bunq Review 2021 – Pros & Cons of Banking With bunq.com
- IBAN Accounts
- SEPA / SWIFT transfers
- Credit Card (MasterCard)
- Great app
- Excellent service for travelers
- Active community sharing improvement ideas
- 30 Days Free Trial (Premium Account)
- Partially incompetent customer support
- Monthly account fee quite high
Looking for an innovative bank? Check out our bunq review:
bunq is the youngest and most innovative bank in the Netherlands. In this extensive bunq review, money marketer looks at the service, services and prices of bunq to see if opening a bunq bank account is worth it. Want to compare bunq with other innovative banks? Read our comparison between bunq vs N26 and bunq vs Knab. This article in which we compare the costs of 12 different banks is also worthwhile.
We start this bunq review briefly with the history of bunq. The Dutch company exists since 2012 and was founded by the successful entrepreneur Ali Nikham who was previously active in the large web hosting company TransIP. With an ICT background, Ali Nikham had an innovative vision on banking.
Thanks to the experience of two former employees of the Royal Bank of Scotland, bunq received a banking license from the Nederlandse Bank in 2015. This makes the FinTech banking service a fully fledged Dutch bank that also falls under the European deposit guarantee scheme, which guarantees that your savings of up to 100,000 euros are safe.
bunq tries to position itself as an ICT company that handles banking matters, which is largely due to the ICT background of the founder and director. This philosophy is extensively reflected in this bunq review and leads to some interesting innovations but also limitations compared to existing banks. In this review we look at whether bunq under the line is interesting and reliable enough to outsource your banking business to.
Opening an Account at bunq – bank of The Free
An important part of this bunq review is to open the account yourself. Unlike other banks, this system runs entirely via the App. No visits to a bank branch, no paper forms and even a computer is not necessary.
This makes the process of opening an account and identity verification extremely fast and smooth. Certainly in comparison with other banks. You simply install the bunq app, follow the steps and take photos of the required documents. Then you wait for the manual verification and if everything is in order you will receive a bunq account number within a few hours.
In this bunq review, we have nothing to complain about opening an account; it’s easier and faster than at any other bank. However, once everything has been set up, the app does feel rather limited. Especially if you’re used to the very extensive online banking environment of ING, for example. That brings us to the next point.
The bunq Account Types
The FinTech is able to present an innovative, fully-fledged solution for your banking needs. The question is, of course, what do you pay for this innovation? The answer is a bit all or nothing.
bunq started as a price fighter with a unique revenue model. Customers only paid for use, so your bank account was completely free but you withdrew your money or made a bank transfer and paid you a small fee. Not only was this a distinctive revenue model, it was also a great way to attract many new customers to the bunq platform.
However, it turned out that this revenue model was not profitable, something that also appears to be the loss-making figures of bunq in their earlier days. Therefore, in 2017, the company introduced a new revenue model consisting of 2 types of packages, bunq free and bunq premium.
Easy Bank Personal
The formerly bunq Free / easyTravel account was obviously replaced by the Easy Bank Personal. While bunq Free users used to enjoy free accounts but without the possibility to get a bank card, now there is a new concept: There is no more free account, but each of the 3 different plans comes with a card.
Easy Bank Personal accounts with bunq only focus on payment card usage without all the other frills. So bunq Easy Bank Personal accounts are designed for the needs of travelers who need a credit card for international payments and ATM withdrawals all over the world. The bunq MasterCard can be used wherever MasterCard is accepted in general. This plan costs 2.99€ per month.
Easy Money Personal
This plan is an upgrade to the Easy Bank plan as it is an account for every life event. This account includes saving, spending and general banking features and is available for 8.99€ per month.
Easy Green Personal
With this sustainability-focused plan users can become carbon neutral in just 2 years. The usage is linked to trees that get planted: 1 tree for every €100 that the user spends. With this plan users have 100% control of how their money is invested by bunq. Also, this plan comes with a nice sustainable metal card.
The General Fees Of bunq Banking Services Are:
- Deposits: 1.5% of the deposited amount
- Additional Maestro Card: €9.99 per card + €3.49 p/m per card
(if you need more than the included cards)
- Additional Master Card: €9.99 per card + €3.49 p/m per card
- Cash withdrawal (€): free – €2.99/withdrawal
- Sending/receiving payments: free (apart from possible fees of Transferwise, the third party service used for international bank transfers)
By the way – bunq offers a 30 Days Free Trial for the Easy Money account, which is great. So you can simply check the service out at no risk.
Easy Bank Business
This basic business banking subscription costs 4.99€ per month and comes with the following features: direct connection to bookkeeping, instant notifications, employee access, finances overview at a glance, API for every application and more. This plan suits the business banking needs of most freelancers and small business owners.
Easy Money Business
This account type is designed for the needs of freelancers or small companies operating mostly online. The bunq app helps to ease business banking enormously so users have it all in one place, with an overview of all recent banking activities at a glance, bank statements, exportable data and bank cards at their disposal. Note that the business subscription does not include AutoExport, automatically set aside VAT and Zapier – those are features that you will get in the business SuperGreen subscription.
Here’s An Overview Of bunq’s Main Business Fees:
- Monthly Fee: €10.99
- Sending/receiving payments or sending requests: €0.10
- Payments via Transferwise: +Transferwise Fee
- Request paid with iDEAL or SOFORT: €0.20
- SEPA XML batch payments: €1.00 per batch of up to 100 payments + €0.10 per payment
- Top up credit card: 0.5% for EU cards & 2.5% for non-EU cards (€500 free top ups per month included)
- Small extra cost for bank statements, data exports etc.
Easy Green Business
In our eyes this is the best value plan by bunq as with this subscription bunq plants a tree with every €100 you spent and you get the bunq Metal Card with it.
The bunq Metal Card is a MasterCard debit card made from 50% less plastic than usual bank cards. The stainless steel material makes the card even more resistant and last longer. The easyGreen Business has very useful features such as automatic VAT. This means that the VAT gets set aside automatically into an extra VAT sub-account with each amount. So you always have those amounts already separate. Other features such as invoice scan – the program can then automatically fill in the payment details and everything from the invoice so you don’t need to fill in invoice details manually.
Here is a list of bunq easyGreen Business features:
- A combination of 3 cards
- Additional cards possible
- Card payments
- Cash Withdrawals
- Sending/receiving instant payments
- Extra sub-accounts possible (at extra cost)
- SEPA XML batch payments
- Swift transfers
- Direct debit
- scanning and paying invoices automatically without manual input
- bookkeeping on-the-go by adding notes to payments
easyGreen Business with Metal Card (and a tree for every €100 spent): €20.99 / month
bunq Review = App Review
One of the most important distinguishing features of bunq is that everything happens in the app. For an ICT bank this is a logical, but also a radical step. After all, you can’t fall back on the website if the app gets stuck. During the bunq review, copying and pasting account numbers was also much more difficult on the phone or tablet than on a laptop. Direct competitor N26, for example, still has a website with limited functionality.
However, only an app also has advantages, as shown by this bunq review. Especially in terms of functionality, it appears that you can do more with an app than with a website. The app is also very pleasant and clear for many users without unnecessary options or menus. Let’s see how this bunq app works in practice.
When we start the app during our bunq review we first get a login screen. Here you have to enter a six-digit PIN code of your choice to get access to your account. After logging in, you will get an overview of all your current accounts in the middle. In the upper right corner there is a profile icon and at the bottom of the screen there are several tabs.
In addition, we find two buttons on this screen, request and payment. With payment you can logically execute a new payment order, but request is also a useful function. This allows you to share a payment link via e-mail or Whatsapp, for example. The handy thing is that people can immediately pay this link via iDeal so that the amount is the same on your account.
When we tap the account in the bunq review in the overview or on the second tab at the bottom of the app, your account overview will appear. The account overview is simple but tightly designed. At the top you will find 3 more necessary options. Search in depreciation, display planned payments and display recurring payments (collections).
It is interesting to know that your direct debits will only be executed after you have explicitly given permission in the bunq app. A new direct debit will never be debited automatically. Finally, of course, when you click on the direct debits, you can get more information about the date, time and reference on which the debiting or crediting was carried out.
What we found one of the most useful features of the bunq app in this bunq review is that the app provides real-time notifications if something is credited or debited to your account. This gives you a safe feeling that if something goes wrong you’ll be there quickly and it also provides overview and awareness in your daily income and expenses.
Choice Between Different Kinds of Bank Card
In the third tab ‘passes’ we find in this bunq review another handy and unique feature within the Netherlands. At bunq Premium you can choose from a combination of Mastercards (debit cards) and Maestro Passes (debit cards).
We have already written a lot about it on our site, but for those who don’t know yet what a prepaid debit card is: This is actually a bank card with a credit card number on it. So you can pay anywhere you can pay with a credit card, but only spend what you have on your account (like a debit card).
In this bunq review we thought this might be the most useful feature. A debit card has no credit or limit so you don’t have any BKR coding or interest. In addition, a debit card also makes you more aware of spending because you can only spend what you have.
A credit card is not widely used in the Netherlands, but especially if you want to pay online and offline abroad, a credit card is very useful. Linking a debit card and a debit card to one account ensures that you can do almost anything with the same account. This gives bunq an interesting offer that no other Dutch bank offers.
It goes without saying that you can fully manage the linked cards in the app. This way you can link them to another or even multiple accounts. Depending on the PIN code you enter, the amount will be debited from a certain account! In this bunq review we could further set limits and allowed countries and block or deactivate the card.
Scanning QR Codes
In the fourth tab we find QR codes, QR codes and additional QR codes. During our bunq review we noticed that bunq works a lot with QR codes. If you want to pay something on a device other than your phone or tablet on which bunq is installed, you have to scan a QR code. Your bunq app then works as a kind of e.dentifier to confirm the payment.
Besides scanning QR codes in this tab you can also generate QR codes, this allows other bunq users who scan this QR code to pay you directly. So basically a kind of your own account number in a QR code. During our bunq review this turned out to be a bit of a gimmick because it is only usable for bunq users and a request via iDeal is simply clearer and works for every Dutch bank.
In the icon at the top right you will find more personal settings. Under personal settings you can see some important settings and data. Under my costs you can see the invoices of bunq and their services themselves and you can request the transfer service.
You can also change various security settings, such as recording limits, authentication by means of hand recognition or a password sentence and your login code. In addition, there are various options for notifications that you can turn on or off. For example, you can get notifications of credit transfers, debits, payment requests, debit card payments, customer service chats, and more. We will return to the latter in this bunq review below.
bunq Review Customer Service
The last, rightmost tab is called ‘together’ and is a knowledge base combined with customer service. During this bunq review, we had mixed feelings about the structure of this. The knowledge base is more of a forum, called bunq together, where users can ask questions and share experiences.
Sometimes there’s something useful here, but we’re talking about a bank app and your personal banking. I personally don’t want to go through a forum for that kind of thing, looking for an answer to my problem why an overbooking didn’t work out or why I can’t log in. Then I just want to see a customer service representative as soon as possible.
Luckily there is a personal bunq customer service, but this can only be reached via a chat in the bunq app. So you can’t call or email customer service. However, customer service can be reached via this chat 7 days a week until 23:00 in the evening, which is very neat.
Still, in this bunq review we had our doubts about this construction. Imagine that your phone is broken or stolen. Not only can’t you reach your bank, but there’s also no way to contact customer service. Especially when transferring an account to another phone you might need it.
Update: There appear to be initiatives of third parties such as bunq desktop to still be able to bank on a computer with bunq. But it’s a pity that bunq itself doesn’t officially give any development or support for this.
For something as important as banking, we believe that customer service should also be available in an alternative way, even if only via a chat window on the website, so that you can at least explain your problem there.
We were also impressed by the customer service employees themselves in this bunq review. They are all very cheerful and hip, but they are not always competent. Because bunq recently also works internationally, you often get an English-speaking employee in the chat, which is annoying when you’re not very good at English. Even if your English is good, you don’t translate bank-specific terms such as direct debit or Sepa authorization on a daily basis.
Our personal experience in this bunq review is that customer service is somewhat inadequate. That’s a pity, because the bunq app works great in most cases. However, if there is a problem, the accessibility and knowledge of the customer service are still poor.
Main Advantages Of Our bunq Review
- Very well-functioning and extensive banking app that includes a lot more than those of competitors
- Innovative look and customer-oriented approach, much-needed innovation in the grey banking landscape
- Choice of debit cards, unique for a Dutch bank
- Contact with customer service 7 days a week until 23:00 in the evening
- Lots of fun innovations and extras. Like linking multiple bank accounts to 1 debit card, requests, 25 bank accounts, instant notifications and a lot of freedom to set your own limits.
- Free package with which you can try out the app and service yourself.
- Interest on the payment account
Main Drawbacks Of Our bunq Review
- The Free package is actually not usable as a regular bank account due to the lack of a debit card (update: the free package is no longer available).
- The Premium package (month free trial) includes many things you do not need and is therefore on the expensive side, N26 and KNAB do it cheaper
- Customer service can only be reached via in-app chat and has insufficient knowledge.
- No internet banking, (but possible via a third party solution)
- Additional costs for cash withdrawals after the first time is not reasonable in view of the monthly amount.
A considerable number of advantages against a considerable number of disadvantages. The conclusion is that I can’t recommend bunq as the main account yet. The disadvantage of customer service in our bunq review is simply too great.
As a second account bunq is an interesting option because they offer a lot of things that you probably can’t find at your current bank. With €7,99 per month this is a relatively expensive second account but you get a lot of unique possibilities. For those who can miss the money and want a taste of banking of the future, bunq is definitely recommended.
It is unfortunate but understandable that bunq still has some bugs and beauty flaws but due to the rapid development this will probably solve itself in the foreseeable future.
Yet in this bunq review we are enthusiastic and impressed by what bunq has achieved in a relatively short period of time. We are convinced that if bunq continues this line they will definitely become a good choice for a first or second (or maybe even 25th) account in the long run.
Our bunq review shows that bunq has created an innovative banking product in a relatively short period of time, which can be called clever. The app works fine and the requests, dynamic pin codes and a debit master card are just a few of the useful and distinctive innovations. When you consider that they have only been in existence since 2012, this can be called particularly clever. However, it is still noticeable that this is a startup.
What’s new is that bunq recently started offering digital credit cards and interest on the payment account. Unfortunately, I cannot (yet) recommend bunq as the main account. This is mainly due to the fact that the bank still behaves somewhat capriciously.
As a second account, bunq and its innovations are certainly worth the effort. However, with €7.99 per month remaining, bunq is at the price, certainly for a second account. However, if you can miss such an amount, you will get a unique banking experience in return. Curious about bunq? Try bunq for free for a month.
The limited accessibility and knowledge of customer service is a bit disappointing. In addition, we are not totally convinced by the pricing model. You pay for services that you won’t use, because hardly anyone will use the full 25 bank accounts. Slightly fewer cards and accounts for a little less money would therefore provide a little more balance. However, it is nice that bunq has recently started offering interest on the payment account and a prepaid credit card remains a nice alternative to a regular credit card.
Do you want to try out bunq? Click here for a bunq account and try out a month for free to get acquainted with the bunq app.
Are you looking for alternatives to bunq? Then you may want to check out our N26 review.