IndustryFinancial technology
Founded2012; 12 years ago (2012)
FounderAli Niknam
ProductsCurrent accounts, Savings accounts, Debit cards, Mortgages

bunq B.V. (colloquially named bunq — bank of The Free; Dutch pronunciation: [bʏŋk];[1] English: /bʌŋk/[2]) is a Dutch fintech and neobank licensed in the Netherlands within the European Union and operating in 30 European countries.[3][4][5][6] It was founded in Amsterdam where its headquarters are currently located.[7]

The company was founded in 2012 by Dutch-Canadian entrepreneur Ali Niknam,[8] who previously founded web hosting provider TransIP and team.blue.[9][10][11]


Early history (2012-2015)

Much of bunq's early history is documented in the book BreakThrough Banking[12] by Dutch author Siebe Huizinga.[13]

According to BreakThrough Banking, much of bunq's early efforts went toward obtaining a European banking license from ‘De Nederlandsche Bank’, the central bank of the Netherlands. In 2014, bunq received a banking license from the Dutch central bank,[14] after which the company launched its bunq app and became the first fully mobile Dutch bank.[15][16]

Niknam has stated in interviews that “bunq is the only bank built by coders”.[17] This seems to have resonated in bunq's early public perception, as the bank was frequently labeled “an IT company with a banking license”.[18][19][20] At its launch in 2015, bunq was coined “WhatsApp for Banking” by Dutch newspaper NRC,[21] further underscoring its product and technology-focused banking model as an alternative to traditional ones.[22][23]

International expansion (2015-present)

As of 2019, bunq had been offering mobile financial services in 30 European countries.[24] In the early 2020s, bunq began offering multiple currencies and IBANs on a single subscription, regardless of the account holder’s location or residency.[25] Unlike other European neobanks, bunq has not disclosed how many people have an account with the company.[26] In 2021, user deposits surpassed 1.2 billion euros.[27][28]

Bunq offers personal and business bank accounts and a public API that allows software developers to access their bank accounts programmatically and build their apps.[29][30][31] By 2021, bunq became the first digital bank to offer mortgages.[32][33][34] As a licensed bank, bunq account holders fall under the Deposit Guarantee Scheme of the European Central Bank.[35][36][37]

Founder Ali Niknam was bunq’s sole benefactor until 2021, having invested over 120 million euros into the company.[38] In 2021, bunq secured the largest Series A round for a European fintech company to date, bringing its valuation to 1.6 billion euros and granting it unicorn status.[38][39][40] Later that year, it was valued at $2 billion in an investment deal.[41]

In March 2022, bunq's CEO announced a creation of a special fund aimed to help refugees from Ukraine (resulted after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022) to come to the Netherlands. Bunq also stated that it would provide Ukrainian refugees with free bunq bank accounts.[42][43][44]

In May 2022, bunq announced that they had acquired the Belgium-based fintech organisation Tricount. This acquisition saw bunq become the second largest neobank in the European Union.[45]

In October 2022, bunq won a landmark court case against the Dutch Central Bank. bunq had taken the DNB to court over the central bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) policies. The court ruled in favor of bunq using a learning system based on Artificial Intelligence, rather than a rule-based system imposed by DNB. The ruling made it possible for other banks to modernize their own AML strategies as well.[46][47]

Bunq’s European user base reached 11 million at the end of 2023.[48]


  1. ^ "Bunq - groepsrekening". YouTube.
  2. ^ "We are bunq, bank of the free". YouTube.
  3. ^ McKenzie, Ian (2023-05-16). "Review: bunq bank accounts". fintechcompass.net. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  4. ^ Tucker, Charlotte (2020-04-23). ""We keep our business model flexible": Interview with bunq's founder Ali". EU-Startups. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  5. ^ "What is bunq? The Dutch mobile challenger bank with a social conscience". NS Banking. 2019-09-16. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  6. ^ gastblogger (2015-12-14). "Bunq, de nieuwkomer! Een eerste indruk". [finno] (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  7. ^ "Members ordered by country code". RIPE Network Coordination Centre. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  8. ^ drimble.nl. "bunq.com". drimble.nl. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  9. ^ "Ali Niknam". www.denkproducties.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  10. ^ Kolstee, Door Pieter (2019-09-06). "Ali Niknam: 'Na deze overname zijn we de twee na grootste ter wereld'". Quote (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  11. ^ "AI in Finance: bunq Launches Chatbot for Handling User Queries". Financial and Business News | Finance Magnates. 2023-12-20. Retrieved 2023-12-20.
  12. ^ "Break Through Banking. The trials and tribulations of bunq" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  13. ^ "Breken met banken – Siebe Huizinga" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  14. ^ "Dutch mobile bank bunq moves into Germany and releases open API". Finextra Research. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  15. ^ "Bunq eerste nieuwe bank sinds DSB". nos.nl (in Dutch). 25 November 2015. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  16. ^ "Bunq: eerste indruk | Consumentenbond". www.consumentenbond.nl. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  17. ^ September 2019, 11th (2019-09-11). "bunq: A bank built by coders". FinTech Futures. Retrieved 2022-02-18.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "Dev Summit - Ali Niknam: Juist programmeurs kunnen de bankensector veranderen". Tweakers (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  19. ^ Overgoor, Ronnie (2017-10-10). "Ali Niknam (oprichter bunq): "Ik ben gewoon een nerd die de wereld beter wil maken"". Marketingfacts. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  20. ^ "BUNQ, een IT-bedrijf met een banklicentie". FINANCELAB (in Dutch). 2015-09-30. Archived from the original on 2022-05-23. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  21. ^ Noort, Wouter van (25 November 2015). "Bunq: 'WhatsApp voor banken'". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  22. ^ "Ali Niknam (Oprichter Bunq bank): 'Ik ben gewoon een nerd die de wereld beter wil maken'". www.7dtv.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  23. ^ Hoeks, Door Guy (2017-10-26). "Bunq-oprichter Ali Niknam breekt lans voor nerds bij banken". Quote (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  24. ^ "Challenger bank Bunq expands to all EU countries". TechCrunch. October 2019. Retrieved 2022-02-18.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Bunq brings local currencies to Europe with rollout of multi-IBAN accounts". AltFi. 26 October 2021. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  26. ^ Herendy, Csilla (June 22, 2021). "Innovative UX solutions from Bunq neobank | Ergomania UX and product design agency". ergomania.eu.
  27. ^ "Bunq Reaches €1 Billion in User Deposits, Becomes the First Neobank Outside of Germany to Offer German IBANs". Fintech Finance. 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  28. ^ "Ali Niknam, de miljardair die grootbanken een hak wil zetten".
  29. ^ "bunq PSD2 | Nordigen". nordigen.com. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  30. ^ "The PSD2 Sandbox From Banking API Provider bunq". API Evangelist. 29 October 2019. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  31. ^ "bunq introduceert een API marktplaats". ICT Magazine (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  32. ^ "bunq to become the first digital bank in Europe to offer mortgages". www.efma.com. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  33. ^ "New bank Bunq pledges to be WhatsApp for financial services". NL Times. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  34. ^ "Mobiele bank Bunq zet ook stap in hypotheken". Telegraaf (in Dutch). 2021-12-09. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  35. ^ "bunq BV (Netherlands) - Deposit Guarantee". thebanks.eu. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  36. ^ McKenzie, Ian (2022-06-02). "bunq Review for personal banking". fintechcompass.net. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  37. ^ "Bunq Business Banking: 2022 Reviews, Fees & Charges". 2019-11-15. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  38. ^ a b Burke, Elaine (2021-07-08). "Newly anointed Dutch unicorn acquires Irish company Capitalflow". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 2022-02-18.
  39. ^ read, John K. White·Daily NewsEurope··1 min (2021-12-03). "De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) approves deal valuing Amsterdam's fintech unicorn Bunq at €1.6B". LendIt Fintech News. Retrieved 2022-02-18.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  40. ^ McKenzie, Ian (2023-05-16). "Review: bunq bank accounts". fintechcompass.net (in Dutch). Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  41. ^ "Dutch challenger bank Bunq valued at $2 billion in investment deal". Reuters. 2021-06-17. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  42. ^ "bunq verstrekt gratis bankrekening en simkaart aan gevluchte Oekraïners". de Ondernemer (in Dutch). 2022-03-03. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  43. ^ "Bunq CEO launches foundation to help people escape Ukraine and Russia". Finextra Research. 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  44. ^ "Fund raising, protests and calls for action: efforts in NL to support Ukraine". DutchNews.nl. 2022-02-27. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  45. ^ "Dutch challenger Bunq becomes EU's second largest neobank with Tricount acquisition". Fintech Futures. 6 May 2022. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  46. ^ "Amsterdam's bunq wins AML appeal against Dutch Central Bank (DNB): Know more | Silicon Canals". 2022-10-18. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  47. ^ "Neobank Bunq wins case against Dutch Central Bank over artificial intelligence use". AltFi. 18 October 2022. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  48. ^ Pascoe, Robin (2024-01-30). "Bunq posts first full-year net profit, plans to expand to UK". DutchNews.nl. Retrieved 2024-02-04.