When you ask a group of millennials when the last time was they physically entered a bank outlet, you often get confused looks. Nowadays, going to the bank is considered as popular as going to the dentist. Actually, it’s even worse. Why should anyone take time out of their day to visit a place that is associated with painful experiences, terribly slow customer service and opening hours only until noon? Even an industry as omnipresent and powerful as the banking industry will not persevere if they avoid digitalization, lean operations and the focus on customer experience. These are exactly the forces N26 was used to constantly improve their product since the launch in February 2013.
Get started – Opening your account
Even opening your bank account is a breeze. Everything is done from your smartphone app and you can literally open your account in 10 minutes. All it takes a valid ID, an address and a video identification, that’s it, no paperwork. And the best: it is absolutely FREE. After the registration process, they’ll send you classic Mastercard debit in a fancy transparent design which is guaranteed to catch the attention of your friends. Once you receive the card you’ll be asked to pair it with your account on your phone. Follow the instructions and after another 2
The app and what makes you fall in love with N26 over and over again
Functionalities & Features – how N26 makes your daily life
A partnership with TransferWise allows you to have it’s features already built into your account. Transferring money from any account to your N26 account has never been easier. And the same goes for sending money to friends in their home currency. If you want to learn more about TransferWise (click here). The DNA of N26 is digital, so the handling of cash is not what it is best at. Every month you can deposit 100€ at the register of partnering shops displayed on a map within the app but that’s it. After that you pay 1.5% of handling fee meaning that 98.50€ will be shown on your balance for every following 100€ you want to deposit. Other banks often has similar pricing structures which is simply explained with the nature of cash handling being expensive. The same goes for withdrawals. Within Germany you have 5 free withdrawals a month, in the Eurozone there no such limit exists. Withdrawals worldwide will cost you 1.7% markup at the ATM. Given the fact that a contactless payment abroad is free you should think wisely and use N26 to your advantage. Get into the habit of paying by card which will help you unlock the full potential of your N26 account. A showcase for this potential is security when losing your card. A nightmare for every traveller was to lose their credit card or have it stolen. This would usually be followed by painful phone calls to block your card asap. After that you could try to get your card back only to find that once your card is blocked you can’t just un-block it. So you would end up ordering a new one and by the time you get it the trip is usually over. Yes, there are credit card like the American Express Platinum Card that offer worldwide 24h service for a new card, but N26 found an even more elegant solution. With the tap of a button you just block your card in the app. From this moment it can’t be used to pay for anything anymore. And the best thing, if you panicked and blocked your card but found it 5 minutes later under your pillow, you just un-block your card again as if nothing happened. This is again a masterpiece of customer experience adding another layer of security on your trip at home or abroad.The US is an exciting new market which offers a massive opportunity for N26. Though the fintech environment is well advanced there, serving US customers comprises primarily niche and individual solutions. As of yet, we do not see any genuinely mobile bank which is a potential full replacement of any other bank account. The US market comes with it’s own challenges and opportunities. Bank fees are often unreasonable and targeting financially vulnerable households, cheques are more common but also associated with extra cost for cashing them in and the debit cards on the market are often poorly designed systems.(https://www.economist.com/united-states/2015/09/03/its-expensive-to-be-poor) The features inherently built into N26’s mobile banking ecosystem are poised to take the pain out of financial services for many consumers in the US. A majority will enjoy benefits such as:
- No FX fees! While the account is in euros only, everything is converted at the real exchange rate, with no conversion fee. This means it’s just like using your card in your home currency.
- You can use it everywhere! It’s just like a regular debit Mastercard, so wherever Mastercard is accepted, your N26 card is accepted.
- Free ATM withdrawals all throughout Europe is awesome and perfect for travellers. You can easily block/unblock the card and activate other options from within your app. And since everything is done in the app, there’s no need to worry about getting flagged when logging in to internet banking from overseas like you do with regular banks.
- Support is amazing. They even run support over Twitter – so you can tweet them and get support in real time. If you’ve ever sat on hold with a bank while travelling, you’ll understand how awesome this is.
- It’s free! Most travel debit cards drown you in fees and loaded rates, including a monthly fee just to keep the card open. With N26 it’s completely free, so even if you never use it you’ve got nothing to worry about.
But most of all, it just removes so many banking headaches that you have while travelling. There are enough things to worry about when you’re roaming the world, and in the past banking and money has been one of the biggest headaches of them all.N26 removes so many of these problems – it really is the perfect card for travellers.
Signing up for an N26 Account
N26 is for EU residents, so to sign up for an account you need to have access to an EU mailing address. If you do, simply head to the N26 sign up page here and fill in your details. The process is