We live in a world that’s more connected than ever. Businesses of all kinds are no longer limited by international borders, presenting a range of opportunities for expansion. For those who frequently travel for work, it can sometimes be difficult to find an account with the right balance of flexibility and low fees. Dutch challenger bank bunq attempts to strike that balance, and in our full bunq Business review, we take a look at whether or not it succeeds.
Quick look – pros & cons
Let’s start by rounding up some of the things we like and dislike about bunq. If you’re in a hurry, these are the top line things you need to know:
- Offers a variety of options and subscriptions for all kinds of businesses.
- Links in directly with your bookkeeping software, making accounts easier to manage.
- Scan and pay invoices automatically.
- Add and manage multiple employees.
- High-interest rates with monthly pay-outs.
- Funds only available in Euros.
- Monthly fees are high compared to other competitors.
- Customer service reviews are poor.
- Can’t receive direct payments from foreign currencies.
On the surface, bunq has a fairly balanced set of pros and cons. However, as we’ll see, some of these points (on both sides) are more significant than others.
What is bunq?
bunq is a mobile-only challenger bank based in the Netherlands. The CEO founded the company back in 2012 with the aim of creating a ‘bank of The Free’. In 2014, the Dutch Central Bank awarded bunq a banking licence – the first European banking permit issued in 35 years. Two years later, bunq launched their business accounts.
The company ethos is built on freedom and fairness. Their fully open API gives anyone with basic coding skills the chance to work on their own banking projects, while they only invest ethically and give customers a voice in how this is done.
How does bunq Business work?
As with many such banks, bunq doesn’t have any physical branches – everything is managed by a mobile app and website. All you need to get started is your mobile number and a few details about you and your business. According to the Bunq website, it takes just five minutes to download the app and get started.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to your business banking, which we’ll explore in more detail further down. However, essentially you get access to a business current account and Mastercard.
If you want to add other employees to your account, it takes a bit more work than the standard signup process, but again it’s fairly intuitive to manage this. However, it’s worth noting that there is no in-person or phone support, only a chat option through the app.
Once your account is approved, you’ll be able to see all of your business transactions, payments, and receipts in one interface. That being said, the app was recently updated with a new UI, and customer reception has been frosty at best. Despite being fairly cluttered before, the changes only seem to have added to customer confusion.
What features does bunq Business have?
Let’s turn our attentions to the features of the bunq Business account, of which there are many. The company has clearly tried to design a service that is competitive with other mobile-only services while adding their own unique take.
Below are some of the features that stand out the most:
- An interest rate of 0.27% on your first € 10,000. This amount is paid monthly, so you won’t have to wait a full year before reaping the rewards.
- Connected to TransferWise, meaning you can send money to 15 non-Euro currencies.
- Bookkeeping connectivity. Bunq automatically connects with a variety of bookkeeping apps, meaning you get access to a real-time overview of your accounts.
- As many sub-accounts as you want. To make it easier to manage your business finance, each account has its own IBAN. You can even connect your cards to two sub-accounts at once. You can also add employee accounts and get 25 of these free with your subscription.
- Invoice scanning. You can automatically scan invoices using the bunq app, which will automatically fill in payment details. If your invoices are in PDF format, you can import to the app directly from your phone.
There are plenty of other features the bank offers too, such as sustainable investments, a powerful API, and efficient batch payments. All in all, it’s a fairly impressive set of benefits.
What are the fees for using bunq Business?
One of the areas that can prove to make or break business accounts is how much they cost. A monthly fee comparison is often inaccurate, as other fees can soon mount up. So how about the cost of using bunq Business?
First things first, as with the bunq personal accounts, there are a few options available to business users:
- bunq Business Premium. Costs €9.99 per month and includes 25 sub-accounts.
- bunq Business SuperGreen. Costs €19.99 per month and includes 25-sub accounts.
There are some notable differences between these two tiers. As you might expect, the more expensive SuperGreen account gives you more features and freedoms. So, things like accounting exports, automatic VAT, receipt scanning, a metal card, and being CO2-free in 2 years all fall under the €19.99 option.
On top of these costs, there are some additional fees if you want more features. These apply to both tiers:
- Extra sub-accounts (per 25) cost an extra €19.99 per month
- Bank account sharing with bunq +1 costs an extra €2.99 per month
So, if you’re a medium-sized business, your costs could soon start escalating. What’s more, there are also additional fees for various actions and services, including:
- €0.10 per payment request and €0.20 per request paid with SOFORT.
- €0.20 + 2.5% per request paid instantly by credit or debit card.
- €0.20 + 2.5% per bunq.me payment received.
- 0.5% (first €500 free per month) to top up with a debit or credit card.
- Additional cards cost €9.00 per card and an extra €2.99 per month per card. Metal card replacements cost €129.
- Cash withdrawals are charged at €0.99 beyond your first 10 free ones.
As you can see, although the fees aren’t always that high, they can soon mount up depending on what you’re using the card for.
Who is bunq Business for?
For those who are environmentally-conscious, the SuperGreen account is an appealing prospect. Despite the higher fees, it seems that bunq is genuinely trying to be responsible in this area.
bunq Business has joined a fairly crowded marketplace for mobile-only challenger banks. As such, it’s hard to carve out a niche. Clearly, there are some nice features here. For those who are travelling around Europe and want to do business in the local currency, this could be a cheaper alternative to some of the big names. Yet the Euro-only restriction does seem limiting to those businesses.
For those who are environmentally-conscious, the SuperGreen account is an appealing prospect. Despite the higher fees, it seems that bunq is genuinely trying to be responsible in this area. However, if that’s not a priority, then many alternative business bank accounts give more flexibility and at a lower cost.
What are the drawbacks of using bunq Business?
As relative newcomers to the market, bunq is still trying to iron out some of the kinks in their service. As such, there are several downsides to choosing this account. Although this is the case with most providers, some of the ones here could be significant:
- Customer service. If you take a look at the Trustpilot reviews, you’ll see a range of unsatisfied customers. One of the problems that is repeatedly mentioned is their poor customer service.
- App interface. Again, customers have been highly critical of the app interface, especially since the V3 update. It’s cluttered and less than intuitive, unlike some of the top challenger banks out there.
- Costs. This is far from the most cost-effective solution out there. Although there are plenty of nice features included in this cost, for the more budget-conscious, you might want to look elsewhere.
- Currency restriction. If you only deal in Euros, this point isn’t that much of an issue. However, for those with international clients, it can soon get frustrating with the restriction.
How safe is bunq Business?
Security-wise, bunq is pretty safe. The Deposit Guarantee Scheme of the Dutch National Bank protects your funds, although only up to €100,000. So, if the company were to go bust, your money is still safe.
As for your account itself, you use a PIN to protect your app and card, and bunq has the usual security measures that app-based baking uses. If you lose your card, you can quickly freeze it using the bunq app.
bunq Business verdict
Overall, it’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to bunq Business accounts. The bank has clearly worked hard to distinguish itself and carve out a niche. However, how much demand there is for their product remains to be seen.
Two of the issues they’ll have to work on to succeed are their customer service and the app design. Both have left a number of customers unhappy, and challenger banks rely on satisfied patrons.
If the high fees don’t bother you, there are definitely positives. The fact their environmentally-focused is a huge plus, as are many of the features they offer. However, for simple and affordable business banking, there are plenty of alternatives.