Amsterdam’s neobank Bunq announced that it has launched a new ‘Local Currency’ account to help users easily receive, convert, hold, and spend multiple currencies. As countries around the world ease travel restrictions owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bunq believes this will help travelling remote workers with their immediate banking and financial needs.
Ali Niknam, founder and CEO of Bunq, says, “We’re truly excited to launch our ‘Local Currency’ account today. This will bring huge benefits to all bunq personal and business users, giving them the freedom to easily use multiple currencies all in one app.”
The development comes after the addition of local European IBANs (International Bank Account Number) regardless of residency, making Bunq the first bank to offer cross-border bank accounts for digital nomads.
New age digital nomads
As the pandemic eases and vaccines roll out, a large number of people are embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. Globally, remote workers are choosing to travel and looking for options to break the link between place and paycheck. And this is where Bunq is helping its users.
The fintech startup is helping such travelling workers by enabling them to bank locally without a separate onboarding process. Banks require residency to register a local IBAN. However, the challenger bank lets users link the newly introduced multi-currency accounts to multiple European IBANs.
Starting today, users can handle their finances in US dollars, British pounds, Swiss francs, Bulgarian Lev and Polish złotys. Bunq plans to add more currencies to its offering later this year.
“bank of The Free”
Bunq was founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Ali Nikam. After securing the first European banking permit in over 35 years, Nikam set out to radically change the traditional banking industry and was Bunq’s sole investor until 2021, financing the company with €98.7M of his own money.
Bunq claims this allowed it the freedom and independence to build a bank rooted in the wants and needs of its users. The Dutch fintech company turned out to be the only self-funded challenger bank that branched into 30 European markets without a penny of VC funds.
In April 2021, their deposits surpassed €1B for the first time, having doubled in 2019 and then again in 2020.
Earlier in July 2021, Bunq announced the largest series A round ever secured by a European fintech. It raised €193M in a deal with British private equity firm Pollen Street Capital, valuing it at approx €1.6B. At the same time, the company also reported its first-ever profitable month.
Bunq used this capital to further expand across Europe and to continue incorporating M&A as part of its business growth strategy. As part of the deal, the company had also acquired Capitalflow, a Dublin-based startup that lends to SMEs across a broad range of sectors in the Irish economy.
Currently, Bunq is available in 30 European markets including the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Iceland.
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