bunq B.V. (colloquially named bunq — bank of The Free) is an international fintech company with a European banking license operating in 30 European countries.[1][2][3][4][5] It was founded in Amsterdam where its headquarters are currently located.[6]

FounderAli Niknam

The company was founded in 2012 by Dutch-Canadian entrepreneur Ali Niknam,[7] who previously founded web hosting provider TransIP and The Datacenter Group.[8][9]

It began opening other offices from 2019 onward and currently has a presence in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Dublin, Sofia, Madrid, Brussels, Vienna and Warsaw. The company achieved unicorn status in 2021.[10][11] bunq is often considered a challenger bank or disruptor.[12][13][14][15][16]

Early history (2012-2015)Edit

Much of bunq's early history is documented in the book BreakThrough Banking[17] by Dutch author Siebe Huizinga.[18]

According to BreakThrough Banking, much of bunq's early efforts went toward obtaining a European banking license from ‘De Nederlandsche Bank’, the central bank of the Netherlands. In 2014, bunq received a banking license from the Dutch central bank,[19] after which the company launched its bunq app and became the first fully mobile Dutch bank.[20][21]

Breakthrough Banking further describes how Niknam's background as a programmer factored heavily into bunq's development. Most of the people Huizinga mentions as early contributors to the company were developers or came from an IT background.[22] Niknam has stated in interviews that “bunq is the only bank built by coders”.[23] This seems to have resonated in bunq's early public perception, as the bank was frequently labeled “an IT company with a banking license”.[24][25][26] At its launch in 2015, bunq was coined “WhatsApp for Banking” by Dutch newspaper NRC,[27] further underscoring its product and technology-focused banking model as an alternative to traditional ones.[28][29]

International expansion (2015-present)Edit

Although initially catering to the Dutch market, bunq expanded throughout Europe in the years following its launch: it offers mobile banking services in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. As of 2019, bunq's financial services are available worldwide to residents of 30 European countries.[30]

In the early 2020s bunq started to offer multiple currencies and IBANs on a single subscription, regardless of the account holder's geographical location or residency.[31]

Unlike other European neobanks, bunq has yet to publicly disclose how many people have an account with the company.[32]

Up until 2021, founder Ali Niknam was bunq's sole benefactor, having invested more than 120 million euros of his funds into the company.[33]

In 2021, user deposits number surpassed 1.2 billion euro.[34][35]

At its public launch in 2015, bunq offered personal bank accounts. It added business bank accounts in 2016.[36]

In addition, bunq offers a public API, cited as a move ahead of the European PSD2 directive.[37][38][39] It allows software developers to access their bank accounts programmatically[40] and to build their apps, which bunq itself facilitates on its developer page and API marketplace.[41][42][43][44]

By 2021, bunq became the first digital bank to offer mortgages.[45][46][47]

Because of its banking license, bunq account holders fall under the Deposit Guarantee Scheme of the European Central Bank.[48][49][50][51][52]

In 2021 bunq secured the largest Series A round for a European fintech company to date, bringing its valuation to 1.6 billion euros and granting bunq unicorn status.[33][53] Later that year bunq was valued at $2 billion in an investment deal.[54]

In March 2022, bunq's CEO announced a creation of a special fund aimed to help refugees from Ukraine (resulted after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022) to come to Netherlands. Bunq also stated that it would provide Ukrainian refugees with free bunq bank accounts.[55][56][57]

In May 2022, bunq announced that they had acquired the Belgium-based fintech organisation Tricount. While the price of the deal was left undisclosed, the firm stated they will make an extra 5.4 million users overall. This acquisition saw bunq become the second largest neobank in the European Union.[58]

In October 2022, bunq won a landmark court case against the Dutch Central Bank. bunq had taken the DNB to court over the central bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) policies. The court ruled in favor of bunq using a learning system based on Artificial Intelligence, rather than a rule-based system imposed by DNB. The ruling made it possible for other banks to modernize their own AML strategies as well.[59][60]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cipriani, Valentina (2019-01-30). "Bunq review: how to use it in the UK". Finder UK. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  2. ^ "Mastercard and bunq expand Green Card in Europe". fintechmagazine.com. 2020-05-16. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  3. ^ Tucker, Charlotte (2020-04-23). ""We keep our business model flexible": Interview with bunq's founder Ali". EU-Startups. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  4. ^ "What is bunq? The Dutch mobile challenger bank with a social conscience". NS Banking. 2019-09-16. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  5. ^ gastblogger (2015-12-14). "Bunq, de nieuwkomer! Een eerste indruk". [finno] (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  6. ^ "Members ordered by country code". RIPE Network Coordination Centre. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  7. ^ drimble.nl. "bunq.com". drimble.nl. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  8. ^ "Ali Niknam". www.denkproducties.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  9. ^ Kolstee, Door Pieter (2019-09-06). "Ali Niknam: 'Na deze overname zijn we de twee na grootste ter wereld'". Quote (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  10. ^ "Bunq closes first external fundraise as it cements unicorn status". AltFi. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
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  13. ^ "Fintech Disruptor Stride Funding Breaks Barriers as it Closes $12M Series A". Fintech Finance. 2021-12-03. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  14. ^ bunq in zaken - De code tot succes, retrieved 2022-02-18
  15. ^ https://www.pwc.nl/nl/actueel-publicaties/assets/pdfs/banking-ecosystems-paper-walk-the-talk.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  16. ^ "'Maatschappelijk debat nodig over regelgeving financiële sector'". bnr.nl. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
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  18. ^ "Breken met banken – Siebe Huizinga" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
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  22. ^ Redactie, 27 oktober 2016 De (2016-10-27). "5 redenen waarom bunq een fundamenteel ander soort bank is". FM.nl - Financieel Management, hét platform in finance met praktijkinformatie, visie & trends (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
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  24. ^ "Dev Summit - Ali Niknam: Juist programmeurs kunnen de bankensector veranderen". Tweakers (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  25. ^ Overgoor, Ronnie (2017-10-10). "Ali Niknam (oprichter bunq): "Ik ben gewoon een nerd die de wereld beter wil maken"". Marketingfacts. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  26. ^ "BUNQ, een IT-bedrijf met een banklicentie". FINANCELAB (in Dutch). 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  27. ^ "Bunq: 'WhatsApp voor banken'". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  28. ^ "Ali Niknam (Oprichter Bunq bank): 'Ik ben gewoon een nerd die de wereld beter wil maken'". www.7dtv.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  29. ^ Hoeks, Door Guy (2017-10-26). "Bunq-oprichter Ali Niknam breekt lans voor nerds bij banken". Quote (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  30. ^ "Challenger bank Bunq expands to all EU countries". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  31. ^ "Bunq brings local currencies to Europe with rollout of multi-IBAN accounts". AltFi. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  32. ^ Herendy, Csilla (June 22, 2021). "Innovative UX solutions from Bunq neobank | Ergomania UX and product design agency". ergomania.eu.
  33. ^ a b Burke, Elaine (2021-07-08). "Newly anointed Dutch unicorn acquires Irish company Capitalflow". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  34. ^ "Bunq Reaches €1 Billion in User Deposits, Becomes the First Neobank Outside of Germany to Offer German IBANs". Fintech Finance. 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  35. ^ "Ali Niknam, de miljardair die grootbanken een hak wil zetten".
  36. ^ "IT-bedrijf met bankvergunning, bunq, lanceert zakelijke rekening · Accountancy Vanmorgen". Accountancy Vanmorgen (in Dutch). 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  37. ^ "bunq PSD2 | Nordigen". nordigen.com. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  38. ^ "The PSD2 Sandbox From Banking API Provider bunq". API Evangelist. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
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  40. ^ Lexy-Mayko (2019-06-03). "What Makes the bunq API Today's Best European Open Banking API". ProgrammableWeb. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  41. ^ "bunq introduceert een API marktplaats". ICT Magazine (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  42. ^ "Nederlandse bank bunq brengt publieke api uit". Tweakers (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  43. ^ bunq (2020-04-06). "Apps built with the bunq API that we love!". bunq Developers’ Corner. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  44. ^ "Bunq opens API-enabled app store". Finextra Research. 2019-08-01. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  45. ^ "bunq to become the first digital bank in Europe to offer mortgages". www.efma.com. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  46. ^ "New bank Bunq pledges to be WhatsApp for financial services". NL Times. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  47. ^ "Mobiele bank Bunq zet ook stap in hypotheken". Telegraaf (in Dutch). 2021-12-09. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  48. ^ "bunq BV (Netherlands) - Deposit Guarantee". thebanks.eu. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  49. ^ McKenzie, Ian (2022-06-02). "bunq Review for personal banking". fintechcompass.net. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  50. ^ "Bunq Business Banking: 2022 Reviews, Fees & Charges". 2019-11-15. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  51. ^ "Revolut vs N26 vs Bunq". SatoshiFire. 2021-04-01. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  52. ^ "Revolut vs bunq: Which Banking App Will Do More for You?". cloudwith.me. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  53. ^ read, John K. White·Daily NewsEurope··1 min (2021-12-03). "De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) approves deal valuing Amsterdam's fintech unicorn Bunq at €1.6B". LendIt Fintech News. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  54. ^ "Dutch challenger bank Bunq valued at $2 billion in investment deal". Reuters. 2021-06-17. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  55. ^ "DPG Media Privacy Gate". myprivacy.dpgmedia.nl. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  56. ^ "Bunq CEO launches foundation to help people escape Ukraine and Russia". Finextra Research. 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  57. ^ "Fund raising, protests and calls for action: efforts in NL to support Ukraine". DutchNews.nl. 2022-02-27. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  58. ^ "Dutch challenger Bunq becomes EU's second largest neobank with Tricount acquisition". Fintech Futures. 6 May 2022. Retrieved 19 May 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  59. ^ "Amsterdam's bunq wins AML appeal against Dutch Central Bank (DNB): Know more | Silicon Canals". 2022-10-18. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  60. ^ "Neobank Bunq wins case against Dutch Central Bank over artificial intelligence use". AltFi. Retrieved 2022-11-29.

External linksEdit