N26 is a digital-only German challenger bank that’s arrived in the UK. Does it offer anything different? Here’s what you need to know.
N26 comes with a slick app, fee-free card spending abroad and premium options that have dedicate features for frequent travellers. Like most challengers, it’s especially fit for people who are looking for a fresh and digitally savvy 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.
Download N26 now for free
- Take control of your finances with one app
- Manage everything directly in the N26 app
- Set payment limits; change your PIN; lock and unlock your card
- Make no-fee transactions anywhere in the world
What is N26?
N26 launched in the UK in late 2018, entering the market competition with British-born challengers Monzo and Starling.
N26 offers a digital-only current account with a modern banking app that gives you spending insights and lets you control your finances, all on your phone.
N26 is already operating in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium and a wide range of other European countries. It has more than 2 million customers and has plans to establish itself in the US, too.
Video: Alex Weber, head of international markets, on why N26 is different
How does N26 work?
When you sign up with N26 you will be sent a contactless Mastercard.
The three of them all operate on the same app, whose features include:
- Make transfers. Send, receive and even request money from friends instantly.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
How does the app look?
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.
In addition to this, N26 has partnered with Transferwise, which makes transfers into European currencies seamless.
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.
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
- Easy to manage and track your spending 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
- Safe and secure.
- Partnership with TransferWise means seamless transfers from Euros to 19 currencies
- MoneyBeam lets you transfer money to friends and family instantly
- Unlimited cash withdrawals in GBP
- 1.7% surcharge for foreign currency withdrawals, although this is competitive with other European banks
- No bank branches so not for you if you like face-to-face service
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Frequently asked questions
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