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A challenger bank based in the Netherlands has increased its coverage area to cater to the European Union. Bunq also offers extra services including an affordable Travel Card, on which there are no charges.
Bunq, a fintech startup mobile bank that provides accounts and other financial services, will be spreading its services to another 22 regions, pushing the number of countries it operates in, all the way to 30. The company, based in Amsterdam, will also be supporting both Apple Pay and Google Pay for all of its customers with Travel Cards in certain countries including Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
The Bunq company, which already operates in the above countries, allows customers to easily open their own full bank accounts online, supplying users with their unique International Bank Account Number (IBAN) as well as a debit card, for a subscription charge to be paid monthly.
Also, the company launched its Bunq Travel Card a few months ago in June. With the Travel Card, users can easily fund a virtual wallet that is connected to their Bunq Mastercard, allowing them to spend the added funds through the Mastercard.
The Travel Card costs a one-time fee of €9.99 without any additional monthly charges. This helps customers access banking services much cheaper than is obtainable elsewhere as Bunq processes these foreign transactions with Mastercard’s official exchange rate and no added fees. It offers considerable financial relief because most other institutions could still charge as much as 3% of the money spent on foreign transactions.
However, it’s important to note that the Travel Card does not offer you a full-fledged bank account but rather complements one. Even though Bunq doesn’t add any fees to foreign transactions done via the Travel Card, a standard fee of €0.99 is charged for each ATM withdrawal.
Bunq’s mobile app also has a security feature that lets the card owner freeze the app, or release it, whenever they choose to. Limits are also available and holders can set them as they please.
The challenger bank, however, does not offer credit services. Regardless, the Travel Card could be used as a credit card as it can serve all purposes a traditional credit card can be used for, including security deposits at hotels, or temporary rentals. However, Bunq will not let you spend money you don’t have as any initiated transactions will be disallowed if the account isn’t funded.
Bunq was initially started in 2012 by Ali Niknam and eventually received an official banking permit in September of 2014. About a year later in September 2015, the firm had successfully received seed funds up to €16.7 million. By November of the same year, the Bunq app was released to the public and by the end of 2018, Bunq had more than 80 employees, with total assets worth more than €230.5 million.
The additional 22 countries Bunq is spreading to include Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Malta, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Slovakia, Croatia, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom as well as the Republic of Cyprus.