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Investment Apps and Websites

Cogni Review: Why Makes This Digital Bank Worth It

This Cogni review will provide you all the essential information that while this digital banking platform is new, it’s worth it.

Cogni Review: Why Makes This Digital Bank Worth It

Digital banking is becoming the norm. More and more people prefer using it or making financial transactions using digital banks as compared to traditional ones.

In fact, according to the “Global Digital Banking Platform Market By Component (Solution and Services), By Deployment Type (On-premise and Cloud), By Type (Retail Banking and Corporate Banking), By Banking Mode (Online Banking and Mobile Banking), By Region, Industry Analysis and Forecast, 2020-2026report, the “Global Digital Banking Platform Market is expected to reach $9 billion by 2026, rising at a market growth of 16% CAGR during the forecast period.”

Meanwhile, according to Statista report, the share of the population using digital banking in the United States alone in 2018 has reached about 61%, while it is projected to rise even more to 65.3% by the year 2022.

These reports only show that digital banking is set to continue growing as the years go by. With the unexpected turn of events in the current year wherein people are restricted to go out of their homes and rely so much on anything digital, it won’t be surprising if the numbers grow bigger.

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As mentioned, a lot of people are becoming so into online banking, which is not surprising given the fact that it is very convenient, safe, and very accessible.

These days, there are actually a lot of digital banks to choose from already. With so many options out there, selecting one can get really tough.

One of the many digital banking options out there is Cogni.

Today, as mentioned earlier, we are going to do a Cogni review. We are going to provide you the essential information you need to see if this digital banking platform is the right one for you.

In particular, we are going to talk about the following:

  • What is Cogni?
  • What are the features of Cogni?
  • Where to use Cogni?
  • How does Cogni work?
  • What are the benefits of using Cogni?
  • What are the downsides of using Cogni?
  • Is Cogni safe?

WHAT IS COGNI?

When you are looking for a digital banking partner, it is important to get to know the bank first. Do not just go with the status quo.

It is important to research your options so you can choose what’s best for you — your needs and preferences. Getting to know more about the institution or the bank will also help you build your trust and confidence in it. After all, you are going to entrust your hard-earned money to them, right?

The safety and security of your money (and your personal information) are very important especially when you are opting for digital banking.

Before we proceed, if digital banking is new to you, below is a very informative video by Project Management. It will help you know and understand better what this type of banking is all about.

Anyway, so what is Cogni all about?

As compared to other similar online banking platforms out there, Cogni is very new in the market.

This digital banking platform is in fact, was only launched this 2020.

While there are a lot of other digital banking platforms out there already, why would you consider Cogni over them?

According to the company, they established Cogni aiming to complement a user’s finances with a straightforward account, and the music to our ears, with no hidden fees.

This digital banking platform’s goal is to connect their members’ banking with their lifestyles. Furthermore, they hope to evolve with their members as their needs change. Over time, they aim to combine banking, commerce, as well as lifestyle in just a single platform.

Primarily, the marketing of the company aimed at the transparency and practicality of their Visa Debit Card, with no additional fees. But, the company actually does offer other services as well, which include convenient, cost-free bank transfers and ‘single-use’ virtual cards.

Currently, Cogni has over $6 million in funding. Needless to say, it has support from big-name financial institutions such as Barclays who owns 2% of this digital banking platform.

Furthermore, this digital banking platform supports the use of Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

Cogni has two offices including one in New York City.

WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF COGNI?

If there’s one thing that Cogni promises its members that would be that it will be their “all-access pass to digital banking”.

In this section of our Cogni review, we are going to talk about the different features that this digital banking platform offer, which include the following:

Checking Account

Cogni’s primary product is its checking account. What makes it particularly stand out as compared to other checking accounts of digital banks out there is that apart from the fact that you can easily open an account in just 3 to 5 minutes, it does not require a minimum deposit amount. It does not even go through credit checks, which makes it even more attractive to all types of consumers.

With your account comes the following perks:

  • Digital Card – You can easily move funds into your account, and access the money immediately — as you need it — without any hassle.
  • No ATM Fees – It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Cogni does not charge ATM fees, which means you can withdraw money in all 55,000 Allpoint ATMs without having to worry about charges.
  • Complete Account Details – With your Cogni app, you get a complete view of your balance, recent amount activity, as well as monthly statements, and card spendings. Everything in one place.

Cogni Pay

Another feature that we like about Cogni is Cogni Pay, which allows you to receive money from another account, and the money gets available immediately.

So, no need to worry about covering for a friend’s needs. They can easily pay you anyway.

Along with the Cogni Pay features comes the following perks as well:

  • Direct Deposit – With your Cogni account, you can set up direct deposit by sharing your account information as well as your routing number with your employer. That way you can easily receive your hard-earned money. By the way, you can do this through the app.
  • Easy Bank Transfers – With Cogni, you can easily transfer money from other banks into your Cogni account. You can do this free of charge. Again, all you need is your account information and routing number.
  • Deposit Worldwide with Visa ReadyLink – Unlike other digital banking platforms, with Cogni, you can deposit money to your account regardless of where you are in the world as long as there is a store with Visa ReadyLink. Your money gets available in just as little as 30 minutes!

Cogni Visa Card

To make your banking more effortless, along with your Cogni accounts comes a Cogni Visa Card.

Your Cogni Visa Card can be used not just to withdraw money but as well as in-store purchases.

But wait, there’s more!

Cogni also offers a single-use card, which you can generate for extra security or a risk-free trial.

Anyway, the Cogni Debit Card is issued by the Community Federal Savings Bank.

Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay Compatibility

Another notable feature that Cogni digital bank offers is that it is compatible with all your favorite person-to-person payment apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

ACH Bank Transfers

Cogni supports bill pay and bank-to-bank transfers making it easier for you to move your money.

Physical Checks

While it’s an all-digital bank, Cogni recognizes the fact that there are things that still need the traditional way of banking. Thus, the bank also offers checks.

If you need one, all you need is to request and they will send one right to your doorstep.

“Just-in-case” Protection

In case you misplace or lost your Cogni Visa Card, Cogni provides you a freeze and unfreeze feature. This allows you to secure your account to avoid unfortunate cases.

Customized Alerts

Cogni allows you to choose your own push notifications. That way, you only get to receive alerts that are relevant to you.

With Cogni app, you stay updated on your account’s activities. Needless to say, you are alerted of potential fraud all days and times of the week.

256-bit Encryption

To ensure your account’s safety and security, Cogni uses 256-bit encryption.

FDIC Insured

Of course, to complete the amazing features offered by Cogni, they are FDIC-insured as well, which means all Cogni checking accounts are protected for up to $250,000.

WHERE TO USE COGNI?

As we have mentioned in the previous sections, Cogni is just new in the market. Thus, it is not surprising if Cogni is only available at the moment to customers in the United States.

But, who knows!? Maybe in a few years’ time, they will eventually expand their coverage and reach other countries as well.

HOW DOES COGNI WORK?

In the last three sections, we talked about what Cogni is all about, its features, and where it’s available for use.

This time in our Cogni review, we’ll talk about how it actually works.

First of all, Cogni is an app-only banking service, which means, you need to download the app to take full advantage of what Cogni has to offer.

Unfortunately, Cogni is currently available only through the App Store, which means iPad and iPhone users may download it to their device free of charge.

Once the Cogni app is downloaded to your Apple device, an identification process is required to be able to open an account. In this process, you will be asked to input basic personal information similar to other apps of the same level or type.

Once done, your account will be made life automatically. Also, your tap to pay Visa card will be sent to you.

Please take note that as soon as your account is approved, which only takes a few minutes, you can immediately use your account with any transaction.

By using the Cogni app, users can perform instant fund transfers to other Cogni accounts. They can also deposit cash into their account through Visa ReadyLink locations, as well as create checks using the digital checkbook service on the app.

What’s nice about Cogni is that you do not necessarily need to wait for your physical card to make transactions. This digital banking platforms offer a virtual card, which you can use in making payments.

Furthermore, you can also create one-off cards for your online shopping.

Once your physical card arrives, you can use it in your in-store transactions as well as in withdrawing cash across all 55,000 Allpoint ATMs.

As you can see, how Cogni works is pretty simple and easy, making your banking experience a total breeze.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING COGNI?

As we always do when reviewing a bank — whether it be a traditional one or in this case, a digital bank — we always see to it to take note of both the pros and cons.

By doing so, we get to help you gauge the compatibility of the bank to you based on your preferences.

So, as usual, Cogni, just like any other banks of the same kind does its share of benefits and downsides as well.

In this section, though, we are going to focus particularly on the good sides of the bank.

Some of the benefits of using Cogni that we found are as follows:

  • Trusted By Large-Scale Businesses – Cogni may be a start-up, but, with the considerable amount of support it is getting especially from big companies, it only goes to show that it is a financial institution that can be trusted with your hard-earned money.
  • Zero Fees – One of the best parts of being a Cogni account holder is that you get to free yourself up from paying fees and charges, which is honestly financially exhausting sometimes. With Cogni, you do not have to worry about cash withdrawals and transfer fees, and other usual fees charged by digital banks.
  • Physical Checks – While some digital banking platforms have totally forgone traditional checks, Cogni believes that there are still transactions that require a physical check, thus, you can request one if you need it.
  • Visa Card – While Cogni allows you to make online transactions regardless of the availability of the card, it does provide a Visa debit card as well. This allows you to make in-store transactions as well as withdraw money from Allpoint ATMs.
  • Direct Deposit – Cogni supports direct deposit allowing you to receive your salary through it by simply sharing your account information as well as routing number to your employer.
  • Visa ReadyLink Deposits – Unlike other digital banks out there, Cogni allows its users to deposit cash through Visa ReadyLink locations worldwide. Needless to say, funds are credited in as little as 30 minutes
  • Person-to-Person Payment Apps Compatibility – Another thing to like about Cogni is that it is compatible with person-to-person payment apps, which include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
  • Customized Alerts – With the Cogni app, you can customize alerts based on your needs and preferences.
  • 256-bit Encryption – With its 256-bit encryption, users are ensured of enterprise-level banking protection.
  • FDIC-Insured – All Cogni checking account holders are protected because Cogni is FDIC-insured, which means all accounts are covered for up to $250,000 in the event that the bank fails.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING COGNI?

There is no such thing as a perfect bank, all the more with digital banks.

While Cogni has several features that we like, we also found a few downsides, and these are:

  • Limited to the US – Unfortunately, Cogni is only available in the United States. Although, for sure they have expansion plans in the future. For now, though, interested customers from other parts of the world will have to wait.
  • Incomplete Website – Cogni is very new, so, we thought it’s very understandable that there are still things being worked out. One example is their website, which while already running is still incomplete.

Overall, we have to say that the downsides are related to the bank’s very new status. Remember that Cogni was just launched early this year. So, probably, it’s best to check it out again in the next few months.

IS COGNI SAFE?

Of course, this Corgni review will not be complete if we not going to answer one of the most important questions – is it safe to use Cogni?

Well, the answer to that is yes, Cogni is safe for two very evident reasons:

First, Cogni, as we have mentioned earlier uses 256-bit encryption, which, according to Techpedia is “a data/file encryption technique that uses a 256-bit key to encrypt and decrypt data or files“. This is one of the most secure encryption methods out there and is mostly used by digital banks to keep all their members’ accounts secured and safe.

Second, Cogni is safe because it is insured under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). As you know by now, all FDIC insured account under Cogni is protected for up to $250,000 should an unfortunate thing happens to the bank.

With these two in place, account holders are ensured that their money and their personal information are protected, safe, and secured.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON COGNI REVIEW

Cogni is a digital banking service based in the United States that was designed to offer a people-driven service.

While it has a lot of good features, we particularly like the fact that it provides a bank-level service sans additional costs or fees.

Similar to other banks of the same level, Cogni offers effective, flexible, as well as very convenient payment and fund transfer options.

Are you looking for a reliable digital banking partner that is free of commonly-charged fees? If your answer is yes, then perhaps Cogni is the one you are looking for.

We hope that through this Cogni review we were able to convince you that this digital banking platform is worth a try.

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Investment Apps and Websites

Varo Money Review: How It Differs From Other Mobile Banks

In this Varo money review, we are going to look into how this startup bank tries to disrupt traditional banking through monthly-fee-free accounts and an entirely mobile experience.

 Varo Money Review: How It Differs From Other Mobile Banks

Back in 2013, research conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that 51% of American adults or 61% of internet users in the country do online banking. Meanwhile, 32% or 35% of the total number of cell phone users opt to do banking using their mobile phone.

Fast-forward to 2018, a report published by Statista states that based on a survey conducted, it was found that 693% of Millennials are or have used mobile banking, while 24% of Baby Boomers do online banking as well.

Furthermore, in the said report, it says that probable reasons behind the rise in number have something to do with how flexible and convenient mobile banking is. Well, with people nowadays being always on-the-go, it is not surprising at all if one of these days all traditional banks will focus on strengthening their mobile banking services.

While there are a lot more people who are into online banking particularly mobile banking, there are still a few who are not into it. Some are kind of hesitant or worried about security and if it’s really convenient to do banking online.

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These concerns are valid and that is why Varo Bank makes sure it offers plenty of capability for users who are always on-the-go. With a mobile app and broad ATM network, Varo Bank ensures complete basic banking and savings transactions for each of its customers.

Furthermore, when it comes to safety and security concerns, Varo ensures customers’ personal information and money are well-protected by its 256-bit AES encryption.

Now, are you curious to know more about what Varo Bank has to offer?

If your answer is yes, then you are in the right place as we are going to dissect all essential information every customer needs to know regarding Varo Bank.

In this Varo money review, we are going to particularly talk about the following:

  • What is Varo Bank?
  • What does Varo Bank have to offer?
  • How to open an account with Varo Bank?
  • Are there fees and charges involved?
  • What are the benefits of using Varo Bank?
  • What are the downsides of using Varo Bank?
  • Is Varo Bank safe?

WHAT IS VARO BANK?

When looking for a mobile bank partner, it is important to take time to get to know the bank you are eyeing for.

A little history of the bank will help establish your trust and confidence in doing business with them. You get to see how credible and how trustworthy they are.

With that said, let’s get to know more about Varo.

Varo was founded in 2015. Compared to other online banks, it is relatively new. No wonder why some people wonder about the reliability and the authenticity of the bank.

Moving on, based in San Francisco and Utah, Varo was established to be an all-mobile bank that offers both checking and savings accounts.

As we have mentioned earlier, Varo aims to disrupt traditional banking and even other online-only banks by providing customers with monthly-fee-free accounts and an entirely mobile experience.

Varo is part of the growing neo in the United States, which makes it the first of the bank scene.

Recently, Varo worked on becoming a fully-fledged bank, making it the first of its kind in the country to receive full approval.

By becoming a full-fledged bank, it means Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will offer Varo customers deposit insurance up to $250,000.

Varo has a very bright and interesting future, to be honest. With it becoming a full-fledged bank is just the beginning of better days ahead for this mobile bank.

Before moving on to our Varo money review, here’s an interesting and very insightful and informative Varo Bank review by MONEY with Eddie Yoon that we thought you should check out:

WHAT DOES VARO BANK HAVE TO OFFER?

Now that you already know a brief history about Varo and what to expect from it in the future, this time around in our Varo money review, we are going to talk about the different products and services that this all-mobile bank has to offer.

As earlier mentioned, Varo offers the following:

  • Savings Account
  • Checking Account

Now let’s look into each of these items —

Savings Account

Varo does only have one savings account, and this one’s a high-yield account that comes without fees whatsoever.

Since the Varo Savings Account does not charge any fees, savers can earn up to 2.80% APY, which is very competitive as compared to other mobile-only banks out there.

While it all sounds good, the Varo Savings Account is only available for savers who have already an existing checking account with Varo, which they call a Varo Bank Account.

Additionally, savers can only earn the said 2.80% APY if they meet the following requirements:

Ensure a daily savings account balance of up to $10,000

Make at least five debit card purchases for every calendar month

Receive $1,000 or more in direct deposits during the same calendar month

If you fail to meet the above-mentioned requirements, your rate will only be 0.81% APY.

Please take note that all three must be met. If for example a savings account holder keeps a daily balance of $10,000 or more but does not meet the other two requirements, he or she will not be eligible as well for the 2.80% APY.

Just the same, even if a saver meets the two other requirements, but holds a daily savings balance of more than $10,000, the rate automatically drops down to 0.81% as well.

If, however, you do not mind about the APY, it is important to note that Varo does not require a minimum balance on its savings account. A saver needs no more than $0.01 in his or her account to start earning interest.

As mentioned, a saver is required to have a Varo checking account in order to open the Varo savings account. Although there are those requirements, what we find nice about it is that it comes with benefits.

Specifically, Varo Bank has two automatic savings options to help encourage savers to reach their savings goals.

The automatic savings options include:

Save Your Pay – This program by Varo allows savers to select a percentage of every direct deposit into their Varo checking account to have automatically transferred to their Varo savings account.

Save Your Change – This program allows savers to make purchases anytime using the Varo debit card. When used for purchasing, Varo will round up the amount to the nearest dollar, and then, transfer that amount from the saver’s Varo checking account into his or her Varo savings account.

Checking Account

This time around, let’s talk about Varo’s checking account.

The only checking account option from Varo is what they officially call the “Varo Bank Account”.

This checking account comes with an impressive punch for a fairly simple offering.

The key benefits of using a Varo Bank Account include:

  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • No minimum balance required
  • No overdraft fees
  • Early direct deposit

The Varo checking account comes with a Visa debit card, which you can use to withdraw, as well as in making purchases.

By the way, while Varo does not charge fees or interest, this is only applicable if users meet the following requirements:

  • The user must make five debit purchases every month.
  • The user must receive payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000 every month.

Furthermore, with regards to the no overdraft fee benefit, Varo checking account customers must enroll in No Fee Overdraft, which is available in the Varo app, so the feature gets activated. In case you did overdraft your account, Varo gives you 30 calendar days to pay the amount back. Varo, however, automatically takes the amount from your next direct deposit.

In addition to the benefits, Varo users also can send money to other Varo accounts without having to worry about getting charged a fee. Varo to Varo instant transfer feature is absolutely free. The downside of this account, though, is that you cannot use your Varo account in making wire transfers.

HOW TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH VARO BANK?

By now, you already know what Varo is all about, and the products that the bank offers.

At this point in our Varo money review, we are going to talk about how one can actually open a Varo account.

If you are interested in opening a Varo account, then, you got to check this section out.

Opening An Account

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, Varo offers an entirely digital service, which means, if you are looking for a physical branch, Varo does not have it.

Similar to most digital banks out there, Varo promises an easy and simple process when opening an account with them. In fact, the process is very straightforward and convenient.

Unlike traditional banks, you can do it in just a few minutes. No need to do paperwork and definitely, no long waits.

To apply for a Varo account, first of all, users have to download the Varo app. The Varo app is available for both iOS and Apple users.

Once done downloading, to proceed with the process, users need to follow the on-screen prompts to complete the whole account application.

As we have said, the process is simple and easy it takes no longer than five minutes to finish.

By the way, just the same as other digital banks, you will be asked to provide some personal information, as well as undergo an identity verification process by providing either a valid ID or a passport.

Should users encounter any problem upon signing up, Varo offers a variety of customer service lines that will offer fast and friendly advice or recommendations.

Adding Funds

In relation to opening an account with Varo, we also wanted to share with you how to actually add funds into your account.

As mentioned, Varo does not have a physical branch, so, to make up for that, the bank offers five easy ways to deposit money into your Varo account.

First, the quickest way to put money into your Varo account is through direct deposit. Varo allows you to pay money into the account yourself or you may opt to use it to receive your paycheck directly into your account.

With Varo’s direct deposit option, users get to receive their salary up to two days early. Additionally, users can receive instant pay from Uber and/or Lyft if you are employed by these companies.

The second option to fund your account is by transferring money from an external bank account through the app and through your other bank’s online banking service.

The third option is by making a transfer of funds from PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, and other similar platforms.

The fourth way of putting money into your Varo account is by cashing in a paper check using your smartphone camera.

Last, but certainly, not least the option to fund your Varo account is through cash deposits. Unlike many digital banks, Varo accepts cash deposits. All you have to do is deposit the cash at a Green Dot location or with a MoneyPak.

You see, funding your Varo account is easy. You got not only one but five options to choose from – and we have to say, they’re all easy and very accessible.

ARE THERE FEES AND CHARGES INVOLVED?

The answer to this question is — mostly none.

With Varo, users are free from being charged for the following:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Overdraft fees or interest owed for overdrafts
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No debit card replacement fees
  • Money Transfer fees (Varo to Varo)

However, as mentioned, these can only be benefited by the account holder (particularly, Varo Bank Account holder) if he or she meets the following requirements:

The user must make five debit purchases every month.

The user must receive payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000 every month.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING VARO BANK?

We are almost done with our Varo money review. But, similar to our previous bank reviews, this review will not be complete without pin-pointing the pros and cons.

So, first, let’s talk about the pros or the benefits of using Varo. Some of the benefits we found include:

  • No Monthly Fees – By having a Varo account, you do not have to worry about the minimum balance required, card replacement fees, monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees or interest owed for overdrafts, transfer fees, and foreign transaction fees.
  • No Fee Overdraft – An account holder automatically gets eligible for No Fee Overdraft if he or she receives at least a $1,000 direct deposit every month, at the same time, makes at least five debit card purchases per month. No Fee Overdraft means Varo will cover an overdraft of up to $50 without fees and interest owed. The account holder’s next deposit in 30 days will reimburse the overdraft.
  • No Overdraft Fees – If in case the user does not qualify for the No Fee Overdraft, any transaction the person makes that would overdraw his or her account is automatically declined.
  • Visa Debit Card – Varo Bank Account comes with a Visa debit card that users can use anywhere Visa is accepted. The debit card can also be connected with Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Cash App, as well as Venmo for seamless payments anywhere. This card also entitles the owner to the Visa Zero Liability guarantee, which ensures the user that he or she won’t be liable for any unauthorized charges on the card.
  • Great Mobile App – Varo, being an all-digital bank ensures users have the best digital banking experience. Thus, making sure that the Varo app delivers as it has promised. With the app, users can deposit checks using mobile deposit, send money instantly, receive alerts, as well as track spending.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING VARO BANK?

In the last section, we ran down a list of benefits. This time, we are going to share with you some of the downsides of using Varo. This includes the following:

  • High-Yield Savings Account Only – Unfortunately, Varo only offers a high-yield savings account. Unlike other banks of the same level, Varo does not offer other options.
  • Mobile-Only Platform – Although you can sign up on the Varo website, everything else can only be done using the Varo mobile app. So, unless you want app-based banking transactions, Varo may not be ideal for you.
  • No Checks – Unlike other mobile banks, Varo does not offer paper checks with its checking account. However, a check via the Varo mobile app is available in case you need one. The check is mailed within three to nine business days, though.

IS VARO BANK SAFE?

Safety and security both personal information and money are two very important things that people look into when it comes to mobile or online banks.

Fortunately, Varo is a safe mobile banking platform. Varo Bank N.A is FDIC insured, which means that the federal government protects the depositors’ money for up to $250,000 per depositor, for every account ownership category. This is particularly important in case of a bank failure.

Furthermore, Varo uses 256-bit AES encryption to ensure the safety and security of all the information they gather from every depositor, as well as their depositors’ money.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS VARO MONEY REVIEW

All in all, we got to say that Varo Bank has a very promising offering. Given the fact that is very new to the market, it offers amazing features that every user or depositor usually looks for in a digital bank.

So, do you consider opening an account with Varo yet?

We hope that this Varo money review has cleared your thoughts and worries, at the same time, has answered some of the most crucial questions when it comes to banking with Varo Bank.

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Investment Apps and Websites

N26 Review: What Makes This Digital Bank The Right Choice For You

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.

N26 Review: Why it is the right digital bank for you

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.

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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 —

Checking Accounts

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:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Residential address
  • Place of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Phone Number
  • Mailing address

Furthermore, you will also be asked a couple of additional information like:

  • Gender
  • 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

Bank Deposit

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
  • Moneybeam
  • CASH26

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
  • Venmo

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.

Cash Withdrawal

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

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?

We hope that this N26 review provided you with the essential information you need to convince you that it’s the right choice for you.