In this N26 review, we are going to provide you information on why this digital bank is the right choice not only for those who are in the Eurozone (who wanted to move away from traditional banks but prefer the safety of a banking license), but also those living in the United States.
The digital banking industry in the United States has grown over the years. In fact, statistics published by Statista it shows that in 2018, about 61% of Americans used digital banking.
Furthermore, the same report shows that the number of Americans using digital banking is expected to rise to 65.3% by 2022.
The increase of people who prefer digital banking is actually not surprising given the fact that it is easy, simple, and very convenient. Needless to say, over time, companies have ensured the safety and security of people’s money and personal information.
These days when people are restricted to do activities outside their homes because of health risks, we bet even more people rely on and are into mobile or digital banking.
So, we would not be surprised if, in the coming years, more digital banking companies will come to life.
Now, with so many options around, it can get overwhelming. That is why it’s best to really be sure of what exactly you want or are looking for in a digital bank.
As mentioned earlier, if you are in the Eurozone but wanted to get away from the incumbent banks but ensuring safety by making sure the bank has a banking license, N26 may just be the perfect choice for you.
So, in this N26 review, we are going to provide you with essential information about this digital banking company. In particular, we are going to tackle the following:
- What is N26?
- What to like about N26?
- What not to like about N26?
- What are the products offered by N26?
- How to open an N26 account?
WHAT IS N26?
N26 is a banking and financial technology start-up. It was founded in 2013 in Berlin, Germany by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal. These two men reimagine the retail banking experience to fit the mobile lifestyle today.
In 2015, the company launched its very first product. Since then, the company has attracted 2.3 million customers from all over 24 European markets.
Moving on to 2019, N26 was launched in the United States. It was also during the same year that the company announced its $300 million Series D funding, which was led by Insight Venture Partners. Also included in the round were GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, as well as its existing investors.
N26 is an ideal bank alternative to traditional banks. The bank offers a variety of online banking services not only across the Eurozone, but also in the United States, and Switzerland.
If you want to know more about N26 in the United States, we recommend you check out the video below:
N26 takes pride in holding a fully-pledged banking license in Europe as well as in the United States, which allows its customers in the United Kingdom to get a real bank account as well as an N26 Mastercard.
The company is known as a challenger bank, which means N26 is a fully digital banking platform.
Furthermore, N26 has innovative mobile banking features that allow its customers to become more in control of their overall banking experience.
WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT N26?
Just like any other banking institution, there are things to like and not to like about N26.
We found a couple of pros and cons, which we thought is important that you know so you can fully gauge if it’s the right digital banking platform for you.
So, to start off, here are the things that we particularly like about N26:
- Banking License – N26 does have a banking license as we have mentioned earlier, and having one gives customers more confidence in dealing with this digital bank. Also, since it has a banking license, you are assured of a deposit guarantee, direct debits, as well as standing orders.
- Premium Subscriptions – N26 offers premium subscription options that come with handy perks.
- No Minimum Balance – All N26 accounts do not require you to keep a minimum balance, which is good ’cause you do not have to worry about that anymore.
- No Monthly Maintenance Fees – N26 does not also charge monthly maintenance fees unlike other banks of the same type.
- No Overdrafts – Another thing that we like is that the bank does not charge overdrafts, which is also not the case in most digital banks.
- Customers Have More Control – Unlike standard banks, the N26 app allows its customers to have more control over their accounts. You can manage your account the way you want it.
- Spaces – Spaces is one of the best features of N26. It basically is N26’s sub-accounts. Spaces help you organize your savings into particular pockets. That way you won’t get tempted to use your money for a particular expense or savings into something else.
WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT N26?
In the previous section, we mentioned some of the features we like about N26. This time around, we are going to share with you some of the things that we do not like.
Just like any other bank out there, N26 does have its own flaws as well. It’s not perfect. It’s up to you though, as a customer or as a user to decipher whether the flaws are bearable or not.
Anyway, for your reference, here are some of the things that we do not particularly like about N26:
- One Currency Only – Unlike other banks, N26 allows you to hold one currency only, which means, if you have multiple currencies or planning to have more currencies, you may have to look for another digital banking platform.
- Lacks Budgeting and Savings Features – Unlike other digital banking platforms, we found N26 to lack some budgeting and savings features.
- No Phone Support – Unfortunately, N26 does not offer phone support, which means, if you are the type who likes using phone support to settle concerns, this might not be the right digital bank for you.
- Chat Support Can Be Slow – Although N26 does not have phone support, it does have chat support where customers can raise their concerns. However, we found out based on most feedbacks that it has the tendency to be slow.
Additionally, here are some noteworthy cons especially for customers based in the U.S.:
- Basic Checking Account – Although it’s not something major, it is important to note that N26 only offers basic checking account in the United States contrary to what its European counterpart offers. Maybe in the coming years, N26 in the U.S. will eventually offer more banking options.
- Fully Digital – Another not a major con, but, potential customers must know that N26 is fully digital with just a website and an app. So, if you do not have a smartphone, banking with N26 may not be the best idea.
WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY N26?
To continue on with our N26 review, we are going to talk about one of the most important details – the products it offers.
Although N26 only offers basic checking account in the United States for now, its European counterpart offers a few more (we thought, though that N26 will eventually make all the other features available in the country in the years to come).
Anyway, for this N26 review, we particularly focus on the following N26 features:
- Checking Accounts
- Savings Accounts (Spaces)
Now, let’s tackle each of these products —
N26 digital bank specializes in checking accounts. That is precisely why out of all its products, a checking account is its very first product offering in the U.S. market.
Currently, there is only one basic account available wherein you will have to pay $2 per domestic ATM withdrawal and another $2 including 2% of foreign ATM withdrawals. Apart from these, the only other fee that N26 charges would be for the replacement of the debit card, which currently costs $5.
As mentioned earlier, one of the best things about N26 is that you get full control over your account through its app.
The app, in particular, have amazing features, which include some budgeting feature that automatically categorizes your every purchase so that you can easily track where your hard-earned money is going. Furthermore, changing your settings, allows you to track your international spending as well.
Unlike other digital banking apps that require you to call your bank or log into your online account to inform your bank about upcoming travels, N26 made it simpler and easier for its customers by allowing them to simply change their settings.
Looking forward, N26 is planning a lot of changes in the future including rolling out two premium paid options, which are called N26 Metal and N26 Black. The main target of these is business customers.
In addition, the company will also start offering a rebate on two ATM withdrawal fees per month.
So many to look forward to, indeed.
Savings Accounts (Spaces)
Although it’s not directly the same kind of savings accounts as other digital banks offer, N26 has what they call Spaces, which is pretty much similar to a savings account sans earning interest.
While it may not function the same as other savings accounts, Spaces is very much convenient for those who like to visualize their money by using separate sub-accounts.
HOW TO OPEN A N26 ACCOUNT?
Unlike other digital banks out there, the process of opening an account with N26 is very easy and straightforward.
It comes with a video identification, which causes little to no stress at all as compared to the traditional sign-up process on other digital banking platforms.
To open an account with N26, you have to be more than 18 years old. You must also own a smartphone because, as mentioned earlier, N26 is fully digital. It can only be accessed through the app or its website.
Of course, having an internet connection is also a very important aspect when creating an N26 account.
Additionally, you can get an N26 account in either the United States or Europe for as long as you have a passport or a national ID.
Once you have ticked off the above-mentioned requirements, you can now move on to downloading the app.
Once done, you will be asked to enter basic personal information, which includes the following:
- Date of birth
- Residential address
- Place of Birth
- Phone Number
- Mailing address
Furthermore, you will also be asked a couple of additional information like:
- Job description
- Tax Residency
- Tax ID number
After inputting your personal information, you will have to confirm your email. After confirming your email, you will then have to pass the identity check (the method depends depending on your country).
After completion of this process, expect to receive your N26 card by mail.
For its customers in the United Kingdom who are looking for a current account, N26 offers three monthly plans. The most basic of all is completely free and offers free card payments regardless of currency.
Meanwhile, the N26 You plan as well as N26 Metal will cost you a certain amount on a monthly basis.
Other Important Information About N26
Our N26 review will not be complete without sharing with you a few more important information about this digital banking platform.
In particular, we are going to talk about the following:
- Bank Deposit
- Cash Withdrawal
- International Money Transfer
- Receiving Money
- Fees and Charges
N26 made sure that money deposit is made easy through its bank app.
N26 provides various options for N26 bank deposits. Some of these options include:
- SEPA Transfers (usually takes up to 2 business days)
- Debit Card Deposit
- Credit Card Deposit
- Apple and Google Pay
Apart from SEPA that usually takes up to 2 business days, the rest of the other options allows you to deposit in an instant.
It is important to take note also that using CASH26 at N26 partner locations will cost you a 1% deposit fee.
Additionally, you can also fund your N26 account by using payment services such as:
- Cash App
Meanwhile, when signing up for N26 direct deposit, your paycheck will normally be available for up to 2 days.
To set up your N26 direct deposit, all you have to do is go to Actions Tab on your N26 app, and then, select Add Money. Click the Direct Deposit tab, then, follow the prompts after that.
Similar to making deposits, N26 provides a number of ways to withdraw cash from your N26 bank account.
Of course, of all the options, making withdrawals through N26 ATM is the easiest.
Another option is to make a withdrawal from the bank over the counter.
Fortunately, N26 provides fee-free ATM withdrawals from more than 55,000 Allpoint network locations in the country, as well as in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
While ATM withdrawals are free of charges, N26 charges $2 plus 2% of the withdrawal amount after conversion to U.S. dollars for out-of-network international ATM withdrawals.
Another option to make a cash withdrawal is through cashback, which is a feature available on the N26 debit card. So, every time you use your card in making payments at N26 partner stores or brands, you will automatically receive a cashback.
Lastly, you can also withdraw cash from N26 partner locations using the CASH26 feature in the app. To use such an option, all you have to do is to open the app, click Withdraw, and then, enter your preferred amount. Once done, it will generate a code, which you will have to give to the cashier at the partner location to get the amount you have withdrawn.
International Money Transfer
You can also make money transfers if you need to. Thanks to the partnership between N26 and TransferWise.
To send money, all you have to do is type in the email of the recipient and the amount you are going to transfer. The money will then be transferred instantly.
While transferring money in the same currency as your N26 account does not cost you anything, N26 international transfer does have. It amounts from $0.60 up to $5.55.
N26 currency exchange fee for international transfer amounts to 0.35-2.00% of the exchanged amount.
Meanwhile, receiving money from other people does not cost you anything.
Receiving money through your N26 bank account works quite well, too. Thanks to its partnership with TransferWise.
With N26, you can get paid in almost all currency available with just one bank.
Fees and Charges
Apart from features, bank fees and charges play an important role when deciding whether a bank (in this case, a digital bank) is worth it or not.
With N26, as we have mentioned earlier, you are free of service fees, maintenance charges, as well as overdraft fees. Additionally, there is no minimum balance required, which means, you do not have to worry about getting a zero balance.
The only thing, though, that you can be charged with is when making out-of-network international ATM withdrawals, which amounts to $2 plus 2% of the withdrawal amount after conversion to U.S. dollars.
IS N26 BANK USA SAFE?
Generally speaking, N26 bank is safe.
N26 USA in particular operates in the US with a partner bank, Axos Bank, which is a federally regulated and FDIC-insured bank. This basically means that customers’ deposits are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000.
Additionally, N26 debit cards are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy, which means, customers are not held responsible for any unauthorized charges made with their accounts or accounts information.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON N26 REVIEW
There are a lot of digital banks out there, and N26 is one of them.
Compared to other digital banks though, N26 offers a lot of competitive aspects when it comes to the services it provides.
Although there are still some limitations on its offering in the United States, we believe that in due time, the company will provide a more thorough choice similar to its European counterpart.
So, how do you find N26? Do you think it fits your requirements well?