Dutch lender bunq launches fee-free travel card

By Roger Baird on 7th June 2019

Challenger Banks

The Dutch digital bank has launched a travel card which competes against the travel money packages of rivals Revoult, Monzo and Starling Bank.

Dutch lender bunq launches fee-free travel card
Image source: Company supplied

Dutch app-only bank bunq has launched a travel card that does not levy mark-up charges or a monthly fee.

The card is a Mastercard that charges standard Mastercard exchange rates, compared to traditional high street banks, which levies 2 to 3 per cent on foreign transactions such as paying for hotels, car rentals or buying petrol.

However, the bunq card is not a credit card, and so does not allow customers to spend cash that has not been loaded onto it. It costs a one-off €9.99 fee to buy the card, which was launched yesterday, with the bank charging €0.99 for cash machine withdrawals.

Bunq competes against other digital banks such as Revoult, Monzo and Starling Bank, who also offer travel money offers that undercut traditional lenders.

The Amsterdam-based fintech was founded in 2012 by Ali Niknam (pictured), a Canadian entrepreneur of Iranian descent. He set up his first business at 16, and in his late 20s founded TransIP, the biggest domain name and web hosting provider in the Netherlands.

He is the sole owner in bunq, investing just under €35m into the venture.

Niknam, 38, said: “The bunq Travel Card is the best card to travel the world, because it enables our users to travel debt-free, without any risks of overdrafts. Besides, they pay the real exchange rate when paying in foreign currencies and they will always be in control thanks to our unique security features.”

Bunq currently operates across eight European markets: the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Ireland.

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