Here’s my experience of using Banqia. It’s been an infuriating experience that drove me to write this article in the hope that others will read it before they try using Banqia.
Note that this is a review of Banqia and not Bankia, with a ‘k’. The latter is a Spanish bank, and the similarity in names actually poses the first problem for Banqia. I expect them to be forced to change their name shortly as it causes market confusion being so similar to the other established bank’s name.
Anyway, let’s talk about Banqia.
This is what they promise:
EASY EUROPEAN IBAN ACCOUNT OPENING.
It takes just 10 minutes to open a free Banqia current account. Get access to Banqia App and manage your financials from anywhere.Banqia is a modern advanced alternative to traditional banking. We have broke down banking complex structures to the simplest levels.BANQIA is the first fintech company offering designated IBAN accounts to individuals and businesses. The current account, complete with IBAN, the ability to transfer money instantly via SEPA & SWIFT, but also to receive Settlements for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum & more directly to your Banqia Bank Account, We are Crypto Business & Non EU residents friendly !
Site Riddled with Spelling Mistakes
For a company that is supposed to be managing your money, it doesn’t inspire confidence to see silly spelling mistakes dotting the whole site.
As you can see above, in just one paragraph there are two amateurish spelling mistakes.
Non-existent Customer Support
They claim customer support hours from 9am to 7pm. However, when I tried to access their chat 9 times out of 10 it would be offline.
I also sent them several emails through their support system which were never answered.
In the footer of the site, they even state different opening hours than the header. Go figure!
While they advertise free accounts for personal and business when I applied they sent me back a terms document which I was supposed to sign, and lo and behold there was an activation fee of more than €200. On enquiring about it, they just said they’ll waive it and opened my account, without even waiting for me to sign and return the terms document. That just gives you an idea what kind of controls they have in place.
I then proceeded to make a test transfer to Banqia. Instead of being charged €2 for an incoming transfer, I was charged 2%. They were unable to give me an explanation of how that could even happen. After telling them that they need to amend it, they agreed but I have not yet seen the updated balance in my account after several days of waiting.
For a FinTech institution, security is pretty much non-existent. You sign in to your account with a simple username and password, with no option for 2 Factor Authentication.
The web interface of this institution could have been built by a school kid on his first programming project. It’s as simplistic as they come and non-intuitive.
There are basic problems like the inability to paste a reference into a payment’s details field. This is essential for transferring money to many platforms such as P2P lending, Crowdfunding real estate platforms, and crypto exchanges. You don’t want to risk entering the payment reference manually or it could mean your funds get lost, since you’re transferring to a shared account and the reference is what’s used to link the money to your account.
Once you make a transfer, it doesn’t appear anywhere, so you can’t be sure if it was even sent or have any idea when it will take place.
Like I said, basic functionality of any bank system is missing on Banqia.
The website provides little to no information about the institution that we are dealing with. You see the company address, but no information on the people who manage Banqia. You get a Lithuanian IBAN account while the company address is in the UK.
Conclusion – Stay away!
I had serious suspicions about this service beforehand, especially after seeing their interactions in forums with childish language and the spelling mistakes on their site, but decided to give it a go anyway to make sure that I was not misjudging them.
Turns out that my judgment was correct, and so I recommend you find alternatives to this service as you can’t trust them with your money.
Update October 2019 – The company Banqia uses for operating (Mister Tango) has been fined for failure to comply with KYC/AML legislation for the third time. Here’s the email all customers of Banqia received about this, including the suspension of all Banqia accounts:
BANQIA as (Unicapital Ltd) has been informed by UAB Mistertango that some suspicious activities from some of our Virtual Iban holders are under investigation.
All Virtual Iban´s account issued by UAB Mistertango to Banqia (Unicapital Ltd) are affected as all Virtual iban´s account are suspended temporary for investigation.
We are working closely with UAB Mistertango to unsuspend it as soon as possible and release all Virtual iban´s funds that are not affected by this investigation.
As soon as this issue will be sorted out, all outgoing & incoming payments will be available again to you.
If you are still using your Iban to receive payments, please update your customer´s to stop using temporary this account until further notification.
As soon as we have additional information or a status update we will communicate this with you .
We are very sorry for the inconvenience
6.4. We may suspend your E-money Account or otherwise restrict its functionality on reasonable grounds relating to the security of the E-money Account or any of its security features or if we reasonably suspect that an unauthorised or fraudulent use of your E-money Account has occurred or that any of its security features have been compromised. We will notify you of any suspension or restriction and of the reasons for such suspension or restriction in advance or, where we are unable to do so, immediately after the suspension or restriction has been imposed, unless notifying you would be unlawful or compromise our reasonable security interests. We will lift the suspension and/or the restriction as soon as practicable after the reasons for the suspension and/or restriction have ceased to exist.