N26 bank review

N26 will be closing its UK operation over the coming months to focus on growing in Europe and the US.

Updated

Fact checked
N26

EU based digital bank N26 has chosen to stop operating in the UK in early February due the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Read our guide for alternatives to N26.

On February 11th 2020, N26 issued the following statement: “With the UK having left the EU, we will in due course be unable to operate in the UK with our EU banking license, so we will be leaving the UK and closing all accounts. We’ve made careful plans to support customers, and we are sorry to have to leave.”

Alternatives to N26

We say
★★★★★
Finder expert rating
You say
★★★★★
Customer satisfaction
Manage whole account from a well made app
Relatively new to the UK, so a bit early to judge
N26 is a bank account with a slick app. It offers fee-free spending abroad and paid-for premium features suited to frequent travellers.

Like most challengers, it’s good for people who are looking for a fresh, mobile first approach to banking.

We’ve highlighted the key features, pros and cons of N26, to help you decide whether it’s the option for you.

What is N26?

N26 launched in the UK in November 2018, entering the market to compete with British-born Monzo and Starling, as well as Revolut.

N26 is a digital-only current account, with a modern banking app that shows spending insights and gives you control your finances.

N26 is already operating in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium and a wide range of other European countries. It has more than 3 million customers and has recently launched in the US, too.

How does N26 work?

When you sign up with N26 you will be sent a cool, clear, contactless Mastercard.

N26 offers a free basic current account, plus two premium options that are now also available in the UK. Read our reviews of N26 You and N26 Metal to find out more about them.

The three of them all operate on the same app, whose features include:

  • UK account number and sort code. You’ll be able to set up direct debits and receive and make payments the way you would with a traditional bank like Barclays or Lloyds.
  • Make transfers. Send, receive and even request money from friends instantly. N26 supports direct debits, but not standing orders.
  • Google Pay and Apple Pay. N26 supports both Google Pay and Apple Pay, so no matter if you’re the iOs or the Android type, you can use your phone to make payments in stores.
  • 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 categorisation and breakdowns of your purchases. You can also create your own personal tags to organise your transactions.
  • Spaces. Saving up for a particular goal, like a bike or a holiday? Put money into small sub-accounts away from your main spending pot. Like they say – out of sight, out of mind. No interest will be paid on your savings though.
  • MoneyBeam. Lets you 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.

How does the app look?

N26 fees and limits

N26 does have some rates and limits that you should be aware of.

  • UK customers get fee-free cash withdrawals, up to the daily limit of £500.
  • If you make foreign cash withdrawals with your debit card, you’ll be charged 1.7% of the amount taken out.
  • The maximum daily limit for in-store or online payments is £5,000.
  • The maximum monthly limit on card payments is £20,000.

Using N26 abroad

Travelling with N26 is cheaper than using most cards from traditional banks, as it doesn’t charge any fees for foreign currency transactions.

However, while cash withdrawals in pounds are free of charge, for ATM withdrawals in other currencies, N26 makes a surcharge of 1.7% of the withdrawal.

Also, be aware that at the moment N26 does not support international money transfers. You can only send and receive money from other UK accounts.

Compare N26’s products

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Fees and charges Delivery speed
N26
N26
Free
5-7 working days
App-based bank account that can be used on the go in any EU country. All about the ease of sending and saving money.
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Is N26 safe?

Every N26 bank account has deposit protection: the compensation scheme of German banks guarantees up to €100,000 (about £85,000 – the same amount as the UK equivalent scheme).

N26 also offers a Bug Bounty programme. This means cash rewards to encourage security researchers to track down bugs or vulnerabilities.

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.

Pros and cons of N26

Pros

  • Free full UK current account that does pretty much all you can expect.
  • Quick to apply and set up.
  • Slick app with great security and budgeting features (freeze your card, categorise your spending…).
  • Unlike with other digital banks, your account can be accessed both on your phone and via N26’s web app.
  • Fee-free card transactions abroad.
  • Set savings goals and put money aside for a rainy day with Spaces.
  • Safe and secure, including deposit protection.

Cons

  • 1.7% surcharge for foreign currency withdrawals.
  • Some prominent features are still unavailable in the UK: you can’t set up a standing order, load cash into the account or make an international money transfer.
  • Only does current accounts, you can’t get any other financial products.
  • No bank branches so not for you if you like face-to-face service.

Compare N26 against its competitors

Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
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.
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.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
Go to site
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
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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The verdict

If compared to traditional banks, N26 is really competitive, especially for travelling abroad. You can use your card anywhere without being charged any fees, apply quickly online and enjoy a really slick banking app that’s packed with features.

However, it’s no longer operating in the UK. For a UK-based digital bank check out the likes of Starling.

Alternatives to N26

Frequently asked questions

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Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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