- Accessible to companies registered in France, Spain, Germany and Italy
- A complete solution for controlling your expenses
- Automate bookkeeping
- No hidden fees
- No transfer commissions
We’re having a look at an up-and-coming challenger bank from France that is serving major EU countries. If you’re in need of a bank account, continue reading our Qonto review. But first, here’s our short verdict:
Overall, if you’re looking for a bank for your company to use or a freelancer looking to simplify your statements, it’s hard to go wrong with Qonto. This record-making French bank looks set for bigger and better things every year with an ever-growing array of innovations and technologies available to its customers.
Qonto is a digital neobank that is 100% online-only. It launched in France in 2017. It’s one of the banks designed purely for the business market, and it has been a roaring success, growing to over 150,000 business customers since.
The bank gained a license from the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority in 2018 and is supervised by the ACPR. Money saved with Qonto is kept completely separate from Qonto’s own finances, a regulatory requirement for making customers’ accounts safe.
Why is Qonto so special?
Qonto is positioning itself as a second business bank account for many freelancers and small businesses in France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. They’ve “clicked” with many business users as they have excellent user reviews on Trustpilot and similar websites.
Although this French fintech company is barely five years old, it offers a mature and nearly complete financial service to entrepreneurs that want to spend less time on banking and accounting and more on developing their business.
The company offers automated bookkeeping, a range of debit cards, helps you create a company from scratch, and now even started offering loans through a partner.
Pros and cons
- Easy to open an account
- Create a company
- Account for any type of business
- Real-time accounting
- Simplified team expenses
- Customizable debit cards
- Available in select countries
- Monthly membership fee
- €5 to receive SWIFT (Basic acc)
- 1% International SWIFT transfers
- €2/m to have virtual cards (Basic acc)
- Extra in/outbound transaction €0.40
- 0-2% foreign exchange fee
- €1+VAT for ATM withdrawals after quota
How to open a Qonto account?
Qonto is only available for companies from France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Opening an account with Qonto can be done online, as you might expect from a 100% digital bank. You’ll need details about your company, but it’s still a relatively quick process and isn’t difficult to do.
You’ll start out by choosing the country and whether you want to open a bank account or create a company. After that, you have to choose between freelancer or SME, startup, and association. Enter your email and go from there. You’ll be up and running in no time.
The documents that you’ll need to submit to open a Qonto account are:
- A government-issued ID,
- A European passport, or
- A French resident permit
How can I add funds to a Qonto account?
Funds can be added to your Qonto account using a range of payment methods, including bank transfers and now, cheques but only in France. This is incredibly convenient for businesses that work with a range of clients, many of whom may use unusual or outdated payment methods.
All accounts offered are current accounts, so there isn’t much to speak of in terms of interest. Fees for accounts and cards range from €9 per month to €249 per month for bigger accounts, depending on whether you opt for a solo account as a freelancer or an account for a large business.
These rates seem more than fair when considering the number of useful features Qonto has managed to pack into its banking platform.
Qonto offers a range of accounts to suit freelancers, companies, and company creators. Each of these account types is tailored to its audience, with tiered levels providing different features for a slightly higher monthly fee. This means it’s easy to customize your Qonto account to suit your needs – nothing less, nothing more.
Qonto partnered with legalstart.fr to create new companies in France. This can be done 100% online and in 20 minutes. They will write the company’s articles of incorporation and make it easy for you to simply deposit the share capital online and finalize your company registration.
Qonto has a great mobile app that is available on both iOS and Android. The apps are intuitive and fast and allow you to manage your account, make transfers, manage team members and cards, add invoices or receipts to your transaction, view and download statements, etc. You can also log in with fingerprint verification, making the app quicker to use.
Qonto offers a range of virtual and physical cards. At least one physical card is included for free and some plans include up to 5 or 10 free cards. Here are limits for Qonto’s cards:
- €5 + VAT per month
- €20k per month payment limit
- €1,000 ATM withdrawals per month
- No free ATM withdrawals (€1+VAT)
- 2% FX fee
- €6 + VAT per month
- €40k per month payment limit
- €2,000 ATM withdrawals per month
- 5 free ATM withdrawals
- 1% FX fee
X Card (metal)
- €20 + VAT per month
- €60k per month payment limit
- €3,000 ATM withdrawals per month
- unlimited free ATM withdrawals
- No FX fee
Metal cards have become popular in recent years when Revolut launched theirs. Qonto’s 17-gram metal card is the best choice if your business is taking you abroad often. There’s no foreign exchange fee and you have unlimited free ATM withdrawals.
You also get some premium services such as access to 1,00+ lounges worldwide and a personal assistant that can help you book flights, make reservations, and do other daily tasks.
Bookkeeping can be an anxiety-provoking task for many freelancers and small business owners that don’t have an accountant or a dedicated person. Qonto can help by making it easy to add paper and digital receipts and invoices by taking a photo and matching to transactions.
Email attachments can also be added automatically. And VAT? The Qonto algorithm will detect them so you don’t have to do it manually. Just add the information once per supplier, for all related transactions and you’re done.
Qonto is also connected to 80 accounting tools including Sage, Quickbooks, Sorted, Sellsy, Ça Compte Pour Moi, and others.
Qonto has partnered with October, a leading lending platform, to offer loans that can support your cash flow or bring projects to life. There are two loans to choose from.
State guaranteed loan
- Loans between €15,000 and €30,000
- 12-month grace period
- Loan period up to 6 years
- Application fee up to 1% of the loan amount
- Rate starting from 2% for the first 12 months, then up to 4.91%
- Loans between €15,000 and €30,000
- Loan period of 2 years
- Application fee up to 3% of the loan amount
- Management fee up to 0.5% per year
- Rate starting from 6.5%
- Qonto customer for at least 12 months
- Headquartered in Metropolitan France
- Revenue €100,000+ over the last 12 months
- Société commerciale or a société civile immobilière (SCI)
- Some NACE codes not accepted
- Shareholders with no liquidation in last 5 years
Who owns Qonto?
Qonto was founded in 2016 by Alexandre Prot and Steve Anavi. Its headquarters are in Paris, France.
The company raised more than $151 million from four rounds of funding. The last round, in January 2020, brought in €104 million.
Qonto has eight investors, including DST Global, Tencent, Alven, Valar Ventures, Tencent, Taavet Hinrikus (from Wise), Ingo Uytdehaage, and the European Investment Bank.
Qonto is a trademark and the company’s legal name is Olinda SAS.
How is Qonto regulated?
Qonto has a payment institution license and is operating under the supervision of Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR). Although Qonto isn’t a bank, it’s subject to regular controls and compliance checks as all other French banks.
Is my money safe with Qonto?
As we already mentioned, Qonto isn’t a regular bank and therefore customer deposits aren’t insured by the Fonds de Garantie des Dépôts et de Résolution (FGDR). That doesn’t mean your deposits aren’t safe though.
You see, payment and e-money institutions are required by law to keep customer funds segregated in other reputable banks’ accounts. In this case, Qonto is keeping your deposits in Credit Mutuel Arkéa – a top-tier banking group in France.
The money is completely isolated from Qontos day-to-day operations and would be completely returned to you in case Qonto went bankrupt.
Qonto has a 4.7-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot from 4,000+ reviews, with 83% of reviewers giving it an excellent mark and only 6% a bad one. With a score of 4.7 stars, Qonto is better than Anytime (4.6), Revolut (4.4), Holvi (4.2), N26 (3.9), and bunq (3.1), for example.
Qonto favors chat over the phone by logging in to your Qonto interface from your desktop
There’s no shortage of Qonto alternatives on the European banking market. We included some of the most popular digital banks for businesses.
Anytime is another French fintech focused on freelancers and small businesses. If you don’t have a company set up yet, you can also do it through them and simplify the process for yourself.
Revolut is one of the best choices for small to medium businesses and freelancers that work with multiple currencies and offers an unlimited number of accounts for your business. More than 500,000 businesses are using Revolut already and the company continues to grow and expand globally.
Holvi is a solid alternative for sole traders across Europe and small businesses that manage a variety of clients and online payments during the month. Financial tools provided by Holvi are awesome and definitely worth paying a monthly fee.
N26 offers multiple types of business accounts including a free account for less demanding businesses and sole traders. N26 offers so many benefits and features that we couldn’t list them all here.
bunq is a neobank from Netherlands that was established in 2012 and is only obtainable in the EEA countries. It’s a genuine bank that has deposit insurance up to €100k.
The bottom line
Qonto is an excellent solution for businesses that want to streamline and advance their banking processes without paying expensive fees. There are various tailored packages designed to suit businesses in an array of sizes, and the app offers a range of great services to help with bookkeeping and budget management.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.