The Fintech world is a very fast developing place. What is hot today, may be forgotten tomorrow. New concepts of online bank accounts, new online money transfer services, and other financial technology related solutions are popping up like mushrooms, it seems. To stick out, you really have to come up with a new concept that gives your potential customers enough value to try it out: Bunq may just be one of those companies that does exactly that.
Why? Well, just to give you a quick overview: No foreign transaction fees, available all over Europe, real credit card that doesn’t cause problems regarding deposits (f.e. with car rentals), no interest and so much more features!
Read on to find out why we believe this card is one of the hottest travel cards on the market right now.
But first: The card is not entirely free. If you decide for a Bunq Travel Card, the card will cost you €9.99 once but that includes shipping costs. However, there are no monthly or yearly fees.
Bunq is a dutch direct bank (no branches) and concentrates on innovative and user-friendly bank accounts that mostly work with apps. In contrast to Revolut, Bunq has a Dutch banking license and uses it actively.
The Bunq Travel Card comes with a lot of benefits:
- No foreign transaction fees: There are no foreign transaction fees when paying in other currencies than Euro.
- Real exchange rate: Traditional banks and credit card companies may use their own exchange rates that are significantly worse than the actual market rates. Bunq only uses the official MasterCard exchange rates.
- No monthly fee: Once purchased, there is no monthly fee to use the credit card.
- Real MasterCard credit card: The Bunq Travel Card only works with a balance. You therefore need to charge your credit card before using it. However it works like a real credit card. Merchants such as hotels and car rental companies can use the card for deposits like any other credit card (but credit card balance needs to be sufficient). You can find more information on that topic on the Bunq website.
- No credit check needed: Since you do not have any credit line with Bunq, the company also does not have to check your credit eligibility of course.
- Immediate top-up: You can top-up the card immediately and for free with iDEAL & Sofort or within 1 working day via bank transfer. iDEAL & Sofort are third party services that use your online banking login details to confirm payments for the merchant or in this case bank. This way, the balance updates immediately.
- Simple verification and approval process: The application and approval process is all done via Bunq’s innovative and easy-to-use app on your mobile phone. No need to talk to an employee to verify yourself. You can use a passport, government ID, driver’s license or residence permit. Even though Bunq only promises approval (after submitting all information) within 24 hours, it can go much faster than that.
- Innovative mobile phone app: Instant notifications, ability to freeze card immediately in case of a loss and an innovative group slicing functionality to split costs with friends are only some of the great features of the app.
- Apple Pay & Google Pay: The credit card supports both mobile payment services.
- Card works immediately: After being approved you can immediately use your card via Apple Pay or Google Pay on your mobile phone even before receiving the physical credit card.
- Banking license: Bunq has a Dutch banking license. You are actually able to open up to 25 bank accounts as part of their monthly membership (as they call it). The bank accounts, of course, come with an IBAN and many additional innovative features such as sub-accounts for different spends. The Bunq Travel Card is free as part of a membership as well. You will get free cash withdrawals and other benefits too.
- Available in 30 countries: The Bunq Travel Card is available in all EU countries + Iceland and Norway.
Countries You Can Apply From
The Bunq Travel Card is available in all 28 EU countries plus 2 EEA countries (Norway + Iceland):
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Lithuania
- Slovak Republic
- United Kingdom
The Bunq app is very intuitive and offers lots of different functionalities. As mentioned before, there is a group slicing functionality for single payments but you can also create a group and assign several payments to that group.
There is a feedback section, similar to an online forum, where Bunq community members discuss new features and give feedback.
You can get instant payment proof for every payment you have done. Also, you can change the settings of your card according to your needs, such as giving it a personal name in the app, amending the daily limits and daily ATM limits, changing the PIN, allowing it in different countries, freezing it or transferring all money at once from your card if wanted back to your bank account.
There is also a great feature in the app with which you can find additional information about the country you are travelling to next. You can also enable the card to work in that specific country. And disable it after you are done travelling there. That’s extremely safe! Especially with scammers who try reading your card information when you are withdrawing from an ATM in a foreign country.
As with every credit card, there are always some downsides. But in our opinion the cons are not that bad:
- No credit line: This definitely has its pros and cons. The good thing about it is the easy application without a credit check and the fact that you cannot spend more money than you currently have. Therefore you will of course also never have to pay any interest to Bunq. But if you sometimes run into liquidity problems and enjoy having a credit line, this card may not be for you.
- Start-up: Bunq is a start-up and there is always a certain risk involved. As a matter of fact, most start-ups do not survive the first few years. There’s a very high failure rate. Therefore be careful and considerate and do not put all your eggs in one basket.
- Mailing of credit card takes some time: After applying it takes a while until you receive your physical credit card. In my case, it took around 9 days.
- One-off fee for a credit card: Unfortunately Bunq charges a one-off fee of €9.99 for producing & mailing your credit card. Before that, you have to top-up your account with at least €10. Bunq automatically deducts the fee from your top-up amount.
- €0.99 per cash withdrawal: A fixed amount of €0.99 is charged for every global ATM cash withdrawal. While the withdrawal is not free, €0.99 doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable amount of fees.
- No reimbursement of third party ATM withdrawal fees: As expected, Bunq will not reimburse you any of the third-party ATM withdrawal fees that may be charged when you withdraw currency.
- Fee for topping up with credit cards: Bunq charges a 0.5% fee for topping up with credit cards from the European Economic Area and 2.5% for all other credit cards. Only MasterCard or VISA are supported, American Express cards are not supported.
- Does not work without the app: A huge part of the innovation of Bunq is their mobile phone app and its features. If you are looking for a credit card that does not require any mobile phone app or other online technology, keep looking. This card won’t be for you then.
- Start-up: Don’t forget that Bunq is a start-up. Like N26 did in the past, Bunq could always amend their business model and change terms and fees.
Bunq Travel Card vs. Revolut
If you are into international travel credit cards and foreign transfers, you will have heard about Revolut. Revolut offers a very similar product but in some points the offered product differs. Here’s a comparison of the most important aspects:
|Bunq Travel Card||Revolut|
|Cash Withdrawal||€0.99 per withdrawal.||First €200 free, after that 2% fee.|
|Topping up||Free with bank transfer, iDEAL & Sofort. 0.5% with credit cards (VISA & MasterCard)||Free with bank transfer, credit & debit cards (however, some customers experience fees with some of their credit cards)|
|Physical card||Bunq charges €9.99 for the physical credit card||The first physical debit card is free with Revolut|
|Banking license||Bunq already has a Dutch banking license||Revolut has received a Lithuanian banking license is currently testing and developing new features connect with it|
|Credit card||Real credit card||Debit card|
|Chequing account||The Bunq Travel Card does not come with a chequing account. If you do not need one, this can be a plus.||Revolut comes with a mini chequing account. You will receive an IBAN and can do bank transfers and recurring payments.|
The sign-up was pretty easy and straight-forward. Bunq uses some innovative features to verify your identity. You need to send them a photo of the front and back of your passport, government ID, driver’s license or residence permit. After that, you will need to send a video saying something and turning your head. After submitting this, it didn’t even take 5 minutes and I was already verified. At that point I was able to top-up the card, order the physical card (after topping up at least €10) and set up Apple Pay. To use Apple Pay, you have to do some additional verification through the app. This involved taking photos of your fingers including fingerprints several times. However, this process was as straight-forward as all the other steps. Not even half an hour after starting the registration process I was able to use Apple Pay with my Bunq Travel Card. Impressive!
Of course, I didn’t have any problems yet that would involve customer support, and therefore I don’t know how well they would actually handle such cases.
I am very impressed. The credit card comes with a great app that includes lots of fresh features. The registration process is very easy. I didn’t experience any bugs. The overall user experience is excellent and I feel pretty safe using the Bunq Travel Card, even though Bunq is a start-up. Maybe this comes from the fact that the experience so far has been absolutely flawless and it makes you feel more secure about the company in general.
We have reviewed several international travel cards so far. You can find these reviews in our credit card category.
Frequently Asked Questions
Of course, Bunq can deny your application. However, it is very unlikely they will do so, as there is no credit check needed for this credit card. They may only decline your application if you are not registered in one of the above mentioned countries, or you are not able to proof it during the verification process.
You can only own one Bunq Travel Card, unless you become a premium member for €7.99/month. Then you are allowed to own up to 3 Bunq Travel Card’s. If you need even more, you can get extra cards at €2/month. The Bunq website does not state a limit.
It is what Bunq calls a membership. Bunq Premium is much closer to Revolut than just the Bunq Travel Card (which is included in Bunq Premium). The pricing is €7.99/month. Bunq Premium comes with the ability to open up to 25 IBAN accounts, all with their unique IBAN, owning up to 3 different credit cards including the Bunq Travel Card and other additional and useful features.
Yes, they do! And as expected, the business account comes with additional beneficial features. For example you can automatically set VAT aside, scan an invoice to pay it immediately, attach receipts to transactions and much more! The pricing for the business account is €9.99/month.