- No monthly fees
- Fast sign up
- Free payments worldwide
- Free cash withdrawals at 55,000 Allpoint ATMs
- Early payday
Is there space for another digital bank on the US market, or is it already overcrowded? How can N26 bank differentiate itself from the rest of the pack? Before you read the full N26 review, here’s our short verdict:
No monthly fee? Check. No transaction fees? Check. Free ATM withdrawals? Check. No frills bank account that’s easy to sign up for? Check and check. N26 is an excellent account for undemanding folks that will appreciate the simplicity with a few perks sprinkled in.
N26 is a German bank that was founded in 2013 by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal. The company has headquarters in Berlin, New York, Vienna, Sao Paulo, and Barcelona.
Initially, this challenger bank started without a banking license. Still, as of 2016, N26 bank holds a fully-fledged banking license in Europe, allowing customers to get a valid bank account and an N26 MasterCard or Maestro in some countries.
In the US, N26 holds customers’ funds in Axos Bank, Member FDIC, meaning that your funds are insured up to $250,000. The card isn’t a Mastercard but a Visa debit card. They launched the service in the US in 2019.
N26 has more than 7 million customers in 25 markets and over 1,500 employees.
N26 USA pros and cons
- No monthly fees
- Quick and easy to sign up
- Practical budgeting features
- Saving Spaces
- Get paid early
- No fees for foreign transactions
- Deposit protection up to $250,000
- No loans or overdrafts
- Lacking many features in the US version
- No business account in the US
- $2 fee after free ATM withdrawals exhausted
- 2% FX rate for ATM withdrawals other than USD
- Everything else is free
In which countries apart from the US is N26 available?
You can open an N26 account in the following countries:
- Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (not available for residents in the DOM/TOM), Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
How to open an N26 account
Unlike big banks, opening a digital bank account is straightforward, easy, and the best thing, you can do it from your sofa.
If you’re over 18 and are a US citizen or a permanent resident with a valid SSN and a smartphone, you could have an N26 bank account in the next 5 minutes.
N26 will ask you for your:
- First and Last Name
- Date of Birth
- Social Security Number
- Physical Home Address
- Mobile Phone Number
- Email Address
Now that you have your N26 account, it’s time to add some money into it.
How to add funds
There are several options for adding funds. The most convenient one, debit card transfer, allows you to fund your card from the app for free instantly.
Customers can also use their account number to make a direct deposit, MoneyBeam, Apple Cash, or use third-party payment processors such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, and Ingo Money.
Let’s explore a few of these options in more detail.
This is the fastest way to add money to your N26 account, and there are no fees for your first transfer by this method, but subsequent ones incur a 2.9% fee.
You can use a debit card to instantly fund your account right from the N26 mobile app. Only US debit cards are accepted at this time. You can’t use credit cards, prepaid cards, gift cards, or any cards issued by foreign banks.
To fund your account via direct deposit, provide the sender (your employer, financial institution, Armed Forces, Social Security, etc.) with the N26 ABA routing number (122287675) and your personal N26 account number.
You can locate your account number by clicking on the ‘My Account’ option on the top right side of the website (and the mobile application) after logging into your N26 account.
You can fill out a direct deposit form directly in the N26 mobile application and print it or share it electronically.
To fund your N26 account from Apple Cash, you’ll first have to link the two together:
- Open Wallet on your Apple device and select Apple Cash
- Tap the three dots on the upper right-hand corner
- Select ‘Add Money’ and then ‘Add Card’
- Scan your N26 card
- Tap ‘Next’ when the scan is complete
- Enter your card’s 3-digit security code
- Tap ‘Next’
Now, to transfer money:
- Select Transfer to Bank
- Enter the amount you want to transfer
- Select how quickly you want the money transferred
- Instant Transfer (paid)
- 1-3 Business Days (free)
N26 mobile app
At the core of the entire N26 service is the app that looks sleek and is easy to navigate. The app’s main features are instant alerts that allow customers to see their spending in real-time and are notified after all transactions.
The app’s spending insights help you break down your payments and transfers, which can be helpful in budgeting if you want to cut down on spending, for example.
The ‘Spaces’ feature organizes separate places for you to set aside money away from your spending account – to help with boosting saving habits.
These features are consistent with the challenger bank trend of using banking apps to help shape healthier spending habits.
When you register for the N26 account, your card is processed ASAP and is sent with USPS. The delivery takes from 5 to 7 business days. From the app’s home screen, you can see the status of your card – Ordered, Shipped, Received – as well as an estimate of when your card should arrive.
The N26 card is a debit card. Unlike a credit card, the money is immediately transferred directly from the cardholder’s bank account to pay for the transaction. There’s no debt or credit.
With your N26 Mastercard, you can pay online and in the store like a local no matter where you are, as there are no fees for payments in any currency. There are no ATM fees at 55,000 Allpoint ATMs across the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, Mexico, and the UK.
Find the nearest Allpoint ATM from your app, and if there aren’t any close-by, you get two free out-of-network ATM withdrawals for free every month.
We also need to mention that the card is contactless. You can freeze or unfreeze it from the app and set spending limits for payment options (online, ATM, in-store) and amounts (how much you can spend with it).
How to activate your card
Once your N26 card arrives, you’ll need to activate it. You’ll need your 10-digit token number for this. The token is found below your name on the front of your debit card. You’ll be asked for this number every time you contact the company to prove it’s really you.
To activate your debit card through the mobile app:
- Log into your account
- Then go to ‘Cards’ > ‘Activate’
- Enter your 10-digit token number
To activate your card through the web app:
- Log into your account
- To activate the debit card, hit the banner on the home page
- Enter your 10-digit token number
How to set the card pin
Once you’ve paired your smartphone to your account and activated your new card, you can create your PIN.
Log in to the app and tap ‘Cards’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Reset PIN.’
Although your PIN is separate from the confirmation PIN, you can have the same PIN for both things.
For security reasons, the PIN can’t contain repeated digits or numerical sequences (1111, 1234, or 4321). If the number you’ve chosen isn’t accepted, you’ll have to try again using a different combination.
N26 has quite a few budgeting features that can help you stay on top of your money and on top of your (bad) spending habits.
The automatic spending categorization will help you stay organized and send you an up-to-date overview of your expenses. You can further organize and personalize the system with #tags.
N26’s push notifications will let you know immediately where your money is going to and where it’s coming from. You can set them up to receive a real-time ping after transactions, ATM withdrawals, transfers, and direct debits.
To make sure you don’t overspend, you can set up spending limits, withdrawal limits, and so on.
You can create up to two Spaces or sub-accounts that are great for saving money for a big purchase or simply organizing your money better.
Each space lets you set a total amount and shows you how close you are to reaching your goal. You can create and delete Space as often as you need.
To move money into a Space, tap and hold down on your primary account, and then drag it across into your Space.
You can round up each card transaction you make and deposits the difference into a Space of your choice.
To enable Round-Up savings, just log into the N26 mobile application or webapp:
- Go to ‘Spaces’
- Select the Space that you want the round-up to go into
- Tap on ‘Manage’ > ‘Manage round-ups’
- Toggle the ‘Manage round-ups’ to green
- Choose your multiplier, then tap on ‘Confirm.’
If you want to save on autopilot, saving rules will help you set up recurring transfers from primary to sub-accounts. You just need to set the amount and the frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, half-yearly). Add the round-up feature to the mix to save even more efficiently.
Get paid early
This is an excellent feature that many digital banks provide to their users. If you set up a direct deposit, you can get paid up to 2 days early. Hey, whatever gets you through the week.
Cashback, discounts, offers
Cashback is pretty straightforward and is available from plenty of other digital banks in the country. Basically, you earn cashback when you pay with your debit card at hundreds of participating businesses.
You’ll have to pick the participating partner in the app first and then pay with the N26 card. The cashback amount will be deposited directly into your account every 15 days.
Signing up for Cashback Perks is simple and can be done via the mobile app.
- Launch the app and tap on the ‘Explore’ tab
- Tap on the ‘Manage’ button
- This will take you to the ‘Cashback’ on the subscriptions page
- You can select your Cashback Perk by tapping on a brand
Apart from cashback, N26 has partnered with brands like Hello Fresh, Adidas, Dropbox, Lime, and many others to offer exclusive discounts and offers.
There’s no limit to how many partner discounts you can use at one time.
If you want to save on subscription costs on some of the most popular apps, N26 has partnered with Headspace, Tidal, Curology, Luminary, Blinkist, Babbel, and others to give you the cashback from the subscription cost.
N26 for travel
Many of the features and services offered by N26 will particularly appeal to frequent travelers. Mastercard debit card is accepted worldwide with zero foreign transaction fees when spending abroad, with no markups or extra charges.
This eliminates much of the uncertainty surrounding the exchange rates and transaction fees associated with foreign travel, especially considering the average charge on foreign currency overseas transactions is 2.8%.
And then there’s the fact that Allpoint ATMs are available at over 55,000 locations in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the UK.
N26 lets you instantly receive, send, and even request money for free to and from your existing N26 contacts or contacts you add by their email or phone number. They call this service MoneyBeam.
No more waiting for days for the deposit to clear. You get the money deposited instantly. US MoneyBeam transfers can only be made to fellow US N26 customers. Both parties have to actively opt in to use the MoneyBeam feature.
You can transfer a max of $3,000 per transaction and per day and $12,000 per calendar month.
Is my money safe with N26 USA?
The company keeps customers’ deposits in Axos Bank, a member of the FDIC deposit insurance scheme. That means that your money is protected up to $250,000.
But, if you have an account in both Axos and N26, your money is insured up to $250k and not $500k because they’re both under the same FDIC Certificate.
N26 also uses secure logins, confirmation PINs (when you want to make a transfer), and push messages for incoming and outgoing payments. All of these are to ensure that your account stays safe and secure.
N26 had invested in technology and AI to run ‘advanced statistical models and algorithms, alongside human behavior analysis’ to protect you from cybercriminals. Does it sometimes flag an innocent user or an innocent transaction? Sure, but that’s how it is sometimes.
Who owns N26?
N26 was founded in 2013 by Maximilian Tayenthal (CFO) and Valentin Stalf (CEO). Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany.
The company raised more than $819 million from nine rounds of funding. The last corporate round brought in $30 million in February 2021.
It has 18 investors that include Earlybird VC, Crystalon Finanz, Redalpine, Allianz X, Tencent, GIC, and others.
N26 has a 4-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 65% of 15,000 reviewers giving it an excellent mark and 19% a bad one. With a 4.0 score, N26 is placed lower than Varo (4.4), Revolut (4.3), Chime (4.1), and MoneyLion (4.6).
So, how come N26 has lower review scores than other similar digital banks? Users mostly complain about poor customer service and the fact that their accounts are getting blocked or even closed.
- 1-888-N26-0-N26 (1-888-626-0626).
- Chat directly from the N26 mobile app or webapp
- Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The N26 customer support is available between 9:00am EST, and 12:00am EST from Monday through Friday and from 9:00am EST till 9:00pm EST on Saturday and Sunday.
Revolut is certainly N26’s main competitor in Europe and the USA, where they both recently expanded. With more than 15 million users worldwide, Revolut has more than double the amount of customers than N26. It also has more features such as crypto, commodities, and stock investing.
Chime Bank is best for those looking for a simple, completely mobile, low-maintenance bank account. Chime Bank’s features include: get paid early, online banking, fee-free overdraft, no hidden fees, mobile banking, automatic savings, mobile payments, security, and control.
MoneyLion will appeal to a range of potential customers, especially those familiar with the neo banking scene. If you’re interested in trying a new service that offers saving, borrowing, and investing in one place, MoneyLion might be a good choice.
Varo bank account has no fees and is therefore great for everyday banking, spending, and traveling at home and abroad. It offers an excellent savings account, early payday, and more for $0.
The bottom line
N26 has made a successful touchdown in USA, but only time will tell if enough customers enroll in their service. It certainly is an excellent account for frequent travelers, and once lockdowns end, they might see a surge of customers.
The banking scene is highly competitive in the US. People can choose from a fair amount of digital banks that offer more or fewer features. N26 will have a fighting chance only if they add more features that they already have in other countries.