N26 Review and Guide: How good is The Mobile Bank?
Pure mobile bank, thats the core idea of N26.
With N26 you are a smartphone power user. Without bank branches, you can manage your bank account entirely through a single app, you don’t even need a laptop. It doesn’t matter whether it is making transfers, ordering a new card, or blocking cash withdrawals - it's all possible with your smartphone and the N26 app.
In 2013, N26 was one of the first banks to design an account that can be used 100% online and digitally. N26 has had its own banking license since 2016, and the bank is now one of the fastest-growing banks in Europe - with 7 million customers
But how good is The Mobile Bank? Are there any hidden costs? We have tested the free N26 account and we tell you about our experiences in this test.
We analysed the requirements needed to open N26 account models, paying particular attention to how accessible the information about costs is for customers. After the research, we opened a free account and tested its features and N26 app’s functionality as well. Our test focused on what the N26 account can do exceptionally well and where there is room for improvement. The account model used in our test is the N26 Standard account.
We additionally had a look at customers’ reviews from rating portals such as Trustpilot and Google and Apple app stores, at N26’s general terms and conditions and the data protection declarations.After 6 months of testing and actively using N26 Standard account, today we will tell you about our results.
Pros and cons of N26
100% online bank account. You can open an account in just 8 minutes without going to a bank branch
Free account management of the basic account without minimum income requirements
You can pay in any currency, anywhere, with no fees
Neatly structured app with great features, account movements are displayed in the app in real time and you receive a push message on your mobile device
Mobile wallet function and contactless payment (NFC) via Google and Apple Pay
N26 offers a fully automated account switching service
The Standard account comes with a debit card. This means that transactions are immediately debited from your current account. So there you have no surprises at the end of the month
There are no international fees for cashless transactions worldwide
Immediately after opening an account, an overdraft facility of EUR 500 is at your disposal if you have a good credit rating
Account opening also possible with a bad credit history (negative SCHUFA)
N26 multiple accounts: with the "Spaces" feature, you can create up to 10 sub-accounts to manage your expenses
When opening a basic account, only the digital MasterCard Debit is included. A physical card for withdrawing money is only available after a one-time payment of 10,- EUR or when the current account is upgraded to a paid version.
Limited cash withdrawals with a Standard account. After that, 2.00 euros per withdrawal
Credit check (SCHUFA) with every account opening, even if N26 Flex is granted without the minimum credit requirements, your data is always shared with SCHUFA Holding A.G. (Germany’s biggest credit agency)
Stringent clauses in the additional services, such as insurance
No "real" credit card: no matter which account you open, you will only get a debit card
From a deposit of 50,000 euros, a penalty interest rate of 0.5% p.a. applies.
The overdraft facility comes with an interest rate of 8.90%
Phone support for Metal customers only. Free account holders only get chat or email support
What account types does N26 offer?
N26 offers its customers 8 account models. 4 of them can be used by private individuals, the other 4 are business accounts. N26’s Standard is free and not tied to minimum sales or credit. The Smart, You and Metal accounts are the advanced models and offer more and more features at more favourable conditions - but they also cost more monthly. The metal account costs more than 200 euros per year and is only worth for absolute power users.
The four account models at a glance
one-time € 10,-
3 metal cards
Apple Pay & Google Pay
Free cash withdrawals per month (in Germany)
Free payments in foreign currencies
Free cash withdrawals in foreign currencies
Cash deposit and payout
More than 11.500 withdrawal points
More than 11.500 withdrawal points
More than 11.500 withdrawal points
More than 11.500 withdrawal points
Budget management feature
Up to 10
Up to 10
Up to 10
Round-up function to the nearest amount for each payment
Offers and discounts
Customer service by phone
Exclusive N26 Metal customer service
Winter-sport accident insurance, rental car insurance and cell phone insurance
N26 Business account models
As a business customer, you can use the Business N26 card models. The card models are very similar to the offer for private individuals. The pricing structure and the functions per account model are the same. In addition, N26 Business customers receive cashback for all purchases made using the N26 card. In this table, you can see the costs and differences listed.
N26 Business Standard
N26 Business Smart
N26 Business You
N25 Business Metal
Cashback on transactions
Which features are included in all accounts?
Categorize your expenses - Your expenses are grouped into categories such as groceries, restaurants and vacations. Your expenses’ statistics can be downloaded as an Excel or PDF file. You can also see how your expenses for the current month are related to the 3-month average.
Account management in the app - all account management activities can be processed in the app. Card settings can be made here for changing the PIN, blocking the card, deactivating international payments, or setting card limits. You can also apply for financial products in the app.
Sub-accounts - with the so-called Spaces, you can create up to 10 sub-accounts for specific savings goals. These are similar to multiple account where you can even set rules to reach your savings goals faster. The sub-accounts can be shared with other N26 customers. However, this function is not included in the Standard account model.
Push notifications - all account movements are displayed in real-time in the app. With the push message on your mobile device, misuse can be detected quickly
Discreet Mode - When accessing your account in public via smartphone or web browser, account activities and account balances can be hidden.
Overdraft facility - In just a few steps, you can request an overdraft facility of up to 10,000 euros or a consumer loan of up to 25,000 euros in your N26 app. Loan management options can also be accessed through the app.
Instalment payments - Payments already made can be divided into 3-6 instalments. A portion of the money will then be credited to your account. This feature can be helpful if after a purchase, you realize you're short on cash.
Savings account - You can open a money market account via EasyFlex Savings in the app. You can deposit and withdraw money within 2 days.
Cash26 - with this function, you can withdraw cash free of charge from over 11,500 partners, such as Penny, Budni or Rewe. Deposits accounted for 1.5% of the transaction. Withdrawals are limited to 200 euros, but remember that you have to order a Cash26 transaction in the N26 app to use this service. A barcode to show at the point of withdrawal will be generated. In the app you can get an overview of N26 partners with the cash finder.
Moneybeam - You can send money to other N26 users in a flash. It is also possible to request money using this function.
Account switching service - with finleap Connect, you can quickly turn your N26 account into your main account. Standing orders, recurring invoices and direct debits are transferred automatically and free of charge. This service is only possible if your home bank’s online banking is active.
How do I open an N26 account?
How do I open an account with N26? N26 advertises a quick account opening in just 8 minutes. There are no surprises when registering. As usual, personal data and your address will be requested. You must also accept the terms and conditions. Here you find an overview of N26 requirements:
You are at least 18 years old
You have an ID card or passport with your photo
You have an internet connection
You have a smartphone (at least with operating system iOS9 or Android 5.0)
Confirm identity via videoident (performance idNOW)
Link account to smartphone
Top up your account and off you go
In addition to a quick account opening, N26 advertises a quick and uncomplicated account switch. With finleap connect, standing orders for your rent, direct debits for the sports club and recurring payments for subscriptions are automatically accepted.
How to use the account switching service:
After opening your account, tap 'Switch to N26' under 'My Account' in the app
Select all standing orders and direct debits that should be applied to your new account
Confirm your account switch
For info! When opening an account, N26 performs a credit check, this means that your SCHUFA entry will be requested.
Looking for N26 alternatives?
If have you just arrived to Germany and not have a credit history yet, you can have a look at bunq. There you have another neobank which grants you a bank account without SCHUFA. Here you can find our detailed review and rating of bunq bank account.
N26 review and test: What we think of the mobile bank
According to N26, you can open your bank account within 8 minutes. We can confirm it. Registration via the app takes just a few minutes. The video-ident procedure via idNOW follows immediately. After confirming your identity, your N26 account is now set up in your app without filling out any paperwork. The account can be used immediately with the digital card. With a paid account model you have to wait about 3-4 working days for the debit card to be sent. Applications, changes, and other account management activities can be easily carried out in the app. In addition, push notifications about all account transactions are displayed in real-time on the smartphone. Moneybeam makes real-time transfers possible. However, both users must have an N26 account for this.
Account and Cards: 3.5/5
The N26 account is interesting for Digital Nomads with an appeal for innovative ideas. Many account management functions can be carried out in the app. The appealing and straightforward app design supports the app's intuitive operation and easy usage.
All N26 account models are debit cards. Unfortunately, it is not possible to obtain a 'real' credit card. This can, for example, lead to difficulties when renting a car on vacation since a limit on the card is usually requested. There is no such limit with a debit card.
No problems arose during our test phase, so we did not have to rely on N26 customer service. On rating portals, opinions about N26 customer support are primarily negative. N26 is often criticized for not processing urgent matters quickly enough. The employee in the chat can usually not help since the specialist departments have to be consulted first. Even in urgent cases, it can take up to 2 weeks before customers receive an answer. In addition, customers complain that these long waiting times result in costs or additional work and that the solutions are not sufficient.
With the 4 account models from N26, there is something for every customer. There are no account management fees in the standard N26 account. Costs that may apply are 1.7% foreign currency fees and 2.00 euros per cash withdrawal, once the 3 free cash withdrawals per month have been used up. A positive aspect is that no regular income is required for this. All of these costs can be found on the N26 website. In the account comparison on the website, costs and different services for each account model are listed in detail and clearly. At a second glance, you can read that an administration fee of 0.5% p.a. is charged for deposits of more than 50,000 euros. This is the only information about costs that were not apparent at first glance. At first, the many account models can seem a bit confusing since the accounts only differ in a few performance differences. Due to the diversity, however, different needs of the customers can be addressed. The longer we worked with the account models, the more sense the other accounts made for us.
Service and Features: 4/5
The N26, You or Metal accounts are very appealing for customers who travel a lot. Customers benefit from free payments and cash withdrawals in foreign currencies worldwide and from numerous insurance policies that can be helpful on a trip. Foreign currency payments are included in the free account model, but no cash withdrawals. These cost 1.7%. In the EU area, cash withdrawals are possible as well with the N26 standard account and are free of charge. As already mentioned, customer support is rated as rather negative on rating platforms. Some customers complain that there are ambiguities regarding the insurance when it comes to a claim. Here, too, customer service support is often lacking. New features are added regularly in the App Store ratings. These are presented on the app's start page and usually offer significant added value. N26 is very innovative and fast when implementing new features in the app. The free Standard model does not include as many features as the paid models. Still, the budget function is handy if you want to analyze a bit more about your expenses’ fluctuations.
FAQs about N26
What is N26?
In 2013, N26 was one of the first banks to design an account that can be used 100% online and digitally. Since 2016, N26 has had its own banking license, and now the bank is one of the fastest-growing banks in Europe. The bank is based in Berlin and according to its own information approx. 7 million customers (as of 2021) and more than 1,500 employees (as of Nov. 2021).
How safe is N26?
N26 has a European full banking license, and the European deposit insurance covers your money of up to 100,000 euros.
3D-Secure technology is used to protect your N26 account from fraud. For online purchases, a password will be requested. Your account will additionally be linked to your smartphone. Logging in is possible by fingerprint, facial recognition or pin. Through push notifications, you can see every account movement in real-time and act quickly in the event of misuse.
Payment is possible without an mTAN, iTAN or TAN generator. A transfer pin secures the protection of transfers.
How is N26 connected to Wirecard?
In the beginning, N26 did not have its own banking license. Instead, they used Wirecard's banking license.
How much doeas an account with N26 cost?
N26 offers its customers 8 account models. 4 of them can be used by private individuals. Another 4 account models can be used as a business account. There is a standard N26 account each, free of charge and not tied to minimum sales or credit. The other account models are subject to a fee.
How do I cancel my N26 account?
To facilitate the cancellation process, there should be no more credit in the account. If this is the case, there are 3 ways to cancel the N26 account:
Written cancellation by post
Cancellation by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online via the app. To do this, you must first log in and follow the steps in the app.
Can I deposit money into my N26 account?
A deposit is possible via Cash26. With this function, you can withdraw money free of charge with over 11,500 partners, such as Penny, Budni, or Rewe. Payments are due to 1.5% of the transaction. In order to use this service, a Cash26 transaction must be created in the N26 app. A barcode is generated, which you must show to the partner at the checkout.
Is N26 Metal worth it?
At 16.90 EUR per month, N26 Metal is the provider's most expensive account model. It is worth for anyone who has a high standard of an account. For example, you will be offered preferential customer service, telephone support and additional insurance benefits.
How good is N26 Business for business customers?
The business models differ only slightly from the account models for private customers. For business customers, for example, there is also a free account model, an immediately available 500 euros can be applied for, and the other features in the app can be used. Unlike private customers, business customers receive 0.1% cashback on all buyers with the N26 card.
The disadvantages are that there is no DATEV interface, there is no way to scan checks or receipts and there is no way to receive an additional card in the free account model.
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