Dutch app-only bank Bunq to launch in UK this week

By John Reynolds on 30th September 2019

FintechChallenger Banks

Bunq has already launched in 30 European countries.

Dutch app-only bank Bunq to launch in UK this week
Image source: bunq CEO Ali Niknam.

The Dutch app-only bank bunq is to launch in the UK this week, saying there are "too many traditional banks" in the UK.

Bunq has already launched in 30 European countries and believes the UK market is ready for more challenger banks.

In an interview with online magazine Sifted, bunq's CEO Ali Niknam said: "The fact the UK has a lot [of challengers] indicates people are ready for change...It's a market that's open-minded to new technologies."

Niknam is confident bunq can be a success in the UK.

"Banking in the Netherlands is like broadway; we say 'if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,'"  he told Sifted, adding that in the UK: "there aren't too many challenger banks. I think there are too many traditional banks."

One point of difference to its competitors is that bunq will just run euro accounts, targeting users who often spend money abroad.

Bunq, which doesn't believe in free banking, is targetting an older userbase than many of its rivals, competing against traditional banks.

The Amsterdam-based fintech was founded in 2012 by Niknam, 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 €45m (£40m) into the venture.

Currently, bunq operates in a number of European markets including the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

It competes against other pan-European digital banks such as London-based Revoult and Berlin-based N26.

Earlier this month, bunq launched a spending tracker as well as Apple Pay services.