bunq review logo
Bunq card
  • Easy to open online
  • Monthly fees from €7.99-€19.99
  • Great for traveling
  • Available only in EEA
  • Plants trees for every €100 you spend
  • Three different cards to choose from

Challenger bank from the Netherlands that’s throwing a glove in the face of big banks? Perhaps, but it seems that the glove bounced back and hit bunq in the face as well. Read why after our short verdict:

bunq (written with a lowercase) is a hip challenger bank that’s trying to attract young people from all over Europe with their green message and travel features. It did some great things in this regard, but there are some security and app issues still weighing it down. 

Bunq review infographic

About bunq

Headquartered in Amsterdam, bunq is a brainchild of Ali Niknam, the previous founder of the IT company TransIP. He started bunq in 2012 when he “set out to radically change the traditional banking industry and create the bank of The Free.”

Bunq expanded to all markets in the European Union, Norway, and Iceland in 2019. Users of its Green Card can contribute to reforestation with Bunq planting a tree for every €100 spent.

How to open an account at bunq?

bunq bank mobile-first accounts can be opened in minutes online, and unlike many banks around the world, you don’t have to be based in the Netherlands to open an account with bunq, meaning that all residents of the European Economic Area can sign up for bunq.

To open an account with bunq, visit their website and enter your phone number to get an invite. Or you can download their app from the Google Play or Apple store.

You’ll need to verify your identity with an ID or passport. You can check your document requirements on their website. The verification can last from a few minutes to a few hours in some cases.

In which countries is bunq available?

Bunq is only available in the EEA countries. 

Only residents of the following countries can apply for a bunq account: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

Bunq pros & cons

Pros 

  • 25 fully functional bank accounts with unique IBANs
  • Pay abroad without currency exchange fees
  • Free worldwide ATM withdrawals up to 10 times a month
  • Partnership with Wise for 8X cheaper international payments
  • Autosave money
  • Travel assistant
  • Budgeting and insights
  • Slice groups
  • Family account

Cons

  • No free accounts
  • Only supports Euros
  • inbound Swift charges from 5€
  • Trees are planted only if you spend with a Metal card which is expensive
  • Many fees

Fees

  • Monthly account fees
  • 10 free withdrawals per month included (travel accounts excluded) €0.99 per withdrawal thereafter
  • Receiving Swift payments (up to €10.000) €5.00 per payment
  • Receiving Swift payments (between €10.000 and €100.000) €10.00 per payment
  • Receiving Swift payments (above €100.000) €25.00 per payment 
  • Free direct debits (€0.10 per payment for business acc.)
  • Free sending/receiving instant payments or sending instant requests (€0.10 per payment for business acc.)
  • 2.5% fee to send requests, paid instantly via debit or credit card (+€0.20 per payment for business acc.)
  • Free top up with iDEAL, SOFORT, Bancontact 
  • 0.5% fee for first €500 free per month to top up with a debit or credit card, whenever and wherever it suits you 
  • Find all the fees here

Bunq accounts

Easy Money Personal (€7.99/m)

  • A combination of 3 cards is included for free. A Metal Card can be ordered when you pre-pay 24 months of bunq Easy Money in advance.
  • Available in: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

Easy Money is probably their most popular account type so we’re going to stay here for a while. For €7.99 a month, you do actually get quite a lot of features.

You can have up to 25 bank accounts with their own unique IBANs. You can manage them, not only on your bunq app but also online on a desktop, which is handy sometimes, especially for businesses.

It’s also easy to categorize your payments into those sub-accounts with auto budgeting. Once you get some money on the app, it will simply go to your desired account that’s dedicated for rent, or groceries for example. 

Bunq also gives you interest rates on your deposits up to €10,000. The interest rate is 0.09% no matter which investment option you choose. I know, it’s not a lot, is it? But it’s a new world and you don’t get much money for leaving it in your bank account as banks have plenty of it. In fact, you’ll have to pay €0.03 per every €1,000 above €100,000 in your account.

Bunq has a partnership with Wise to get you some of the cheapest money transfers and international payments by using the real exchange rate.

You get three different card types to choose from, but more on that below. There’s a list with all the benefits and features on their website, so give it a look. 

Easy Travel Personal (€9.99/one-time fee)

  • €9.99 per Travel Card (maximum 1 card)
  • No monthly fees
  • Available in: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

Easy travel is a bit different from other plans as it only has a one-time payment of €10 that will net you a travel card. It’s also not a bank account so you won’t have access to all the features. 

What you won’t get are free ATM withdrawals, connecting monetary accounts, having multiple cards (just 1 travel card), bunq.me request links, making (iDEAL/ SOFORT) payments, API keys, Freedom of Choice, interest rates, and the ability to accept direct debits or send bank transfers.

So, why get it? Well, you’ll benefit from getting the real exchange rate without any additional charges, anywhere in the world. You pay just €10 once and you’re set. No monthly fees. And you get a card that acts like a credit card without being one. 

Easy Green Personal (€16.99/m)

  • A combination of 3 cards is included for free. A Metal Card can be ordered when you pre-pay 12 months of bunq Easy Money in advance.
  • Available in: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

The Easy Green account does everything that Easy Money does. The only few differences are that with Easy Green you can share with others how much greener you are and you can also I guess invite others to plant trees when they spend €100 with their bunq card. 

The last difference is that you get purchase protection and an extended warranty on all your Metal card purchases. I’m not sure that these three features make up the difference in the money you have to pay for a subscription every month as all the other fees stay the same. 

It’s not possible to upgrade from a Personal to a Business plan, as those are two separate plans.

Easy Money Business (€9.99/m)

  • A combination of 3 cards is included for free. A Metal Card can be ordered when you pre-pay 24 months of bunq Easy Money in advance.
  • Available in: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain

Easy Money accounts are the same across the board with some added business features to the business version. 

You can import a PDF invoice from your email by opening it with your bunq app so that it automatically generates a payment.

There’s the attachment search option that, well, searches your invoices and attachments. 

You can also add another person to your business accounts that will have full access to the account. If you want to add one or more employees, you can use bunq +1 that gives your employees sub-accounts.

Arguably the most useful feature is to resolve failed card payments instantly. If a payment doesn’t go through, for example, your money would be unavailable to you until the merchant resolved the error.

With this super-useful feature, bunq will take care of processing your refund request for you.

Easy Green Business (€19.99/m)

  • A combination of 3 cards is included for free. A Metal Card can be ordered when you pre-pay 12 months of bunq Easy Money in advance.
  • Available in: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain

Green Business expands on Money Business by promising, I guess, that your business will become CO2-free in just two years. How? By planting a tree for every €100 you spend with any card linked to your business account. 

I failed to mention that both business accounts can set aside your VAT automatically and that you can scan and pay receipts or invoices, plus that each transaction is updated in your bookkeeping tool. 

Easy Travel Business (€2,99/m)

  • €9.99 per Travel Card (maximum 1 card)
  • Monthly fee €2.99
  • Available in: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain

This is the same as the Travel card for your personal account but here you have to pay in addition to a one-time payment of €10, a €2.99 monthly fee as well. 

bunq +1 (€2,99/m)

  • A sub-account for your child, employee, partner, caretaker…
  • Available in: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain

With bunq +1 you can easily invite your partner, employee, child, or caretaker for example to share a bunq sub-account with you. They will get:

  • A personal card of their choice 
  • 1 free ATM withdrawal per month
  • Access to one of your sub-accounts

Pack (€19.99/m (€5/m per person))

  • 3 Personal accounts + 1 Business account or 4 personal accounts

This is the bunq family plan where for €19.99 you and your friends or family members can enjoy up to 4 bunq Personal Easy Money/Easy Green plans, or 3 bunq Personal Easy Money/Easy Green plans and 1 Business Easy Money/Easy Green plan. 

It’s actually good value for money and I wish more digital banks would offer this option. 

bunq cards

With Easy Travel accounts, both personal and business, you get a max of 1 travel card and that will cost you €9.99. With Easy Money and Easy Green, on the other hand, you get three cards! And you get to choose your combination of the following cards:

  • Maestro: Accepted country-wide at all Dutch terminals
  • Mastercard: This debit card is accepted worldwide and has a rotating CVC to use for online payments.
  • bunq Travel Card: The Travel card is a credit card without the risk of falling into debt, accepted to make car rentals and hotel reservations.

So, if you want to get two Mastercards and one Travel card, for example, you can. You have the freedom to choose which three cards to get. 

The Maestro card is best in the Netherlands, the Travel card is the easiest option when renting a car, or going to a hotel. It’s also the best card for traveling worldwide. It acts like a credit card to merchants but is actually a debit card to you. And Mastercard is, well, Mastercard.

And then there’s the coveted Metal card that you can order if you prepay of either 24 months of bunq Easy Money, 12 months of bunq Easy Green, 12 months of bunq Pack (Pack owner), or €129 (Pack member). 

The Metal card is made with 50% less plastic and is a credit card without debt. The company will plant a tree for every €100 that you spend with it. 

Joint account

Two or more bunq account holders can enter to have a Joint account together. This is hardly anything new but it’s handy to have the option. The max number of people in a Joint account is caped to 10 and no one can join later on. 

Simply select Joint Account > Get a Joint account in the app, personalize it and choose who do you want to share it with. All the joint account members are its owners, so the account is in all their names. 

There’s no limit as to how many Joint accounts you can open and all the account owners get an instant notification when there’s been a deposit or payment made.

There’s also an option to connect an account that is different from the Joint account. A connected account is a sub-account in your name only where you give access to a friend or family member. 

How is bunq regulated?

bunq has a full European banking license given to them by the Dutch National Bank (DNB) with all the regulations and obligations that come from that.  

Is my money safe with bunq?

Because bunq is a fully-fledged bank, your deposits are insured under the Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS) up to €100,000 if something were to happen with the bunq bank. 

The company also has security features for your app, like the option to freeze your cards, change your PIN, or change your CVV number.

You can even set the app to change your CVV every 5 minutes. The CVV is never displayed on your card anyway but can be found in the app at any time. I have to say that I really like this option.

All in all, your money should be safe from outside factors, but what about the company itself? 

Bad reviews and account blocking

As a bank, bunq is legally required to protect their users’ accounts and the integrity of their banking system. 

The company can block and even delete your account for a variety of reasons and even keep your money. 

“When we block an account we will suspend all activity on the account. Our compliance team may also decide to hold funds after the closure of your account to cover any debts to us, payments that you approved before your account was closed or legitimate claims and rights of third parties.”

And also,

“… our Compliance Team will provide you with a reason for blocking your account where possible. However, situations may arise where our Compliance Team is (legally) not allowed to share certain information with you and, as such, will not do so.”

I’m sure other banking institutions have the same clauses in their T&Cs but it’s a bit worrying at how many customers get to experience that.

At the time of writing, bunq had a 2.5-star rating from 1,886 reviews on Trustpilot with only 37% of reviewers saying that the service was excellent and a whopping 49% that it’s bad. 

On the Google Play Store, on the other hand, the app has a 4.6-star rating from more than 13k reviews.

Most people complain about the unresponsive customer service and about their accounts being blocked. This is happening with all the digital banks on the market and is nothing new, but still, it doesn’t give one the confidence to open an account with them.

Competitors 

There’s no shortage of competitors in the EU market at the moment. For instance, there’s N26, a German digital bank that offers free and paid personal and business accounts.

There’s also the digital-banking behemoth, Revolut that’s available not only in Europe, but in the USA, Australia, Japan, and other countries. In the UK, there are Monzo and Starling, two challenger banks at the top of their game. 

The bottom line

The bottom line is that bunq looks great on paper, with all of its unique features, but we can’t look past all the negative reviews of regular people that had their accounts and their money blocked for months on end. 

Again, this is nothing unique to bunq, but we just can’t recommend them until they clean up their act regarding this practice, or at least speed up the money transfer verification process and improve the communication with their customers in this regard by a great deal.