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New to the Netherlands? 7 reasons why bunq is the ideal bank for internationals

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So you just moved to the Netherlands, and you need to sort out your finances. Picking and opening a bank account in a new country doesn’t have to be a hassle โ€” not with bunq, at least.

This Dutch bank is shaking up the banking and finance sector, so here are seven reasons why we believe bunq is the ideal bank for expats and internationals in the Netherlands.

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1. bunq is THE easiest bank to sign up to

bunq is a completely digital bank, so there’s no need to go to a physical building โ€” which is incredibly convenient for digital nomads and people who often travel for work and school.

You can access all of bunq’s services on your phone from the comfort of your home, including signing up.

photo-of-hand-holding-dutch-bank-bunq-card-and-phone-with-bunq-app
Keep track of all your finances in one place. Image: bunq

You can set up your account with bunq in just a few steps, and, while at most Dutch banks you need your BSN to sign up (a process that can take weeks), at bunq, you have 90 days to provide this information โ€” and can do all your banking in the meantime.

2. bunq offers different types of accounts for different needs

Whether you’re an expat with a family or an easy-going freelancer, bunq has all kinds of plans for your financial needs.

Person-holding-phone-with-bunq-app-open-in-the-netherlands
Discover the perfect type of bank account for you. Image: bunq

The most common account, Easy Money, is perfect for users who want the best exchange rates, a local IBAN, and 24/7 online support โ€” for just โ‚ฌ8.99 per month.

Tip: bunq has four main types of accounts: Easy Savings, Easy Bank, Easy Money, and Easy Green. Each one has different perks and features, including access to physical and digital bank cards, ATM withdrawals, invoicing, and instant payments, among other needs.

You can also open a subaccount to enjoy a high-interest rate on your savings, now 2.46%, in the Netherlands. Who doesn’t want to save a little extra money nowadays?

Speaking of extra money, let’s get to the good stuff: cashback! With Easy Money, you can get 1% cash back on restaurants and bars (which is perfect for that Dutch beer you’ll be drinking). If you’re the environmentally conscious type, the Easy Green account will also get you 2% cashback on public transport!

3. You can pay for things abroad with a bunq account

bunq makes travel expenses a lot easier too. With both a Maestro card (perfect for the Netherlands) and a Debit Mastercard (perfect for online shopping and abroad) you’ll have worldwide coverage.

You can access Mastercard Debit via your bunq accounts, which makes it super easy to pay for things like meals and souvenirs when travelling abroad โ€” or to your home country.

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Pay for your holidays and travel, stress-free. Image: Freepik

You can also choose to put certain payments on a credit card instead of your debit account โ€” whether that’s a car rental or hotel booking.

READ MORE | Transaction declined: why don’t my bank cards work in the Netherlands?

4. You can save money when exchanging currencies with bunq

Sending money home is a common thing to do when you’re working abroad. Luckily, transferring money has never been easier.

Currently, bunq allows you to send money in 39 different currencies without charge. The only thing you need to take into account is the real exchange rate.

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Transferring money across the world is so much easier now! Image: Depositphotos

You can save up to 3% on each transaction, which is perfect for someone who travels a lot or needs to transfer money often.

5. bunq’s app and customer service operate in seven languages

When it comes to complicated questions about your finances, you want to be able to understand everything clearly. bunq offers you the ability to read their website and operate the app in seven languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese and, of course, Dutch.

READ MORE | The top 16 free ways to learn Dutch

If you need help from bunq’s customer service team, you can also talk to them in any of the seven languages above.

Tip: If you would rather talk to someone in a language other than the seven offered in the app, that’s also possible. The customer service chat feature is enabled through Google Translate, so you can get your questions answered and problems solved in a language you’re comfortable in.

6. You can plant trees by spending money through bunq’s Easy Green account

People are becoming more conscious of the environment, and it is especially important for us to try to lessen our impact on the climate. bunq’s Green Card allows you to do just that.

READ MORE | How do the Dutch feel about climate change?

Environmentally conscious and aesthetically pleasing, the bunq’s green card is made out of stainless steel, extending its lifespan by 50% compared to plastic bank cards. No stain on your zero-waste soul with this card!

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Bank in style (and sustainably!) Image: bunq

But there’s even more: by simply spending money, you plant trees. For every โ‚ฌ100 you spend, bunq plants a tree. We’re not encouraging financial irresponsibility, of course โ€” but even if you’re bad with money, you won’t be bad for the planet with your Green Card.

It won’t singlehandedly save the planet, of course โ€” luckily, bunq also lets you choose how the company’s money is invested. No coal mining or gambling companies? No problem!

7. bunq will help you with fraud detection and resolution on-the-go

It’s basically everyone’s worst nightmare to be travelling, and then realise you’ve lost your card, or that you’ve been the subject of fraud.

If you realise you left your card in a restaurant or shop, then you can instantly freeze it on the app โ€” no need to make calls and listen to Muzak hold music.

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Quickly find out what’s going on with your bank account with bunq’s customer service and fraud detection services. Image: Freepik

You can also opt to get a notification each time your card is used so that any suspicious payments will be obvious to you instantly. You can also enable and disable your card as you move from country to country on your travels.

Ready for bunq? Here are your account options

Everything about bunq feels like the future. If you’ve decided that this is the bank for you, then all that’s left to do is to decide what sort of account you want with them.

Freelancer-handling-his-finances-from-home-in-the-netherlands
Consider different banking options for your business. Image: Freepik

bunq for the people

A personal account at bunq has loads of advantages, but the two that stuck out to us were the high-interest rates you get on your money โ€” up to nine times what you get at other banks, paid monthly.

bunq only invests ethically, so your money won’t end up funding climate change.

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Review your personal finances easily. You can even share accounts with a partner! Image: Freepik

You can have up to 25 sub-accounts so you can save money for a house, that trip abroad, or plane tickets to see your family.

bunq for businesses

bunq does also have options for business bank accounts if you want to get extra perks for your company or freelance business, or if you just want to keep your business expenses on a separate account away from your personal finances.

READ MORE | ZZP? The ultimate guide to being a freelancer in the Netherlands in 2023


Say goodbye to confusing jargon and language barriers! Equipped with a simple, sleek interface, innovative features, and an easy-to-use banking system, bunq is the perfect bank for anyone’s financial needs. Now go forth with a new sense of financial freedom!

Have you used bunq before? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

This article was originally published in January 2020, and was fully updated in July 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:bunq
Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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1 COMMENT

  1. My experience with Bunq has been far from stellar: clumsy registration process (especially the documents upload part), unresponsive client support which was closing my tickets without explanation. I’m probably one of the few who had those issues, but I’ll definitely not rely on them as I don’t feel safe putting my money on a Bunq account.

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