our obligation to protect your data very seriously, so all the information you provide will be subject to HSBC Group's high data and security standards. The intent in asking you to confirm or update your existing information and provide new information is to use this information for your protection only.
You do not need to do anything at the moment. In order to manage the process, we will be contacting customers individually on a phased basis to let you know when you need to update your information.
Have more questions? Find your answer in our FAQs.
What is HSBC Safeguard? How will HSBC Safeguard protect me?
HSBC Safeguard is a series of initiatives designed to increase the protection we provide our customers against fraud and financial crime across our global systems and processes. It involves strengthening our ability to combat money laundering and the evasion of sanctions, as these are often the drivers behind many financial crimes. In addition, we will no longer be offering products such as travellers' cheques, as we believe they are no longer a safe enough way for our customers to convert their money. We may review other products like this over time.
To detect criminal activity, our global systems rely on having your most up-to-date information. We use this information to protect your account from potential misuse and provide protection against fraud and financial crime.
What is financial crime?
Fraud and financial crimes are forms of theft. They tend to involve money or property that are gained illegally, and used in a deceptive or illegal manner to gain benefits from the proceeds. In today's complex economy, financial crimes can take many forms including money laundering, sanction breaches, fraud, tax evasion, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption.
What are sanctions?
Sanctions are a policy tool which national governments and organisations such as the United Nations and European Union use to constrain and deter perceived threats to their security, or to require international conduct to conform to recognised international standards. Sanctions help stop crimes like terrorism, drug trafficking and arms dealing by imposing restrictions on the business that banks can do with specific people, corporations or countries. The names of these are clearly listed on resources like the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list.
Why is financial crime an increasing concern?
At HSBC, addressing financial crime globally has always been one of our main priorities.
However, criminal activity has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, and fraudsters, money launderers and others have attempted to target global networks like banks.
Improving the way we share and manage customer information will help us fight against the risk of financial crime. After all, it's our duty to ensure that you can bank with us safely, securely and confidently.
I have banked with you for years. Why do you suddenly need additional information?
We understand your concerns and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for using our banking services. As a responsible bank, ensuring that our customer account information is up-to-date is a key part in making banking more secure for customers. Additionally, by getting up-to-date account information, we will be able to provide you with more personalised banking services. We thank you for your understanding and support.
I have completed similar types of banking transaction many times before, why are you asking me so many questions now?
We understand your concerns and appreciate that you may have been using HSBC to meet your banking needs for a long period. As fraud and financial crime is becoming increasingly sophisticated, we need to adopt new measures to provide you with better protection. Therefore, from time to time, we do need to update our customer records to ensure they are current and complete. Having stronger checks will help prevent fraud and other financial crime.
Don't you have all of the information that you require?
Don't worry. We will periodically conduct reviews with customers to obtain the most relevant and up-to-date information. This is to ensure that all of the information we have is accurate, up-to-date and covers details that you haven't provided before or weren't previously required. The information you provide will help us protect your account from potential misuse. With all this information, we will be able to provide you with more personalised banking services.
What has financial crime got to do with me or my business?
As the world becomes increasingly connected and information moves around at a greater pace, there are unfortunately greater opportunities for criminals to misuse the financial system. A key defence against money laundering is to verify the origin of the funds from time to time as part of our ongoing efforts to track our customers' legitimate funds and to protect them from financial crime. Criminals will try to appear to be law abiding citizens or businesses and therefore we need to request documentary evidence from our customers in order to fully protect them and their accounts.
Security has always been important. Why are you asking me for more information now?
Constant changes in technology and the way companies do business have affected the whole banking industry and, in turn, how we protect it. Fraud and financial crime are becoming even more sophisticated and globally organised - so we have to be more vigilant than ever. We need you to help us stay one step ahead of financial crime by providing us with up-to-date information.
What information are you likely to request from me?
If you are a personal banking customer, we are likely to ask for two types of documents from you, one to confirm your identity and one to confirm your current address. They need to be in original (not copies) and in two separate documents.
If you are a business customer, the documents we ask for will depend on the size and nature of your business. However we are likely to need you to confirm your business legal entity structure, list of beneficial owners, and countries you do business in.
Why do I have to provide all of these documents?
We understand your concerns. HSBC always takes the lead in adopting the best practices to obtain relevant information from our customers. By having the information, we will be able to provide better protection and better banking services to our customers.
What will happen if I do not provide the requested information?
We will send you reminders and give you sufficient time to provide the information. If you are having trouble gathering the information, please do let us know as soon as possible so that we can help wherever possible. It may, for example, be possible for us to rely on alternative documents in your possession. Please let us know if you need more time or if you have any further questions.
How will the collection of this information protect me or my business?
As more and more of our customers live, travel and trade internationally, we are always looking for better ways to help you do the things you want to do safely. Part of this is to protect our customers around the globe. Our global systems and processes work by sharing data and customer information across borders in order to deter and detect financial crime. Even when you only bank in one country, we are committed to protecting your account globally as financial crime is a global operation.
By confirming your details and making sure that all the information we hold about you is up-to-date, you will help us to make banking more secure for you and our customers.