N26 Review

Does doing mobile banking anywhere in Europe and avoiding the outrageous fees banks charge sound good to you?

You’re in the right place.

For a growing number of people in Europe, N26 is a great way to make your money mobile, easier and even fun again.

For some people N26 is great, but I am also going to uncover situations where N26 is NOT your best option.

But here’s the deal:

N26 is great in many situations, but I am also going to uncover situations where N26 is NOT your best option and point you in the right direction to who might be.

Here is the good, the bad and even the ugly, so that you can decide.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

1. Quick Take

If you are in Europe, N26 is a progressive and useful mobile banking alternative compared to most old school banks.

Keeping it Simple:

N26 is available for both personal and business, with 4 tiers (free and paid).

N26 offers an easy way to set up direct debits, split bills, save money and keep an eye on your expenses with spending habits.

You can shop online safely with an N26 virtual card, while the physical card can be used to withdraw money from ATMs all over the world.

Also because they are a bank they can offer credit in many ways like personal loans, buy-now-pay-later and overdrafts and your money is protected up to €100,000 EUR by the German Deposit Guarantee Act.

For Business you can get also additional cards, add team members to manage the account, and create subspaces to save up for taxes.

Yes, all this is awesome.

But N26 is not the best solution for everyone.

International Person or Business?

There may be better options for you than N26.

For example, if you work with more currencies than the Euro on a regular basis, (as an individual or business) then a multi currency account can be a huge advantage.

Also N26 does international money transfers through a third party, which can be fine for occasional use, but we think there are some advantages in using a money transfer service directly especially if you are doing regular or large transfers.

We discuss both in a minute below (When N26 Doesn’t Work).

When it Works

  • Day to day money management
  • Travelling perks for premium accounts

When it Doesn’t

  • International transfers
  • Working with multiple currencies
  • Some business users need more

2.1 When it Works

For most people living in Europe – N26 is great.

But first you should check if you can get them.

This message appeared recently:

Check if N26 is available in your country here. Or go to your country-specific N26 website.

N26 offers many great money management features that can make your life easier.

N26 works well as a salary account which is connected easily to a virtual Mastercard and Apple Pay or Google Pay to start spending straight away.

Going out for dinner with friends? Easy split your bills and send money to them instantly if they’re on N26.

You can also set up direct debits for your monthly subscriptions or bills.

Payments are also easy with their contactless debit cards or physical cards. Virtual cards can also add an extra layer of security.

Travelling abroad? You can use your N26 card to make payments anywhere MasterCard (or MaestroCard) is accepted with zero service fees (currency conversion fees as based on the Mastercard conversion – see MasterCard calculator).

And if you’re on a paid plan (N26 Metal), you also get cool extras like travel insurance, luggage protection, overseas medical insurance etc.

2.2 When it Doesn’t Work

International transfers (not Euro)

N26 offers international transfers via Wise, who are known for low, transparent fees and efficient service. However, it may be better for you to transfer via Wise (review) for smaller transfer especially if you are doing them frequently.

We also think you can do better than Wise all together from amounts over €4500 EU where services designed for larger amounts (and have telephone service) like TorFX (review) or OFX (review) provide added confidence.

For Euro Transfers: N26 is inexpensive for transfers in the European Union (EU) and a few other destinations including The UK, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland. SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) transfers in EUR are quick and inexpensive. 

Working with multiple currencies

However, if you paid or make payments (not with your card) or are frequently converting between multiple currencies this may attract significant currency conversion fees. In this case we think you can do better than N26. So if you are a frequent traveller (outside of Europe), expat, immigrant or digital nomads see the alternatives (below).

No multi currency account

N26 accounts are in Euro.

These can work great if you mostly have income and expenses in Europe. But if you earn GBP or USD or perhaps have expenses in USD or any other currency not in EUR then there is likely better options.

Additionally N26 can be limited for some businesses.

With other you can get paid in multiple currencies by providing bank details for those countries (as if you had an account there).

You can also make bulk payments, do payroll, and easily integrate with financial apps (like Xero).

Check out Wise (review) and Revolut (review). Revolut goes even further to incorporate payment solutions so you can accept payment from your website.

Alternatives

A great alternative to N26 is Wise (review) who also offer money transfers and other banking-like services to individuals and businesses with transparent fees.

Wise is known for both affordable transfers for small amounts below $7000 USD or equivalent and their multi currency account for frequent travellers, digital nomads, freelancers, and growing global businesses.

The multi currency account for individuals makes it easy to hold, manage, and convert between 50+ currencies. You also get international bank details in 10 currencies to send or receive money like a local. Very convenient if you’re always on the move.

With the business multi currency account, global businesses can get international bank details without the hassle of maintaining expensive foreign accounts abroad. This also makes paying overseas employees and receiving payments from international clients in multiple currencies easier.

Revolut (review) also offers multi-currency accounts to businesses in Europe, along with bulk payments, payroll, and even a payment gateway.

You might like Revolut Vs Wise and Wise VS N26

3. Real Speeds (Including Transfer Speed) – Uncovered

Transfer Speed

Account Opening and Card Delivery

Your N26 account can be opened in under 10 minutes, but sometimes verification can take up to a week.

Standard delivery of your debit card takes up to 15 business days and is free of charge if it’s your first card after opening the account (paid accounts only).

Express delivery takes 3-5 days.

This can take longer in rural or harder-to-reach areas.

Local or European transfers

N26 to N26 transfers are free and instant.

N26 to another bank account in your home country can take 2-3 days.

Incoming SEPA (wiki) (Single European Payments Area) instant transfers to N26 accounts are instant, as long as they are sent from a bank that supports instant credit transfers.

Incoming SWIFT transfers take up to 4 working days to arrive.

International Transfers

International transfers to bank accounts abroad with Wise can take up to 4 days but often much quicker – in fact almost half (45%) are instantaneous.

4. Costs + Features (real costs)

Personal

Here is the latest price and feature comparison chart (opens new tab to keep reading) for Europe.

You’ll notice that all accounts have these features:

  • Digital bank account with deposit protection
  • Mobile payments
  • Virtual debit card
  • Free ATM withdrawals in EUR (limits applicable)
  • Ability to make international payments with Wise

Paid users (Smart, You, and Metal accounts) have a lot more perks and higher limits on ATM withdrawals in the EU and abroad.

Detailed breakdown (below)

Business

The business account also has tiers – get the comparison chart here.

Here are the features that all accounts (even the free one) have in common:

  • Business account with deposit protection
  • Virtual debit card
  • Mobile payments
  • Transaction list in CSV or PDF
  • Spending insight
  • Free ATM withdrawals (limits apply) in the Eurozone
  • International payments with Wise

Account Tiers

Personal

1) N26 Standard – Free

  • Digital bank account with deposit protection
  • Mobile payments
  • Contactless payments
  • Virtual debit card
  • 3 Free ATM withdrawals in EUR
  • Ability to make international payments with Wise
  • Chatbot support
  • Live chat
  • 3D secure and two-factor authentication for online payments

2) N26 Smart – €4.90/month

  • Everything in Standard
  • Optional extra card
  • N26 Spaces sub-accounts (up to 10)
  • Shared sub-accounts
  • Round-ups for savings
  • Premium partner offers
  • 5 ATM withdrawals

3) N26 You – €9.90/month

  • Everything in Smart
  • 5 ATM withdrawals in the Eurozone
  • 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

4) N26 Metal – €16.90/month

  • Everything in You
  • 8 free ATM withdrawals in the Eurozone
  • Unlimited free withdrawals in any currency
  • 18-gram metal card
  • Car insurance
  • Priority support

Business

1) N26 Business Standard – Free

  • Business account with deposit protection
  • Virtual debit card
  • Mobile payments
  • 0.1% cash back on all card purchases
  • Transaction list in CSV or PDF
  • Spending insight
  • 3 Free ATM withdrawals in the Eurozone
  • International payments with Wise

2) N26 Business Smart – €4.90/month

  • Everything in Standard
  • MasterCard or Maestro debit card
  • Optional Extra card
  • 5 free ATM withdrawals in the Eurozone
  • N26 Spaces sub-accounts (up to 10)
  • Shared sub-accounts
  • Round-ups for savings
  • Premium partner offers
  • Chatbot Support
  • In-app live support
  • Phone support

3) N26 Business You – €9.90/month

  • Everything in Smart
  • Unlimited ATM Withdrawals in any currency
  • Medical travel insurance
  • Trip insurance
  • Pandem travel coverage
  • Flight insurance
  • Luggage coverage
  • Mobility insurance
  • Winter sport insurance
  • Phone support

4) N26 Metal – €16.90/month

  • Everything in You
  • 18-gram metal card
  • Car insurance
  • Phone insurance
  • Priority support

Card Fees

International Money Transfer Savings
  • €10 EUR fee to issue a new card or replace the card (free for premium members)
  • Higher fees for issuing an N26 Metal card (€45 EUR)
  • MasterCard withdrawals in EUR worldwide charged at €2.00 EUR per withdrawal
  • MaestroCard withdrawal in EUR worldwide charge at 2.00 € per withdrawal beyond our Fair Use Policy + 1.7% of the amount drawn (for N26 Standard, N26 Business and Smart account)
  • Withdrawal fees applicable for foreign currencies as well: 2.00 € per cash withdrawal at ATM + 1.7% of the amount drawn

Other Costs

  • Overdraft fee applicable €3 or €9 for Spanish IBANs (8.9% p.a)

You might like to compare Revolut Vs N26

5. How to Use N26

Sign Up and Get Verified

Check if N26 is available in your country here. Or go to your country-specific N26 website.

Download the app from the app store (Apple or Google) and pair your smartphone.

Next, get verified via eKYC. This may involve uploading identification documents or an in-app video call

Adding Money

You can add money via card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. You can deposit between €20 EUR and €450 EUR per top-up, for a maximum of €450 EUR per calendar month.

If you want more spending leeway, you can choose to receive your salary in your N26 account.

Get Your Card Delivered

Choose either Standard or Express delivery and get your card delivered to your registered address.

Meanwhile, you can use the virtual card to shop offline and online.

Sending Money

  • Log in to your N26 account
  • Select the option to send money
  • Choose “internal” for sending money to another N26 user or “external” to transfer money to someone who holds a different (domestic) bank account.
  • You can use the “Money Beam” option to transfer money to another N26 user without entering their bank details

You can also send money internationally via Wise (although we recommend transferring with them directly).

Receiving Money

Share your N26 bank details with your employer, family member, or friend. Note: There are charges to receive international transfers.

Withdrawing Money

You can either withdraw money at an ATM (free withdrawals up to a limit for both domestic and foreign ATMs) or at a CASH26 point (unlimited cash withdrawals – only available in Germany and Austria).

5. What do N26 Customers Say (including Negative Reviews)?

N26 gets average or above-average reviews on most review sites.

For example, N26 is rated 3.3/5 on Trustpilot with over 20,000 reviews, which is considered “Average.” We analysed 100s of reviews, and 70% gave 4 or 5 stars with 25% giving 1 star. Compared to their peers this is OK especially considering they are a real bank and have a free option. Most banks score below 2/5.

What are they doing well and where are they dropping the ball?

Instead of focusing on individual stories that can create false worries about a service, we went through 100s of reviews (both positive and negative).

Here’s what we found:

The Good

  • Simple and efficient digital banking
  • Secure service

“Best mobile Bank I experienced so far. Very efficient support.

Plenty of features and nice stuff.

Thank’s N26

You make my banking much easier.”

— Tim Neubauer on Trustpilot

“Excellent bank. They protect you from fraudsters. Bitdefender automatically charged me 80 euros for fraud. I explained the problem to N26. They forwarded my dispute to Mastercard. They refunded my money back.”

— Iyad Awwad on Trustpilot

The Bad

Customer service

The level of customer service you get on N26 depends on your service tier (free users only get chatbot support and in-app chat with agents). Only Metal users get priority phone support.

As a result, many users expressed dissatisfaction with the templated responses they received when they had a problem with their account.

Unexpected account shut downs

Some customers lost access to their account right after signing up, while a few had their account paused temporarily.

Naturally, this can be a concern.

In many instances N26 rejects a customer’s account if it doesn’t align with their usage policies.

In the second scenario, it’s usually because they’ve spotted unusual activity like unverified transactions, high-volume spending, etc.

As a licensed bank, N26 needs to comply with banking regulations, which calls for regular auditing of existing accounts.

However, all digital banks (not just N26) are subject to these same issues.

7. Is N26 Safe?

N26 is a regulated bank (in Germany) so you can reasonably expect there are some important safeguards.

They use a variety of operational and technical measures to give you extra control and safety.

App Security

The N26 app on both Android and Apple gives you complete control of your account allowing you to set and change daily limits, reset your pin, lock the card if it is stolen or lost (no calling up the bank) and enable or disable foreign or online payments.

You can even customise the card permissions as per your needs.

Fingerprint Login

You can login using your fingerprint rather than typing your password every time, as an added security feature.

Instant Notifications

You get instant notifications of all the actions you perform on your N26 account. So, you can stay assured that the account is fully secure and your transactions are safe.

Verdict

N26 is a strong mobile bank alternative to high street banks in Europe. The combination of mobile access, Mastercard debit card with good saving and spending options – all via their app or other device makes them a winner.

At the time of writing this review they were limiting some new accounts.

Check if N26 is available in your country here.

Also because they are a real European bank you can get a whole range of pretty handy credit – including their version of buy-now-pay-later and personal credit. And your money is protected up to €100,000 EUR.

On a day-to-day basis, N26 can make your life better.

But when we dug into their customer service (above) we found you might be better off avoiding the free plan and go for a paid option which give you better communication options.

Also if you’re a frequent traveller or international person, who could benefit from being able to work with multiple currencies (not just the Euro) we recommend looking at alternatives like Wise (review) or Revolut (review), whose multi currency accounts (for both personal and business) are the most feature-rich and affordable in the industry.

For business, there are some excellent competitors you should also consider.

If it’s international money transfers you’re after, we recommend Wise (again!) for smaller transfers below €4500 EU or equivalent and OFX (review) for large transfers.

Happy Money!

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