Challenger bank bunq releases third version of its app as it deals with the impact of COVID-19

Neobank bunq has updated its platform with new features aimed at changing the way people think about banking, including new charity functions that allow them to help businesses struggling because of the coronavirus.

bunq has made a massive impact since the launch in 2012. While most of its challenger bank rivals have gone through massive funding rounds in order to change the banking sector, the Dutch startup has managed to become an international powerhouse without raising a single cent. The digital-first bank has thanks to founder and CEO Ali Niknam having been able to fund the company through the money he made through his first startup, the web-hosting company TransIP.

While bunq may be looking to raise money soon, first it is making sure that its services is of the highest standard it can be on its own as it plans to change banking for the better. As part of this goal, it has now unveiled the third version of its app.

Among other things, the update enables customers to more easily support causes and charities the care for, such as donating to a local school for extra equipment or supporting local businesses that are unable to open during the pandemic.

This is not the first time bunq has made a case for making it easier to support causes such as this. In April it launched its SuperGreen initiative where the bank committed to planting a tree for every €100 spent by users.

“bunq is built by and created for independent thinkers, who want every tomorrow to be better than today,” Ali Niknam, CEO and founder of bunq, tells FinTech Global. “We always want to be better and help our users to be better too. This update does just that. Rather than just building another transparent, socially conscious bank we’re taking it one step further – we’re building your money Swiss army knife. So users get the freedom to spend, save and invest your money whichever way they like.”

Given a majority of the challenger bank’s users have previously opted to invest in green companies, bunq V3 also aimed to make it easier to invest in causes that positively impact the world. It is also developed with the aim to make it easier to keep track of donations and finacinals.

“bunq is on a mission to radically change the traditional banking industry,” says Niknam. “Our founding principles are to reimagine what a bank could be and putting users first in everything we do. bunq V3 is no different. It was inspired by our users to make their lives better. 72% of our users have green companies as their investment preference so with the launch of bunq V3  we wanted to build upon the zero-effort sustainable options offered with bunq Premium Supergreen and bunq Business Supergreen to make it easier and personalised for users to give to causes that positively impact the world. Whether that is ridding the ocean of plastic or helping to get new equipment for their local school.”

The update will roll out in the next week, but the company is already letting some users trial the new version in beta. “It’s not just an update,” says Niknam. “It’s a quantum leap for bunq so, it’s never been more important we ask our user’s for their opinion.”

Similarly, bunq is also building on its community efforts, enabling its users to keep track of both their own and the entire community within the bank’s donation. The update will also empower users to connect and create tribes with friends and other members to track everything from CO2 saved to the amount of money given to charity as a group.

The update comes as the world is in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. But Niknam says the bank hasn’t really felt the effects of the pandemic.  We have had minimal impact from COVID-19, in fact we are still growing at a rate that enables us to keep hiring,” he says. “Being mobile first really helps in these difficult times. It’s really useful to business users that they are able to do whatever they need from the safety of their home, without having to do paperwork or branch visits.

“We also notice that the growth of business users is the same if not higher, people seem to increasingly be aware of the benefits of being fully digital when it comes to banking. bunq is in the best position to serve our users during and after this time as we have a strong relationship with our users. We will simply continue to listen to our users and implement new features that will make their lives better during and after COVID-19.”

Copyright © 2020 FinTech Global

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