Bunq, the $1.8 billion European neobank, hopes to secure license for UK expansion this year | MuaneToraya

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Dutch integer slope Bunq is plotting re-entry into the U.K. to pat into a "large and underserved" marketplace of immoderate 2.8 cardinal British "digital nomads."

Pavlo Gonchar | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

PARIS — Dutch integer slope Bunq is hoping it volition negociate to unafraid a banking licence from U.K. fiscal regulators aboriginal this twelvemonth oregon aboriginal adjacent year, the firm's CEO and laminitis Ali Niknam told .

"I anticipation we'll get determination by the extremity of the year, possibly aboriginal adjacent year, due to the fact that the U.K.'s processes whitethorn beryllium somewhat antithetic to Europe due to the fact that it's a antithetic regulatory area," Niknam said successful an interrogation past week astatine the Viva Tech league successful Paris.

"I don't cognize erstwhile they're going to accidental yes, but truthful acold I person small crushed to judge that we won't beryllium successful."

Bunq, known for its rainbow-colored cards and a absorption connected alleged "digital nomads" not bound by immoderate 1 state oregon location, initially launched successful the U.K. successful 2019. But the slope was forced to exit the state in late 2020 due to the fact that of Brexit.

The transition of Brexit into instrumentality meant that EU-based fiscal institutions couldn't trust connected their ain state authorizations to run successful the U.K. market. Currently, Bunq lone holds a banking licence with the Dutch cardinal bank.

Challenges of reentering UK market

Now, Bunq is plotting a reentry into the U.K. market. The steadfast past twelvemonth submitted an exertion with the Financial Conduct Authority for an physics wealth instauration license. It says a U.K. motorboat would let it to pat into a "large and underserved" marketplace of immoderate 2.8 cardinal British integer nomads.

That volition beryllium difficult, though. Rival European fintech Revolut, which is based successful Britain and presently has an physics wealth instauration license, has been trying for immoderate years to unafraid its U.K. banking license.

To beryllium sure, a banking licence is antithetic from an e-money license. The cardinal quality is that a banking licence gives firms support to connection loans. Monzo and Starling are among the fewer U.K. user fintech platforms that clasp their ain slope licenses.

"We're moving arsenic hard arsenic we can, the U.K. regulator has been precise responsive, dialog is ongoing, I don't cognize however agelong it's going to take, but things look to beryllium moving," Niknam told .

Founded successful 2012 successful Amsterdam by Dutch tech entrepreneur Ali Niknam, Bunq has since grown to go 1 of Europe's largest neobanks overall, with 12.5 cardinal users crossed Europe and deposits of 8 cardinal euros ($8.6 billion). It was past privately valued by investors astatine 1.65 cardinal euros.

Earlier this year, Bunq reported its archetypal afloat twelvemonth of profitability, generating 53.1 cardinal euros successful nett net successful 2023. Bunq is besides pursuing enlargement successful the United States, having antecedently filed for a U.S. national slope charter successful April 2023.