Revolut vs. N26

Both banks are fully digital with app-based budgeting.

Updated

Revolut and N26 logos
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Both of these challenger banks are new to Canadians and haven’t yet launched in Canada. Revolut is planning on launch soon, with a waitlist open. Which one you should choose depends on how you spend and manage your money.

What is digital banking?

Both Revolut and N26 are global digital banking providers. Like the name suggests, digital banking operates digitally, usually from an app or website, rather than from a physical branch or office. Digital banking is a fairly loose term. The correct industry name for these banks is a challenger bank.

A challenger bank is a completely digital banking provider that doesn’t use any existing legacy systems to operate. This means the bank or provider doesn’t use any physical infrastructure or digital operating systems that are already being used by existing financial institutions. The technology used by these fully digital banking providers is developed from scratch. They get their name from their roles as challengers to traditional banks, and from their mission to knock down barriers for people to spend and save their money globally.

Revolut vs. N26: The verdict

Using the app

In terms of the actual app, there’s not much separating these two. Both Revolut and N26 offer stylish graphics and spending insights, categorizing your transactions and showing you how much you’ve spent in a category or at a particular shop. Budgeting with both apps is easy and structured. Both also offer the ability to create subaccounts to store money away for a particular savings goal. N26 has Spaces and Revolut has Vaults.

Using your card abroad

When compared with using your traditional bank card, both Revolut and N26 will save you more money abroad. Revolut is probably the better option out of the two, though.

  • Card transaction fees. N26 doesn’t charge any foreign exchange fees, while Revolut charges 0.5% for spending more than $8,000 each month, plus a flat markup on weekends and for some currencies.
  • Number of countries. With Revolut, you can take money out in 150 different countries. N26 doesn’t say in how many countries its card can be used.
  • ATM withdrawals abroad. With Revolut you’ll have to pay a 2% fee on international ATM withdrawals over $400 a month. N26 withdrawals are free at over 55,000 AllPoint ATMs worldwide. Otherwise, N26 charges $2 plus 2% of the withdrawal amount.

Video: Alex Weber, head of international markets, on why N26 is different

Bottom line

Both N26 and Revolut offer consumers a fully in-app way to control their finances with the freedom to spend globally. But neither have officially launched in Canada yet. If you’re considering switching banks but want to learn more before making a decision, first check out our guide to the digital banking landscape in Canada.

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