Bunq Travel Card an Alternative to Revolut

Bunq Travel Card

Bunq is another of the new digital banks available in Ireland. It is similar to other digital banking services such as Revolut and N26.

Bunq has premium account that comes with a €7.99 monthly fee – but here we are comparing the Revolut free account with the bunq Travel Card , both of which have no monthly fees.
Bunq is a good option as an alternative to Revolut – or maybe to use alongside Revolut to get around some of the charges.

With the Bunq Travel card there are no fees on any card spending inside or outside the Eurozone.
The Bunq travel card has a maximum €50,000 daily spending limit. The default is €1000 per day but you can reduce or raise this at any time in the app.

One other very useful feature of the bunq Travel Card is that it is a prepaid Mastercard credit card.

Unlike a real 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 such as Revolut.

No Irish government stamp duty is charged on the Bunq travel card and no credit checks are required with Bunq.

ATM fees with Bunq are 99c each – but with a large maximum daily withdrawal limit of €500 you won’t need to use it very often.
The Bunq travel card has a one-off fee of €9.99 to order one.

Bunq has a full EU banking licence (unlike Revolut) and all funds are covered by the Dutch bank guarantee.

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 payment card that has no foreign spending fees at all – then it’s ideal. It can be used by under 18’s with parent/guardian permission.

You can click here 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 which might be useful for some people.
There is usually a one off fee of £4.99 to get your Revolut card delivered to Ireland. (Sometimes they have an offer of free delivery)

Using the Revolut prepaid debit card you can spend/exchange up to €1,000 in other currencies every month for free. Anything over €1000 is charged a 0.5% fee . (This lower limit is effective Aug 2020)
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 .

FeaturesRevolutBunq Travel Card
Full Banking Licence?NoYes
Annual FeeNoneNone
Account CurrencyEuro / GBPEuro
Card Delivery£4.99€9.99
ATM Withdrawals in EuroFirst €200 each month
is free then a 2% charge
99c each
Non Euro ATM withdrawals outside IrelandFirst €200 each month is
free then a 2% charge
99c each
Foreign Currency SpendingFirst €1000 worth of
spending in a month is free
– then a 0.5% fee
No fees
Spending Limits€5000 in 96 hours€50,000 daily.
Apple PayYesYes
Google PayYesYes
Direct DebitsYesNo
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 1%
worse on weeekends
Mastercard Rate

Revolut and bunq Exchange Rates Compared

When spending outside the Eurozone – the bunq Travel Card uses Mastercard’s exchange rates.
Revolut say they use the “Interbank” rate – but the difference appears to be very small overall.

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 with Revolut was 0.265% better than the Bunq Mastercard rate.
So that would mean,on weekdays, a spend of £1000 GBP would cost just €2.65 more with the bunq Mastercard than Revolut. (On weekdays)

Weekend Exchange Rates

However , on Saturdays and Sundays, Revolut adds 1% mark up to their rates. (Based on new fee structure from Aug 2020). So at weekends – Revolut will cost 0.735% more than Bunq.
This , assuming spending was equal on every day of the week – this would make the overall average difference over the full 2 weeks just 0.02% .( Bunq just slightly better than Revolut)

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 0.735% more with Revolut than using a bunq Mastercard. (€7.35 on a £1000 spend). Not a massive amount – but maybe enough of a reason to use Bunq?


Summary

Both bunq and Revolut are great for spending in foreign currencies and avoiding some of the conversion fees charged by the “mainstream” Irish banks. Bunq has the advantage of no transaction fees whilst Revolut will charge 0.5% on any foreign spending over €1000 in a month.

(See details of how much the other Banks Charge Here)

Maybe having both cards might be an idea – With Revolut using mainly Visa and bunq using Mastercard – you are covered if there are problems with one of the payment systems.

If you need to receive payments in Non-Euro currencies – then Revolut is better than bunq . But if you just want to deposit Euros and be able to spend in non Euro currencies – then there isn’t much to choose between them. Bunq will work out slightly cheaper overall – and will be even cheaper for people spending over €1000 a month in other currencies.

The much higher daily spending limit on bunq and the fact that it is backed by the Dutch banking guarantee also gives bunq advantages over Revolut for bigger spenders.

Apply for a bunq Travel Card here

2 thoughts on “Bunq Travel Card an Alternative to Revolut

  1. You have a mistake here. Revolut has had full debit cards since late April. Older cards of course stay prepaid, but new ones are full debit.

    • Revolut cards issued in Ireland are prepaid debit cards (according to Revolut (today))
      Where are they issuing full debit cards on the standard account?

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