Bunq review August 2020

By Aisling Finn on Wednesday 12 August 2020

FeaturesDigital Banking

Bunq offers a Euro-only account so, is it worth it outside of the Eurozone?

Bunq review August 2020
Image source: Bunq

Woke 👌 Bunq is one of the more socially conscious banks and with the ability to plant trees whenever you spend €100, it’s a welcome add-on for those of us trying to be more environmentally friendly 

Broke 🙁 bunq still only offers Euro-only accounts and every account with a card carries a hefty price tag. 

Snapshot verdict 

Bunq is a great bank for someone who regularly travels to and within the Eurozone, however for someone who doesn’t do that too often (particularly now in the time of Covid-19) it doesn’t appeal too much to me.  

I really like the graphics and how involved bunq’s users are with its development but, for now, I’d rather stick to UK digital banks that cover all the bases. 

Full review 

Signing up 5/5 

Signing up to bunq was just as easy as any other digital bank, all I had to do was download the app and put in my information and, the next thing you know, I have another account. 

But, unlike other challenger banks, I could actually play around with some of the bunq features without opening an account.

According to recent research from Scientia Consulting, out of all the challenger banks, bunq has the fewest steps in its application process.

The signup process was incredibly simple and easy and didn't require endless ticking of boxes or the constantly hitting continue.

The app 3.5/5 

Bunq’s app is really fun, you can really tell that the customers have had an input on what it looks like and what features you can access. 

One feature I particularly like is the ability to earn trophies as you go. It may sound childish, but it does make using my card more fun as I have little goals that I can work towards 

I also really like that the app’s interface is black as, more often than not, my phone is in dark mode and most of my other challenger apps don’t yet have that as an option yet, that is unless you bank with Revolut which released its dark mode update this week. 

One of the gripes I have with bunq’s app, however, is that it appears to be quite buggy. 

Now, I know that bunq had issues with its latest update and actually had to delay its release so it could still be a few cobwebs from that, but it does tend to glitch or crash fairly regularly which is obviously quite irritating and a reason for the docked points. 

'Us’ 5/5 

I had originally included this section in the above section, but I liked it so much I felt it warranted giving it its own standalone score. 

In the ‘Us’ tab in the bunq app, users can see how many trees the whole bunq community has planted, how much has been invested and how much has been donated. 

To date, bunq users have planted nearly 915,000 trees, invested €652m and donated nearly €2,000 through their own charitable foundations set up with bunq. 

Bunq users can also create ‘tribes’ with which users can band together to plant more trees than they would on their own and users can see the leader board all from the ‘Us’ tab. 

The innovated section also directly links to bunq’s blog where users can read posts about financial and physical wellbeing as well as receive regular updates about the operations of the challenger bank, further cementing this idea of a strong community of ‘bunqers.’ 

The account 2/5 

The score may look harsh, but I really don’t see the point of paying for an account that doesn’t give me the same level of products and services that my free UK-based challenger banks do. 

I have long been a fan of bunq, but from a distance. I think it would be a perfect fit for someone who either lives in the Eurozone or someone who travels there regularly (not that anyone is doing that at the moment). 

Bunq's premium account costs €7.99 and the Super Green account (the one that comes with a metal card) costs €16.99 per month.

This monthly fee does not protect you against other fees associated with your account. 

For instance, I was charged €1.25 for adding money into my account via a bunq.me request link, which carries a 2.5 per cent fee, whereas had  I clicked the 'Add Money' button over the 'Request Money' button, however, any fees that I would incur would be absorbed by bunq.

The card 4/5 

Bunq rivals Monzo for one of the most eye-catching cards in the game.  

I love the rainbow colour scheme and it was a bonus for me that the card is also slightly metallic too, making it even more appealing.  

The card itself feels sturdy and not cheap or flimsy like other bank cards. 

Despite bunq’s eco-friendly outlook, its premium account card is not made of recycled materials and neither is the envelope it comes in, that’s a service only reserved for bunq’s Super Green customers, which is why I’ve docked a point here as I would have loved a recycled envelope at the very least. 

I also really enjoy the fact that you can customise the card in Apple Pay, a small but welcome feature. 

Security 3.5/5 

I wouldn’t normally expect to have security as a section of a digital bank review, however, bunq has several cool features that warrant its own section. 

If a bunq user so chooses, they can set up their security in such a way that allows them to scan their hand to gain access to their account. 

The app urges me to “be like Bond” and use the “state-of-the-art technology for next-level security,” all a user has to do is hold their hand behind their phone while the app does all the work.  

Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t actually get my hand to scan on my app, but I did think it was a cool enough feature to be mentioned regardless. 

According to the bank's CEO and founder, Ali Niknam, this is a known issue for "some female hands where the fingerprints are too delicate," so I think I'll take that one as a compliment.

I also had quite a bit of trouble setting up my app to work with Face ID. 

It took me deleting and re-downloading my app and restarting my phone to get the option to appear on my phone, an issue that completely stumped bunq's engineers I might add.

Add-ons 4/5 

Users can also integrate several useful add-ons to their account all in the bunq app. 

In just a few taps, I could download and install several features from auto-exporting bank statements to my chosen email address, scan invoices and receipts and generate a VAT amount for when the tax man comes knocking. 

Bunq’s customers can also integrate with other fintechs all in the app. 

For instance, in just a few steps I could integrate with automation app Zapier, which would then enable me to integrate with over 1,500 apps including the likes of Xero, QuickBooks, Gmail, Slack and MailChimp. 

The only reason I have knocked a point off here is that a lot of bunq’s app integrations seem more geared to its business customers rather than the everyday user, like me.  

Conclusion  

I think bunq is great, it’s just not for me. 

As I said previously, I think bunq would be ideal for someone who either lives in the Eurozone or travels into it frequently but, for me, someone who does neither of those things, it just doesn’t fulfil what I want from my digital bank. 

I am a long-time user of homegrown challengers Starling and Monzo and, despite enjoying what bunq had to offer, I am not going to fork out every month for something I already get for free and in my country’s currency too. 

I thought the fact that bunq only offered Euro-only accounts wouldn’t bother me, and to be fair it didn’t at first, but as I began to write this review it became more apparent that I didn’t care for the Euro account. 

 Also, I love the fact that bunq helps users plant trees because we all need to cut down our CO2 emissions, but it seems a bit crazy that I have to pay nearly €10 per month to do so. 

Bunq has hidden fees that I didn’t expect from a bank that lauds itself as “the bank of the free,” and that’s not saying I expected it to be free, I just expected it to be more transparent than it was. 

Scores: 

Signing up 5/5 

The app 3.5/5 

'Us’ 5/5 

The account 2/5 

The card 4/5 

Security 3/5 

Add-ons 4/5 

Total: 3.8/5 

Update 12-08-2020 - This review previously misstated a €1.25 money transfer fee as a hidden subscription-related fee. The section has been amended and the score changed to better reflect the service offered. A quote from Ali Niknam has also been added to the 'Security' section as an explanation for the security glitch. The article has also been updated to disclose that Face ID now works on my app.

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