We take a closer look at two of the “challenger banks” making big strides in digital finance: Revolut and N26.
In recent years, “challenger banks” have drastically changed the face of banking. A wave of mobile only banks such as Revolut and N26 mean that these days, you don’t have to go into a physical branch to open an account.
By offering a number of features and quirks that traditional banks don’t, these mobile banks have seen a surge in popularity.
Here we cover two of the major companies in banking apps, Revolut vs N26.
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Manage everything directly in the N26 app. Set payment limits, change your PIN number and lock and unlock your card. All in real-time.
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Revolut or N26 – side by side comparison
|Fees and charges||Free with finder.com, otherwise card delivery is £4.99||Free|
|Delivery speed||Up to 9 working days||5-7 working days|
|Payments||Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries||Use MoneyBeam to transfer money instantly. Is partnered with Transferwise so can send money to 16 countries.|
|UK ATM withdrawals||£200 free monthly||Free|
|Spending insights||Shows spending by category, merchant, country, and month||PULSE26 analytics offers insights like the restaurant you visit most. Monthly reports help understand your spending habits.|
|Categories||10+ categories||20+ categories|
|Direct debits||Revolut currently only supports direct debits with the Euro IBAN account||Yes|
|Top up||Via bank transfer. Longer term users can pay in with the auto top up feature.||Via bank transfer - IBAN needed and details needed|
|Freeze your card||Yes: touch of a button in app||Yes: touch of a button in app|
|Alerts||Sends realtime transaction notifications||Alerts for withdrawing money and paying|
|Savings goals||Set budgets in the app||n26 'Spaces' feature lets the user open sub-accounts to stash your money away|
|Visualisation||Spending graphs show which days you've spent most/least money||Monthly spending statistics shown in pie chart|
|Foreign ATM withdrawals||£200 free monthly||1.7% of amount drawn|
|Foreign transactions fee||No fees||No fees|
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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
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Revolut vs. N26: the verdict
Using the app
In terms of the actual app, there’s not much separating these two. Both Revolut and N26 offer stylish graphics and spending insights, categorising your transactions and showing you how much you’ve spent in a category or at a particular shop. Budgeting with both apps is easy and structured, although N26’s ‘Spaces’ feature might put them above Revolut in this respect.
With ‘Spaces’ you can open sub-accounts to store away money for a particular saving goal.
Using your card abroad
When compared with using your traditional bank card, both Revolut and N26 will save you more money abroad. Revolut is probably the better option out of the two, though.
- Card transaction fees: Neither charge you any fees for card transactions, while your usual bank invariably will. Usually somewhere between 2% and 3%.
- Number of countries: With Revolut, you can take money out in 120 different countries and 23 different currencies. This is marginally better than the 19 offered by N26.
- ATM withdrawals abroad: Revolut gives you your first £200 worth of ATM withdrawals fee free, before charging 2% interest every time to take money out. N26 will charge its basic customers a 1.7% fee every time they take cash out. Moreover, after your first 5 free cash withdrawals for the month, N26 charges you €2 for each ATM withdrawal.
N26 comes to the UK
- N26 is a German bank that has recently come to he UK. It had been operating across Europe before this, in a whole host of places. This includes Ireland, Spain, Italy, France and Germany.
- UK customers can now get the basic, free current account. For now, you’ll have to wait if you want to get the black or metal account in the UK.
- It is a fully licensed bank in Germany, so you’re money is protected.
- UK customers get unlimited ATM withdrawals in GBP, up to the daily take-out limit of £2,5000.
Unlike N26, Revolut doesn’t actually have a banking license. This means with Revolut, you’re money isn’t protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). N26 isn’t currently in the UK. However, in Germany, customers are covered for up to €100,000.
Transfer money abroad
Foreign transfers might be Revolut’s strong suit. While N26’s partners Transferwise charge a small fee for international transfers, with Revolut they’re free. Both charge the mid-market rate, though. This is usually the best exchange rate you can get.