Telephone

Energy Bills Don't Have To Be Stressful

Let Selectra's experts find you a fantastic deal today. Call us now for free!

020 3966 4692 or

N26 Review 2020 - Discover the Pros and Cons

N26 logo with mobile phone

N26 is one of the most popular digital banks in the world and has generated a huge amount of praise for its innovative mobile app and simple approach to banking. N26 claims to be the first bank you’ll love, so we put it to the test with our hands-on N26 review.


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.

If you are unfamiliar with N26 and want to learn more about its range of accounts and features, then we have all the information you need in our guide to N26.

Why should you trust a Selectra review?All of our reviews are done by us, in-house, by Selectra staff. We provide an honest, unbiased opinion of all the products or services we review. Although we sometimes receive a commission for the products or services we review, we never let this impact our opinion as ultimately, it is you, our reader, who comes first.


N26 Customer Service

Open An N26 Bank Account

Before we started our review, we decided to have a look at some of the customer reviews to see how others faired using N26.

Trustpilot reviews

There are nearly 8,000 N26 reviews on review site, Trustpilot from current and past customers who have rated it an average of 4 / 5.

76% of reviewers rate N26 as great or excellent, while 22% of its customers thought the bank was poor or bad.

This places N26 ahead of many other banks, such as NatWest, HSBC, and Lloyds, which are all rated less than 2 / 5. Reviewers praised N26 for its modern approach to banking, low fees, and great customer support.

"Good bank with a nice user interface and good customer support, good perks and many handy features inside a modern, easy to navigate app."

"Very fast and helpful customer care service. The Experience is awesome and one of the best you can entrust for your day to day banking services."

Although many of the reviews regarding N26 customer service is positive, there are a few negative reviews that have been left by customers who have had a poor customer service experience, mostly regarding contacting N26 customer support.

"Great bank but they really need to hire more customer service agents. Taken me 1 hour over chat to exchange about 15 messages. The agent is clearly working on others' problems at the same time, which I understand, but making the customers wait for a long time in the chat is a bad strategy. Just make us wait in the queue."

It is important to note that N26 is a digital bank, therefore, its customer support is handled via an online chat via its mobile banking app or website. This is very common with digital banks, and other providers such as Revolut and Monese all provide their customer service online. However, this method may not be ideal for people who would prefer to speak with someone over the phone which can lead to frustration and poor customer reviews.

N26 Review - Customer service
4 / 5


N26 Review - Opening an account

To open our new N26 account, the first thing we needed to do was visit the N26 website to start our online application. Opening an N26 account is completely paperless and done entirely online with no branch visits or phone calls. The N26 website claims that you can open a new account in minutes - Let’s find out!

There are three N26 accounts to choose from - N26 Standard, N26 You, and N26 Metal. The main differences come down to the features and benefits you receive, which you can read more about in our guide to N26.

As part of the application process, N26 asked us to confirm some personal details, including:

Piggy bank and stack of coins and cash
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Mobile phone number
  • Address

True to N26’s claim, it took us just a few minutes to complete our application and be informed that our account was open and ready to access. We didn’t need to complete any paperwork, speak to an advisor, or make an appointment. We hope that other banks will take notice of the simplicity of opening an N26 account. However, with outdated systems and processes, we expect it to be awhile until other banks have application processes as quick and simple as N26.

Applications for digital banks similar to N26 are also quick and are a great solution for people who want to cut out excessive forms and processes.

Providing proof of ID

Once we selected the N26 account that we wanted and completed the online application, we just needed to prove our identity and then our new account was up and running.

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

How to provide your IDFor 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.

You can add money to your new N26 bank account as soon as the application process is complete, and it has verified your ID.

Ordering an N26 debit card

After completing our application and submitting our proof of ID, our account was open and we had access to many features of the app, such as

  • The account number and sort code
  • Send and receive payments
  • Set up direct debits and standing orders
  • Create a budget

The only thing we needed to do now was to order our new debit card. The N26 debit card is strikingly different from most other banks, with a plastic transparent design which looks nice and sleek in our wallet. Those who upgrade to an N26 You account will receive a plastic debit card in a choice of five colours. N26 Metal customers will receive a metal debit card in a choice of charcoal black, quartz rose, or slate grey. The functionality of the N26 debit card remains the same no matter the account you open.

Features of an N26 debit card include:

  • Contactless payments
  • Chip and pin
  • Worldwide payments
  • Worldwide ATM withdrawals
  • Apple Pay and Google Pay

N26 advises that it can take up to 10 working days for card deliveries. However, it can arrive earlier than this if you opt for express delivery, for an additional fee, which takes 3 working days.

  • At this point, we have:
  • Visited the N26 Website
  • Downloaded the N26 App
  • Opened an account
  • Verified our ID
  • Ordered an N26 card

N26 Review - Opening an account
5 / 5


N26 Review - The App

Open An N26 Bank Account

The N26 app is where you will access your account. Unlike the majority of digital banks, N26 also offers internet banking, so you can access and use your account from your phone or bank online from your computer, depending on your preference. The N26 app is secured with a username and password, with the mobile app also compatible with fingerprint and facial ID recognition.

With the mobile and web app, you can perform all of your day-to-day banking activity, such as

Mobile bank transfer
  • Transfer money
  • View recent transactions
  • Pay bills
  • 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

The N26 is free to download from the App Store and Google Play Store for iOS and Android devices.

We waited for our N26 debit card to arrive before we reviewed the app. However, you can access the N26 app before your N26 debit card arrives.

The layout of the N26 app is simple and easy to navigate, with everything set out in five tabs:

  • Account balances and transaction history
  • Spaces
  • Transfers
  • Explore
  • Account information

What are Spaces?Spaces are the name for N26 savings accounts. A Space can be opened instantly within the N26 app and allows you to save for long term or short term goals. Spaces can be opened as an individual or joint savings account with multiple N26 account holders - perfect for shared bills, expenses, or group holidays.

We enjoyed how easy the N26 app was to navigate around. Everything you need is exactly where you would expect to find it and there are no complicated processes to access your account details, make a transfer, or set up a standing order.

The automatic budgeting worked effortlessly. Once we had set up our monthly budget, within the app, N26 then let us know if we were close to reaching either our total budget or a specific budget category, such as transport or groceries, with notifications sent straight to our phone.

Automatic budgeting is one of the standout features of N26. Learn more about how N26 budgeting works or take a look at some of the best budgeting apps available.

Given the many digital banks on the market, the basic functionality and features are overlapping between the different banks and their respective apps. With that in mind, although we can’t find fault with the N26 app, it would be good to see an exclusive feature not found with other banks. Revolut, for example, offers free additional bank accounts in foreign currencies, and currency exchange directly within its app. It would be good if N26 also offered its own ‘killer feature’ to make it stand out further from its competitors.

N26 Review - The N26 App
4 / 5


N26 Review - Payments, Direct Debits, and Transfers

So, we have opened an N26 standard account, downloaded the app, and received our debit card; time to hit the shops and see how using our N26 account works in real life - first stop, coffee.

Payments

Although N26 is a digital bank, you still get the same features that you get with a traditional high street bank, including:

  • A contactless MasterCard debit card
  • An account number and sort code

This means you can use your N26 card anywhere in the world that accepts MasterCard to pay in-store, online, or withdraw cash from ATMs.

N26 UK Fees
Transaction Type N26 Standard N26 You N26 Metal
UK card payment Free Free Free
UK ATM withdrawal Free Free Free
UK money transfer Free Free Free

N26 has partnered with TransferWise to allow its customers to send transfers in foreign currencies. The transfer is made within the N26 app, but you are charged fees based on TransferWise’s current fees and exchange rate.

Whenever you use your N26 card, you will be sent a notification to your phone letting you know:

Card machine taking a payment
  • How much the transaction was
  • Where the purchase was made
  • How much you have spent so far in the day

Thanks to the N26 budgeting tools, each payment, ATM withdrawal, and online purchase is automatically assigned a category.

When we bought our coffee, we received notification as soon as our payment was authorised. In fact, our notification came through to our phone even before the chip and pin machine showed ‘authorised’ on the screen.

N26 classed our coffee purchase as Bars and Restaurants and deducted the amount spent from our monthly Bars and Restaurant budget.

You can edit the assigned category if N26 gets it incorrect. For example, spending £50 at a Tesco petrol station may accidentally get assigned as ‘groceries’. Once you change the category, N26 will remember for next time.

Direct Debits

As with any other bank account, to set up a direct debit you just need to provide the company or organisation with your N26 account number and sort code, and they will get everything set up for you.

Once set up, you can view your direct debits within the N26 app together with any standing orders you may have set up. You can see the amount due to be paid, the date due, and the ability to cancel it if you no longer wish for the direct debit to be authorised to come out of your account.

Money transfers

Sending money within the UK or abroad is easy with N26. 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 Review - Payments, Direct Debits, and Transfers
5 / 5


N26 Review - Using N26 abroad

Using N26 abroad is supposedly very easy. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anyone available who was jetting off on their holidays to test out using N26 abroad. However, it is entirely possible to use your N26 account abroad for a holiday or long-term travels and save money compared to using a traditional high street bank, which often charges hefty fees for using your account abroad.

N26 International Fees
Transaction Type N26 Standard N26 You N26 Metal
International card payment Free Free Free
International ATM withdrawal 1.7% of the amount withdrawn Free Free

N26 Review - Using N26 abroad
5 / 5


N26 Alternatives

N26 has proven itself to be a great bank, and we would not hesitate to recommend N26 to those looking for a bank account with reduced fees, free budgeting tools, and a slick mobile app, from a company that throws out the boring bank jargon and outdated processes, and instead offers an easy, simple solution to managing your money.

That being said, there are a few alternatives out there that offer a similar experience to N26.

Revolut logo

Revolut

Revolut is one of the most popular prepaid debit cards in the world. You can set a monthly budget and receive notifications about your spending and budgets.

More info
Monese logo

Monese

With a Monese bank account, you have access to in-app budgeting tools, simplified bank transfers, and instant notifications on your mobile phone.

More info
Image of a bank building surrounded by a swirl of gold and blue colours

Compare banks

Compare the best current accounts available in the UK and find all the information you need to open an account or switch from your current bank.

More info

If you are happy with your current bank but just need some help with your budgeting, then there are stand-alone apps available that connect to your existing bank accounts and credit cards to help you budget better and save money which you can read about in our guide to the best budgeting apps.


N26 Review - Our Verdict

N26 Pros N26 Cons
 Free UK payments and withdrawals
 Free budgeting tools
 Choice of mobile and online banking
 Choice of account options
 Metal debit Cards
 No option to apply for an overdraft
 Free ATM withdrawals are limited
 No standout features that you can’t get elsewhere

N26 Review | 4.7 / 5

N26 Logo

Opening an N26 account was easy and straightforward. We liked that throughout the application process, the app and website made it clear what we needed to do. Online, paperless applications can seem daunting to some people, but N26 kept it simple enough for anyone to open an account, even the lesser tech-savvy folks out there.
What we enjoyed the most about N26 was its clever mobile banking app. It is innovative and ensures you always know where you are up with your money, especially with the budgeting tools which can help you manage your money better and ensure you don’t overspend, in addition to helping you save money or pay off debts.
The premium N26 accounts - You and Metal, are both viable options for those who like to receive more with their bank account, such as travel insurance. However, we found an N26 standard account covered all of our banking requirements.

Open An N26 Bank Account

To find out more about N26, read our full guide - N26 - A look into the latest UK Digital Bank.


We receive a commission for some of the products and or services mentioned within this website. Our website is free to use, and the commission we receive does not affect our opinion or the information we provide. All of our content and opinions are non-biased.

Updated on