bunqImage by: NBC New York

Bunq, The $1.8 Billion European neobank, Aims To Secure A UK Expansion License This Year.

PARIS – Having seen its numbers of clients increase on average 30% month over month, Dutch digital bank Bunq is set to apply for a license from the U. K. financial authorities later this year or early next year, founder and CEO Ali Niknam said.

“I am expecting somewhere around the end of this year, or early next year at best because the UK processes may differ from the rest of Europe since it’s a different legal sphere,” Niknam shared his thoughts during the interview at the Viva Tech conference in Paris last week.

“I have not found out when they will say yes but for now I will not rule out the fact that we shall be successful.

The competitively positioned Dutch challenger called Bunq which also utilizes rainbow-colored cards and aims at ‘digital travelers’ or ‘location independent’ people not affiliating to a particular country or territory started initially in the UK in 2019. However, the bank was under pressure to shut down its operations in the country in late year 2020 due to Brexit.

Challenges of reentering UK market

Bunq has formally approached the UK after it shut down its operations in the country in November 2020. The firm in the prior year registered a license application with the Financial Conduct Authority for an electronic money license. It states that it though a U. K. launch would enable it to serve a “large and untapped” market of some 2. Approximately 4. 5 million Britons work remotely from a location other than their home country except for occasional visits, and 3. 5 million Britons work remotely from their home country but live at least part-time in another country.

If anything, that would be challenging to accomplish since: Another competitor in the sector is the British-based European fintech, which initially has an electronic money institution license, has been pursuing its British U. K. banking license for a couple of years.

But one needs to be clear that holding a banking license is not the same thing as holding an e-money license. The major difference is that banking license is an authorization that enables firms to offer credit services. Both Monzo and Starling belong to the small list of U. K. consumer-focused fintech platforms that obtained the status of bank licensees.

“I wish I knew but we are doing our best, the U. K. regulator has been very proactive, there is conversation going on, I don’t know how long it will take but right now things are looking good,” Niknam said.

Founded in 2012 in Amsterdam by Dutch tech entrepreneur Ali Niknam, Bunq has since grown to become one of Europe’s largest neobanks overall, with 12.5 million users across Europe and deposits of 8 billion euros ($8.6 billion). It was last privately valued by investors at 1.65 billion euros.

Earlier this year, Bunq reported its first full year of profitability, generating 53.1 million euros in net profit in 2023. Bunq is also pursuing expansion in the United States, having previously filed for a U.S. federal bank charter in April 2023.


People also ask

Is Bunq in the UK?

It has 12.5m customers across Europe and deposits of €8bn

Amsterdam-based digital bank Bunq is limbering up for a UK relaunch. The neobank, founded in 2012, previously had a presence in the UK but was ousted by Brexit regulation in 2020 along with a host of other European digital banks, including Berlin-based N26.


Is bunq a licensed bank?

As a licensed bank, bunq account holders fall under the Deposit Guarantee Scheme of the European Central Bank.


Who owns bunq?

In 2012, serial entrepreneur Ali Niknam and a group of ambitious trailblazers set out to build the first real user-centric bank. With the launch of the bunq app in 2015, the bank of The Free was born, and we’ve been challenging the status quo ever since.


Is bunq bank free?

As of January 2024, bunq offers one of the highest interest rates on savings accounts for no fee. Creating a savings account at bunq bank is free and can even be done on an “Easy Investments” account without a monthly subscription cost.

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