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N26 - A look into the latest UK Digital Bank

N26 is a digital bank originating in Germany, driven by an intuitive mobile app. It boasts an ultra-fast, paperless application process; automatic budgeting tools, fee-free spending in the UK and abroad, and rave customer reviews.


On 11 February 2020, N26 UK announced that it is closing down its operations in the UK on 15 April 2020. Find out how N26 UK closing down will affect you and what alternative options are available.

Like most digital banks, N26 is aimed towards people who are looking to move away from the traditional UK bank, to give you more freedom and control with your money

We have highlighted all the features, benefits, and information to help you decide if N26 is the right bank account for you.


What is an N26 bank account?

N26 is a UK bank account that is managed through an app on your smartphone.

The technology that powers every N26 account allows you to do all the things you would expect with a traditional bank account, and more. Including, viewing and tracking your spending habits to give you greater control of your finances, pay friends and family in an instant, make payments abroad, save for the important things, and receive instant notifications on your phone whenever you make payments.

N26 entered the UK market to compete with the likes of Monzo, Revolut, and Starling.

Open An N26 Bank Account

The history of N26

Founded by long-term friends Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal in 2013, N26 has quickly grown to become one of the largest digital banks in the UK.

When it launched in 2016, Number26, as it was known back then, was only available in Germany or Austria. Today, N26 provide bank accounts to 26 countries, including the UK and have recently launched in the US; their first non-EU country.

hand-holding-mobile-phone

Today, N26 finds itself a favourite amongst a generation of customers that are increasingly becoming fed up with traditional UK banks, unfair charges, and out of date technology.

N26 have amassed over 3.5 million customers worldwide and rated extremely high on Trustpilot compared to the average 1.2/10 for the leading high-street UK banks. Their awards roll in year after year for their innovative approach to banking. Their focus remains the same, to make banking simple, fast, and modern.

Shortly after launching in 2016, N26 had a rebrand. Dropping the ‘umber’ from their former Number26 name, to become the less-wordy N26 we see today.

Why 26?As N26 put it ‘It's the number of smaller cubes in a complete Rubik’s Cube. The point? The cube is complex, but if you know the correct sequence of moves, you can solve it quickly and elegantly. We try to apply the same approach to banking’ - Sounds like a refreshing approach to banking to us.

Is N26 a real bank?

Indeed, it is. An N26 account is a fee-free current account that gives you many of the same features that you would expect with a traditional bank account. The main difference is that with N26 everything is managed through your smartphone.

As with traditional UK banks, N26 will provide you with a

  • Sort code
  • Account number
  • Debit card
  • Pin number

You can easily set up Direct Debits with your N26 account, and you can deposit money into your account by cash or online transfer.

Is N26 safe?

N26 protects your money through the German Deposit Protection scheme, which insures all deposits up to €100,000, or the equivalent in GBP. N26 was also the first digital bank in Europe to hold a banking licence, which means it has to comply with strict German Financial Regulatory Authority rules.

Two Guys Holding Money

All online payments are covered by Mastercard 3D Secure to prevent fraud.

Accessing your account is also secure, with Fingerprint/Facial ID access available on mobile devices, as well a secure login by email address and password.

Lost/Stolen cards can be locked immediately from the app, as well as ordering a replacement, or unlocking the card if you find it at a later point.

Is N26 really free?

Within the UK, you can use your N26 account for free, regardless of which type of account you open. Outside of the UK, there are fees for certain activities.


N26 vs traditional UK banks

There are pros and cons with digital banks, just as there are with traditional UK banks. Often it comes down to personal preference.

With N26, you get the best of both worlds, as you keep the main qualities of a traditional bank, but get the benefits of new technology, and an easier way to manage your money than most traditional high street banks.

We have put together a guide on the best current accounts, to help you decide which option is best for you.


What N26 accounts are available?

Open An N26 Bank Account

Originally, there was just the one N26 bank account that you could get your hands on - N26 Standard.

N26 now offers three different UK bank accounts with their own benefits and features.

  • N26 Standard - The Standard bank account with no monthly subscription fee
  • N26 You (Formally N26 Black) - The Premium bank account with free worldwide ATM withdrawals and exclusive partner offers
  • N26 Metal - The high-end bank account with an etched steel metallic debit card, that gives you the same benefits as the N26 You account, plus Travel Insurance, Payment Protection, and dedicated Customer Support.
N26 Standard - £0.00 / month N26 You - £4.90 / month N26 Metal - £14.90 / month
 Free card payments in any currency  Free card payments in any currency  Free card payments in any currency
 Free UK ATM withdrawals  Free UK ATM withdrawals  Free UK ATM withdrawals
 Free UK Money Transfers  Free UK Money Transfers  Free UK Money Transfers
 International Money Transfers  International Money Transfers  International Money Transfers
 In-app Spending Statistics  In-app Spending Statistics  In-app Spending Statistics
 2 Spaces  10 Spaces  10 Spaces
 Free ATM withdrawals worldwide  Free ATM withdrawals worldwide  Free ATM withdrawals worldwide
 Exclusive partner offers  Exclusive partner offers  Exclusive partner offers
 LoungeKey Membership  LoungeKey Membership  LoungeKey Membership
 Travel insurance and Purchase Protection  Travel insurance and Purchase Protection  Travel insurance and Purchase Protection
 Dedicated customer support  Dedicated customer support  Dedicated customer support
N26 Standard
N26 You
N26 Metal

Compare the best bank accountsStill unsure if N26 is the right bank for you? Then why not compare the best bank accounts to see what other options are available.


The N26 Card

Example N26 Notification Alert
Instant notification whenever you make a payment

All N26 UK Bank Accounts come with a MasterCard Debit Card.

The N26 You debit card comes in a choice of 5 colours. If you are splashing out on the N26 Metal account, then you will receive an etched steel metallic debit card, whereas the standard N26 account comes with a standard plastic card.

You receive the following benefits with your N26 bank account, no matter which type of account you choose

  • Free MasterCard Debit Card - Posted to your home, arriving within 10 working days.
  • Real-time transactions - Purchases will only be authorised if the funds are available in your account and show in your account straight away.
  • Notifications are pushed to your mobile phone every time there is activity on your account, showing what happened, when it happened, and for how much.
  • UK Bank Account Number and Sort Code

Can I use my N26 card with Apple Pay and Google Pay?

Yes, all N26 Standard, N26 You, and N26 Metal all support Apple Pay and Google Pay. Once you have received your debit card and activated it, you can add the card to your phone.


N26 Metal & N26 You

Many features come as standard with all N26 bank accounts. If you wish to have the Standard N26 account with zero monthly fees, you will still be able to use the account for all your day-to-day banking needs.

If you prefer to receive some additional perks with your bank account, then the N26 You or N26 Metal accounts may be more appealing to you.

Premium features

Although the Standard N26 card does not have any additional features except for free purchases abroad, the N26 You and N26 Metal cards come with some great perks, such as Insurance Products, Loungekey Membership, Partner Offers, and free ATM withdrawals worldwide.

Free ATM Withdrawals Worldwide
Withdraw cash for free in any currency from ATMs around the world and pay using your N26 You or Metal Mastercard online and in stores with zero fees or markups
 N26 You
 N26 Metal
10 Spaces
Your N26 You or Metal membership gives you the freedom to create up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts alongside your main account, for reaching your savings goals.
 N26 You
 N26 Metal
Exclusive partner offers
Comes with exclusive partner offers and hand-picked discounts from brand names like Tidal and WeWork, all carefully curated with you in mind.
 N26 You
 N26 Metal
LoungeKey Membership
Pay just £15 per visit at one of the 1,000+ members-only LoungeKey airport destinations worldwide for unlimited access to home comforts like refreshments, showers and WiFi
 N26 You
 N26 Metal
Travel Insurance
Metal comes with medical expenses cover in case of acute medical emergencies abroad, along with 24/7 access to medical phone assistance should you need it
 N26 You
 N26 Metal
Flight & Luggage Delay Cover
You’ll never find yourself stranded without a toothbrush thanks to flight and luggage delay cover, for delays over 4 hours
 N26 You
 N26 Metal
Purchase Protection
With purchase protection on qualifying items bought using your Metal account for, you get a little extra peace of mind on the everyday items that keep your world running.
 N26 You
 N26 Metal
Dedicated Customer Support
Need a quick answer or technical support right away? Metal’s dedicated support team are on hand to help. Speak to one of their designated Metal customer support specialists by phone, or chat to them in the app
 N26 You
 N26 Metal

Want to learn more about N26 Metal? Have a read of our guide to N26 Metal to decide if it is worth your money


N26 overdrafts and savings accounts

Open An N26 Bank Account

An important decision when opening any bank account is knowing that you have access to a Savings Account to help you save for those important moments, and an Overdraft for when you may need a helping hand to fall back on during those last few days before payday, or for if your boiler packs in.

Savings account

Spaces are the N26 equivalent to Savings Accounts. With a Standard N26 account, you have up to 2 Spaces, and this increases to 10 with an N26 you or N26 Metal account.

Happy Woman With Money

You can use a Space to set goals and save money with no penalties. N26 does not invest or pay interest on the money in your Spaces, so you get out what you put in, and your money is safe.

You can give each Space a name, such as ‘Holiday’ or ‘Expenses’ and assign a goal for how much you want to save.

Transferring money from your main account to a Space is quick and easy, and the money arrives in your Space immediately. Any money held in a Space is separate from your main account, meaning you can’t spend it without you moving the money back into your main account, first.

As you add money to your Space you will see how close you are to reaching your goal. There are no limits to how much you can save, or how many times you transfer funds to and from your Spaces.

Overdrafts

N26 does not offer overdrafts at the moment with any of its UK bank accounts. However, this service is coming soon.

Once overdrafts become available, customers will be able to

  • Check their eligibility in 2 minutes with no paperwork
  • Increase and decrease their overdraft within their app
  • Have no penalty charges
  • Set your own limit in the app

Opening an N26 account

Open An N26 Account

Opening an N26 bank account is straightforward and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

To get started, first decide whether you wish to open an N26 Standard, N26 You, or N26 Metal account.

N26 will ask you to confirm some personal details when you apply, such as

  • Country of residence
  • Name
  • Email
  • Date of birth
  • Mobile number
  • Home address

Who can open an account?

You can open an account with N26 if you

  • Are a UK resident
  • Have a compatible Smartphone
  • Hold a valid ID
  • Don’t already have another N26 account
  • Can verify yourself in either English, German, Spanish, Italian, or French

What is the application process?

Once you have selected the account you want and completed the online application, you will need to prove your identity and connect your Smartphone to your account and then your new account will be up and running.

You can Top Up your new N26 bank account as soon as the application process is complete and it has verified your ID. You will find your new Bank Account Number and Sort Code within the app.

You will need to provide at least one piece of ID from the following list to complete the application process.

UK Citizens Non-UK Citizens Residing in the UK
  Valid UK Passport
 Valid UK Photo Driving Licence
  Valid Passport*
  Valid ID Card*
  Valid Residence Permit*

*depending on your country of origin

You will also need to connect your Smartphone to your account. To do this, download the N26 app and log in (If you haven’t already), and it will guide you through the next steps.

You will receive a confirmation SMS when connecting your phone, so make sure you have provided the correct number when you signed up.

How do I provide my ID?

For UK Citizens you will need to take and upload a clear photo of your ID within the N26 App. If you are living in the UK but your ID is from a Non-UK country, then you may need to complete a short video call from within the N26 app, to confirm your ID with one of their advisors.

Does N26 do a credit check?

To open an N26 Standard, N26 You, or N26 Metal UK bank account you will not need a credit check.

Once N26 roll out their Overdrafts to UK customers, you will need to be credit checked if you wish to apply.

Can I have two N26 accounts?

It is not possible to have multiple N26 accounts in your name. However, friends and family can set up their own account even if they live at the same address as you.

Does N26 have an IBAN?

All N26 accounts come with a UK Bank Account Number and Sort Code. It does not issue you with an IBAN.

Using your N26 Bank Account

Open An N26 Bank Account

Using your N26 account is as easy as you would expect with any modern-day digital UK bank. With every daily banking operation available within the N26 app.

The customer service from N26 is rated very high and their customer service team truly takes the time to deal with all queries accurately. You can reach them within the app or online. However, there is no call centre to speak to someone over the phone unless you are a Metal account holder.

The N26 app

Selection Of N26 App Images
The N26 App is easy to use and intuitive
Source: techcrunch.com

The main hub for all your banking needs with N26 lives right on your mobile. The N26 app is available for free download on the Google Play store for Android devices and the App Storefor Apple devices.

The N26 App is kept secure thanks to email & password logins, or Fingerprint/Face ID login with compatible smartphones.

The layout of the app is simple and easy to navigate, with everything set out in 5 tabs

  • Balance and Recent Transactions
  • Spaces
  • Transfers
  • Explore
  • Account Info

Don’t have a phone to hand? Not to worry - unlike some other digital banks, N26 also has a web version of their app, so you can check your account balance and manage your account online. However, you will still need a mobile phone to open your account.

With the mobile app and web app, you can perform all of your daily banking activities, such as

  • Transfer Money
  • View recent transactions
  • View your account balance
  • Review your budgeting
  • Block your card
  • Order a new card
  • View your Direct Debits
  • View your PIN
  • Review your account and card settings

Automatic budgeting

One of the key selling features of the N26 app is the automatic budgeting tools that help you manage your money. Whenever you make a payment, send money, or receive a transfer N26 will automatically assign the transaction a category, so you can see how much of your money is being spent on Food Shopping, or on Public Transport.

Your spending behaviour can be reviewed with the in-built Statistics tab of the App. Here, you can see how much you have spent on each category in the current month as a total amount or as a percentage of your total spend. You can also see a trend graph, showing you which days you are spending the most.

UK card payments and withdrawals

N26 are generous with their free allowances within the UK, even with the Standard account.

N26 Standard, N26 You and N26 Metal

  • Payments - Free
  • ATM Withdrawals - Free
  • National Transfers - Free

International card payments and withdrawals

It is free to use your N26 debit card to make in-store purchases abroad, regardless of which N26 account you have. However, withdrawing money abroad for free is exclusive to the N26 You and N26 Metal card.

N26 Standard

  • Payments - Free
  • ATM Withdrawals - 1.7% of the amount drawn

N26 You, N26 Metal

  • Payments - Free
  • ATM Withdrawals - Free

Direct debits

With your N26 account, you can set up Direct Debits to pay bills as you would with any traditional bank.

You will also receive a notification on your phone whenever a Direct Debit is paid, to help you keep track of your expenses each month.

You can also easily view your Direct Debits from within the app.


N26 money transfers

Sending money within the UK or abroad is easy with N26.All transfers can be done within the app, and most transfers are received within a few hours.

UK transfers

Transfers to other UK banks are free. To transfer funds to someone in the UK, all you need is their bank account number and sort code.

  • How to transfer money within the UK
  • From the main screen, select the + icon.
  • Choose transfers and select “add a new recipient”.
  • Enter the recipient's name and account number, and select Continue.
  • Choose the amount and select Next.
  • Add a message if required or select Skip It.
  • Check the Transfer Review screen (which sums up the transfer)
  • Here you can also schedule the date of your transfer.
  • Press send and confirm with your confirmation PIN.
  • Confirm transfer via the push notification sent to your phone

UK transfers get processed immediately and normally arrive in the other person’s account in a few hours. However, some transfers can take 2-3 business days if the other person’s bank is not part of the Faster Payment Service.

N26 MoneyBeam

To help make it easier when sending money to your friends and family, N26 has a great feature called MoneyBeam, which allows you to send money to anyone in your phone’s contacts for free with no need for their bank details.

  • How to send a Moneybeam
  • Log in to the N26 App
  • Tap the + icon then MoneyBeam
  • Choose the person you wish to send money to, or manually enter a new Contact
  • Enter the amount and a reference
  • Confirm the payment with your PIN and the notification that will be sent to your phone

You can send up to £100 to other N26 customers per transaction and up to £500 within a 24-hour window.

International transfers

International money transfers are possible with all N26 accounts thanks to the in-built TransferWise integration, which allows you to send international payments using the latest TransferWise fees and exchange rates.

As your N26 account has a UK Bank Account Number and Sort Code, anyone who needs to send you money from abroad using an IBAN number will need to use a Money Transfer service that accepts UK bank details.

Open An N26 Bank Account

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