N26 is Europe's first mobile bank that was launched in Berlin in 2013. Since then, it has already begun its operations in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium and other European countries. N26 has recently launched in the US, too. The company has more than 5 million customers.
Commissions & fees - (3/5)
Most of N26’s clients opt for one of three products: the regular N26 standard account, N26 Metal or N26 You. N26’s standard account requires no monthly fee, while N26 You costs €9.90 per month and N26 Metal amounts to €16.90 per month. Opening a N26 account is free. All accounts come with a MasterCard which you can use free of charge with payments with any vendor in the world. Fees for withdrawals, international payments and transfers abroad differ according to the selected account type - while withdrawing in a different currency is free of charge for N26 You and N26 Metal clients, it comes at a cost for the users of the Standard package. Additionally, transferring money in the same currency as your N26 account is free, while the N26 international transfer fee is 0.5-3.0EUR. N26 also charges a currency exchange fee for international transfers. This will vary between 0.35-2.00% of the exchanged amount, depending on the currency.
Markets & products - (3/5)
N26 offers a range of features similar to your high street bank. You can see your spending categorised by the type of transaction (e.g. shopping, restaurants) as well as send or request money from other N26 users instantly and for free. Additionally, it is possible to earn interest on your savings. Setting up or canceling direct debits is comparatively quick and easy and in Austria and Germany it is possible to use overdrafts. You can set up Apple Pay or Google Pay. 3D Secure online payments are supported. Additionally, N26 offers a number of smart savings and budgeting features integrated into its Spaces product. It allows customers to set monthly rules that automatically transfer an amount of their salary to a savings space, much like a standing order. They also have a new "Round-up rules" feature where expenditures can be rounded up to the nearest Euro, and the spare change automatically put into a savings space to help people grow their wealth with minimal effort.
The company has recently also created a feature Shared Spaces - which is meant to function similarly to a joint account without the hassle or commitment of opening one. Instead of creating a new account, people can invite up to 10 friends, family or loved ones to a “Shared Space”, where all participants are able to save, spend and work towards goals together. Unlike a joint account that comes with much more commitment and less flexibility, these Shared Spaces can be opened, closed and edited easily and can be used for anything for saving for a gift for a mutual friend and paying for utilities with a housemate among others. In addition to offering travel insurance, N26 You offers lifestyle insurance that includes winter sports coverage and mobility insurance that covers car sharing, e-bike and e-scooter rentals at home. N26 Metal also comes with additional car rental and mobile phone insurance.What is more, the company also offers N26 Business, N26 Business You and N26 Business Metal, all of them targeted at freelancers and self-employed individuals. All of these offer cashback on card spend at different amounts depending on which product is chosen
Advanced banking platform - (3/5)
Because of the bank's relatively young age it truly positions itself at the forefront of digital discourse by delivering all of its services online. The company does not have a downloadable desktop platform, but the services can be accessed from a website. The website is, however, incomplete without the mobile app. When you try to log in on the N26 website, it sends a notification to your phone. You must click the notification before you can login. If your phone’s battery goes down, you can't access your bank account. While this is a notable impediment to the convenience of the platform, it is a significant benefit of security. The website has the same functions as the mobile app. An important advantage is the fact that the bank's web experience has been built around creating an experience that continues to be accessible to individuals with special needs - be it colour blindness or blind customers, who may use screen readers, elderly customers who may require a different font size, or those with ADHD - it is possible to adjust the settings to accommodate different needs.
Innovative account opening - (3/5)
The process of opening an account with N26 is quick and intuitive and it regularly takes just a few minutes. To open an account with N26, go to the N26 website, click on "Plans" in the menu at the top. Then you can choose which account type you'd like to open. Now it’s possible to choose between a business and personal account, further distinguishing between a N26 Metal (16.90 EUR per month), N26 You (9.90 EUR per month) and N26 Standard (commission-free). The additional benefit here is that the physical card is a metallic card instead of a standard plastic card. With both premium cards, you can make free withdrawals in any currency. They also come with an insurance package included. Once you’ve chosen a plan, enter your details and follow the instructions. Verify your identity with a quick video call, and N26 will finally ship a MasterCard to your address. Every new customer obtains a real-time update on the delivery status of their card, directly on the app. In response to covid-induced postal delays, the company has introduced the digital payments feature, that allows the customer to any new customer once verified, to top up and start spending immediately while waiting for the card to arrive.
Customer service - (2/5)
N26 customer support is available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. However, unregistered users can view only the FAQ section. Registered users have access to online chat 24/7. There is a live agent support that runs from 7:00-23:00 daily, including Sundays and public holidays. Phone support is available only to users of the N26 Metal account, with the same hours as the live agent support. In comparison to other services that provide 24/7 phone support, this can be regarded as a drawback.
Education - (2/5)
A host of articles are available on N26's blog, where numerous educational articles on savings, security, offers, and financial management tips are all available in 5 languages. What is more, N26 has a YouTube channel with a dedicated tutorial section for video based education as well. In addition, N26 also includes links to educational material directly in the app, where a customer's latest transactions are displayed. These features rotate and change periodically. If a customer were to log in now, they should see a link to a guide on how to stay safe while banking online. A drawback is the lack of webinars.
Mobile trading / Apps - (3/5)
Purchases and withdrawals in foreign currencies are the most popular features with N26 clients. MoneyBeam, which is N26’s version of Venmo, allows you to instantly send money to friends by using their phone number or email address. It is possible to set up Apple Pay or Google Pay with your N26 card. There is also a feature called Spaces. Spaces are a simple but useful feature. Spaces are buckets in which you can put money. You can transfer money to the "Bills" space, or create a "Vacations" space with a savings goal. It's a nice way to create simple budgets. All premium subscribers can take advantage of a range of offering including cashback, discounts and exclusive deals with a range of merchants like adidas, Booking.com, HelloFresh, Tidal and Yoox - these deals change on a regular basis.
UI / UX - (4/5)
N26 prioritises user experience, and this has resulted in a service that's refreshingly transparent. The currency conversion rates are excellent, the app is intuitive and highly functional. It has its bugs though. Sometimes, the app shows an error message when you sign in. Sometimes, the app doesn't let you approve a transfer. It doesn't show any error - the "confirm" button just doesn't work. It apparently happens when you have poor cellphone reception, even if you are on Wi-Fi. Normally, the app works well, but those bugs can be very frustrating. On the other hand, the app offers integrated currency conversion (they actually have their own banking license from the German regulator BaFin). This sets them ahead of most of the competing digital banks, and also means they were completely unaffected by the Wirecard scandal in June 2020.
Digital security - (4/5)
They're a fully licensed bank with BaFin, which also means that your money is guaranteed up to 100,000 EUR by the German Deposit Protection Scheme. N26 is highly security conscious and it protects its clients accounts with password and pin. It also offers MasterCard 3D secure as an additional layer of protection when purchasing items online. In case your card is lost or stolen, it is possible to block it immediately in the app and unblock it later.
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. N26 has a number of additional security features that include biometric login (fingerprint as well as facial recognition) and others. An account holder is also able to lock their card immediately in their app in a single tap if they may have lost it, or if they believe their details may have been compromised. It is also possible to toggle on/off online payments, ATM withdrawals and payments abroad, and also set daily withdrawal and payment limits.
In July 2020 the company greatly expanded its 'Plans' section on the website in order to more clearly illustrate the various differences between different product pricing plans. The new updated version includes an increased amount of articles and illustrations.