Image New challenger bank Bunq launches in Ireland
Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

Dutch fintech Bunq has officially launched in Ireland with an Irish IBAN for banking customers. Its launch will seek to rival competitors Revolut and N26, as well as traditional lenders, and lure customers switching from Ulster Bank and KBC.

The Irish banking market is getting a much-needed injection of competition today with the launch of Dutch online bank Bunq.

While the bank’s name may not yet be in the public consciousness, it has been offering accounts with a Dutch IBAN to Irish customers for some time. 

However, it’s now possible to open an account with an Irish IBAN, making banking with Bunq in Ireland so much easier.

With the exit of both Ulster Bank and KBC on the horizon and many current account customers looking for an alternative banking account, the launch couldn’t have come at a better time.

So who exactly is Bunq? What’s so unique about today’s news? And what kind of current accounts are on offer? We take a look.

But first!

Who is Bunq?

Bunq is a Dutch fintech and online bank. Similar to other fintechs, Bunq offers a range of online banking services for customers which can be accessed entirely through its mobile app.

It was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Ali Niknam after securing the first European banking permit in over 35 years.

In July 2021 Bunq raised €193 million in a deal with British private equity firm Pollen Street Capital, which also saw it acquire Capitalflow, a Dublin-based company which lends to SMEs in the Irish economy.

What’s new?

Bunq customers opening an account in Ireland can now open a current account with an Irish IBAN. This makes it the first online-only bank to have an Irish IBAN, effectively meaning there are no impediments to customers using it as their primary current account.

Customers in Ireland were previously only able to open a Bunq account with a Dutch IBAN.

Today’s news means that customers opening a Bunq account in Ireland will be able to easily set up direct debits and make and receive payments here, including receiving their monthly salaries.

Bunq has a banking licence from the Dutch Central Bank so all of its accounts are covered by the Dutch Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS), up to €100,000 for all accounts combined.

About the launch, COO of Bunq, Gerald Gruber, said: 

By offering an extensive range of financial products and services, Irish people can now finally experience the true value of fintech as an alternative to traditional banking. I'm very excited to see bunq spearheading this development!

The account details 

The bank offers three main account types which all require you to pay a monthly fee.

Here’s a look at the personal accounts available.

Account

€ Price p/m

Debit Card

ATM Withdrawals in Europe

Apple Pay/Google Pay/Fitbit Pay

Direct Debits

Top up with Debit/Credit Card

Contactless Payments (Free)

Sub Accounts

Foreign card payment fees

Easy Bank

€2.99

(€35.88)

x1

x5 at €0.99c per month, €2.99 thereafter

Free

First €500 free per month, 0.5% thereafter

No

1.5% of the transaction amount + 0.5% network fee

Easy Money

€8.99

(€107.88)

x3

x4 free per month, five at €0.99c, €2.99 thereafter

Free

First €500 free per month, 0.5% thereafter

Up to 25

Real Mastercard exchange rate + 0.5% network fee

Easy Green

€17.99

(€215.88)

x3

4 free per month, five at €0.99c, €2.99 thereafter

Free

First €500 free per month, 0.5% thereafter

Up to 25

Real Mastercard exchange rate + 0.5% network fee

How does Bunq compare?

By far the biggest unique selling point for Bunq in Ireland will noticeably be its Irish IBAN. This makes it far easier to make regular payments such as direct debits and to pay utility bills for example.

This will no doubt pique the interest of those current account customers switching from Ulster Bank and KBC who will be worried about potential IBAN discrimination if changing to the likes of Revolut or N26 (who don't yet have an Irish IBAN).

This being said, it’s important to outline that IBAN discrimination is illegal under European law and all businesses must, in theory, accept non-Irish IBANs. 

However, there is still an impediment to using a non-Irish IBAN in that it will take longer to get your direct debits moved over. But it is still more than possible.

Bunq is a digital bank too, which means it’s very much online only. It has a mobile app and desktop version available. But most people who are considering signing up will already know this.

On the fees and charges front, Bunq doesn’t have a standard, free account like Revolut or N26. Its cheapest is its ‘Easy Bank’ account which comes in at €2.99 per month, or €35.88 annually. 

It also offers more expensive accounts with additional features in its ‘Easy Money’ and ‘Easy Green’ accounts at €8.99 and €17.99 per month respectively. A key selling feature of these accounts is access to up to 25 free sub-accounts, each with its own unique IBAN, so that you can easily manage spending.

With each account, customers will receive a standard debit card. However, premium customers will have access to three cards in total, including a metal card (for an additional fee).

As you would expect with an online bank, you'll receive detailed analytics on your spending as well as up-to-the-minute push notifications. 

Charges for basic transactions such as contactless transactions, chip and pin, as well as online purchases are all fee-free, except ATM withdrawals however.

Easy Bank customers will be able to make five withdrawals at an ATM per month at a cost of €0.99 per withdrawal, but will have to pay €2.99 thereafter.

Easy Money and Easy Green customers however will get four free withdrawals per month, followed by five at €0.99 and €2.99 thereafter.

The foreign exchange fees on card payments aren't quite as competitive as with N26 or Revolut, especially if you choose the Easy Bank account. 

And while its accounts are officially classified as current accounts, Bunq doesn’t yet offer personal loans like Revolut. So it’s worth bearing this in mind too if you’re considering making the switch.

All in all, Bunq offers a more-than-reliable alternative to traditional lenders such as AIB and Permanent TSB for example. As well as that, for customers seeking an online-only bank, its Irish IBAN will do a lot to tempt people away from joining rivals Revolut and N26.

However, hefty ATM withdrawal fees and monthly charges might be a deterrent for customers looking for a far cheaper alternative.

Current account switching information

If you’re in the market for a new current account it might be worth doing some research before committing to any one provider.

On bonkers.ie we regularly write helpful blogs and guides to help keep consumers informed.

You can read a selection of our most-read banking articles below to help you with the switching process and which account may be best for you.

You can stay up to date on all the latest banking news with our blogs and guides pages.

In the meantime, you can compare the main current account providers in Ireland using our simple comparison tool right here.

Have any questions?

Do you need advice on switching your current account? Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help. 

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