Alternatives to N26: A list of alternative banks and apps

N26 has announced it will soon close all UK accounts, due to Brexit. Here are other banks like N26 which you could try.

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Top alternative banks and apps to N26

  • Starling Bank – Great for overseas spending and day-to-day banking
  • Revolut – Good for overseas spending, day-to-day banking and range of features
  • Monzo – Good for overseas spending and day-to-day banking
  • Monese – Good for quick account set up (no proof of address needed)
  • Cashplus – Good for day-to-day banking and can help build credit
  • Wise – Great for sending money overseas
  • Curve – Connects your accounts through one card and app
  • Dozens – Digital current account, savings and investment products
  • Pockit – Digital current account and card
  • Bunq – Fixed monthly fee for digital current account
  • Thinkmoney – Automatically keeps your money for bills to one side, for a monthly fee

N26 is a German-born digital bank that launched in the UK in late 2018. In February 2020, following the UK’s departure from the EU, N26 announced it would close its UK operation. There are plenty of other options, though, which we’ve rounded up here.

Banks like N26 for day-to-day banking

Challenger banks don’t offer a whole lot of products, but at the very least you can expect a debit card, a fee-free current account and a well-structured mobile app that helps you keep track of your spending and make payments easily.

Here are the main N26 alternatives. You won’t be charged for using the card or making bank transfers in the UK by any of them, but there are (slight) differences when it comes to other features.

  • Monzo. Monzo is the most popular challenger bank in the UK (2 million customers). As it grows, it’s also becoming more sophisticated, and these days its current account has pretty much all the features you can expect: free ATM withdrawals, cash load at all PayPoints (for £1 a transaction), direct debits, Apple Pay, Google Pay and an overdraft option that costs 50p a day up to £15.50 a month (the first £20 is free of charge).
  • Starling. Starling Bank reached over 1m accounts in November 2019 and is looking to double that by the end of 2020. It has all it needs to compete with Monzo and maybe even a bit more. Cash deposits and withdrawals are free at every Post Office in the UK and overdrafts are charged at a rate of 15% EAR (variable).
  • Revolut. Originally created more as an “alternative” card to travel and send money abroad, Revolut can still be a good option in the UK, but it has some drawbacks. Free ATM withdrawals are capped to £200 a month (there’s a 2% fee after that) and you can’t set up direct debits, apply for an overdraft or deposit cash on your account.

Our pick for day-to-day banking: Starling Bank

Monzo and Starling are totally the top players here, but it’s a close call. Ultimately, we’ve picked Starling because you can deposit cash in your account for free and because your overdraft rate is more likely to be cheaper with Starling Bank than with Monzo. For example, going overdrawn by £100 for 7 days will cost you £3.50 with Monzo, but only £0.27 with Starling.

Banks like N26 for travelling

All the challengers mentioned above (apart from Monese) easily beat most traditional banks when it comes to making payments abroad, simply because they don’t charge a foreign currency transaction fee. The foreign currency transaction fee is a percentage that’s added to all your payments made in another currency by most banks; it can be up to 3% of the transaction, which makes your holiday bank charges pretty expensive.

Instead, fee-free card spending abroad is a given with these challengers, so you’ll need to look at other features to compare them:

  • ATM withdrawals abroad. N26 isn’t great on these. Monzo and Revolut don’t charge for them up to £200 a month (after that, Monzo charges a 3% fee and Revolut 2%). However, with Starling Bank they’re free and you can withdraw up to £300 a day
  • Euro accounts. If you’re an EU national living in the UK, or the other way around, you probably already know how annoying it is having to deal with two different currencies all the time. Starling and Monese offer a solution to the problem through a fee-free euro account you can open alongside your regular sterling one. With Starling, you’ll get the current exchange rate with a 0.4% conversion fee added on top to cover Starling’s costs.
  • Money transfers. Starling offers competitive rates and Monzo has a partnership with Wise, but it’s hard to beat Revolut’s fee-free money transfers. You can send money in 29 currencies at the interbank rate for free, up to £5,000 a month.

Our pick for travelling: Revolut

When it comes to all foreign currency things, the choice is between Starling and Revolut. For travelling, Starling tops the league: if you go somewhere where cash is still the main payment method, as is the case for many countries outside Europe, Revolut’s £200 monthly limit on free ATM withdrawals can be annoying.

On the other hand, fee-free money transfers are Revolut’s specialty – everyone else, including dedicated money transfer companies, charges at least a small fee. So if you also need to send money out of the country every now and then, Revolut is probably your best option.

Banks like N26 for saving

If you’re only looking for top-paying savings accounts, challengers aren’t your best shout; you should rather take a look at what traditional banks offer.

However, they still have something to offer to savers:

  • Better budgeting features. Starling, Revolut, Monzo and N26 all automatically categorise your spending, to help you figure out how much you’re spending for what. They also let you set saving goals and put your money in separate sub-accounts (referred to as Goals, Vaults, Pots and Spaces) when you save. Starling Bank, Monzo and Revolut also have a round-up feature that automatically rounds up your transactions and save your spare change if you activate it.
  • Atom has a good selection of fixed-term savings accounts. Atom Bank is a digital-only bank, but unlike the others we’ve mentioned, it only does savings accounts and mortgages. There are no easy-access options, but for fixed-terms savings accounts, the rates are fairly competitive.
  • Starling pays a small amount of interest on your current account balance. 0.05% on up to £85,000.
  • Monzo is building a savings marketplace. It currently has three providers and nine account options (the top-paying one is a 12-month fixed-term account that has a 1.55% rate). You’ll still get a better deal if you apply directly on the providers’ websites though.

Our pick for saving: Starling Bank

There is no clear winner here. Among challengers, Atom is the one that specialises in savings accounts, and if you want a fixed-term one, it can be competitive.

Monzo tops the league for easy-access accounts instead, but what you’re doing is actually opening a separate account with another company, so you have to decide whether it really counts.

Finally, Starling is the only one that pays interest directly on your current account balance, so we’re going with Starling – 0.05% on up to £85,000. However, there are more competitive interest rates available with more traditional banks if that’s your priority.

Are challengers safe?

The short answer is yes, all the challengers we’ve mentioned are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and fully authorised to do what they do. However, there is a slight difference when it comes to how your money is protected:

  • Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). It protects all deposits up to £85,000 and applies to institutions that have a full banking licence. That is: Monzo, Starling, Atom bank and N26 (whose licence is registered in Germany, and so is the deposit protection).
  • Segregated accounts. Institutions that only have a licence for dealing in electronic money have to keep all clients’ money in segregated accounts, from where it can’t be used to pay the company’s debt and is thus safe in case of bankruptcy. That’s the case for Monese; Revolut recently got a European banking licence, but until it’s fully finalised, deposit protection doesn’t apply and client money will still be kept separate from company money.

Cards and apps like N26

Data updated daily
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
HSBC
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
39.9% EAR variable
£125 when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Plus earn 1.00% AER / gross interest with the linked HSBC Regular Saver
To be eligible for HSBC Advance, customers will need to pay in a minimum of £1,750 per month or £10,500 over 6 months and must qualify for a minimum £1,000 arranged overdraft. To be eligible for the £125 switching offer, customers must switch from a non-HSBC Group current account product. Other T&Cs apply. Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you’ll be charged interest at 38.9% (0% EAR variable on first £25, 39.9% thereafter).
First Direct Current Account
first direct
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
39.9% EAR variable
£100 when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Plus earn 1.00% AER/gross with the linked Regular Saver Account and access a £250 interest-free overdraft (subject to status)
Receive £100 when switching using CASS and pay in at least £1,000 within 3 months of account opening. New customers only who haven’t held a first direct account or opened a HSBC or M&S Bank current account since 1 Jan 2018. T&Cs apply. Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you’ll be charged interest at 30.5% (0% EAR variable p.a on first £250, 39.9% thereafter).
Starling Bank
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
0.05%
15% EAR variable
Award-winning current account, apply in minutes
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
No fees for spending or withdrawing cash overseas - currencies are converted at Mastercard’s standard exchange rate
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
Santander
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft
for first four months when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable.
Cashplus
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
Go to site
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
ThinkMoney
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Earn cashback on your purchases when you shop through the ThinkMoney rewards portal
Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
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Data updated regularly
Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
Revolut Standard
£200 free monthly
No fees
Card delivery is £4.99
Up to 9 working days
App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
Starling Bank
Free
No fees
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
WeSwap
Withdrawals of £200/$200/€200 or more – free
smaller withdrawals – a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal

No transaction fees (if you spend in one of the 18 wallet currencies)
Free
Between 3-5 working days in the UK, or within 10 days if you live outside the UK
Cashplus Account
£3 with current accounts. No ATM fees with traveller card.
No fees
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Current account and Mastercard - all managed from your phone. Also comes with a creditbuilder option.
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Data updated regularly
Name Product Fees and charges Interest Savings goals
Revolut Standard
Card delivery is £4.99
No interest
Set budgets in the app
Starling Bank
Free
0.05% on up to £85,000
Create different spending goals and protect money from daily spending
Monese
None
No interest
Not a feature
Monzo
Free
Marketplace with 8 savings accounts both fixed rate and easy access, £500 minimum deposit.
Monzo pots let you put money aside, protected from your daily spending
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Data updated regularly
Name Product Direct debits UK ATM withdrawals Payments Freeze your card
Revolut Standard
Supported with both the UK account and the Euro IBAN account
£200 free monthly
Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries
Yes: touch of a button in app
App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
Starling Bank
Yes - future Direct Debits shown as alerts
Free
Pay via bank transfer or using PayPal or Google Nearby
Yes: touch of a button in app
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Monese
Yes - can cancel with touch of a button too
£200 free monthly
Pay via bank transfer, easier to send to another Monese account.
Report lost/stolen in app to be sent replacement
A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app
Monzo
Yes - future payments shown in homefeed
Free
Pay via bank transfer or send instantly to other Monzo account
Yes: touch of a button in app
Monzo is free to spend anywhere in the world and in any currency, with no fees. All money is exchanged using the MasterCard rate.
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We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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