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What is a limit order?

With a limit order in place, you won't need to monitor the market - you can sit back and wait for the trade to happen.

What is a limit order?

A limit order lets you set the rate at which you want to exchange your money from one currency to another. If that rate becomes available, the exchange will happen automatically. You can set an expiry date for your limit order, which can be up to 3 months in the future. The minimum transaction amount for a limit order is GBP1 to a maximum of GBP2,000,000 or equivalent.

How does a limit order work?

Whether you're making one-off or regular transfers, limit orders can give you more control of how much money you'll end up with - making you less susceptible to market fluctuations.

A limit order can be useful if you want to get a certain amount for your money and don't need the transaction to happen straight away.

For example, you might want to exchange British pounds (GBP) into US dollars (USD).

Let's say the current market rate for GBP/USD is 1.24 (GBP1,000 buys USD1,240), but you think it may increase. You could place a GBP/USD limit order of 1.3 (GBP1,000 buys USD1,300). If the rate became available, the order would be placed automatically.

You won't know when the trade will happen. However, a limit order can save you having to monitor rates, or settle for a rate you're not happy with. 

Explore more: What makes exchange rates move?

How do you set a limit order?

If you're an HSBC customer and you've downloaded and registered for the mobile banking app it's easy to set a limit order.

To set your limit order:

  1. Log on and select 'Foreign Exchange' under 'Pay and transfer'.
  2. Go to 'Set your target rate' and select 'currencies'.
  3. Switch toggle on for the transfer to be executed once target is met.
  4. Select the from and to accounts for the relevant currencies.
  5. Choose email or mobile to be notified.
  6. Review all details, accept T&C's and confirm transaction.
  7. You can choose a rate up to 10% above the current market level.

You can also tell us the amount you'd like to receive for your money and we'll work out the target exchange rate for you.

How long does a limit order last?

Limit orders placed on the mobile banking app last 3 months. You'll receive an SMS or email notification when they expire. If it does expire, you can go back into the app and place a new one.

Which currencies can you place limit orders for?

You can place limit orders in 11 currencies within the 'Foreign exchange' option on your mobile banking app.

  • EUR
  • GBP
  • AUD
  • NZD
  • USD
  • CAD
  • CHF
  • SGD
  • HKD
  • JPY
  • CNY

What to consider when placing limit orders

There are benefits and things to consider when it comes to limit orders. Here are a few of each:


  • get the exchange rate you want
  • useful if you don't need to make an immediate transaction
  • you won't need to monitor the market
  • you can cancel a limit order free of charge if the target rate hasn't been met


  • you don't know if the trade will take place
  • limit order will expire after 3 months
  • limit orders are capped at 10% above the current market rate
  • you may be limiting the amount you'll receive from your transfer if the rate continues to go up

Price alerts

If you want to monitor the market for a specific rate, but don't want to commit to a transaction, you could use the Price Alert function in the app.

Price alerts work in a similar way to a limit order, but without making the trade. Instead, we'll notify you when the rate you want becomes available.

You can then go into the app and make the transaction if you want to.

New to HSBC Expat?

To benefit from our Foreign Exchange services you'll need to become an HSBC Expat customer.

From our Global Money account to our mobile FX services, discover all the reasons to bank with us and open your Expat account today.

Explore more

Discover how offshore bank accounts can help you manage your international finances.
Find out how exchange rates move based on supply and demand and how you can use currencies as an investment.
Read our 10-step guide to moving abroad to make sure you've got everything covered.