bunq is another of the new digital banks available in Ireland. We have already reviewed and compared similar digital banking apps such as
Note: – bunq also has a “premium” account that comes with a monthly fee – and some extra features – but we are reviewing the bunq easy Travel Card which has no monthly fees.
How does the bunq Easy Travel Card work?
It’s a Credit Card !
The bunq easy Travel Card is a prepaid Mastercard credit card that works just like a debit card.
Like all debit cards, every payment is deducted from the bunq card balance straight away and you can’t spend more than the balance.
However, the bunq card is treated as a credit card by card machines, which makes it possible to use it for car hire and hotel reservations. (As long as you have enough money on it.)
The majority of “normal” debit cards aren’t accepted for hotel or car hire reservations.
- No credit checks are required when applying for a bunq travel card.
- No credit card stamp duty (€30) is charged by Revenue.
You are also covered by chargeback protection in the same way as any other credit card or debit card in Ireland.
Spending Money with bunq
The bunq easyTravel card uses the Mastercard Exchange Rate with no foreign exchange fees.
The bunq easytravel card has a massive €50,000 maximum daily spending limit. The default limit is €1000 per day, but this can be altered at any time in the bunq app. This daily limit is a lot higher than similar cards and is excellent for large non-euro purchases. See this article for information about paying for a car in the UK
The bunq Travel Card can be used with Apple Pay and Google Pay by customers in Ireland .
There is a one-off fee of €9.99 to order the bunq Easy Travel card.
bunq is a fully licenced EU bank (unlike Revolut) – so your money is protected by the Deposit Guarantee Scheme of the Dutch National Bank (DNB) up to €100,000
Each ATM cash withdrawal costs €0.99c at home or abroad. There is a €500 daily withdrawal limit. (bunq uses the Mastercard Exchange Rate)
Topping up the bunq easy travel card
- Bank Transfer top ups are free.
- Top ups by an EU debit or credit card will incur a 0.5% fee
- Debit cards top ups with a non-EU card will incur a 2.5% fee
bunq is a fully licenced EU bank (unlike Revolut) – and any money held with them is protected by the Deposit Guarantee Scheme of the Dutch National Bank (DNB) up to €100,000
Under 18’s can apply for a bunq easy travel Card – they just need permission from a parent or guardian.
Alternatives to bunq
Revolut is a smartphone payment app that comes with a prepaid card.
Although Revolut is based in the UK, it is available in Ireland and the rest of the European Economic Area as well as Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States.
Revolut was launched in July 2015 and now has over 7 million.
Customers can exchange money with no hidden fees. They even allow you to buy crypto and shares .
Wise has recently changed their name from Transferwise. They can provide you with a multi-currency international Account with a debit card.
Whilst Wise is not a bank – their international money account provides you with a valid UK account number and sort code that can be used in the same way as a normal UK bank account.
You also get accounts in Euro , US Dollars , Australian Dollars and New Zealand Dollars. You can link a Wise account to their debit card for spending in any currency.
Wise allows you to get exchange rates that are pretty close to the interbank rates. They charge a flat rate conversion fee – which may vary depending on the currencies involved. For example, when converting €500 to Sterling in Feb 2021 the charge was 0.41%. €2.05 .
In the EU , Wise is licensed and regulated by the National Bank of Belgium. They are authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”).
You can find out more and sign up for a Wise account here.
Monese is a UK based digital payment company that also gives people living in Ireland the ability to have a UK Sterling account, with an account number and sort code.
You also get a Euro account and a Mastercard debit card with no foreign transaction fees on the first €2000 a month spend.
Monese accounts are not full bank accounts – but their account numbers are treated like any normal bank account for receiving payments.
Cash top-ups are possible using Payzone at many shops in Ireland.
Monese is currently available to anyone living in Ireland or anywhere else within the European Economic Area (EEA).