Dutch fintech Bunq competes for Ulster Bank and KBC account holders

Dutch fintech Bunq is making a play for Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland current account holders by launching into the Irish market on Wednesday with a banking service that uses Irish International Bank Account Numbers (Ibans).

The Amsterdam-based company, founded a decade ago, will be the first neobank in the market to offer accounts with Irish Ibans.

It said the offer, available through its online app, would allow customers to easily set up direct debits and make and receive payments, including monthly salaries, at a time when the financial system is bracing for more than a million Current Ulster Bank and KBC Ireland and deposit accounts are forced to find new homes for their money and their everyday banking over the next year or so.

While it is illegal for the employer of a company, such as a utility company or rent-to-own operator, to refuse to accept Ibans from the Single European Payments Area (Sepa), Bunq COO Gerald Gruber said consumers across Europe were having to deal with “Iban discrimination on a massive scale”.

irish manager

Bunq, which has a banking license from the Dutch Central Bank, received authorization from the Central Bank of Ireland last month to operate here as a branch under European Economic Area passport rules. The company is looking to hire a branch manager to develop the Irish business.

Gruber said Bunq had no specific targets for the number of Irish business and retail customers it hopes to attract. The company earns revenue from monthly bank account subscriptions, with a retail offering ranging from a fee of €2.99 per month for an account that allows instant payments to a monthly charge of €17.99 for its account called Easy Green, which has features like a plan to plant a tree for every €100 spent on one of its metallic cards. It also offers free basic savings accounts.

Bunq acquired Irish non-bank SME lender Capitalflow last year. The Dublin-based company employs more than 75 people and has a loan portfolio of around €400 million.

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