One of the most important issues that you have to deal with when you move to a new country is a new bank account. This account will be at the basis of your most important financial relations: salary, insurance, mortgage, taxes.
Setting up a new bank account often involves lengthy process of visiting a branch, or at least downloading a host of forms (hopefully in a language you master), filling these out and making sure they reach their destination. Not so with bunq. With bunq, it takes just five minutes to sign up; using your mobile phone and selecting one of the following languages: English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, French and German. After a short video call in which you present your ID, you are up and ready to go within 24 hours, though in most cases, this is taken care of in a matter of minutes. You don’t even need a Dutch social security number (BSN – Burgerservicenummer) to do this; it can be added later, but within 90 days.
Expat Support Group
bunq’s employees include nationals from almost 20 different countries and four different continents; expats who have experience with what it is like to organise your finances in a foreign country and who can help you find your way in a language that you feel comfortable with.
Managing Your Finances
The bunq app – which is the actual bunq bank, as they have no physical offices other than their head office – is always with you on your mobile phone, allowing you to open and close accounts, request money, make transfers, order cards, set daily limits and schedule payments. Even joint bank accounts are possible; with your entire family, or just your partner, with your roommates, or your start-up. You can set up the app such that you receive instant notifications of any transactions made, so that you are not faced with surprise expenses by your spendthrift roommate, or your irresponsible brother. You can even have two pin codes on one card, whereby the pin code you use decides which account the payment will come out of – for instance, your private account, your shared account or your company account. And, if you set up an account for your group of best friends, to be used while spending a week on the Bahamas, you can close it straight away, once you get home.
bunq’s origins do not lie in the banking world, but rather in IT; it is a tech company with a full banking license, granted by the Dutch National Bank. They do not invest your money, unless you specifically request this service; it remains in your bank account and € 100,000 of your money falls under the Dutch National Bank’s Deposit Guarantee Scheme. With your bank account come a Maestro card, and Mastercard, and a third – back-up card – if you want one.
You are not limited to one bank account; at no extra fee, you can set up up to 25 accounts, each with their own IBAN. Why 25 accounts, you may wonder? Aside from your shared accounts, you can also determine that certain expenses are paid out of particular account, providing you with an easy, itemised overview of what these expenses are.
Whereas a credit card comes with one single CVC code, you can use the bunq app to change your CVC code at any time, as well as your pin code, your spending limits, and the ability to use the card in a particular country. In a matter of seconds, you can also simply block your card, if you have lost it. The CVC code, incidentally, cannot be found on the back of your Mastercard – it is to be found solely in your app, and can change every five minutes, or only when you request it to.
On the bunq website, you can find an overview of the charges related to the use of your bunq account, depending on whether you opt for bunq Pack, bunq Premium or bunq Business, and ask any questions you may have. Create a personal bunq.me link that you can include in a request for payment that you send via text message or WhatsApp. You don’t even need a bunq account to create this link – any account with a valid IBAN will do. And you can use Apply Pay or Tap & Pay to make payments in countries where it is available.
Should you want to read about other people’s experiences with bunq, be sure to visit their online Together community, which is also supported in English.
Just recently, bunq has added the following features that are of interest to expats:
- TransferWise, making the costs of international payments up to eight times cheaper
- ZeroFX, meaning no extra charges for using your card for other currencies
- Free global ATM withdrawals.
You can find more on this on www.bunq.com/expats.