N26 (known as Number 26 until July 2016) is a German neobank, headquartered in Berlin, Germany.

N26 Bank GmbH
IndustryFinancial services
HeadquartersKlosterstraße 66, 10179, ,
Area served
Eurozone, United Kingdom (exiting on 15 April 2020), Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, United States
ProductsStandard (free), Business (free), You, Business You, Metal
ServicesDirect bank
OwnerN26 GmbH
Websiten26.com/en-de
N26 MasterCard

N26 offers its services throughout most of the Eurozone, UK, Switzerland and US. It is expected to start operating in Brazil soon [1] and to stop operating in the UK[2].

HistoryEdit

In April 2015, N26 received €10 million in a series A round by Valar Ventures.[3] Valar Ventures was co-founded by Peter Thiel, PayPal's co-founder.

Initially Number 26 started operations without holding a banking license; instead it was merely an interface while the back end was provided by Wirecard. In July 2016 it re-branded as N26 Bank, having received its own banking license from BaFin.[4]

In July 2016 N26 also announced its Fair Use Policy for customers residing in Germany.[how?] This created a backlash on social media by unhappy customers.[why?]

In November 2016 customers were asked to transfer their accounts to N26 Bank's infrastructure. As a result, they would have to get a new account IBAN number, while the previous accounts held by Wirecard would be terminated.

In December 2016 N26 announced that its basic current account would become available to 17 Eurozone countries.

In March 2018, N26 raised $160 million in a series C round by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and Allianz X (Allianz). On the same date, N26 claimed a customer base of 850,000, with the goal of having 5,000,000 customers by 2020.

In January 2019, N26 raised an additional $300 million in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners with Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and a few existing investors also participating at a valuation of $2.7 billion. With its new valuation of $2.7 billion, N26 overtook Revolut as the most valuable mobile bank in Europe.[5][6]

On 11 July 2019, N26 soft launched in the United States, initially allowing customers to sign up for a waiting list. Due to differences in the U.S. market (particularly in regards to regulatory schemes for financial providers), N26 partnered with Axos Bank to serve as the provider of its services, insured under FDIC. Unlike in Europe, where they are provided by MasterCard, N26 uses Visa cards for U.S. customers.[7] The following week, the company extended its series D round with an additional $170 million investment, valuing the company at $3.5 billion.[8]

On 11 February 2020, N26 announced that it will cease doing business in the United Kingdom and close all accounts effective 15 April, due to the UK withdrawal from the European Union. The company cited that European financial institutions can no longer operate in the region without applying for a banking license in the UK (rather than being allowed to operate under its EU license), as well as "the timings and framework outlined in the EU Withdrawal Agreement".[9][10]

Product overviewEdit

N26 provides a free basic current account and a Debit MasterCard card to all its customers, as well as a Maestro card for their customers in certain markets. Additionally, customers can request overdraft and investment products. N26 also offers premium accounts (N26 You and N26 Metal) which offer additional features for a monthly fee.

The account opening process can be completed via a video chat with N26's identity verification partner, IDnow. Only holders of certain passports and ID cards can verify their identity online; others will have to visit a German post office if it is supported by Postident.[citation needed]

AvailabilityEdit

N26 offers its services in 23 European countries, plus the United States.[11] In Austria, Germany and the Netherlands customers can additionally request a Maestro card.

Some parts of the website and customer service are provided in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish regardless of the customer's residency.[12]

Mobile paymentsEdit

N26 customers in several of its markets can use their smartphone for in-store purchases. N26 supports Google Pay in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, and Spain, while it supports Apple Pay in the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain. Additional countries are added as both Google Pay and Apple Pay gradually expand throughout N26's markets.

FeesEdit

N26 has a basic account with no monthly fee and charges no fees for basic banking transactions or credit card payments in foreign currencies. In the Eurozone (except Austria and Italy) ATM withdrawals are limited to five per month for primary account holders and three per month for others. N26 charges a €2 fee for any additional withdrawal. In the UK, free ATM withdrawals are unlimited.[13]

ATM withdrawals in foreign currencies are also subject to a 1.70% fee for basic account and are free for N26 You and Metal account holders.

German customers can also withdraw and deposit money at retail locations. While there is no fee for withdrawals up to €999, free deposits are limited to €100 and additional amounts are subject to a 1.5% fee.

SecurityEdit

Customers can lock and unlock their MasterCard through the mobile app without having to contact N26 support. They can also enable and disable it for usage abroad or online usage and modify the daily limits for cash withdrawals and card payments.

Mobile transfersEdit

The N26 app can scan the users' contacts in their smartphone and identify other N26 account holders. Using a service called Moneybeam a N26 customer can send funds to these contacts without having to fill in their IBAN. Moneybeam transfers are executed instantaneously.

ControversyEdit

In June 2016 N26 notified several customers that their accounts were going to be terminated. The company cited as main reasons that some customers were making too many ATM withdrawals, while others were suspected of money laundering.[14] The introduction of the Fair Use Policy in July 2016 came as an aftermath of these terminations.[original research?]

During the transfer of its customer base to its own banking infrastructure, N26 customers took to social media to report various problems.[15]

In December 2016 Vincent Haupert, a research fellow in computer science from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, demonstrated how he could take advantage of security vulnerabilities in order to get access to N26 users' accounts.[16] Haupert had already notified N26 of the vulnerabilities back in September 2016.[17] N26 acknowledged the issues and claimed that they had been fixed before they became public, adding that no user account had actually been compromised.

In March 2019, German media reported that customers who had their account credentials stolen found it difficult to contact the bank and resolve the situation. Customer advocates reported that there was a growing number of complaints from phishing victims who were unable to access their accounts and found it difficult to contact the bank. In a widely reported case N26 took more than two weeks to restore access for a customer who had €80,000 stolen from their account. The reports raised the question if the rapid growth of the bank had left it ill-equipped to deal with the increasing number of support cases.[18][19][20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ White, Lawrence (2018-10-04). "German digital bank N26 launches in Britain, sets sights on U.S." U.K. Retrieved 2018-10-04.
  2. ^ Peachey, Kevin (2020-02-11). "Challenger bank N26 is closing accounts for UK customers on 15 April, blaming difficulties created by the Brexit process". Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  3. ^ Dillet, Romain (2016-04-16). "Number26 Grabs $10.6 Million To Bring Its Bank Of The Future To Everyone". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  4. ^ Dillet, Romain (2016-07-21). "Number26 is now a true bank as it now has a full banking license". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  5. ^ Dillet, Romain (2019-01-09). "Banking startup N26 raises $300 million at $2.7 billion valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  6. ^ Smith, Oliver (2019-01-10). "With A $2.7 Billion Valuation, N26 Overtakes Revolut As Europe's Most Valuable Mobile Bank". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  7. ^ "N26 launches its challenger bank in the US". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  8. ^ "Banking startup N26 raises another $170 million at $3.5 billion valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  9. ^ Peachey, Kevin (2020-02-11). "Challenger bank N26 to shut all UK accounts". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  10. ^ "N26 exits UK market following Brexit". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  11. ^ https://www.howitravel.co/n26-review/
  12. ^ https://n26.com/en-eu/open-bank-account-in-italy
  13. ^ "Withdraw Cash for Free - N26 Support Center". support.n26.com. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  14. ^ "Number26 closed accounts because customers made too many ATM withdrawals". Finextra. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  15. ^ Wirminghaus, Niklas (2016-12-21). "Der Shitstorm zieht nicht ab". Gruender Szene (in German). Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  16. ^ Ghosh, Agamoni (2016-12-29). "Smartphone bank N26 is not safe and exposes users to hacking, says researcher". International Business Times. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  17. ^ Wirminghaus, Niklas (2016-12-14). "Massive Sicherheitslücken bei N26 aufgedeckt". Gruender Szene (in German). Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  18. ^ Weidemann, Tobias (2019-03-29). "Betrug bei N26: Jetzt spricht Valentin Stalf". t3n News (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  19. ^ Gründerszene, Caspar Tobias Schlenk (2019-03-29). "Einem N26-Kunden werden 80.000 Euro gestohlen — und die Bank ist überfordert". Business Insider Deutschland (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  20. ^ Jauernig, Henning (2019-03-28). "Phishing-Attacken und schlechter Service bei N26: "Das kostete mich viele Nerven"". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-07.

External linksEdit