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bunq

How good is the smartphone bank from the Netherlands?
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bunq review – How good is the bank of The Free?

bunq is a Dutch bank that offers current accounts and credit card products for private individuals and business customers. With a European banking licence based in the Netherlands, bunq can operate not only in Germany or Austria, but actually throughout Europe, like Spain, Italy or Belgium.

As a "smartphone bank", you can open a bank account on your phone within minutes. It's easy to use, has a pretty good app and comes with a bunch of useful features. This way, everyone can customize their account individually. Services such as Google Pay and Apple Pay are included, you can use SEPA transfers or set up standing orders. Cash withdrawals at ATMs or shopping by credit card are possible as well with either a  debit Mastercard, a Mastercard credit card or a maestro Card. The current account from bunq can therefore be used for pretty much everything you need and is a good companion for everyday life.

But what does the account cost? What are the requirements for opening an account? What other features are there? We'll show you all of this in today's test.

What's behind bunq?

bunq
bank of The Free

bunq Logo
Name bunq B.V.
Type Bank
Address Naritaweg 131-133, 1043 BS Amsterdam, Niederlande
Email support@bunq.com
Website https://www.bunq.com
Phone Not available
Service Not available

Our review at a glance

bunq
bank of The Free
Result
4.3
09/2021
  • Bank account with Mastercard debit card
  • 5 minute application with no SCHUFA or credit check
  • 3 cards (1x Maestro, 2x Mastercard), 5 virtual cards, 25 (!) IBAN accounts included
  • Mobile bank with a great app, Google Pay, Apple Pay and good support
  • Sustainable and environmentally friendly banking (carbon offsetting, equal opportunity and more)

How did we test?

For our test, we compared all account models and extrapolated the costs of use for one year. Our base of operations is Germany, therefore we focused on usage for Germans or Expats in Germany, although the features are the same in all available countries. The bunq app on Android (Google Play) was used and experiences and reviews from other users where gathered. In addition, the general terms and conditions and data protection statements, the pricing overview and the regulatory fee information ("Entgeltinformationen") for bunq Easy Green Personal and bunq Easy Green Money dated 17 February 2021 were consulted.

Due to the changing costs, services and frequent updates by bunq, we cannot guarantee completeness and ask you to refer to the information on the bunq website yourself.

Pros and cons of bunq

Pros

  • Super easy opening process: From all our reviews, bunq's account opening process was the fastest. You can access your account within about 12 minutes.
  • Easy to use: The bunq app is rated 4.3 stars on Google and can be used for all required functions. Banking right in your pocket.
  • 3 account types: With Easy Bank (€ 2,99 per month), Easy Money (€ 8.99 per month) and Easy Green (€ 17.99 per month), you have 3 different account options to choose from.
  • 7 languages, 25 IBANs: bunq equals diversity, just check their logo. You can use the app and query the support in 7 different languages. You can get 3 cards and have 25 IBAN numbers on your account.
  • No credit history check (SCHUFA): bunq does not have a contract with SCHUFA, Germany's largest credit agency, according to their data protection statements. This makes the bunq account possible without SCHUFA.
  • Earn interest: "MassInterest", that's what bunq calls their interest rate program at 0,09% yearly interest - at least it's 9x more than most other providers in Europe.

Cons

  • No free account type: All accounts can only be used for a one-time or monthly fee. In return, bunq offers a free trial phase in which you can test the account.
  • No overdraft: Overdrafts are not possible with bunq. You can only spend what you have.
  • No loans or credit card with credit limit: If you need money, you have to get your loan from somewhere else  (for example: us). At least the debit card can be used as a handyvirtual prepaid credit card.
  • Fresh off the boat: bunq is a young bank. Therefore, some issues or "bugs" can sometimes occur with the app.
  • Fees and fee model: There are so many cool features that it is sometimes hard to keep track of what is free and what is not. Therefore, you should take a closer look at the fee structure.

What account types does bunq offer?

bunq basically offers 3 different account types that can be used by private individuals or business customers. The three models are called bunq Easy Money, bunq Easy Bank and bunq Easy Green. The three accounts differ from each other. While bunq Easy Bank has no monthly fees and is suitable as a low-cost alternative to your own account or especially for travelling, a bunq Easy Green account is the right choice for a power user. 
Here is an overview of the most important functions of the 3 accounts for private individuals:

AccountEasy BankEasy MoneyEasy Green
Cards1 (Maestro, Mastercard)3 (Maestro, Debit Mastercard & Travel Card)4 (Metal Card*, Maestro, Debit Mastercard & Travel Card)
SEPA-paymentsTickTickTick
ATM withdrawals€ 0,99 per10 per month incl.10 per month incl.
Virtual CardsRed X5 (debit)5 (debit)
Instant paymentsRed XTickTick
Monthly fees€ 2,99€ 8,99€ 17,99
Fees for 1 year€ 35,88€ 107,88€ 215,88
Sub accountsRed X2525
Useful forTraveling, as prepaid or secondary accountRegular usersPower users

The bunq Metal Card is only included with Easy Green and Easy Money if you purchase respectively an annual and a bi-annual subscription directly, i.e. pay 12 or 24 months in advance. All other details are based on our research, but may vary due to changes in bunq pricing or service adjustments.

The different cards available for the Easy Money and Easy Green account models are a Maestro card, a Debit Mastercard and a so-called Travel Card, which is a Mastercard credit card. For special patrons, there is also the exclusive Metal Card made of high-quality stainless steel.

The card types that are included with the accounts or can be added:

Maestro Card

Bunq Mastercard Credit Card

MasterCard Debit

Bunq Mastercard Credit Card

Exclusive Metal Card

bunq Metal Card

Which features are included in all accounts?

bunq is not just any bank, but offers many more features, especially for lifestyle, sustainability and easy banking. For example, you can easily budget with your sub-accounts and sort your income and expenses. You can create very simple savings rules where, for example, every payment is rounded up and posted to your savings account.

With push notifications, you are always informed when something happens on your account. Direct debits are also announced first and you can review and confirm (or decline) them.

bunq works with Wise (previously Tranferwise), which allows you to send money to other accounts at the real exchange rate in 39 currencies - directly from the app.

You can easily split expenses in groups with a slice group, making it easy to settle your camping trip or restaurant visit with your friends.

Our list shows what else is available:

FeatureWhat's inside
bunq PackWith bunq Pack you can invite up to 3 other people and share your costs. Only the Pack owner (the one who invited) pays for the Pack. Please refer to the bunq price list for details.
bunq +1: joint accountWith bunq +1 you can invite someone who is not with bunq to your account. This way you create a joint account. Your +1 will have access to your account and will also have their own card.
bunq Metal CardAccording to bunq, the bunq Metal Card is the "most elegant, sustainable and widely accepted metal card available". It is definitely chic.
MassInterestWith MassInterest, your credit balance earns interest up to € 10,000. Currently, that's 0.09% - not much, but still 9x as much as most other banks.
ConnectWith Connect, you can give other bunq users access to your account. Connect is a sub-function of the joint account and is ideal for family members.
bunq-to and bunq.meWith bunq.to you can send money to people whose IBAN you don't know. Instead, you need either the mobile phone number or the email address and send a transaction. The recipient can then accept it. With bunq.me, you can send payment requests to other people at the same time, for example if you just had dinner with a friend and he still owes you something.
Loyalty CardsStarbucks, Bahn Bonus, Douglas, Miles&More, Zalando and so on: loyalty cards are available almost everywhere. At bunq, you can collect them all and have loyalty points collected automatically for you when you shop or pay.
Tree bonusbunq automatically plants trees when you use your account. For every €100 you pay, bunq plants a tree. In the meantime, over 1 million trees have been planted by bunq.
bunq App, bunq Web App, bunq Apple Watch AppNo matter where you are, you always have easy access to your bank account. You can use the website, the app on your smartphone or the Apple Watch app.

How do I open a bunq bank account?

Opening an account with bunq is quite simple. Either you start on the website or you download the app directly from the App Store or Google Play Store (app is called "bunq - bank of The Free" on Google and Apple). The following requirements must be met to open an account:

  • Minimum age of 18 years or confirmation of opening by parent or guardian for minors
  • Valid mobile phone number and email address
  • Valid passport or identity card (for identification)

Now to open an account. The first step is your mobile phone number, with which you confirm, that you are serious and a human being. Then you will be asked for your name, date of birth and gender. Now you will receive a 6-digit code on your mobile phone or your email address, which you use to confirm your login.

In the second step you have to identify yourself. You will need

  • valid ID (identity card) or
  • valid passport
  • if applicable a certificate of registration ("Meldebescheinigung")

In contrast to the classic identification at the post office ("Postident"), you can simply upload the document and confirm your address data with it. bunq now checks your application and will then activate the account accordingly.

In which countries can I open a bunq bank account?

bunq is international and can therefore be used in almost all countries in Europe. The basis is actually the "European Economic Area", i.e. everywhere where banks use the SEPA network. This differs from the EU, for example, and also from euro countries. Currently, bunq is available in the following countries:

Österreich AustriaBelgien BelgiumDänemark Denmark
Deutschland GermanyEngland EnglandFrankreich France
Griechenland GreeceItalien ItalyIrland Ireland
Island IcelandNiederlande NetherlandsNorwegen Norway
Portugal PortugalSpanien SpainSchweden Sweden

bunq is not available in Switzerland or in other non-European countries. In some countries such as Poland, Romania or Hungary, bunq is completely blocked and cannot be used.

bunq review: What we think of the smartphone bank

Speed

Speed: 5/5

The uncomplicated and, above all, quick application via app particularly convinced us with bunq.

The necessary information is limited to the most important. Name, address, mobile phone number and email - that's all you need. Identification is also kept simple and the account is activated directly after verification from bunq's support.

With instant-payments, Wise partnership and the features like bunq.me, you quickly have money in your account that you can use. With Google Pay or Apple Pay, you also don't need to wait for the cards to arrive by mail, because your phone can act as a card.

Features

Accounts and Cards: 4/5

Mobile banking with a fully functional app from which you can control everything. 3 cards, 5 digital accounts and up to 25 IBANs for perfect money management.

The most important features are absolutely fulfilled by bunq. Nevertheless, we didn't give it 5 points because we think important features that are part of a bank are missing. These include, for example, the possibility to overdraw one's account. Personal loans, payday loans or an actual credit card are also not to be found in the portfolio.

Moreover, the many features are not always free of charge, so sometimes fees are incurred without realising it. These are regularly debited from the account, but also only if there is credit available. If the account is not funded, there are time limits, but experience reports also speak of account blocks or seizures. We are not in a position to judge this more precisely.For the basic features "account and card" we therefore give 4 out of 5 stars.

Fees

Fees: 3,5/5

Everything has its price, that's why there is no free bunq bank account. The cheapest is the Easy Travel account, which, as the name suggests, is suitable for travelling and has to be opened once for € 9.99. Further fees and costs are then incurred when using the account, for example when withdrawing money or adding a card.

The two accounts Easy Money and Easy Green each cost € 7.99 or € 16.99 per month and are therefore not cheap. If you are not a power user, the Easy Money account will probably be enough. The biggest bonus with the Easy Green account is the Metal Card if you pay 12 months in advance. In addition, there is a CO2 bonus, which is already included with Easy Green. However, if you are looking for a free account with a debit credit card, you should rather look at the product of DKB or comdirect. We give it 3.5 out of 5 points.

Features

Features: 5/5

From our experience, no bank has so many different cool features with which you can do community banking. Opening a joint account in a few steps, sharing bills, sending money to people you don't know the IBAN of and so on and so forth.

The 25 sub-accounts and IBANs also help to keep your finances in order. With the rounding feature for automatic savings and the interest on the balance, saving money is a bit of fun again. Loyalty cards are also in a single wallet, so you can collect points and earn interest - all from one app.

The service is easily accessible via chat and responds quickly. Availability in 7 languages is definitely a plus. More complex enquiries have to be passed on to specialized departments, but that is probably the case with every bank. The app is updated regularly and new features are announced in bunq keynotes - as you know it from Apple.

Contact options

bunq phone number: not available

Email: support@bunq.com 

WhatsApp: not available

LiveChat: Yes, in the app

Opening hours

Monday - Friday: no information

Saturday: no information

Frequently asked questions about bunq

Is bunq a real bank?

Yes, bunq is a real bank and has a Dutch banking licence which is valid in the European Economics Area. Therefore, you can also use it in Germany or Austria as well. As a Dutch bank, it also advertises in Germany.

Is bunq free?

The cheapest account from bunq is the Easy Bank, which requires a € 2,99 monthly fee when it is opened. The bunq account is therefore not free of charge. The other two products Easy Money and Easy Green cost € 8.99 or € 17.99 per month.
Additional fees can apply with Easy Money or Easy Green for the following:

  • additional cards (apart from the 3 included)
  • if there is more than € 100,000 on the account
  • for more than 10 cash withdrawals per month
  • for SWIFT payments (usually outside the euro area)
  • for additional bunq +1 members (€ 2.99 per month)

When signing up, please check the price and service lists on the website or in the app of the bank itself, as these may well change and also differ depending on the use and model.

How do I transfer money to a bunq account?

bunq is a Dutch bank, so you also have a Dutch IBAN. This starts with "NL" and not with "DE", as is the case for German bank accounts.
The format for a bank transfer is then as follows:

IBAN: NL01BUNQ23456789012
BIC: BUNQNL2A

The BIC is sometimes also given as BUNQNL2AXXX, both work. Please note that the law does not forbid you to transfer money to a foreign bank account. Nevertheless, the Dutch IBAN could perhaps lead to queries in the case of state payments (child benefit, unemployment benefit). With the SEPA reform, however, this payment cannot be refused.

How does bunq work?

As a smartphone bank, you actually use your app for everything with bunq. The first thing you do is register with bunq using your mobile phone number. Once you have identified yourself and registered, you can use your bank account. In the app overview, you can see your accounts, your cards, what you have spent this month and, for example, savings accounts or joint accounts.

Where can I find the IBAN for bunq?

You can find the IBAN of your account in the app. Select your main account on the main screen. You will then find your IBAN in the top line. It starts with "NL" and has 18 characters. Dont be surprised: As it is a Dutch IBAN, the format is slightly different from a German IBAN. That is why you have letters in the middle of the IBAN (digits 4 - 7).

Can minors have an account with bunq?

Yes, minors, for example pupils, can also open a bank account. However, the consent and permission of an authorised representative or legal guardian is required when opening an account. This is usually the mother or father.
In order to open an account as a minor, you must therefore specify the adult guardian in the registration process, who will then approve your account opening in the app. In some cases, bunq will ask for proof that this person is authorised to represent you.

Does bunq check SCHUFA or credit history?

SCHUFA is not checked at bunq, which is why the account is possible without SCHUFA. As far as we can see, there is no official statement from bunq on this, but neither the general terms and conditions nor the data protection declarations contain any permission to share data with SCHUFA as a credit agency. Therefore, a negative SCHUFA does not have to be a hurdle for the account.

What does the bunq Metal Card cost?

The bunq Metal Card stands out due to its special design and is sustainably manufactured from high-quality stainless steel. If you want to get the card individually, you have to pay € 129 for the Metal Card (as a Pack member) or pay 12 months in advance for the Easy Green account type or 24 months in advance for the Easy Money account type.

Is bunq safe?

Your money is protected at bunq by the statutory deposit guarantee scheme of the Dutch Central Bank up to € 100,000 per person. The Dutch legal deposit guarantee system of "De Nederlandsche Bank N.V." is therefore very comparable to the German deposit guarantee protection. Your deposits are protected up to an amount of € 100,000.

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