Revolut vs bunq: Which Banking App Will Do More for You?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

At a glance, Revolut and bunq propose similar services, but if you dig a little deeper, you begin to see the difference.

Both providers offer cards that you can use to make and receive payments online and in-person. In addition, they both come with advantageous exchange rates and plenty of extra features that make them ideal travel companions. However, each works with distinct fees, which ultimately sets them apart from one another.

Mind you, this is not a clear-cut situation where one card is better than the other across the board. On the contrary: Revolut and bunq serve slightly different purposes and, as such, it’s up to you to decide which provider is best for your specific needs.

To help you make the most of your card, I’ve compared Revolut and bunq across multiple important categories, including prices and fees, extra features, security, and more. Let’s take a closer look.

Pricing and Fees:

Revolut Has an Attractive Free Plan, but bunq Has the Better Paid Offer

Both Revolut and bunq offer a free subscription, but you should bear in mind that these services are meant to stimulate customers to upgrade to premium cards.

In the case of Revolut, for example, the Standard (free) plan comes with a UK account and a Euro IBAN account, but includes only £200 fee-free ATM withdrawals per month (followed by a 2% fee) and allows you to exchange just up to £5,000 per month in 29 fiat currencies. Revolut proposes highly advantageous interbank rates on week days, but charges a 0.5% to 1.5% mark up on weekends.

Image Source: Revolut.com

An upgrade to the Premium plan – which lifts the limit on exchange and doubles the sum of fee-free ATM withdrawals – sets you back £6.99 a month. Plus, it unlocks a series of neat benefits, including overseas medical insurance, flight insurance, and access to several cryptocurrencies.

Alternatively, bunq’s free plan only includes a pre-paid travel card, which can be used to make advantageous payments while traveling abroad, but won’t serve any other purpose beyond that. If you want an actual Euro IBAN account, you have to upgrade to bunq’s €7.99 (approximately £7.20) Premium offer.


Image Source: Bunq.com


On the flip-side, you never have to worry about exchange fees with either of bunq’s paid cards, while ATM withdrawals only cost €0.99 each. The MasterCard exchange rate is applied at all times, regardless of the day of the week, and several proprietary features – such as an expense tracker for groups who travel together – are included for free.

Travelling Abroad:

Revolut Offers Travel Insurance, while bunq Is Great for Travelling in Groups

Revolut and bunq both market themselves as ideal travel companions for people who often find themselves away from home. But which is actually a better service for you?

Whether you go with Revolut’s Standard card or with bunq’s travel card, you can enjoy competitive exchange rates while travelling anywhere in the world… but that’s about it. To differentiate between these two services, you have to compare their paid plans, which come with distinct features for frequent travellers.


Image Source: Revolut.com


For instance, Revolut lets you quickly set up your travel insurance at an advantageous price, directly from the app. You can also buy insurance for delayed flights and baggage, as well as use the Revolut LoungeKey to gain access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world.

Meanwhile, bunq boasts excellent global acceptance and allows you to open a “Slice Group” with your friends and partners so that you can keep track of who pays for what while travelling together. At the end of your trip, you can easily settle the balance with a simple tap in the app.


Image Source: Bunq.com


Sending and Receiving Payments in the UK:

Revolut Is the Better Option for Domestic Use, but bunq Has Better Budgeting Features

One category where Revolut is clearly more suitable than bunq is domestic payments in the UK. Since bunq doesn’t give you a UK account on any of its plans, you won’t be able to use it to set up direct debits or receive your salary. If you don’t travel much and mostly use the card in the UK, you’re likely better off with Revolut.


Image Source: Revolut.com


If, on the other hand, you spend most of your time in a European country, bunq puts a lot of features at your disposal to help you keep track of your expenses. For example, your bunq debit card automatically categorizes transactions, in addition to providing instant notifications on your phone.

When you spend money on a video game, for instance, the payment is logged under “entertainment”, whereas a restaurant meal falls under “food and drink”. At the end of the month, this can help you identify where your money goes and whether or not you need to change some of your spending habits. Couple this with bunq’s savings tools and you have a more convenient way to keep your finances in check and plan for the future.


Image Source: Bunq.com


Security Concerns:

Revolut Is Not Yet an Actual Bank, while bunq Is Already Well-Established

If you’re wondering whether your money will be safe, the answer is yes for both Revolut and bunq, at least in the vast majority of cases. The main difference between the two is that bunq is a proper Dutch bank, while Revolut has only recently applied for a full license and is still making changes to finally qualify for one.

Practically speaking, this means that the money you keep on your bunq account is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. In case bunq goes bankrupt, you are ensured for up to €100,000 on all combined accounts.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with Revolut. However, Revolut does have a segregated trust account with Barklays/Lloyds, which means that you might still be able to recover your funds in case the provider goes insolvent.

At the end of the day, both challenger banks value security and are likely to keep your money safe, but if you want to take additional precautions, bunq is the better option until Revolut obtains its banking license.

The Bottom Line: Which Card Should You Choose?

Whether you go with Revolut or bunq is a decision you should take only after you’ve considered your specific needs, especially since both of these services are excellent options.

For example, if you need a UK account, Revolut is the only real choice. Similarly, if you’re looking for a free service and you don’t intend to transfer or withdraw large sums of money, Revolut’s Standard plan is the best way to go.

If, on the other hand, you spend most of your time abroad and/or you handle a lot of money on a monthly basis, bunq could be the better service. Although you will have to pay a monthly subscription to get an actual card, the favourable transfer and withdrawal fees will ultimately work to your advantage.