Berlin-based challenger bank N26 to launch in the UK bringing the fight to other leading digital banks

Posted: 4 October 2018 11:32 am

The UK’s fintech market may already seem crowded but the German mobile bank says it has a 50,000-strong UK waiting list for its accounts.

The launch will initially be restricted to friends and family of current N26 staff, but the plan is to follow this up quickly with people on its waiting list. The aim is for N26 to make its full public debut in November when anybody will be able to download the app and sign up.

To see how the German challenger matches up to Monzo and Revolut have a look at finder UK’s comparison of the three digital banking rivals.

The N26 banking app, which has received funding from leading fintech investors like the Chinese giant Tencent and the insurance group Allianz, provides users with live updates about their spending habits and links to N26’s distinctive clear payment card.

As well as the basic N26 facilities, British customers will also receive the advantage of having UK account numbers and sort codes. This will allow people to accept payments and share their banking information with utility providers in a similar way to people with regular High Street bank accounts like with Barclays or Lloyds.

N26 has a proper banking licence and basic accounts are free. An N26 account comes with a true bank account along with a MasterCard. Deposits up to the equivalent of €100,000 (£88,565) are guaranteed by the European deposit guarantee scheme. Customers are able to send and receive money and pay with their N26 card. The facility to send money to other N26 users is called MoneyBeam and is instantaneous.

The German start-up has recently launched a new feature called Spaces which enables customers create sub accounts to put money aside. The company says it plans to add more features over time. The N26 MasterCard works like those of any of the other challenger banks, like Monzo or Revolut . Every time it is used, customers receive a push notification. They can set withdrawal and payment limits, lock their card if it’s lost, as well as resetting the PIN code.

N26 says it will also be bringing its premium Black and Metal accounts to the UK. Alex Weber, N26’s head of international markets says the UK is attractive because it’s “one of the most advanced markets for online banking” but 85% of users are still with the big conventional banks. He adds that the activity of other UK fintechs has been “helpful for driving adoption” and has created a competitive market.

Monzo confirmed last month that it had secured its millionth current account customer, and Revolut passed that mark back in July. N26, like Revolut, is pushing for significant international growth. It aims to follow its UK launch with expansion in the US early next year in partnership with a domestic US bank.

Many rival overseas firms are moving into the busy UK fintech space with their own banking apps as they race to attract a younger audience. For example, Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs last month launched its own Marcus savings account in the UK.

To find out if any of the new digital banks are for you, browse finder UK’s wealth of information about the most popular mobile-only banks.


Picture: N26

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