N26 app and debit card review
Skip visits to the bank and control your money from an app.
finder.com’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0
N26 lets you manage your money fully within an app. And as of July 2019, it’s available in the US.
Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
Expert reviewN26 is best for those who like to manage and budget their funds. It goes beyond checking accounts as it also provides budgeting tools. Account holders are able to create subaccounts for their saving needs and view statistics based on their spending habits.
N26 was recently released to the U.S. in July 2019, so there aren’t many customer reviews at the moment.
What is N26?N26 is a digital bank headquartered in Germany. It offers fully digital checking accounts that are controlled from within an app — and without any branches.N26 is already operating in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium and a wide range of other European countries, and it launched in the US in July 2019.
Video: Alex Weber, head of international markets, on why N26 is different
How does N26 work?N26 accounts are opened and operated online, and the bank offers both free and premium accounts. It works like a checking account, and customers can access their money with a contactless debit card.
Accounts are controlled within the N26 app. In countries where the bank has already launched, features include:
- Google Pay. N26 supports Google Pay, so you can use your phone to make payments in stores, and also use Google Pay to make purchases online.
- In-app security. Set and change daily spend/withdrawal limits, reset your PIN, lock or unlock your card and enable or disable online or foreign payments.
- Spending statistics. Get automatic breakdowns of your purchases by category. You can also create your own personal tags to organize your transactions.
- Spaces. Saving up for a particular goal, like a bike or a holiday? Put money into sub-accounts so you don’t accidentally spend it.
- Early direct deposits. Receive direct deposits up to two days in advance with N26.
- MoneyBeam. Send money to smartphone contacts, without even knowing their bank account details. Money is sent to fellow N26 users instantly, or within two days if they’re not with N26.
- Perks. Earn cashback when you use your N26 debit card for subscription services like Booking.com, Lime, Headspace, Babbel, Curology, Headout and more.
- Referral bonuses. You can get a code to share with friends and family, and you’ll get a referral bonus if they use your code to sign up — but N26 doesn’t disclose how much the bonus is worth.
N26 does have some rates and charges that you should be aware of.
- $2 for US ATM withdrawals after your first two free withdrawals per month
- $5 for replacing your N26 debit card, or $30 if you request express shipping.
Using N26 abroad
N26 charges US accountholders 2% of the withdrawal amount when using a foreign ATM.
You can avoid this fee if you pay for an item with your Mastercard. There is no fee for making purchases in foreign currency.
Is N26 safe?
The app itself has a three-tier security procedure protecting your account and transactions. Your account can only be paired to one smartphone at a time, you must log in to your account using your password or fingerprint, and you must verify all online and offline transactions with your PIN.N26 also offers a Bug Bounty program that offers cash rewards to encourage security researchers to track down bugs or vulnerabilities and it is FDIC-insured through its partner bank, Axos Bank.
Pros and cons of N26
Benefits and drawbacks include:
- Get direct deposits two days early
- Earn cashback when you use your debit card for subscription-based services on Booking.com, Lime, Headspace and more.
- Easy to manage and track your spending in real time
- Your account can be accessed on your phone or via N26‘s web app
- In-app security features such as card lock/unlock
- All payments, both national and international, completed within one working day
- Fee-free card transactions abroad
- MoneyBeam lets you transfer money to friends and family instantly
- Surcharge for foreign currency withdrawals, although it’s competitive with other similar banks
- No bank branches
If you prefer a traditional checking account, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when looking for a checking account.
Compare with other digital banks
How does N26 compare to the competition?
Frequently asked questions
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Image source: supplied, photographer: N26