N26 UK Bank Review | Simple Mobile Banking | Bobatoo

N26 UK Bank Review

Good smartphone app

Easy sign-up process

Features to help you reach financial goals

N26 Bank logo

N26 is no longer available for UK account holders

On 11th February 2020, N26 Bank announced that it had pulled out of the UK and would be closing down all UK accounts on 15th April 2020 due to the recent outcome of Brexit. As a result, it is no longer possible to open an account with the online challenger bank if you are a UK resident. Find out more and see how to cancel and switch your N26 account in our blog: N26 Bank Pulls Out of the UK, Closing Down Hundreds-of-Thousands of Accounts.

Read on for more information about the digital-only bank, but bear in mind that you cannot bank with them if you are a British citizen.

What is N26?

N26 is a mobile-only bank headquartered in Germany, offering banking services across Europe, Switzerland, Brazil and the US.

Founded in 2013, they now have more than 3.5 million active customers and are Europe’s biggest mobile bank offering a range of current accounts. N26 claim to offer their customers ‘ultimate flexibility to organise, control and update’ their finances.

Does N26 have a banking licence? – Is N26 FSCS protected?

Yes – N26 is a real, registered bank meaning that it is completely safe to use.

It is not covered by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) but funds up to €100,000 (£89,000) are instead guaranteed by the German bank deposit protection scheme.

Why is it called ‘N26’?

The ‘N’ in N26 stands for number, while the ‘26’ refers to the number of cubes on a standard rubix cube.

Founding members of N26 say that, like a rubix cube, banking is complex ‘but if you know the correct sequence of moves, you can solve it quickly and elegantly.’

N26 website homepage

How do I open an N26 UK account?

As N26 is an entirely digital bank, they do not have any physical branches which you can visit to open up an account – instead, you must download the N26 app on either the Google or Apple app store. This means that, to hold an N26 UK account, you must have a compatible smartphone. You must also be aged 18+ and be a resident of the UK (if you’re opening the account in the UK, obviously).

To open an N26 account, you must follow these steps:

#1 – Download the N26 smartphone app

#2 – Confirm your personal details (name, address, date of birth etc.)

#3 – Choose between an N26, N26 You and N26 Metal account (we’ll discuss these later on)

#4 – Verify your ID by taking a selfie and a picture of your ID (driving licence, passport etc.)

#5 – Once your identification is verified, your N26 card will be sent to you in the post

N26 Current Accounts

N26 have three different current accounts: N26, N26 You and N26 Metal. All three plans offer different perks, with both the N26 You and N26 Metal accounts coming with monthly fees.

N26

  • Free to use
  • Contactless Mastercard debit card
  • Must be 18+
  • Push notifications when payments are made or received

N26 You

  • £4.90 per month
  • Personalised contactless Mastercard debit card
  • Must be 18+
  • Push notifications when payments are made or received
  • Exclusive offers with partners

N26 Metal

  • £14.90 per month
  • Personalised, stainless steel contactless debit card
  • Must be 18+
  • Push notifications when payments are made or received
  • Exclusive offers with partners
  • Travel insurance and purchase protection
  • Dedicated customer support

N26

An N26 account is the only free-to-use current account on offer and works as you would expect a standard current account to work.

N26 current account

A standard N26 account comes with a contactless Mastercard debit card and complete access to e-wallet services like Apple, Google and Samsung Pay.

Whenever you make or receive a payment using your N26 card, you will receive a push notification to your smartphone, while you can also use both the app and website to view transactions immediately after they have been completed.

With a free N26 account, you are restricted as to what features you can access and will not be able to make use of the exclusive offers available to N26 You and N26 Metal account holders – you can also only set up two N26 ‘spaces’ (effectively separate accounts designed for saving).

N26 You (formerly N26 Black)

Described as ‘a packaged bank account for home and travel’, the N26 You account offers the same benefits of a standard account with a few extras thrown in for good measure – these come at a price, though, as the account costs £4.90 a month to maintain.

N26 You account

Instead of a standard contactless Mastercard, you can choose your own N26 card design, allowing you to choose from five different colours – aqua, sand, rhubarb, slate and ocean.

Another bonus of an N26 You account is that N26 will waive any foreign transaction fees when making purchases or withdrawing money abroad – this includes shopping online from foreign retailers.

You will also get hand-picked discounts from partners of N26 and 10 N26 spaces to help you reach your savings goals.

N26 Metal

The most advanced N26 current account, an N26 Metal account comes with (you guessed it) a contactless debit card made of stainless steel which is available in 3 different colours.

N26 Metal Account

An N26 Metal account costs a hefty £14.90 a month to maintain, but comes with a host of extra benefits including travel insurance and purchase protection, dedicated customer support and discounted LoungeKey membership.

N26 travel insurance is underwritten by Allianz Global Assistance and covers any medical expenses required while on your travels, as well as expenses for luggage and/or flight delay (over 4 hours) and repatriation in the case of a medical emergency.

N26 purchase protection insurance covers you against theft or damage to selected goods, as long as they were purchased using your N26 card.

Your discounted LoungeKey membership will allow you access to over 1,000 members-only airport lounges for a discounted price of £15 – these give you unlimited access to luxuries like refreshments, WiFi and showers.

N26 Metal account holders also receive 24/7 dedicated N26 customer service.

Can I use N26 abroad?

As is the case with many modern banks, N26 allows you to use your debit card abroad at no extra cost – with a standard N26 card, you will be charged a small fee (1.7%) when withdrawing money from a foreign ATM.

When withdrawing money, be sure to choose the local currency so not to be charged a transaction fee by the ATM provider – it should also be noted that, as is the case in the UK, some ATMs will charge a small fee for withdrawing money.

N26 cheque & cash deposits UK

Unlike rival banks like Monzo and Starling, with N26 you are unable to deposit cash or cheques into your account.

If you want to open an N26 account, we recommend that you have an account with another provider (perhaps keep your old bank account open) to use to pay-in cash or cheques – this money can then be transferred to your N26 account electronically.

Saving with N26

N26 do not offer a traditional savings account as such, but do allow account holders to save money in up to ten different ‘N26 spaces’ – these spaces are customisable, allowing you to set savings goals, use icons to help identify them and withdraw or deposit money directly to and from your N26 current account whenever you like.

These spaces do not allow you to accrue interest, so those with large amounts of savings may wish to look elsewhere, but they are perfect for anybody that struggles to consistently save money on a smaller scale.

Customers with a free N26 current account can have two active spaces at any one time, while those with a paid account can create up to ten.

Does N26 have an overdraft facility?

N26 do not currently offer arranged overdraft facilities, but their website states that this service will be coming soon in the UK.

When they eventually become available, customers will be able to set up an N26 account in as little as 2 minutes and choose their own overdraft limit easily through the N26 app.

As well as this, N26 say that they will not be introducing any daily penalty charges for using an overdraft.

Online banking - N26 web

Pros

  • View the balance of your accounts
  • 'Dark mode' for those who prefer it
  • Access account information
  • Add new payees and transfer money
  • 'Discreet mode' hides important information

Cons

  • Must use smartphone app first

You need a smartphone to set up your N26 account, but after that, you’re free to use N26 web.

N26 web gives you access to everything that you get on the smartphone app from your laptop or desktop computer – you can even toggle ‘dark mode’ to limit eye strain when banking in the evenings.

An example of bank transactions with N26

N26 web gives you access to all of your account information, including your individual N26 card ID, sort code and account number. You’ll also be able to lock and unlock your debit card and request a new one if yours goes missing.

With N26 online banking, you can download and print your transaction history when you need to provide evidence of bank statements, and you can and get in touch with the N26 support team using the online chat feature.

Unlike several other digital banks, N26 online banking even allows you to add a new payee and transfer money.

If you’re in a public place, like a coffee shop or library, you can even tick a box to enable ‘discreet mode’ which hides both your balance and transactions.

N26 smartphone app

Pros

  • Transfer money
  • View transactions
  • Create spaces
  • Lock/unlock debit card
  • Real-time push notifications
  • Summarised spending
  • iMessage and Apple Watch add-ons

Cons

  • We can't find any cons with N26's app just yet!

The N26 app is at the heart of all of their services and comes with a range of both helpful and quirky extras. From around 60,000 combined reviews on the Google and Apple app stores, the N26 app averages an impressive rating of 4.45/5.

As you’d expect from an app-based bank, you are able to use the app to transfer money, view previous transactions, chat with advisors and create N26 spaces – you can also use it to lock your debit card (or order a new one), enable and disable both online transactions and payments abroad and receive real-time push notifications when money enters or leaves your account.

N26 app

All of your spending will be summarised into easy-to-read categories to allow you to identify where you can save money, while you can also make use of free iMessage and Apple Watch add-ons to request money from friends, view recent transactions and check your account balance.

An example of someone's account information

N26 rewards – exclusive offers

When you register for an N26 You or N26 Metal current account, you gain access to a range of exclusive partner benefits. These include:

  • Great deals when making hotel bookings with Hotels.com
  • Low prices on guided tours with GetYourGuide
  • Discounts when learning another language with Babbel
  • Stream music with steaming service ‘Tidal’

Pros and cons of N26

Pros

  • Excellent smartphone app
  • No fees for spending abroad
  • Useful website
  • Customer support online/in-app
  • Easily block/unblock debit card
  • Easy sign-up process
  • Instant access to e-wallet services

Cons

  • No overdraft facility
  • No option for savings accounts/ISAs
  • No branches to visit
  • Can't pay in cash/cheques
  • Smartphone is essential
  • 1.7% withdrawal charge for free accounts
  • No telephone support

N26 is a good choice of bank for those who plan on spending time abroad, while it also has its benefits when used in the UK.

As you’d expect, you get an excellent smartphone app which can do just about everything that you’d expect, while the ability to log in online is also a bonus.

Registering for an N26 account is easy and takes very little time, but you cannot sign up unless you have a compatible smartphone.

As there are no N26 branches, it can be difficult to get help when you need it, particularly as there is no N26 contact number for UK members and the online chat service has restricted hours (7am-10pm).

The absence of savings accounts and ISAs means you cannot earn money from interest with N26, so if you have a large sum of savings, you might be better off storing them elsewhere.

Customer reviews

Customers leave reviews on websites like Trustpilot to advise people on whether or not they should switch their allegiances to a new bank.

From over 6,000 reviews on Trustpilot, 77% of customers rated N26 either ‘great’ or ‘excellent’, giving the bank an overall average of 4 stars.

N26 bank Trustpilot review

Some of the positive reviews have suggested that the online customer service provided is ‘fast and friendly’, while others are complimentary of the easy setup process and ‘super user friendly app’.

Despite the positive reviews, 22% of customers rated N26 as either ‘bad’ or ‘poor’. Some said that they had not received their debit card and those who did said it took a while to arrive. As expected, many UK customers are unhappy that there is no over-the-phone support.

When looking at customer reviews, be sure to consider as many as possible in order to gain a fair representation of the company.

Ratings (out of 5)

Trustpilot: 4

Reviews.co.uk: 1

SmartMoneyPeople: 4.5

Average: 3.2/5

N26 contact information

If you are an existing member of N26, or have any further questions regarding the service that they offer, you can get in touch with them here:

  • The N26 App
  • The N26 Website

These chat services are available between 7am and 10pm, Monday to Sunday (UK). There is no option for UK customers to contact N26 via phone.

If you’d like to compare N26 with other digital banks like Monzo and Starling, have a read of Bobatoo’s range of bank reviews below.

Related articles:

Monzo Bank Review

Barclays Bank (UK) Review

Starling Bank Review