Momentum is building around the Dutch neobank, bunq, which has amassed a global user base in excess of 11 million people.
Having been one of the first institutions of its kind to achieve structural profitability in what is a highly-competitive market, the firm reached its first full year of bottom-line profitability in 2023, reporting a pre-tax profit of €53.1 million (US$57.55m) – testament to its sustainable business model.
The next step in bunq’s journey is to step outside the European Union (EU) and, as part of this pursuit, it has submitted its application for an E-Money Institution (EMI) licence in the UK.
This will allow the business to tap into a significant market that includes an estimated 2.8 million digital nomads.
“The UK is home to the second-highest number of digital nomads globally, so, naturally, we want to be there,” explains Ali Niknam, Founder and CEO at bunq.
“We want to truly make their life easy, and that’s why we’re excited to reintroduce bunq to Brits and enable them to bank like a local across Europe.”
bunq poised for UK return
Hot on the heels of reporting an encouraging net profit, bunq is intent on using this to propel its global expansion strategy.
In the last quarter of 2023, the firm’s gross fee income grew by 20%, compared to the last quarter of 2022, while user deposits grew almost fourfold, from €1.8 billion to almost €7bn at the end of 2023.
Gross interest income in the last quarter of 2023 grew by 488% compared to the same period a year prior.
bunq’s proposed return to the UK comes three years after it was effectively ousted from the market due to the nation’s departure from the EU.
The company has continued to serve UK users acquired before Brexit, but is now poised to re-plant its flag on British soil and once again let residents open a local payment account in just 5 minutes.
bunq is already fully fully licenced across the EU and is awaiting a banking permit in the US.
“As a bridge between Europe and the rest of the world, the UK is at the forefront of European fintech and a hugely important market for bunq,” adds Niknam.
“As a true tech company, it only makes sense for us to pursue this market.”
Meanwhile, bunq recently launched Finn, a personal generative AI assistant designed to help users with budgeting, transactions and more. Already, the platform has addressed almost half a million queries.
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