FAQs

How Brexit may impact our UK business customers

FAQs

If you would like to discuss anything in the FAQs further or have a query that isn’t covered, please contact your Relationship Manager, where applicable, or the HSBC Brexit Helpline on 08000 121 614 (Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm).

Glossary of Terms

Here are explanations of the terms and abbreviations found in the FAQs:

EU – The European Union.

EEA -  means the European Economic Area – i.e. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden; plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 

Banking

Are you moving the operations of European Economic Area (‘EEA’) customers over to any entity located in the EEA? If so, where?

We have taken steps so that customers will be able to continue to benefit from the same or new financial products from the UK or Europe (as applicable). Our Relationship Managers have already engaged all EEA incorporated customers that hold products that may not be available to them from HSBC in the UK post-Brexit and have informed them of the impact and our solutions.

Should EEA incorporated entities with UK bank accounts consider opening new accounts with HSBC in an EEA HSBC location (e.g. the country of incorporation)?

We don’t envisage that EEA incorporated entities in the UK should need to open ‘local’ accounts but we’re working with businesses to ensure that there’s minimal disruption to existing products and services provided by HSBC in the UK to EEA incorporated entities.

Can HSBC provide EEA customers with services post Brexit? How?

HSBC is the largest bank headquartered in Europe by market capitalisation and we support customers across all European markets, including 6,500 multinational firms across the region.

We ensure continuity of service predominantly through our French subsidiary, HSBC France, our main continental European hub with more than 8,000 employees, a strong balance sheet and extensive product capabilities.

We can also support our customers through other European locations including Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland as well as our subsidiaries and branches in Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain.

Payments

I need to make payments to suppliers in the EU. How are payments impacted?

HSBC continues to be able to make payments in different EU/EEA currencies. If you’re making payments from your UK based account, and are a UK resident firm, there aren't any material changes. We can still make payments in EU/EEA currencies the same way we issue payments in other currencies (e.g. the US Dollar, or Japanese Yen). However, your ability to make different forms of payment depends on your existing banking arrangements. The time it takes for your payment to be received by the payee may change depending on payment execution times of the recipient bank.  We have no control over those payment times although we can confirm that all inbound payments are subject to the same timings as they were pre-January 1 2021.

How does HSBC ensure it can still support customers' reliance on low value clearing Single Euro Payments Area (‘SEPA’) from UK Euro accounts?

The European Payments Council (EPC) approved the application from UK Finance for the continued participation of UK payment service providers in the SEPA scheme if there had been a no-deal Brexit. This decision will be revisited regularly to ensure the continued compliance of the UK under the EPC’s SEPA scheme participation criteria in line with the established practice.

Can I still be able to make Euro payments?

Yes. The financial services industry, including HSBC, are supporting customers in their efforts to retain access to key euro payments systems. This includes the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Are my normal payments, such as Direct Debits, affected?

No. Everything is the same as it was pre-January 1 2021.

Product FAQs

Does Brexit change the terms of my product(s) with HSBC?

We’ll continue to support our customers to ensure service continuity. In the majority of cases, product terms do not change as a result of Brexit or the following transition period. Depending on local regulations, EEA incorporated businesses with products in the UK may be impacted.

I’m an EEA incorporated company operating in the UK. Can I still apply for UK Banking Services?

Yes, we can still consider product bookings to EEA incorporated entities following Brexit. However, there may be some restrictions depending on local regulations in the country of incorporation of the EEA entity and the types of products requested.

Lending

Will HSBC continue to provide customers with lending products as the relationship between the UK and EU changes?

We expect to continue to provide a full range of multi-currency lending products and services to customers by transacting:

  • in respect of UK customers, from the UK through HSBC Bank plc/HSBC UK Bank plc (as applicable); and
  • in respect of EEA customers, through one of HSBC’s existing European subsidiaries which already hold the necessary licences or financial services passporting rights (as applicable) to provide equivalent services

Following Brexit, is Small Medium Enterprise (SME) debt financing more restricted?

HSBC doesn’t expect that leaving the EU will have a detrimental effect on funding to UK banked businesses. We continue to support the growth of SMEs in the United Kingdom.

What will the Impact of Brexit be on lending rates?

Lending pricing is managed on an ongoing basis and influenced by multiple factors including prevailing market interest rates, the cost of the Bank’s funding, competition, customer affordability, the Bank of England Base Rate among other factors. For customers that already have a fixed rate lending product, nothing is affected. Should there be a change in the Bank of England Base Rate as a result of Brexit, applicable customers’ payments will adjust as normal in line with our terms and conditions. Our customers have the option to move onto a fixed rate product should they wish to secure short, medium or long term security.

What should I do if my business can’t afford to keep paying my commercial mortgage, credit card or loan?

Please let us know as soon as possible if you have any concerns on paying down debt. We can talk about the payment options available to you and help you with a plan to deal with any payment problems and arrears.

Invoice Finance

Can UK and EEA incorporated SMEs still access invoice finance, including support for cross border transactions?

In relation to UK businesses, HSBC Invoice Finance (UK) Limited continues to provide invoice finance solutions and can make and receive payments in Euros and other European currencies. We don’t expect Brexit to interrupt our ability to provide services to UK businesses. For businesses outside the UK in Europe, we have possible invoice finance solutions available through our local European subsidiaries.

Cash and Liquidity Management

How does Brexit impact HSBC's ability to support Euro Cash Concentration out of the UK and other EU countries?

We continue to offer cash concentration services out of our key EEA countries including the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands - subject to legal and regulatory requirements.

How does Brexit impact HSBC's ability to support Euro Notional Pooling in the UK and other EU countries?

We continue to offer a Euro notional pooling services out of the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Customers wishing to include EEA participants in UK pools, post-Brexit, should discuss this with their Relationship Manager.

Credit / Debit Cards

Can I still use my debit or credit card in the EU?

Yes. There is no change to how you use your Debit or Credit Card following Brexit.

Will surcharging on debit or credit cards now return?

A ban on retailers charging extra fees for consumers to use a debit or credit card was introduced under the EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), implemented on 13 January 2018. The UK Government took the decision to extend the ban in the UK to other payment methods such as Amex and PayPal to further protect consumers. The regulations implementing PSD2 will continue to apply in the UK under the EU Withdrawal Bill. Practically speaking, any payments made in EEA countries which have implemented PSD2 shouldn’t be charged any extra for using that card. Existing foreign exchange charges will still apply.

Will my card payments now cost me more money?

The financial services industry, including HSBC, is working closely with the government to limit any disruption to businesses. While future government regulation will only apply in the UK, practically speaking, we don’t expect UK consumers to be charged extra for using a card as a means of payment in EU countries. Existing foreign exchange charges will still apply.

Are credit card purchases in the EU still protected against fraud following Brexit?

Yes. Following Brexit you still have the same overseas purchase and fraud protection that you had pre-January 1 2021.

Will there be any increases to my credit card interest rate or fees due to Brexit?

We don’t expect changes to your existing card’s interest rate and fees as a result of Brexit. We review rates and fees on a regular basis; we’d review and make changes in line with our terms and conditions.

What impact does Brexit have on HSBC's ability to provide the existing Euro Corporate Card regional proposition out of the UK?

We continue to offer a GBP and EUR corporate cards in the UK. This is subject to regulatory and legal requirements and where your business is incorporated.

We also continue to offer a domestic EUR corporate card in France and are in the process of building out a new regional cross-border Euro corporate card proposition to be offered from EU/EEA countries.

Importers / Exporters

What type of help/ support can customers get from HSBC when thinking through their operation model, customs procedures and Brexit import and export checks?

We’re working with customers to help them navigate the impact of Brexit on their business and support their Brexit contingency plans.

Our Coverage and Products teams can provide our customers with the right solutions to help them:

  • overcome their potential treasury challenges;
  •  optimise their working capital;
  •  manage their payment and supply-chain risks; and
  •  mitigate their FX, commodities and Interest Rates risks.

Our business sells goods to the EU and get paid in Euros. How will we be affected?

If you’re receiving Euros (or other EU/EEA currency) into a UK-based account, and are a UK-resident firm, we don’t foresee any issues. UK-based banks can receive payments in EU/EEA currencies the same way they receive payments in other currencies (e.g. the US Dollar, or Japanese Yen).

If you’re a UK resident business but receive your Euro payments through an account with a provider based in the EU/EEA, your ability to continue accessing the account depends on the position taken by your service provider.

The ability of firms based in the EU/EEA to access UK-based financial services depends on their local national regulation and we recommend that they contact their UK-based finance provider for more information.

I only import goods once or twice a year, do I still need a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee?

You may need a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG) if you use a duty deferment account to delay payment of customs duties, import VAT and excise duties or if you operate a temporary storage facility or customs warehouse.

Otherwise, you will only need one if you move goods more than 3 times a year using the Common Transit Convention or Union Transit or if you put goods into customs procedures (inward processing, temporary admission, or end use) more than 3 times a year.

You can find further details on CCGs here.

I only export goods, do I still need a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee?

You must get authorisation to use a customs comprehensive guarantee if you:

  • move goods more than 3 times a year using the Common Transit Convention or Union Transit
  • put goods into customs procedures (inward processing, temporary admission, or end use) more than 3 times a year
  • operate a temporary storage facility or customs warehouse

You can find further details on CCGs here

How do I qualify for simplified declaration procedures?

Before you (or someone who deals with customs for you) import goods using simplified declarations, you’ll need:

  • to be authorised by HMRC
  • a CHIEF badge
  • software that works with CHIEF
  • a duty deferment account for paying duty and VAT

To become authorised to make these declarations, you need to:

  • be established in the UK or EU
  • have a good customs compliance record, including VAT returns and duty deferments
  • show how you’ll keep within your deferment account limit
  • show how you’ll identify and report any errors found after you’ve submitted your final supplementary declaration to the simplified customs procedures National Assurance Team, where applicable
  • carry out declaration procedures to a professional standard
  • make sure the applicant, directors and senior employees are free of any criminal records that would prevent HMRC from giving authorisation
  • have procedures in place to ensure you do not import prohibited goods
  • have licences for any restricted goods
  • have procedures in place to manage declarations.

You can find further details on simplified declarations procedures here

How do I apply for a SIVA (Simplified Import VAT Account)?

SIVA is a scheme that allows you to reduce the level of financial guarantee required to operate a duty deferment account for VAT purposes.

The objective of this scheme is to provide compliance cost savings for legitimate businesses by reducing the level of financial security required to guarantee the payments of import VAT.

Specifically, authorised traders will be able to apply to reduce the level of financial guarantee required to operate a duty deferment account for VAT purposes only. This may mean that the cost of having a guarantee will be reduced.

To qualify you must:

  • be the holder of a live Deferment Account or intend to apply for one, and
  • meet all the requirements set out in the approval criteria

To take advantage of this scheme and obtain authorisation for reduced security approval, you need to first check that you meet the criteria. You should then apply for SIVA by completing and returning the application form SIVA Application form (SIVA 1)

HMRC undertakes to issue an approval decision within 120 days of application. However, if they are unable to issue a decision within this period, you will be issued with an interim acknowledgement of your application. If you’re approved, you also receive guidance on the changes you need to make to your deferment account.

Access to the SIVA scheme is open to all traders who meet the SIVA approval criteria.

You can find further details on SIVA, including the criteria here

I move goods across Europe, how do I ensure that my goods are not delayed at national borders and that duties are not payable in transit? Does this require a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee?

You must get authorisation to use a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee if you move goods more than 3 times a year using the Common Transit Convention or Union Transit.

The Common Transit Convention is used for the movement of goods between or through Common Transit countries.

The Common Transit countries are:

  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • North Macedonia
  • Serbia

The EU is also a member of the Common Transit Convention. By using Common Transit, you can move your goods quicker as:

  • customs declarations and duties are not required at each border crossing
  • you can complete some customs processes away from the border

If you're using Union and Common Transit, you'll need to prepare your goods and plan your route. You also need to check how to complete the different declarations you'll need.

You can find more details about Common Transit and how to prepare here

I take goods to trade shows on a temporary basis, how can I do this without incurring duties? Does this require a carnet or guarantee?

You may need permission to temporarily move or export goods outside the UK, for example if you take sales samples to a trade show.

Export goods out of the EU

Most countries have a limit on the value of goods you can bring in duty free.

If you’re taking goods to another country temporarily for business reasons and you think you’ll be over the duty free limit, you can usually get an ATA Carnet to avoid paying duty. This includes things like:

  • samples to show at trade fairs or sales meetings
  • publicity materials
  • recorded film and audio
  • equipment you need for work like laptops, cameras or sound equipment
  • goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
  • personal effects and sports goods

If you’re taking a vehicle, get a CPD Carnet instead.

You can find further details here

How else can I reduce the requirement for a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee? (eg. through Authorised Economic Operator status)

You can ask to reduce the level of guarantee your guarantor needs to provide for potential debts covered by your CCG.

You can do this by uploading a completed CCG1F and supporting documents with your online CCG application.

For at least the last 3 years (where possible), you’ll need to provide:

  • financial statement
  • forecasts
  • management accounts
  • loan agreements
  • auditors’ reports

The size of the CCG1F and supporting documents you upload cannot be more than 41 megabytes (MB) in total. You cannot upload ZIP files.

If you’re an Authorised Economic Operator for customs, the level of guarantee your guarantor needs to provide for Customs Duty covered by your duty deferment account is reduced to 30% of the duty amount.

Your guarantor does not need to provide any guarantee for ‘potential debt’ under your CCG.

You do not need to complete form CCG1F.

You can find further details here

Where and when do I need an EORI number?

From 1 January 2021 you need an EORI number to move goods between the UK and the EU.

Apply for your EORI number in advance. It can take up to a week to get one.

You’ll not usually need an EORI number if you only:

  • provide services
  • move goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland

If you use a post or parcel company they’ll tell you if you need an EORI number.

You’ll need an EU EORI number if your business will be making customs declarations or getting a customs decision in the EU. Get this from the customs authority in the EU country where you submit your first declaration or request your first decision.

You can find further details on EORI numbers here

How will I find the revised import duties?

The UK Government has a tool that allows you to check the UK Global Tariff that applies to goods you import from 1 January 2021.

The UK Global Tariff applies to all goods you import from 1 January 2021 unless an exception applies. For example, the goods you’re importing:

  • are from a developing country that pays less or no duty because it’s part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences
  • are from a country that has a trade agreement with the UK
  • have a relief or tariff suspension that’s operated by the UK

It replaces the current common external tariff.

You can find the UK Trade Tariff tool here

How will I know if import licences are required for specific goods?

You’ll need to get a licence or certificate to import some types of goods into the UK.

You might also need to pay an inspection fee for some goods before they’re allowed into the UK.

You can find the details on specific goods here

FX / Markets

CanI still convert Euros to GBP and vice versa?

Yes, this isn’t affected by Brexit.

Will Euros be more expensive to buy for my business / personal trips?

Fluctuations in currency could and do occur, but we work continuously to bring the best available price to our customers.

What impact does Brexit have on HSBC's ability to support customers' spot and derivative trading requirements?

We expect to be able to continue to provide our full range of spot and derivative products to customers by transacting:

  • in respect of UK customers, from the UK through HSBC Bank plc; and
  • in respect of EEA customers, through one of HSBC’s existing European subsidiaries which already hold the necessary licences to provide equivalent services.

Credit Ratings & Business Credit Score

Are my credit ratings be impacted in the UK in any way?

No. Unless your ability to repay your financial commitments is in any way impacted by Brexit, there is no detrimental impact to your credit rating.

Does Brexit impact the information held about me at the UK Credit Reference Agencies?

No. The robust controls around the data that’s held about you by Credit Reference Agencies is maintained. The enhanced EU data protection rules brought in by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 have been transferred into new UK legislation.

Financial Distress / Cash-flow Difficulties

What happens if it takes me longer to get paid by customers in the EU or my cash-flow is disrupted? What should I do?

If you are concerned about cash flow issues speak to us, as soon as possible, to discuss what products and support may be available.

Deposits – Sole Traders and Partnerships (UK Residents)

Is the money in my account still protected?

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (‘FSCS’) continues to protect accounts up to £85,000 held with a UK based deposit-taker. This increases to £170,000 for a Joint Account. Protection for UK based customers of EEA deposit-takers will vary depending on the approach taken by the provider after Brexit. EEA firms with a UK branch presence will be eligible to join the UK’s Temporary Permissions Regime which would require membership of the FSCS. Those EEA firms without a branch would be required to establish one and join the FSCS in due course; they could temporarily continue to trade in the interim, when deposit-protection of €100,000 would be provided by the firm’s home state deposit-guarantee scheme.

Can I still access my UK current and savings accounts in an EU country and/or access my EU current and savings accounts when I’m in the UK?

Yes. As is the case now, if you are an HSBC customer you will be able to access your UK savings account when you’re in an EU country, and/or access your EU savings account when in the UK.

Will the UK leaving the EU lead to further Base Rate changes?

It’s not always easy to predict when the Bank of England will decide to increase/decrease their Base Rate. Should this occur, we’ll ensure that all impacted customers are notified of how the Base Rate change will impact them, in the same way that we currently do.

Data Security / Cross Border Data / General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’)

Does Brexit impact privacy protection?

Following the transition period, the UK government has announced it will bring the GDPR into UK law as the “UK GDPR”.  You can find further information at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period/information-rights-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period-frequently-asked-questions/

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Please be aware that the external site policies will differ from our website terms and conditions and privacy policy. The next site will open in a new browser window or tab.