Someone here recommended that if you wanted a fintech with a non-UK IBAN, then, Italian based Fineco could possibly fit the bill. They are primarily a trading platform, but offer a current account in pounds or euros.

So, I found where to sign up, and through their clunky and badly translated website I submit an application. Answer comes back almost immediately that they’ve rejected it because, when submitting my name, I stuck in a supernumerary full stop (i.e. John Smith. instead of John Smith) which wasn’t on my passport.

Undeterred, I was then instructed, after querying to reapply (you can’t alter an existing application), and was this time successful. I was then sent a bewildering array of passcodes, activation IDs, and account opening codes, which, miraculously, I managed to enter correctly.

But no. My account “needed to be approved”. Applied on Thursday. Received an email this morning (Tuesday) saying it had been approved and to log in, which I did. I go to order a Debit Card, but am then told I can (I kid you not) only order it if I put the middle eight digits of the, er, debit card (that I didn’t have) in the box.

I query this with their “helpful” messaging service, and they state that they were sorry I couldn’t open an account and log in (the reply to the previous email response) and they would be closing the account and could I apply again, please? This was attached to this message to them, not the previous one.

There is an 0800 phone number given, that no-one ever answers.

It makes Bunq look competent and customer focussed.


Wise offer IBANs based in Belgium. The application process is far easier than what you’ve described!

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I know, I have one ! And Turkish IBANs as well


It was me that suggested Fineco.

I don’t know what to say, other than it’s a shame that things seem to have gone wrong for you.

I applied a while ago and had no problems opening the account and ordering the card. You do have to create quite a set of PINs, etc but once you have set up the mobile app then you can do almost everything just with Face ID. It was no worse than many other banks in that regard, and arguably a good thing that they take security seriously.

The only oddity of note that I’ve experienced has been that they print your debit card in formal Italian style with the name as SURNAME FIRST NAMES. Hardly a dealbreaker when nobody looks at your card anyway these days!


Could you possibly post a picture of your card @Seb (details obscured of course)? You know I’m a sucker for card designs, and the all black mock up on their website looks very sleek!


This is a terrible low-light photo, but you get the idea.

There is standard silver-tipped embossing on the card, with the card number on the front, the expiry date and my full name across the bottom.

I only have the Euro card but I believe the GBP card doesn’t have anything where mine shows EUR and that is how you tell them apart? It may have GBP though.


PS: Apple Pay is also fully supported!

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“Seem to have gone wrong for me”

Seems like the reality is that they are really badly set up. If a company asks you for the digits from your non-existent debit card to order a first debit card, and then cancels the account when you query this, that’s not “something going wrong”, that’s sheer incompetence. I suspect the person answering the query didn’t understand it.

Just emailed me in what looks like English translated using Google Translate that a card is on its way. I’m not holding my breath. I assume it will be for a non-existent account if they cancel this one.

I don’t think they are really badly set up as I’ve had an account with them for nearly 5 years and never had an issue.

I feel I’m now in the slightly odd position of having to “defend” Fineco’s product, given I recommended it, but the reality is that both my experience and yours are the experiences of two isolated individuals. I think somebody could read what happened to you and think “Fineco is a disaster”, when that wasn’t what happened to me - so I’ll point that out in the interests of balance.

I can only base my recommendation on my own experience, which has been good. I also recommended them on the basis that they are one of the few providers who offer a non-GB IBAN, which was your chief requirement. It seems to me that you don’t actually even need a card as if you were just wanting to use it as an Italian account to “park” euros in, you could do that and move them back to Wise or Starling to spend them.

It is harsh to say this, but it does seem like many of your problems are of your own making. Fineco is based in Italy, so their support agents are therefore Italian. It is understandable that they won’t necessarily speak English with 100% fluency, should you need to use their support. You basically messed-up your own application, and everything seems to have gone downhill since there.

I’ve never needed to contact their support as I’ve never had an issue (caused by them or me) or a problem with my account. It seems like perhaps the support is not great, but then again do you really need support all the time? I don’t.

It was a long time ago that I ordered my debit card, but I remember it being easy. Are you sure that the 8 digits they were asking for were not either 1) your account number or 2) one of the Fineco passwords/PINs to confirm the request?

More recently, my debit card had expired and I was automatically sent a new one well before the expiry date.

I wonder if @Lonford or @N26throwaway might be interested in attempting to open an account and order a card to add to their collection just to see what happens? I think it is fairly unlikely that their experience will be like yours, which is why I said it seemed to have gone wrong for you. I think it’s mainly just bad luck.

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I think this is a little unfair. They’re accepting UK applicants, so they should be reasonably well set up for them. Euro banks operating across the zone often provide English for other euro countries too (think Benelux countries), so an institution worth its salt should be able to handle a few hiccups in English!

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Well yes, obviously, but I would expect trouble if I wrote my name with a full stop in the middle at, say, HSBC and then tried to change my application.

I have contacted bunq support in the past and experienced non-native English speakers and it has been fine (but some small mistakes as you might expect, clear enough to understand though). I contacted bunq another time and got through to someone who had taken a job with bunq, based in the Netherlands, who was from the U.K. and had moved out there!

That was an interesting discussion.

You have very low expectations! :joy:

I’d expect someone to review it and spot the obvious error. Better, I’d expect the form to reject invalid characters in the name field…


Well, ideally, you would!

But I have read enough examples of banks getting the obvious wrong (and pretty much all banks) to know that it wouldn’t necessarily be automatic plain sailing.

From my own experience, too, the application process is often onerous at banks and once you have things set up then you rarely face issues.

Agreed. I once opened a DE account at Deutsche Bank and thought it was a hellish mistake, but was fine once I was “in”.

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Oh don’t… I’ve ventured as far as the sign up page multiple times, but I’m trying to exercise some self-control! I’ve got so many bank/e-money accounts that the Banking folder of my Bitwarden is overflowing!

In case I do crack and sign up, could you help shine a light on some some of these…

The ‘no annual fees on your first card’ bit confuses me. Does this mean that once your original debit card expires/has to be replaced due to loss/theft/damage, you’re then subject to an annual fee? Or does it mean that there’s an annual charge if you want both a GBP and EUR card?

Do the ‘instant notifications’ cover everything, like with Starling and Monzo etc?

Do you get both an Italian bank account (with Italian IBAN) and a British one (to hold any GBP), or is GBP just stored in a virtual wallet type thing?


Oh dear, here we go:

No annual fees on first card means that one card linked to your account is free, all the time. If you want a second card then you pay a fee for it. The first card can be either Euros or GBP, and since I already have lots of GBP cards I opted for Euros. When it expires, you still get a free replacement (in fact, it’s provided automatically). Fineco ship cards via DHL, apparently because the Italian postal service is infamously unreliable and they come directly to your home address from Milan.

At bit like Revolut, you get bank details for multiple currencies. Sort code and account number for paying in GBP to the GBP account from the UK, an IBAN for SEPA payment to the Euro account. They do have accounts in other currencies too, but I don’t use them. Those other currencies have no directly linked card. Again, like Revolut or Wise, I think they automatically convert funds if you don’t have enough money in the card currency to cover a payment (although I haven’t tested this).

There are fees for using your card in any currency other than the one that matches the card, a bit like most U.K. banks abroad for payments not in GBP. You don’t pay fees to pay in euros if you order a Euro card and put money into the Euro account balance at Fineco. Then you are simply using your Euro account directly. But if you were to pay with the EUR card in the U.K., you would pay a conversion fee.

Instant notifications seem to cover everything, although they are a fairly new feature and I haven’t used the account much since they were introduced (as I haven’t travelled to Europe since Covid started).


Many thanks Seb, you’ve done a far better job than their help pages!

I must say it does sound kind of cool. I’m tempted to sign up and get a GBP card - while Euro would probably make the most sense it also means I wouldn’t be able to try it out until I go abroad (and god knows when that would be!).

One final thing (sorry!), do you know whether UK direct debits and sanding orders are supported?


Interesting question. I haven’t tested it at all, but I don’t think they are?

I think the account supports SEPA direct debits, which may be very useful, but not U.K. ones.

In terms of payment scheme support, I don’t think they support BACS at all, but they do support Faster Payments and SWIFT-based international transfers. There is no cheque support and probably no CHAPS support either.

Another oddity I’ve just remembered - if you make a payment out of your Fineco GBP account it arrives as an incoming international payment, via SWIFT (I think, it’s been a while since I’ve done it). Some U.K. banks charge for this, but Santander don’t do so it is probably best to receive the payments there and then move them on to anywhere you need them from Santander. If you make an outgoing Euro payment it is sent via SEPA. It might be worth knowing that Fineco support SEPA Instant, which is quite good!

I was similarly unsure which card to order at first, and decided that it made more sense to order the Euro one as it was primarily an Italian bank. The oddities I discovered later helped convince me that I was probably right to do that - it’s not very well suited for domestic U.K. banking.

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Ah, that does sound pretty frustrating in terms of trying to use it as a day to day UK account. I don’t have a Santander account unfortunately - I wonder whether Starling charges for receiving GBP via SWIFT? (I’ve just asked via chat, will post the answer when I find out)

It seems that SEPA Instant comes with a 0.2% fee (min €0.85, max €2.95). I guess we’re spoilt with Faster Payments in this country!

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