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Pros and cons of digital banking, cards and applications 2019


The word "bank" probably evokes images of tradition and old buildings full of people in boring costumes. For a long time the banks were bastions of conservative thinking and little innovation. Today, the N26 mobile bank is bringing new ideas to the world of everyday banking.

N26 is a bank that connects directly to a smartphone. It offers many of the most common services that people need, and is one of the few new financial service providers such as Robinhood (it is reported that it will soon enter the United Kingdom) and Revolut.

Unlike RobinHood and Revolut, N26 is a fully licensed German bank that can be used by anyone in the United Kingdom. The company has been present for five years. In that time, N26 has attracted more than two million customers, which are spread across 26 countries. It is based in Berlin.

One of the reasons why banks like N26 are potentially attractive is because of their low cost of doing business. N26 does not have a massive network of bank branches and employees to support, which helps keep its cost structure low.

N26 also seems to have started with the idea of ​​a fully integrated digital platform, and that could be a better option for younger customers who understand the ease with which smartphones make their lives.

Visit N26

N26 website

What is the N26?

In short, N26 is a bank designed to be 100% digital. They do not have bank branches, nor do they offer many of the options that a bank like Barclays would have. If an N26 customer wants to take their cash from the bank, they will have to go to an ATM.

In addition to the total lack of paper, physical locations, limited services and absence of almost all human interaction, N26 is the same as any other bank. They offer low rates as a result of their commercial structure and are expanding the services they offer all the time.

Here is a list of the features that N26 incorporates in your application and is included in all your accounts:

  • Make money transfers easily. Send, receive and request money.
  • N26 partnered with TransferWise for international payments. N26 says they support international transfers to 19 foreign currencies directly from their application. The company also says its international transfer services are six times cheaper than regular banks.
  • N26 accounts support Google Pay, which will allow you to make payments in stores, as well as use Google Pay to make purchases online.
  • The N26 application allows you to set and change daily spending and withdrawal limits, lock or unlock your card, enable and disable online or foreign payments, as well as reset your PIN.
  • One of the most practical features of the N26 application is the expense statistics it generates. You can have the application automatically sort and break down your purchases into groups.
  • Spaces is an orderly way in which N26 allows you to save money for a goal you have. If you need to return some extra money for a combined vacation, or large down payments, the spaces make a lot of sense.
  • N26 will provide you with a UK account number and a classification code. You can set up direct debits and receive and make payments in the same way that any normal bank account would work.
  • MoneyBeam will allow you to send cash to other N26 users instantly, or within two days if they are not using N26.

Account N26

How is N26 different from a traditional bank?

The people who founded N26 wanted to create a banking platform that was easy to use and economical for their customers. Most major banks generate a considerable amount of revenue from retail bank commissions, such as overdraft fines for charges that exceed available funds. These rates act as a central part of your business model.

N26 focuses on providing common-use banking services, not a full range of banking services that include insurance, major loans or unsecured lines of credit. A bank like RBS can offer its customers numerous products, such as mortgages, car loans, credit cards and various insurance products. Sometimes, grouping all products reduces the overall cost.

The disadvantage of this is the cost for customers who need simple services such as deposit, access to ATMs and a debit card to cover daily expenses. N26 is aimed at younger people who have knowledge of technology and have modest needs when it comes to financial services.

Ok, so how do I use N26?

It should be clear that N26 is designed to be ridiculously simple. If you are a citizen or resident of the United Kingdom, you can register to obtain an account in N26 using your application or start the process from a web browser on a computer.

UK customers can open an account with N26 in 3 easy steps:

  • Fill in the online registration form
  • Verify your ID
  • Connect a smartphone to your new N26 account

Once you have successfully completed the above steps, an N26 account of your choice will be opened. They will also send you a MasterCard so you can access your funds.

Open an N26 account

How to open an N26 account

Opening an account in N26 is more or less the same as any bank, but the entire process is done online. Here is a breakdown of what you will have to do.

Step one: provide N26 with your personal information

Registration form N26 covers all normal personal data that any legally registered bank would need. You must provide your:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address
  • Physical address
  • Date of birth
  • Password
  • Phone number
  • Any promotional code you may have found

After all the basics, N26 will ask for information against money laundering (AML) as your:

  • Gender
  • City of birth
  • nationality
  • Job title and industry
  • Fiscal residence (country where it is taxed)
  • Tax identification number (if applicable)

Once that information is in your system, you can accept its terms and conditions, and opt for any other privacy program or settings that you place on your screen. Then, you must confirm your email and opt for one of the two N26 plans that are currently available in the UK at this time (they plan to expand their services soon).

N26 plans

  • N26 -Offer all basic functions, in addition to free cash withdrawals here in the United Kingdom and free payments worldwide. There is no charge for this plan.
  • N26 Metal -It gives you everything the N26 plan does, as well as free cash withdrawals worldwide, travel and shopping protection insurance, as well as dedicated customer service and access to the room code. It will cost you £ 14.90 per month.

Step two: get verification

To verify your account, within the UK you must upload a selfie and a photo ID that can be done within the application.

Step three: pair your smartphone

Once you have done all this, you must link your smartphone to the account you just created. If you have not yet downloaded the N26 application, you must do so. Then, the application will guide you through the pairing process.

It is important to ensure that the telephone number you entered in step one is correct, as you will receive a four-digit verification code. You can change your number later, but if it was entered incorrectly, you will be stuck in this step.

Once verified, everything is ready. Just wait for your new MasterCard to be delivered, and you are on your way to using your new N26 account.

N26 mobile application

N26 Rates and limits

The basic account N26 is free to use and includes withdrawals from free ATMs in euros and free payments in any currency. The N26 Black account will cost € 9.90 per month and also includes free worldwide withdrawals and an Allianz insurance package.

  • UK customers free cash withdrawals up to £ 2,500 per day
  • Withdrawals of foreign cash are charged at 1.7%
  • The daily limit for online / in-store payments is £ 5000
  • The monthly limit for card payments is £ 20,000

Rates N26

N26 membership plans

€ 0.00 / month plan

  • Free withdrawals at ATMs in euros
  • Free payments in any currency
  • Free withdrawals worldwide Not included
  • Allianz insurance package Not included

€ 9.90 / monthly plan

  • Free withdrawals at ATMs in euros
  • Free payments in any currency
  • Free withdrawals worldwide
  • Allianz insurance package

N26 is a new form of bank

There are many people out there who may not fully trust a bank that exists primarily on the Internet. N26 has corporate offices in Berlin, New York and Barcelona, ​​but does not offer customers any type of branded ATM or branches.

A bank without physical presence can be a diversion for some, but it offers excellent services with little cost to its clients. Clearly, N26 will be a good option for younger people and less attractive for older generations who are still assimilating the idea of ​​electronic invoicing.

Who would N26 work for?

There are two basic ways to use a mobile banking structure like N26.

First, it could be used by younger people who have just started in the financial world and do not have many assets. If you do not have a mortgage or other important debts, an account in N26 offers practical features with an almost zero risk.

The fees charged by N26 are almost non-existent for people who plan to use the bank exclusively in the United Kingdom. Even when cash is withdrawn abroad, N26 only charges 1.7% on the transaction. The big advantage is the lack of predatory rates and practices, as well as integrated statistics that can facilitate financial planning.

The second way to use N26 services is as a complement to a traditional bank account. If you need a way to track your personal expenses, or are tired of all the fees associated with the use of large banks, N26 is a true competitor for your business.

N26 is fully integrated with the UK financial system, so creating an automatic monthly payment from your main bank account to your N26 account would be very easy.

In addition to eliminating any possibility of charges in domestic activity in the United Kingdom, you would also be isolating your main bank account from identity theft. N26 designed its platform to adapt perfectly to online transactions, which may be subject to fraud risk.

Who would not like N26?

It should already be quite clear that non-technological experts should stay away from a platform like N26. The bank relies on the latest consumer technology to reduce costs, which is a blessing for people living with a smartphone connected to their body. However, if you are not comfortable with an application that manages your financial life, N26 is not a good option for you.

N26 also offers a set of commonly used features, but it lacks the depth of financial services that the main banking interests such as Barclays would have at its disposal. He partnered with TransferWise to expand its reach, but those services depend on the ability of its partners to stay in business.

Rich people would probably only use N26 as a way to avoid significant problems arising from their participation in the digital economy, since N26 services are not deep enough to meet their needs. The same is true for companies that need a bank that offers a wide range of esoteric financial services, and do not want to play "fill in the gaps" with a new banking idea clearly aimed at consumers.

How does N26 compare with similar platforms?

As N26 points out in its UK promotion, it is the only mobile bank that has a full bank license. Revolut also offers many of the same services that N26 offers. Last year he was granted a specialized banking license in Lithuania, which places it in a similar category. In addition to N26 and Revolut, there are some other mobile platforms that offer similar functionality, with different levels of security for depositors.

Should you trust a mobile bank?

As mobile banking becomes more popular, there will probably be questions about whether or not it is safe to trust your money to new banks with radical ideas. Because both N26 and Revolut are licensed in the EU, they should offer deposit protection similar to that of any other bank.

Of course, the country where the bank is registered would have to comply with any deposit guarantee in case of a problem with the bank, which can be an obstacle for some people in the UK. Recovering your funds from a company that operates with a special Lithuanian banking license might not be a simple process.

There are also questions about whether Revolut would have quality or not for Lithuania's deposit protection at this time. As a fully licensed German bank, N26 depositors must be covered by the € 100,000 deposit insurance scheme that applies to all retail accounts in German banks.

In general, both N26 and Revolut provide their clients with a variety of services at very low costs. There are some differences between the two, and if you are trying to decide which one to use, here are some things to consider.

N26 vs Revolut

N26 is much more like a normal bank than Revolut. While both businesses are technically registered European banks, Revolut is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom. N26 was set to be a simple mobile solution for people who don't want to deal with large banks, and Revolut is much more like a new class of financial services provider.

One area in which Revolut can be attractive is its crypto-based services. Revolut offers its customers the possibility of easily buying crypto in their account, although it is not allowed to transfer them to other wallets.

Revolut application review

You can read our full review of Revolut here.

Both platforms offer statistical tools to help their clients track expenses, as well as economic options for international money transfers. The N26 debit card is directly linked to the customer's account, but the Revolut debit card is prepaid. People who want direct access to their funds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, may not find the Revolut system desirable.

In addition, Revolut limits cash withdrawals to £ 200 per month for its free service, which makes it a bad replacement for a regular bank account.


N26 is one of the few new mobile banking platforms that offers consumers many common services at very low prices. The fact that N26 works with a full German bank license puts it ahead of many of the other platforms in terms of deposit security.

For younger people who do not need full banking services, it is probably worth trying N26. The company is not designed to beat its customers with a lot of fees, which is the way in which the major banks earn additional profits from their retail depositors. The N26 debit card has a direct link to the customer's account and smartphone, which facilitates the use of deposited funds.

The only real drawback for N26 is its short trajectory. The company has entered the global banking scene at a time of relative calm. It is difficult to know how they will react to difficult times in the financial market, if they arrive and when they arrive.

Banks like N26 are a clear contender for deposits of people who do not have tens of thousands of pounds to stay safe, and only need normal banking services. If you would like more information about N26, or would like to test your platform, simply click here.

Visit N26


Revision N26


  • Free cash withdrawals at £ GBP
  • Free bank card
  • Zero fees for card payments abroad
  • Excellent mobile and web application
  • Good security features


  • 1.7% charge for foreign withdrawals
  • There are no physical branches


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are only those of the author, not those of any bank or credit card issuer and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The answers below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The responses have not been reviewed, approved or supported by the bank advertiser. It is not the responsibility of the bank advertiser to ensure that all publications and / or questions are answered.

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  1. Good post! Thanks!

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