bunq vs Revolut – a comparison.

bunq Travel Card

bunq is another of the new digital banks. We have already written about similar digital banking apps such as Monese , Revolut and N26.

bunq has premium accounts that come with a €7.99 monthly fee – but here we are comparing Revolut with the bunq Travel Card , both of which have no monthly fees.

One useful feature of the bunq Travel Card is that it is a prepaid Mastercard credit card. You don’t get to spend more than your balance, every payment will be immediately deducted from your Travel Card balance. But it does mean it will be accepted like a credit card for all car hire and all hotel reservations, unlike prepaid debit cards (Revolut). (as long as you have enough money loaded on it) . No credit checks are required.

The functionality of the bunq Travel Card app is fairly basic – it’s not a full-blown banking app. But if you just want access to a card that thas no foreign spending fees – then it’s ideal.
ATM fees are 99c each – but with a large maximum daily withdrawal limit of
€500 you won’t need to use it much.
bunq has a full EU banking licence and all funds are covered by the Dutch bank guarantee.

There is a one off fee of €9.99 to order the bunq travel card.


Revolut

With a Revolut account, you get an EU IBAN and a UK GBP account. Revolut can accept incoming payments in several currencies.
There is a one off fee of €6 to get your debit card delivered to Ireland.

Using the Revolut prepaid debit card you can spend, transfer or exchange up to €5,000 in total every month (a 0.5% fee applies after this).
Free ATM withdrawals are limited to the first €200 each month, after that a charge of 2% is added.

Direct Debits are also possible with Revolut .
You can apply for a Revolut card here

FeaturesRevolutBunq Travel Card
Full Banking Licence?No Yes
Annual FeeNoneNone
Account CurrencyEuro / GBPEuro
Card Delivery€6€9.99
ATM Withdrawals in IrelandFirst €200 each month is free then a 2% charge99c each
Non Euro ATM withdrawals outside IrelandFirst €200 each month is free then a 2% charge99c each
Foreign Currency SpendingFirst €5000 worth of spending a month is free – then a 0.5% feeNo fees , no limits
Apple PayYesYes
Google PayYesYes
Direct DebitsYes No
Can be operated from PC/Laptop as well as Smartphone ?NoNo
Top up with another debit card?YesYes - 0.5% fee
Age Limit1816 = with parental approval
Debit Card TypeVisa (Prepaid)Mastercard (Prepaid Credit)
Exchange rateInterbank rate on weekdays but 0.5% worse on weeekendsMastercard Rate

Revolut and bunq Exchange Rates Compared

When spending outside the Eurozone – the bunq Travel Card uses Mastercard’s exchange rates.
Revolut says they use the “Interbank” rate.
We did a check on a small sample of dates comparing Mastercard’s rates Vs the Interbank rate as used by Revolut.
(For the interbank rate we used the rates provided by Xe.com who state that all their figures are based on live mid-market rates.)
We did a check on 14 random dates in 2019 – including 4 weekend days. We looked at purchases made in Sterling using a Euro currency card.

On average – on weekdays,the Interbank rate was 0.265% better than the Mastercard rate.
So that would mean purchases totalling £100 would cost you €0.26 cents more using a Mastercard compared to the Interbank rate used by Revolut.

A spend of £1000 would cost €2.65 more with the bunq Mastercard than Revolut.

Weekend Exchange Rates

However , on Saturdays and Sundays, Revolut adds 0.5% mark up to their rates. This would make the overall average difference over the full 2 weeks just 0.1328% .( Revolut just slightly better than the Bunq Mastercard)

But – If you did all your spending on Revolut on a Saturday and Sunday – based on our small survey – it could cost you on average 0.224% more with Revolut than using a bunq Mastercard. (€2.24 on a £1000 spend).


Summary

Both bunq and Revolut are useful for spending in foreign currencies and avoiding the conversion fees charged by the “mainstream” banks.
With Revolut using Visa and bunq using Mastercard – you are covered if there are problems with one of the payment systems .
Maybe having both cards might be an idea – use Revolut in the week and Bunq at weekends?

If you need to recieve payments in Non Euro currencies – then Revolut is better than bunq . But if it’s just for spending in non Euro currencies – then there isn’t much to choose between them.
The lack of a spending limit on bunq and the fact that it is backed by the Dutch banking guarantee might give bunq the advantage for bigger spenders.

Apply for a bunq Travel Card here

Apply for Revolut Here