Bunq Travel Card

This is a strange one. Bunq have launched a “Travel Card” which appears to basically be a debit card that is branded as a credit card.

https://together.bunq.com/d/12958-bunq-travel-card-faq

They’re promoting it as having better acceptance for things like car rental deposits. I’m sure they like being able to charge 50% more in interchange.

To be honest, I’m surprised MasterCard allows them to do this. They’ve basically taken a card linked to a bank account, and called it a credit card without providing any credit facility. Does anyone have any insight into how they’re allowed to do this?

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Totally legit, they are not claiming you don’t need money on the card or in your account. They have just used a different bin that isn’t recognised as prepay so suited for preauths.

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Bunq issues normal debit cards regardless don’t they? Certainly for their Maestro at the very least.

Their normal card is a debit card, not prepaid. Their description of how pre-auths work with this card is exactly how it works with debit cards.

If they can do this, why do MasterCard even have a debit card category? Why not just prepaid and credit? I see literally zero difference between this and any other debit card.

I see this as a way to deceive people who only accept credit cards into accepting a debit card. There is no difference I can see other than it says the word credit where it should say debit.

Isn’t it fraudulent to deceive someone in a situation where they would otherwise reject the transaction? I have a bunq debit card so I may order one to check it out.

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The terms are very terse on this, but do say it is a “MasterCard credit card”…

The bunq Travel Card is a MasterCard credit card, but it is specially designed to work just like a
debit card. Every payment that you make with your bunq Travel Card, is immediately taken from
your account and will only be possible if your balance is sufficient to fully cover the Travel Card
payment amount. This means no risk and unexpected surprises at the end of the month but all the
advantages that a regular credit card has to offer at the same time!

The bunq Community is already thinking through some of the complexities

https://together.bunq.com/d/13021-interest-on-deposits-with-travelcard

Bunq does not have the ability to make things up when it includes a mastercard BIN range if the card says credit, Mastercard will have approved it, they approve all card designs that bare the mastercard name. Bunq issue both prepaid and non prepaid cards in the UK, whether or not it now only issues non prepaid I don’t know, I don’t work for them, but they still have an active prepaid card issuing agreement.

Yes, obviously MasterCard will have approved this. Bunq wouldn’t be able to issue it otherwise. As I said in the first post, I’m just surprised that they’re ok with it, and curious as to why.

Everything I’ve seen suggests that it works exactly like a debit card. Labelling it as credit therefore seems deceptive, as @chapuys said, and undermines the point of having separate debit/credit BINs.

Either I’m missing an important distinction, in which case I’m hoping that someone here could point it out, or MasterCard don’t actually care about the distinction, in which case I don’t see why banks issue debit MasterCards at all.

I’m also curious whether this is considered a credit card for the purpose of purchase protection and interchange fee caps, despite not providing a credit facility.

That’s exactly right. Section 75 has nothing to do with credit cards at all, but only with credit. Anytime you take out credit specifically to buy something (and if all other conditions are met) you are covered by section 75. So, e.g. PayPal credit is covered, as is buying a car on credit (in some cases).

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Bunq have said its a credit card, Mastercard have approved it as a credit card, therefore as a credit card, section 75 is enshrined in law, so not sure what the debate is.

I found this interesting tidbit in bunq’s T&Cs:

If you download a bank statement during your use of the Travel Card, we will show you your total balance and your actual available balance. The total balance is your balance that does not include the deducted Travel Card payments of that month and your actual available balance is your balance where we have already deducted your Travel Card payments.

So it seems that what’s happening is that there is an actual credit account in the background, which Bunq automatically repays every month from your account. In the app, they show those transactions as though they’re happening in real time, but in truth the funds are just held aside until the end of the month, at which point your credit card account is paid off in the background. That’s my reading of it anyway.

Still surprised MasterCard is ok with it tbh.

I wonder if they’ve taken inspiration from Zero Financial, which is also incidentally a mastercard…

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This seems to be part of a wider bunq strategy to abolish Free accounts altogether and more or less cajole existing Free customers off IBANs.

The original Free tier has gone completely and the new Travel Card subscription is more like a prepaid - no banking features.

Lots of dissatisfied customers on the community, including Premium customers who used to downgrade to Free every now and then, when they didn’t need all functions, and Free costumes who feel they were deceived into “upgrading” to the Travel Card.

https://together.bunq.com/d/14188-travel-card-deactivates-the-ability-to-send-and-receive-money

It’s not a great look for bunq.

Bottom line - if you’re on legacy Free, you’re one of the lucky ones. Don’t change subscription, whatever you do.

What a way to encourage upgrades :joy:

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The thread is 403 lmao

Wow. They’ve actually taken it down…

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So I was on Bunq free account. I had paid for sometime before change in circumstances and not requiring anymore.

I changed free account to Travel Card for free by inviting 3 friends (actually I cheated :shushing_face: I invited myself on 3 other numbers). For me this card is perfect for occasion use I have a proper euro account with Fineco.

In my experience when I ordered travel card it was very clearly explained that I won’t be able to go back to free account.

Really like the card quality. Monzo could definitely learn. My Monzo card’s white ink on numbers came off in a week.

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bunq has said there was a lot of demand for a solution like this, and I can definitely see why.

I went onto the Together forum precisely because I couldn’t find the info in the original email or the FAQ for the campaign. It was not exactly prominent.

Funnily enough, I accidentally upgraded to Premium last month when I was in the app looking for more info about the Travel Card, but bunq immediately reversed the change.

The messages are just not very clear and some people have definitely changed subscription without understanding what it would do. Losing all your direct debits!

Then censoring your forum doesn’t look great either

Not sure if it’s just me or they have actually improved the quality but it doesn’t feel flimsy and especially when I hold Starling and this together I felt Starling was lighter and more bendy… 🤷

I am not saying you’re wrong but I did find FAQs while changing to Travel Card and also took a screenshot for a reminder

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So is the Bunq Travel Card free? Does it just come in MC or can you get it in Maestro too?

Do you not get an IBAN? They’ve very poorly explained (i.e. not explaining at all) how this travel only plan works.