Fintech startup Bunq is announcing a handful of new features today, such as a way to track group expenses without creating a joint account, a web app and better Siri integration.
If you usually track vacation expenses and group expenses from your phone, chances are you’ve been using two different products — a mobile app like Splitwise to track group expenses with your friends, and a peer-to-peer payment app to settle up balances.
Bunq is essentially bundling these two features with Slice Groups for owners of the Bunq Travel Card. Given that the Bunq app already lists all your transactions, adding transactions to a group is easier than with your average group payment tracking app.
After adding other people to your Slice Group, each person can add expenses to the group. You get a list of your most recent Bunq transactions and you can add them to a group. You also can add manual transactions in case you paid for something using cash, for instance.
This is just a group accounting feature. When you add a transaction to a Slice Group, your money remains in your account. But you can see who has a positive balance and who has a negative balance.
When you settle up a group, people who owe money get a push notification. They can then tap on the notification and send money from their Bunq account to your friends’ Bunq accounts.
This feature will work particularly well for groups of people who all use the Bunq Travel Card. But it doesn’t fundamentally change how you manage your money with groups.
Bunq now has two tiers of users. Free users get a travel card with an account that they can top up. Paid users get a full-fledged bank account with banking information.
Multiple paid users can already create joint accounts with their roommates or partner. You can then associate your Bunq card with a joint account and spend money from that joint account directly.
So if you have a Bunq Travel Card, Slice Groups are for you. If you have a Bunq bank account, joint accounts are for you.
Revolut doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, either, as you can only split individual card transactions with other users. It could take a while to settle all transactions after a long vacation. Revolut also lets you create Group Vaults. Those are sub-accounts to put some money aside and invite other people to contribute. But only the admin can withdraw and spend money from those vaults.
N26 has promised Shared Spaces so that you can create sub-accounts and share them with other people. But the feature isn’t live yet.
Lydia’s take on group expenses works more like Bunq’s joint accounts. You can create sub-accounts and share those accounts with other people. Everyone can then top up that account and attach a payment method, such as a payment card or a virtual card in Apple Pay or Google Pay. You also can move expenses from one sub-account to another. When you’re back from vacation, you can associate your card with your personal Lydia account again.
In addition to Slice Groups, Bunq is launching a web interface to access your bank account. It works a bit like WhatsApp’s web app. You scan a QR code with your phone and you can then control the mobile app from a desktop web browser.
Bunq should also work better with Siri. You can now send money using your voice or change card settings. Finally, the startup has also made improvements to its business accounts with a few new features. For instance, you can now automatically put money aside to pay back VAT later down the road.