Bunq eyes UK growth as profitability achieved

European fintech Bunq has set its sights on capturing market share in the UK, applying for an electronic money institution (EMI) licence from the Financial Conduct Authority. The move comes as Bunq reported its first full year of profitability, with net income of €53.1m.

The Dutch neobank stopped offering accounts in the UK after Brexit but still serves legacy customers. If approved, Bunq could target 2.8 million British digital nomads. An EMI licence has lower capital rules than a full banking permit.

Bunq founder Ali Niknam said the firm is weighing regulatory overhead versus market access in the UK. The EMI route “caters to EU citizens working and living in the UK, and UK citizens working and living in Europe.”

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The UK is a “large and underserved” market, Niknam said, with digital banking rivals Monzo, Starling and Revolut booming in recent years.

Bunq has “always dreamed” of an IPO, Niknam said, after hitting unicorn status in 2021 at a €1.65 billion valuation. “London could be a consideration,” for listing, he added.

Bunq’s fee income grew 20% and user deposits soared nearly fourfold to €7 billion last year. After 11 years of “insane hours,” Niknam said, “Bunq is in such a good place now.”