Popular challenger bank, N26, has made a bold decision to stop trading in the UK as a result of the outcome of Brexit.
The German bank does not have a British banking licence and it has been successfully operating through what are known as ‘passporting rules’. However, the outcome of Brexit has meant that this will not be possible in the near future.
Attaining a British banking licence would be costly and time-consuming for the digital bank which launched in 2018, and it will therefore be focusing its efforts outside of the UK.
The bank has immediately ceased the opening of any new N26 accounts and has announced that all existing N26 UK accounts will be closed on 15 April 2020.
N26 customers – what should I do now?
The first step you should take is to transfer any money you have in both your N26 account and N26 ‘spaces’ to another bank. If you don’t already have another current account, check out this list of banks that could pay you up to £150 to switch.
Unfortunately, N26 is not supported by the Current Account Switch Service, so you will have to switch to a new bank account manually.
If you have a negative balance then you should top up your account as soon as possible, using the details found either on your N26 Mastercard or the N26 app.
Any recurring payments you have set up to leave your account should be managed accordingly and switched to your new bank account along with your money.
The same applies for any regular incoming payments such as your salary or dividends – any money paid into your N26 current account after 15 April 2020 will bounce and return to the sender’s account.
What’s been said?
A statement on the N26 website reads:
“With the UK having left the EU at the end of January, we will in due course no longer be able to operate in the UK with our European banking licence. As such we can no longer open new N26 accounts and will be closing existing accounts on 15 April 2020… We are sorry to be leaving and we understand this will be disappointing for our customers.”
Replying to disappointed customers on social media, a spokesperson for N26 said:
“The UK effectively leaving the EU was a factor in our decision - we have extensively reviewed our operations in the UK and do not feel we can continue in the market under these circumstances.”
When queried on whether or not it would have been possible for the bank to register for a UK banking licence, the bank insisted that it “looked at all the possible options, but unfortunately as a business none of these were viable”.
Switching banks? Read our extensive reviews
If you’ve been affected by the closure of N26 accounts in the UK, be sure to check out our range of extensive bank reviews before making your decision on who to bank with next.
Whether you want to stick with a digital-only bank like Monzo or Starling, or would rather go back to basics with a high-street bank like HSBC or Nationwide, our reviews cover everything from interest rates to overdrafts to help you make an informed decision.