Review of Europe’s leading Digital Bank: N26

Features, Services, Fees and Opening

N26 logo: Multi-language bank Germany

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N26 is the largest and one of the first neobanks in the European Union – fully online, with innovative virtual features and completely branchless. Through it’s worldwide expansion (i.e. to the US) N26 has established a strong brand and steadily grown its range of services for today’s “global citizen” that requires banking services anywhere at anytime. This includes more than the overdraft option offered by traditional banks but also features free worldwide cash withdrawals, shared spaces to manage finances with partners, family or friends as well as collaboration and cashback programs with brands like Lime, Booking.com or Adidas.

1. Overview: Which bank accounts can customers choose from?

      • N26 Standard (private / business) – Free current account including all essential virtual features and cards; one-time issue fees of €10 for physical card
      • N26 Smart (private / business) –  includes phone support and additional features for digital account/ expense management
      • N26 You (private / business) – includes additional insurance package and no transaction fees for withdrawals outside the Eurozone
      • N26 Metal (private / business) – includes trendy metal banking card and mobile phone/ rental car insurances

The business accounts are available for freelancers and self-employed persons. They differ very little from the private accounts: same monthly fees, same offers and perks. However, business customers enjoy 0.1% cashback (0.5% for Metal customers) on their card turnover.

Standard Smart You Metal
Free MasterCard (with contactless)

(€10 one-time fee for physical card

Extra card available (€10 one-time fee)
Free ATM withdrawals worldwide1
Free ATM withdrawals in Germany2 3 5 5 8
Mobile banking and payments
Up to 10 sub-accounts (spaces)
Shared sub-accounts (spaces) with other users
Partner offers and discounts
Multi-language chat support3
Multi-language phone support3
Insurance package4
Account security5
Monthly fee Free €4.90 €9.90 €16.90

1 Unlimited withdrawals abroad with Germany as country of residence, there may be limitations if you register with a foreign address. For other currencies than Euro an additional fee of 1.7% is applicable to Standard and Smart customers.
2 Each account allows a limited number of free domestic withdrawals in Germany. Anything over that limit is subject to a fee(€2 per withdrawal). Unlimited free withdrawals at associated retailers (i.e. REWE, Rossmann, Penny, Real, dm).
3 Customer support, website and app are available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
4 Insurance package includes several types of travel insurances; N26 metal customers also enjoy phone and rental car insurances
5 Use of 3D secure and two-factor authentication; funds of up to €100,000 are secured under national German banking scheme in case of bankruptcy.

Last update: 18 April 2021

Info

Compare more banks and read further reviews in our overview of best bank accounts in Germany.

2. Features: What does the N26 current account offer?

      • Free (Virtual) Master Card Debit with contactless option (fully suitable for i.e. store payments and online shopping; some hotel or rental car companies may ask for a credit card), physical card can be requested for €10 one-time fee
      • Free (Virtual) Maestro Card debit card for cashless domestic payments (i.e money withdrawal, food shopping) issued on demand, physical card can be requested for €10 one-time fee
      • Mobile payments and withdrawals (Apple Pay / Google Pay/ CASH261)
      • Free card payments worldwide
      • Limited free cash withdrawals in Germany depending on the card you choose
      • Unlimited free cash withdrawals at ATMs in the Eurozone (with German residency, there is no limit of free monthly withdrawals)
      • Unlimited free cash withdrawals at ATMs worldwide in other currencies than Euro (1.7% foreign currency transaction fee applicable if you are not a Metal csutomer)
      • Free MoneyBeam real-time transactions t other N26 accounts 

1 CASH26 is only available in Germany, Austria and Italy.  Through the app you simply generate a code, show it to the cashier and they will give you the desired amount of cash . This option is available in selected shops: i.e. Eckert, ON Express, BUDNI, Real, Penny, REWE, Rossman, dm, Adam´s, mobilcom-debitel and Barbarino.

3. Requirements: Who can open a bank account with N26?

Age and Profession

You need to be at least 18 years old to open an account. There is no pre-conditions in terms of profession: Anybody from pupils, students, employees to freelancers can open accounts for private or business purposes.

Residence, nationality and language skills

N26 can already be opened when still living outside of Germany from a large number of European countries and the US (list of supported country). Some account conditions (e.g. currency, number of free cash withdrawals) may vary depending on the location. You may open an account with almost any nationality with a supported form of ID for this country.

For remote identification basic knowledge in one of the accepted languages (English, German, Italian, French or Spanish) is compulsory.

Creditworthiness

In some countries, N26 may perform credit checks (e.g SCHUFA in Germany); however, they are famous for also being very welcoming to new arrivals with no credit history.

Technical requirements

You need a compatible smartphone to open and maintain your account:

      • Apple: iPhone 5s or above, with updated iOS 11 or higher
      • Android: Operating system of 6.0 or higher

4. Customer services: Which languages are supported and how is the online/ mobile banking?

Chat, hotline and language support

As said above, the type of customer support you will enjoy depends on the type of N26 account you choose. If you choose the N26 Standard account the only way to get support will be via the chat online or in the mobile app. Moreover, phone support will be available if you choose a paid account.

All services (chat, phone support, app and website) are entirely available in 5 languages: English, German, French, Spanish and Italian.

Online banking and mobile app

N26 mobile app is state-of-the-art and the heart of N26’s services. Even though, there is also a web interface, the app is essential for any customer to manage their account. It is extremely user friendly and offers the following features:

      • Review of balances and limits (i.e. overdraft, credit card)
      • Managing sub-accounts (spaces)
      • Bank Transfers
      • Real-time money beam and requests between N26 users
      • (Temporary) locking of bank cards
      • Mobile payment (Apple / Google Pay)
      • Push notifications in real-time to control card usage
      • ATM Finder
      • Cash withdrawals and deposits in associated shops
      • Partner offers and discounts

Further savings (credits and savings)

N26 mainly focuses on its bank account. It offers you the option to apply for an overdraft.
Furthermore different offers for credits and savings accounts by partners can be compared and selected through the app.

What is N26

N26 Smart Account

Is mobile banking safe?

How to open an account with N26?

5. Frequently Asked Questions about N26

  • No, all N26 cards (Standard, Smart, You and Metal) are debit cards. This means that there are no deferred payments and all transactions are directly debited from the current account. You may encounter problems when you want to make bookings where the operator blocks a certain amount on your card. This is for example the case when you reserve a hotel room or a rental car.

    If you wish a “real” credit card, you may either chose another account that best fits you from our list. A great alternative is also to combine your N26 bank account with a free Barclaycard credit card (promotional link). Payments can be paid back up to 8 weeks after card usage without interest. The card allows free cash withdrawals worldwide even in foreign currencies. Free partner cards are available, too.

  • If you have a German residence, N26 performs a SCHUFA credit check (find more information in our article on how to get a bank account in Germany). As N26 only issues debit cards, the prerequisites are rather low so that also newcomers can easily open an account with N26.

    If your residence is in another European country, no SCHUFA check is going to be performed.

  • N26 may be one of the best options for expats and foreigners. You may even open the account from abroad and before registering a German residence. An account can be opened with the following countries of residence: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (not available for residents in the DOM/TOM), Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US.

6. Account opening: What steps to follow to get an N26 account?

Opening an account is very easy and completely online like all other acoount opening processes: Fill out the online form with your data and then identify via video identification. For customers in Germany with certain foreign IDs, personal identification at a local post office may be required. With other countries of residence photo identification may also be available.

For any questions, just use the comment function!

N26 logo: Multi-language bank Germany

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