An Uncensored Review of N26 Banking

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I’ve used N26 for over a year now. In this article, I’ll elaborate on the features, pros, cons, and other details of N26 – the new generation bank account.

It’s perfect for people who travel, and want to have a good overview of their finances through a seamless app.

What is N26?

N26 is a virtual bank account, which you can open online. I mainly use N26 when I’m traveling in the EU, but I also use it to save more money. They provide you with a Mastercard, a German IBAN, and a super intuitive app which gives a clear overview of your finances.

The people who created N26 wanted to create a banking platform that would be easy and straightforward to use, as well as cheap for their customers.

Most banks charge really hefty fees just for managing your money, so they wanted to offer an alternative to this – much like several other fintech startups. But speaking from experience, they’ve really taken it a step further.

Besides being intuitive and well-designed, they’ve built some really cool features that encourage you to save money and make your banking experience exponentially better.

Everything is well-designed – even the see-through card.

Setup

They advertise that their setup takes under 8 minutes – which is true if your ID verification has no issues. The best part about the setup is that you don’t need to provide them with a utility bill to prove your address.

If you have a passport or ID-card from the EU, or the US, then you’ll probably be accepted quickly. In most cases, opening an account really won’t take more than 8 minutes. They’ll conduct a short video call to verify you.

If you have a verification document from a country outside the EU or the US, the process may be slower, based on what I’ve read from different forums. As I have an EU ID-card, I found the onboarding process super-fast and smooth.

You can check here which identity documents they accept based on your nationality.

Plans and Pricing

Once you’ve filled out all your personal details (doesn’t take more than 4-5 minutes), you’ll get to choose which type of account you want – the standard N26 account or N26 Black.

The standard account is free of charge and Black is 9.90€/month. It’s really cheap considering the fact this cost includes travel insurance – covering foreign medical expenses, delayed flight reimbursement, luggage protection, mobile phone protection etc. I’d say it’s a bargain.

N26 Pricing Plan - regular and Black

Pros and Cons of N26

For me, what differentiates N26 from regular banks and other fintechs is their features. I’ve tried Revolut, TransferWise and a few others, but N26 has the best user experience in my opinion.

Pros

#1 They Categorize Your Transactions Automatically

N26 pie chart transaction overview in app
Click on the image to see details

I used to hate writing down all my expenses, but it’s necessary if you want to adopt good financial habits. Before N26 I tried to record my expenses in various money management apps, but I hated the fact that I had to log each purchase separately. I always forgot to do it later.

Sadly, most of these money management apps don’t connect with your European bank account. I know in the States there are some which connect to your bank account, but for some reason this trend hasn’t made it to Europe.

With N26, creating good financial habits is made easy, as they categorize your expenses automatically and visually show you them as a pie chart. How do they know? They use artificial intelligence which categorizes your spending. How cool is that?

#2 Spaces

Hand holding phone - N26 spaces

In my regular online bank, if I want to keep money in separate accounts, I need to actively transfer money between these accounts.

For this purpose, N26 has created ‘spaces’, which are still basically different accounts for different purposes. However, you can send your money to your savings “space” with the click of a button. Or even to your investing ‘space’. It’s your choice what type of spaces you create within your account.

Their spaces feature has really encouraged me to save more, as they’ve nailed it with the visuals. It just feels good to set money aside for different purposes and see it grow from month-to-month.

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#3 Easy and Cheap International Transfers

N26 TransferWise transfers

If you need to transfer money to your friend/family member/pet etc., it’s all possible, as N26 support several different currencies. The transfer is done via their TransferWise integration, which makes sending money really cheap in comparison to regular banks.

TransferWise specializes in international transfers, and they send your money at the real exchange rate – the one you see on Google.

They’re also totally transparent about their fees, so they’re not taking a hidden slice for themselves, you’ll always know how much money is arriving at the other end.

N26 (with help from TransferWise) supports the following 19 currencies:

  • Australian dollars (AUD)
  • British pounds (GBP)
  • Bulgarian lev (BGN)
  • Canadian dollars (CAD)
  • Chinese yuan (CNY)
  • Czech krone (CZK)
  • Danish krone (DKK)
  • Georgian lari (GEL)
  • Hungarian forints (HUF)
  • Indian rupees (INR)
  • New Zealand dollars (NZD)
  • Norwegian krone (NOK)
  • Polish zloty (PLN)
  • Romanian leu (RON)
  • Swedish krona (SEK)
  • Swiss francs (CHF)
  • U.S. dollars (USD)
  • Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)
  • United Arab Emirates dirhams (AED)
  • Picture of foreign transfer screen.

#4 A Wonderful User Experience

N26 overview of finances

Everything in the app is smooth and simple in the way that so many other banking apps aren’t. If you need to close your card (in case of fraud, for example), it’s also made super easy.

I don’t have to let them know when I travel, (they won’t close my bank account ‘just in case’ as has happened to me several times in my regular bank). Best of all, I always have a clear overview of my finances.

N26 settings page

#5 Free ATM Withdrawals throughout the Eurozone

This is a rarity compared to regular banks. These withdrawals do come with a limit – you get 5 free withdrawals per month. And if you withdraw money outside the EU or in other currencies than Euros, you’ll pay a 1.7% fee from the amount withdrawn (with N26 Black you get this feature for free).

#6 N26 Black: Travel Insurance & Several Other Perks

I mentioned it briefly above, but the features you get with N26 Black are quite impressive for 9.90€/month.

First and foremost, they offer a great travel insurance package. They cover delayed flights, lost luggage (up to €400), and your medical expenses abroad, should something happen to you.

N26 Black bank card
This is how N26 Black bank card looks like – stylish

They’ve even gone as far as to cover stolen cash up to 500€, if the cash was stolen 4 hours after withdrawing it (You’ll most likely need to prove it with a crime report from the police).

I’ve noticed that withdrawing money from ATMs abroad can get quite expensive, as banks add both a hefty fee and an unfair currency conversion rate. With N26 Black, withdrawing money abroad in any currency is free of charge, and the currency gets converted with the real exchange rate.

You can read more about N26 Black and its features here.

Con of N26

#1 (And It’s Really the Only One) Slow Customer Support

I’ve had to contact their customer support a few times and it hasn’t always been a pleasant experience. It takes them a bit too long to answer emails. It’s also often the case that my problem doesn’t get solved with one email but requires a conversation.

Thankfully the product itself is mostly working really well, so I haven’t had to contact them too often (2 times in one year), which is what ultimately matters to me.

Supported Countries

Sadly, N26 isn’t available everywhere yet, but they’re expanding rapidly, like all fast-growing startups. They’re currently launching their US operations, so my American readers can get early access here.

Other than that, they’re available almost everywhere in Europe: Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

(N26 Black isn’t available in Greece or Slovenia yet.)

N26 Business Account

Not many people know this, but N26 also have a business product, which is meant for freelancers and the self-employed. With the business feature, you get everything that you’d get with the regular account, but also an extra feature – cashback of 0.1% from all your purchases.

The problem is that if you have already have a regular N26 account, you can’t open a business account as well. You can only have one account. However, N26 business is free of charge, which is quite rare, as most business bank accounts involve some sort of fee.

The con of the business account is that if you have a legal entity, you can’t use N26 Business account. They only allow you to register as a freelancer or self-employed without a legal entity. So, if you’re looking for cheaper alternatives for your existing business (registered as a legal entity), you won’t be able to make the switch to N26.

Conclusions

To me, N26 is the real innovation in digital banking. N26 Black is a highly valuable product, which offers such good value for the price. Once they’re able to solve their challenge of customer support, they’ll be even better.

The app is a work of brilliance, and the currency conversions and withdrawals are cheap. It has improved my travels and helped me save more money. I’d strongly recommend them – 10/10!

Transform your travels and saving habits through N26 HERE!

Have you used any of the fintech startup banks before? Or maybe you’ve used N26 before? I’d love to hear your thoughts down in the comments!

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