Dutch neobank Bunq sets sights on US banking licence

5 Apr 2023

Image: Bunq

The challenger bank plans to bring its services to 5m ‘digital nomads’, such as European expats who have ties on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dutch fintech start-up Bunq is making expansion plans with an application for a US banking licence.

The European neobank plans to offer its services in 50 US states and is targeting a market of roughly 5m “digital nomads”.

Bunq said this market includes European expats, international entrepreneurs, remote workers and people who have deep ties “on both sides of the Atlantic”.

Like rival services from Revolut, N26 and others, the Dutch neobank offers bank accounts and debit cards controlled via a mobile app. Bunq users, however, typically pay a monthly subscription fee for this service.

Bunq said its app will help EU and US users “bypass banking bureaucracy” by creating an international bank account quickly.

The fintech said this app lets users manage their finances from anywhere in the world while saving on foreign exchange fees.

Founded in 2012, the challenger bank expanded across the EU market in 2019. Bunq soared to unicorn status in 2021 after raising €193m in 2021, the largest Series A round for a European fintech at the time.

As part of that deal, Bunq snapped up Irish company Capitalflow from Pollen Street Capital for €141m.

Bunq founder and CEO Ali Niknam said the neobank was created to support people in “their pursuit of individual freedom”.

“Throughout Bunq’s history, we’ve always focused on making life easy for digital nomads in Europe,” Niknam said. “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.”

Bunq has been available in Ireland for years, but expanded its services here in 2022 with the launch of Irish international bank account numbers.

Last December, Bunq said it became “structurally profitable” and reported its first quarterly profit of €2.3m.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic