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A guide to iDEAL money transfers

July 12, 2022
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These transactions are set to only grow in the coming years. If you're not a fan of using cash and love to shop online, then iDEAL can be, well, ideal for you. This is especially true if you don't have a credit card, which is common in Europe. You want to keep debt to a minimum, after all.

So what is iDEAL and how does it work? Read on to find out!

What is iDEAL?

iDEAL is a payment system used mainly in the Netherlands. However, it's now used in over 50 countries.

It was first created in 2005 and allows merchants (especially e-commerce ones) to accept real-time internet payments. The payments are processed through the company Trustly.

What are iDEAL payments?

iDEAL payments are done from bank to bank, with no middlemen. As a result, there are lightning-quick settlement times. What's even better is that all major Dutch consumer banks cover iDEAL transactions, including bunq.

Do note that this payment system doesn't have chargebacks. With credit cards, if you receive broken merchandise or don't receive it at all, credit card companies can force a reversal of the payment you made to the merchant. This isn't possible with iDEAL, so you'll have to dispute the charge with your bank to get your money back.

How Do iDEAL Payments Work?

There are several ways you can use iDEAL.

First, you can get a bank card and use that for transactions. You can swipe it in a physical store, then enter your PIN if needed. Or you can enter the card number and then enter your PIN code for online transactions.

You can also scan a QR code with your smartphone or tablet. This will then open your bank app, where you can confirm the purchase by typing in your PIN. This method eliminates the step of entering your card number manually.

What's great about iDEAL payments is you don't need to sign up for an account or enroll in their services. So long as you're a customer at a participating bank, then you can enjoy the benefits of iDEAL payments!

How fast are iDEAL transfers?

The main benefit of iDEAL is its fast payments. If you transfer money, it's basically instant. You just need to wait a few seconds for the transfer to go through, and everything's settled.

If you're asking for a refund though, this can take longer. Typically, you'll be credited in 2 to 3 working days. However, the exact time will depend on your bank.

What are the associated fees with iDEAL?

iDEAL itself doesn't charge you fees for using it. However, some online vendors will attach a small fee of around €0.20 for each transaction.

Make sure you check the payment page before you run an iDEAL payment. It should tell you exactly how much the fee is for using an iDEAL money transfer. It's usually worth it to pay a small amount for the convenience. 

In the Netherlands, iDEAL processed payments are usually free of charge. 

Who accepts iDEAL?

As we've mentioned before, iDEAL is a Dutch concept, so you can use this type of transaction all over the nation. This applies to both brick-and-mortar stores and online shops.

If you're shopping online, simply look for the iDEAL logo (a black "i" with "DEAL" written in white, surrounded by a pink background, and this entire image in a large black "D" with white filled in).

Many foreign webshops and companies also accept iDEAL. Again, you'll have to look for the logo to see if they do.

How to top up at bunq with iDEAL

To top up at bunq with iDEAL, you'll need another bank account with a positive balance. From there, you'd initiate a transfer from that account to your bunq one.

There are no fees and the transaction is instant, so you'll have money in your account in no time!

Which bunq cards can make iDEAL payments?

You can use both physical and virtual cards to make iDEAL payments.

Our physical card choices include Maestro debit, Mastercard credit or business card, and Metal card.

We also have a choice for virtual cards: DigiCard. You can set this card up to refresh every 5 minutes or delete and create a new one each time for better security. Either way, it’s a convenient way to complete transactions without having to wait for a card to arrive.

Where can I use my bunq card to make iDEAL payments?

Keep in mind that so long as you're a customer at a participating bank, you can use iDEAL to pay merchants. Since bunq is a participating bank, this means you can use your bunq card at any shop that accepts iDEAL!

Pretty much all stores in the Netherlands will accept your bunq card. If you travel to Belgium a lot, then you won't have any issues there either.

iDEAL is very convenient

As you can see, iDEAL is a very handy type of payment method. This is especially true if you live in the Netherlands or frequently visit.

Considering that iDEAL is widely accepted in this country and the surrounding ones, you'll have a much better time making purchases. So if you've been frustrated with your credit cards not being accepted and you don't like bringing around cash, then iDEAL is definitely the way to go!

If you don't already have a bunq account, then sign up for one now. You can download our app and try it for free!

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