My wife and I joined Bunq a couple of months ago. Bunq is a fairly new European bank, based in the Netherlands. It’s one of the new breed of mobile-first banks that offer a more modern experience. It has a neat mobile app with some clever features like dynamic sub-accounts, spend tracking, better credit card control and more.
Their slogan is “bank of the free”. Whilst other banks might not charge you to open an account or use it, Bunq actually does charge for its account. However, the “free” part, as far as I understood it, is that by paying bunq, they can provide a service to you, rather than find ways to monetize you (e.g. by advertising, selling your data).
As you can see from the marketing spiel, they value transparency and don’t do any dirty business.
Until they do…
Bunq offers a few options, but of those, there’s a Premium personal account, that costs 7.99€/mo and a joint account, that (used to) cost 9.99€ for 2 people.
This was the email that I just received from them
I’m not sure who those 81% and how Bunq claims they are “excited about greener and simpler offerings from us”, but I guess I belong to the 19% that isn’t as excited.
In 3 months, my wife and I, as well as I assume many other joint account holders, will have to pay 15.98€ per month, instead of 9.99€ … that’s nearly 60% more for basically the exact same service.
The more info link on the email to was using mixpanel, an analytics company … the link looks something like
https://api.mixpanel.com/track?redirect=https%3A%2F%2Ftogether.bunq.com%2Fd%2F26299&data=... so the “bank of the free”, the one that claims to be transparent and work for me, is also tracking me. And all its other customers. I don’t remember giving consent to this tracking… Under GDPR, I think that’s basically illegal.
The actual page says something slightly different from the email …
We asked your feedback in a survey to understand if bunqers preferred planting trees with all card payments and restructuring the subscription plans, or keeping everything as it was. More than 80% of bunqers indicated they wanted new subscriptions with the possibility to plant trees with all cards! ?
Since, after adding SuperGreen, we reached more than 10 offers, we decided to simplify our subscription plans to make it easier for you to find the subscription that best fits your needs.
and then later on…
What is going to happen to my Joint subscription?
As part of this big step to a greater bunq experience, we have discontinued the Joint subscription. However, we want to make sure that it remains easy to stay committed with your partner(s). As a bunq Joint user with a Green Card, you have been automatically upgraded to bunq Premium SuperGreen at no extra cost for the next 3 months.
Is this transparent? or some form of newspeak? or perhaps blatant lying? Because I don’t see how anyone of those 80% (or is it 81%?) said that they want to discontinue their joint accounts… They wanted a way to help planting trees, and what do they get in return? a 60% price increase. Which doesn’t go anywhere towards planting trees. It simply goes to pad the pockets of the Bunq shareholders. Nice. Very transparent. That’s freedom. More like freeloading.