Online banks are becoming more and more prevalent as the norm of going to a physical institution to open a financial account fades. These days, online banks have already covered the need to receive and send money, deposit cash, and make payments.
And the benefit of talking to bank representatives face-to-face looks pale compared to lower fees and faster payments/withdrawals. Besides, online banks have been around for a while, and they can offer as much safety as a traditional one.
Take, for example, N26. This German and fully online bank is one of the most trusted ones in the industry. But since you will probably open one account with such a bank, it's good to do your due diligence and learn as much as you can about it.
What is N26?
N26 is a 100% digital German bank. This means that it has no branches like a traditional bank. At the same time, it means that you can only withdraw cash from an ATM.
But this comes with a great advantage when it comes to the fees they charge and the variety of services that traditional banks can't provide.
The bank's founders Max and Valentin created the company back in 2013 to solve problems with physical institutions and set a new standard in the banking industry. Fast-forward to now, and they seem to have already achieved that through innovative technology and the best professionals worldwide.
Now, the bank consists of over 1,500 people diversified across Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Milan, New York, Vienna, and São Paulo.
- Zero ATM Withdrawal Fees
- No monthly Maintenance Fees
- Interface and N26 Support in English
- Very Low Exchange Rates
- Push notifications to Track Activity
- Signing Up Doesn't Take More than a Couple of Minutes
- Deposits Only Support EUR and USD
- No Support through the Phone
- Cash Withdrawals In Foreign Currency Have Fees
Is N26 Safe?
Yes, this bank can be considered as safe as a traditional one.
First of all, it is regulated in Germany, which provides an extra layer of protection and trust.
Now, if you're a US citizen, your money will be FDIC insured, which means that up to $250,000, no matter the bank's fate, your money is protected. That's only possible because N26 has a partnership with Axos Bank, which is an FDIC member.
If you're a European citizen, your deposits are protected up to €100,000 thanks to the Compensation Scheme of German Private Banks.
Let's also examine the various security features the app provides to ensure your money is safe.
N26 App Security
The bank's app (Android & Apple) allows you to:
- Lock your card if it gets lost or stolen
- Reset your PIN
- Modify daily limits
- Enable/disable online or foreign payments
- Customize card permissions
- Log-in through fingerprint verification
- Enable push-notifications to track your transactions
Since the bank partners with Mastercard, you will also enjoy the Mastercard SecureCode service, which will prevent fraud through the 3D Secure payment system.
Platform & Features
Let's now examine all the features you can expect from both the mobile and desktop platforms:
- You can deposit, send, and receive money directly through the app (desktop or mobile)
- Has partnered with Wise (formerly TransferWise) to help you get one of the best exchange rates when you send money internationally
- Supports Google Pay to allow you to make both online and in-store purchases
- You can configure withdrawal and daily spending to have better control of your finances
- You can generate spending statistics and categorize your expenses into groups automatically
- The Spaces feature allows you to set money aside for a specific financial goal to have a clearer picture of how close you are to achieving it
- Through the MoneyBeam feature, you will be able to send money instantly and without entering bank details if the receiver already has an N26 account
N26 Fees & Commissions
Let us now take a look at the bank's cost structure. There are 4 plans for you to choose from to create an account:
This plan is free and offers:
- A virtual debit card
- Contactless payments
- Mobile payments
- Free international payments
- Up to 3 free withdrawals
- Spending insights
- Chatbot support
- Deposit protection of up to €100,000
- 3D security for online payments
- Two-factor authentication for logging in
This account costs €4.90 per month and offers everything that the Standard does, plus:
- An optional extra card for a one-time fee
- Up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts
- Shared sub-accounts
- Premium partner offers
This account costs €9.90 per month and has everything that the Smart does, but also:
- Unlimited free withdrawals in any currency
- Medical travel insurance
- Trip insurance
- Pandem travel coverage
- Flight insurance
- Luggage coverage
- Mobility insurance
- Winter sport insurance
- Phone support
This account costs €16.90 per month and will provide you with everything the You plan does, but more:
- Car rent insurance
- Phone insurance
- Dedicated line
How to Open An Account
Here's see how you can open an account in 3 simple steps:
- Fill out the online registration form
- Complete an ID verification
- Pair a smartphone with your account
Just keep in mind that if your address is not in Germany, you will need to take a selfie and photo of your ID via the app to complete the verification of your identity.
Now, if you live in Germany, you will have to do this through an in-app video call, or you can visit a German post office as an alternative.
Open an Account Today
How to Deposit/Withdraw Money with N26
Here are the steps you need to follow to deposit/withdraw money:
1. Log in and tap on "CASH26" in the "Cards" tab.
2. Choose "Deposit cash" or "Withdraw Cash" and type in how much you'd like to deposit/withdraw
3. After the app generates a scannable CASH26 barcode, show it to the cashier at the checkout.
4. Deposit/withdraw the amount you chose with the cashier
How to Withdraw Money from an ATM
And at last, here is how you can withdraw from ATMs:
- Insert your card or scan your virtual one through the reader
- Choose a language
- Enter your 4-digit PIN
- Select withdrawal for the transaction type
- Enter the amount of money you wish to withdraw
How to send money with N26
As we mentioned before, this bank has partnered with Wise (formerly TransferWise) to help you send money while keeping the costs as low as possible. But the process isn't in the least complicated as you will make the transfer directly through the bank's app.
This is how you can transfer money with it:
- Log in and navigate to the "Home" screen
- Tap on the "Send Money" option and then select "Foreign Currency Transfer"
- Enter the amount that you would like to send and choose the currency
- Add the recipient's bank details and when you're ready, confirm the transfer
How to get a N26 card
Getting your card isn't complicated. Once you verify your identity, you are immediately eligible to receive a physical card.
Keep in mind that it can take as much as 15 business days for your card to arrive. You may have to wait even longer if you live in a rural area. Fortunately, you will be able to keep track of the delivery progress via the app.
If you want it faster, you will have to choose the "Express Delivery" option that will take as much as 3 business days. Just keep in mind that the cost for this service starts from €25.
But here's the deal. You won't have to wait for the card to arrive to start using it to a certain degree. You can simply add your virtual card to an Apple Pay or Google Pay wallet and use it for stores that support this payment method if you want.
Also, if you are a Premium client, you are eligible for an extra card. This can be beneficial if you end up losing your first card or it gets stolen.
No matter whether you want to deposit money, transfer funds, or make payments, this bank will help you do all of that and more. Fees are low, features are abundant, and you can have your account opened in minutes.
Not to mention that N26 has been operating for nearly a decade. This is very reassuring when it comes to the banking industry.
The most common reason people are discouraged from opening an account with a digital bank is safety. Fortunately, N26 is one of the safest ones out there, so this shouldn't worry you much.
All in all, this bank is a great option for anyone who wants to combine the safety of a traditional bank with the flexibility of a digital one.