I need a payment identity

This week bunq finally launched in Germany. The core offering of bunq is a bank account which is fully controllable through its mobile app. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? But there are a few differences to its rival N26 from Germany. bunq directly started as a full-fledged bank. This might not be that important for its customers but bunq received its banking license already back in 2015 which was the first new banking license in the Netherlands in ten years.

But coming to the app: bunq provides easy account opening and when you have already an existing bank account in Europe a picture of your ID is sufficient – no video legitimation required. Verification inside the app works with hand recognition. Yes you read correctly, not fingerprint but hand recognition. Does the average consumer care about that? Probably not, but cool anyway.

There is one special feature worth having a closer look: as a bunq customer you can not only have one current account but up to ten. With a few clicks you can create a new bank account let’s say for all costs related to your flat – including a complete new IBAN. This comes pretty handy when you want separate certain expenses where you would usually open a new bank account at a different bank. This is not the first time a bank is offering such a feature but it’s the only challenger bank I know of who is offering it.

That features gets even more convenient when you realise you can also invite other bunq users to one or more of these bank accounts. You can decide if these users will only have the chance to read or should also be allowed to initiate payments. This allows bunq users to easily open joint or group accounts and manage many different bank accounts for different purposes conveniently inside one app. bunq is positioning itself as the Whatsapp for banking: the whole app is designed around easy cost sharing and allows the user to conveniently send money.

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Increasing fragmentation

I personally like the feature of having different bank accounts for different purposes. I want to have control over my finances and I personally believe having just one bank account with all of my financial transactions mixed up provides me the feeling of not knowing what is happening. Currently I have a few bank accounts and all of them fulfil a certain purpose – in same cases I prefer to have certain transaction data separated from the rest and in other cases the bank account offers a great advantage (e.g. Revolut). bunq could become an additional bank account for such a particular purpose. However, everyone who is actively using more than one bank account usually knows what kind of problems you will run into at one point: insufficient balance (no overdraft facility possible because not main account) and the need to shift around money on a (at least) monthly basis.

I know that I will always be using multiple different bank accounts and other financial services. Period. Luckily, aggregation of financial services are a big trend now and make it easier to manage my money. However, I would love to see that the aggregation of my financial accounts does not only work in my own banking app but is also somehow accessible for the counterpart of a transaction. What do I mean? It would be a lot more convenient if e.g. a merchant whom I paying money (offline, online, credit card, SOFORT, …) for a good would not be limited to base his/her decision on the payment method I chose but rather on the whole financial situation of myself. How do we call this? This would basically be the beginning of a “financial identity”. Paying with my financial identity instead of with a single bank account. Long shoot? Yes. But something which will be inevitable thanks to the further fragmentation of our financial lives…

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