Home // Banking // The Big N26 Bank Account Review – Thumbs Up Or Down?

The Big N26 Bank Account Review – Thumbs Up Or Down?

N26 is one of the oldest Fintech challenger banks in the world, having been formed in 2013. In 2016, they received their banking licence in Germany, which allowed them to operate throughout the EU. In 2019, they launched their product in the US market.

In the EU, as a fully licensed German bank, N26 customer deposits are covered by the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) up to 100,000 EUR per customer. In the United States, N26 does not have their own banking license. Instead they partner with Axos Bank, who are a licensed bank, so any deposits are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to a maximum of $250,000 per customer.

As of 2021, N26 is available to residents of 22 countries within Europe and the USA, As of 2021, they have over 7 million customers.

This article covers the European version of N26. Whilst their American offering is similar, there are some key differences, so we will cover the N26 USA product directly in another article.

N26 offers a great alternative to the traditional banks | Picture: iStock.com | Popartic

Contents

What is the N26 Bank Account? 

N26 provide an app-first digital banking product. Their aims are twofold: Firstly to bring modern technology into the banking space, to simplify and improve the customer experience. Secondly, to lower costs, and to bring transparency to any pricing, so the customer knows exactly what they are being charged and for what.

Customers can use the N26 app either on their smartphone, or on a computer via the N26 website.

Whilst some other Fintech banks are very focused on simplifying and modernising the traditional banking experience, N26 seem to be more focused on the reduction of the costs of European banking.

How does the N26 Bank Account work?

Notable Features:

Instant Push Notifications

Be informed immediately of any activity on your account.

Multi-Language Customer Service

N26 have customer services in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish.

Round-Ups

The N26 app will round up payment amounts to the nearest Euro, then transfer the difference into a savings space in your account.

Spaces

Create up to 10 sub-accounts within your main account to save up for things.

Free ATM Withdrawals

N26 offer a certain amount of free ATM withdrawals per month. This can be significant in countries, such as Germany, where cross-bank ATM withdrawals can be expensive.

International ATM Withdrawals

Free International ATM withdrawals with the You and Metal plans. Standard and Smart plan customers pay a fee of 1.7%.

N26 offer some budgeting features. However if you are looking for budgeting, it may be better to look at a dedicated budgeting app, such as Emma, Money Dashboard or Snoop.

The N26 bank account is available in 4 tiers:

N26 Standard

Virtual Debit Card

Contactless & Mobile Payments

Free Payments Worldwide – in any currency

Up to 3 free ATM withdrawals within the Eurozone

Statistics on your spending

Chatbot and in-app support

N26 Smart

Mastercard Debit Card & optional extra card

Contactless & Mobile Payments

Free Payments Worldwide – in any currency

Up to 5 free ATM withdrawals within the Eurozone

Statistics on your spending

Up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts

Shared sub-accounts

Round-Ups

Premium Partner offers

Chatbot, in-app and phone support

N26 You

Mastercard Debit Card & optional extra card

Contactless & Mobile Payments

Free Payments Worldwide – in any currency

Up to 5 free ATM withdrawals within the Eurozone

Unlimited free withdrawals in any currency

Statistics on your spending

Up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts

Shared sub-accounts

Round-Ups

Premium Partner offers

Chatbot, in-app and phone support

Travel Insurance

N26 Metal

Premium Metal Debit Card & optional extra card

Contactless & Mobile Payments

Free Payments Worldwide – in any currency

Up to 8 free ATM withdrawals within the Eurozone

Unlimited free withdrawals in any currency

Statistics on your spending

Up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts

Shared sub-accounts

Round-Ups

Premium Partner offers

Chatbot, in-app and phone support

Travel Insurance

Phone insurance

Who is the N26 Bank Account for?

The N26 bank account is available to customers resident in 22 European countries, and the USA. They no longer serve UK residents, since their withdrawal from the UK market in 2020 in the wake of Brexit.

UK based customers should check out the UK focused Fintech banks. See our analysis of the available options.

N26 have a variety of features that make it very attractive to users within Europe who travel and who use different currencies. Customer support in multiple languages, free ATM withdrawals both domestically and internationally, and currency transfers at interbank rate with low fees via their partnership with Wise. These all create an attractive offering to those who wish to travel and/or transact across borders.

N26 does not have as full of a range of money management tools as some of the other Fintech challenger banks such as Revolut. However, their app is functional, and their focus on cutting the costs of banking gives them a clear advantage over many more established banks.

How to use the N26 Bank Account?

To sign up with N26 is very simple:

  • Firstly go to the N26 website and create an account.
  • Then download the N26 app from the Apple Appstore or Google Play store.
  • You then need to pair your phone to your account. You will be sent an SMS with a 4 digit code, which you will need to enter into the app. You will then receive your debit card within 5-7 days. Once you receive this you can activate the card and set the PIN via the app.

How much does the N26 Bank Account cost?

The costs of the 4 account tiers for N26 are:

N26 StandardFREE
N26 Smart4.90 EUR per month
N26 You9.90 EUR per month
N26 Metal16.90 EUR per month

N26 accounts have certain other costs which vary based on which country within Europe you are resident in. You can check the specific costs for your country of residence here.

Is the N26 Bank Account safe?

N26 is a fully licensed European bank, with a banking licence in Germany, which covers the whole of the European Union, and means that customer deposits are protected up to 100,000 EUR per customer under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). This gives N26 customers exactly the same level of deposit protection as more established banks.

As a relatively new start-up, N26 is not yet profitable. Indeed, in 2019, they made an operating loss of over 200 million EUR, something that was exacerbated by the costs of expansion into the United Kingdom, a market that they had to pull out of due to Brexit. However, N26 do appear to still have keen investment partners, which will help them in their drive to expansion, and hopefully profitability. N26 state that they are on a trajectory towards profitability in 2021/2022.

N26 Bank Account Reviews – what are people saying?

+

N26 has a rating of 4 out of 5 – ‘great’ – from over 15,000 reviews on Trustpilot. In multiple reviews users have praised how easy it is to sign up, how the app is very useful and intuitive, and that costs are transparent and low.

19% of the reviews are 1 out of 5 – ‘bad’. The majority of these lower rated reviews appear to concern the customer support.


N26 also have a dedicated subreddit called r/number26bank. It has approximately 3200 members, and it is a good source of information, and both praise and criticism of the bank, so a good place to spend some time looking around if you are thinking about signing up with N26.

N26 Bank Account Alternatives

N26 Business Account Pros & Cons

Pros

Can offer significant savings on ATM withdrawals, both in your home country and whilst travelling.

Many good benefits and features for travellers.

Offers significant cost savings over traditional banks.

Cons

You will need to be on one of the paid monthly packages to get many of the useful money management features.

Has less useful money management functions that some competitors

Higher level of customer support only available on the monthly paid accounts.

Customers in the UK cannot use N26.

Conclusions

N26 may not have as many extras as certain of their competitors, such as Revolut. However, as a fully licensed European bank, they offer a very attractive alternative, both in terms of cost, and of ease of use, to traditional high street European banks.