Success! You're on the list.

Success! You're on the list.

10 interesting facts about Dutch banking disruptor bunq


Bunq is a Dutch challenger bank that has been making waves in the European fintech scene with its innovative features and user-centric approach. Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Ali Niknam, bunq is the second largest neobank in the EU and has recently filed an application for a US banking license with the FDIC in the state of New York.

Ali Niknam: the Dutch serial entrepreneur

Ali Niknam, founder and CEO of bunq, aims to reinvent how financial institutions operate, behave and engage with their customers. He was born in Canada of Iranian descent and moved to the Netherlands at the age of seven.

At age nine, he started coding, investing in stocks at twelve, and founded his first company at sixteen. His real success came when he launched TransIP, a web hosting and domain name provider, which became one of the top three companies in the world in its field.

In 2012, he decided to use his tech expertise and enterprising spirit to create bunq, after seeing the negative impact of the financial crisis on ordinary people and secured the first European banking permit in over 35 years. He invested over $125 million of his own money in the startup, and in 2021, bunq raised a further $228 million in a deal with a British private equity firm, valuing the company at $1.9 billion.

As part of its growth strategy, bunq also acquired Capitalflow Group, an Irish lending company, and TriCount, a Belgian fintech app. Niknam’s vision is to build a bank that is rooted in the wants and needs of its users, and that has a positive social impact on the world.

Ali Niknam said in a bunq press announcement,

“In a world of banking giants, bunq was created to support people in their pursuit for individual freedom. Throughout bunq’s history, we’ve always focused on making life easy for digital nomads in Europe. We can’t wait to bring our user-centred philosophy stateside, giving a community of location-independent people an effortless way to bank on the go.”

10 interesting facts about bunq

First European neobank to apply for a US banking license

Bunq is the first European neobank to apply for a US banking license. In December 2022, bunq announced that it had filed an application for a US banking license with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the state of New York. By applying for a bank charter, bunq’s goal is to bring its proven and user-centred approach to banking to digital nomads and businesses in the US.

Founder Ali Niknam also created TransIP

The Netherland-based company was founded by Ali Niknam, a serial entrepreneur who also created TransIP, one of the largest web hosting providers in Europe. Niknam secured the first European banking permit in over 35 years in 2012 and invested $125 million of his own money into bunq. He bootstrapped the bank for almost a decade, providing bunq with freedom to build a bank that meets the wants and needs of its users.

3. The Dutch fintech simplifies managing money for digital nomads and international businesses in Europe. It offers local bank accounts in 5 countries (the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) and assists users in budgeting by creating sub-accounts for various expenses, like groceries and shopping. Users can also easily send and request money with payment links, integrate their favourite bookkeeping software with bunq, and enjoy automatic exports of their bank statements.

Offers interest on savings

Bunq is one of the few neobanks that offers interest on savings. Users can earn up to 2.01% interest on their savings with bunq Easy Money Personal or Business plans. The interest is calculated daily and paid out monthly, and there are no limits or fees on withdrawals or deposits.

Introduced Multiple card options

The financial firm gives users multiple card options to suit their needs. Users can get up to 3 Maestro or MasterCards for free, depending on their plan, and make safer payments online with 25 virtual MasterCards. Users can also choose from different card designs, including metal cards and eco-friendly cards made from recycled plastic.

A sustainable bank

The Amsterdam headquartered claims to be one of the most sustainable banks in the world. It is the only bank that lets users become CO2 free in less than two years by planting a tree for every €100 spent with their bunq cards. It also allows users to choose where their money is invested, based on their personal preferences and values.

The Netherland fintech unicorn

Bunq raised $228 million in the largest Series A round secured by a European fintech in July 2021. The round was led by Pollen Street Capital, a UK-based private equity firm that focuses on financial services. The investment valued bunq at approximately $1.9 billion, making it one of the most valuable neobanks in Europe.

Acquired an Irish lending platform, Belgian fintech in 2022

The neobank has made M&A a part of its business growth strategy since raising its Series A round. Last year, they acquired Capitalflow, an Irish lending platform that provides SMEs with fast and flexible financing solutions. In May 2022, bunq also welcomed 5.4 million new users with the acquisition of Belgian fintech TriCount, a popular app that helps people split bills and expenses with friends. With these acquisitions, bunq became the EU’s second largest neobank by user base.

EU’s second largest neobank by user base

The unicorn startup reached profitability in December 2022, only 7 years after its app was first revealed to the public. Bunq reported a profit of €2.3 million over the last quarter of 2022, thanks to its strong revenue growth and efficient cost management. Their profitability is a rare achievement among neobanks, many of which are still struggling to break even despite having millions of users.

4 Fingers Touchless ID

Bunq was also the first Dutch bank to introduce ‘4 Fingers Touchless ID’, making payments easier and more secure. An advantage of the system to use biometrics without the need for a reader built into your phone.

In conclusion, bunq is changing the way people and businesses manage money. Its founder and CEO Ali Niknam’s vision of a user-centred bank has led to its success as the second largest neobank in the EU. The recent application for a US banking license with the FDIC in the state of New York is a testament to bunq’s commitment to its users and its continued expansion. As bunq continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how it disrupts the traditional banking industry and provides innovative solutions to its users’.

Related Posts

Get daily funding news briefings in the tech world delivered right to your inbox.

Enter Your Email
join our newsletter. thank you