N26 offers mobile banking solutions to customers in the European Union through its subsidiary. Maximilian Tayenthal and Valentin Stalf founded Papayer in February 2013, which later became N26, with its headquarters in Berlin in Germany. The bank provides international money transfer, investment, overdraft, and cash withdrawal, and deposits at stores.
In April 2016, N26 received €10 million in a Series A round by Valar Ventures, co-founded by Peter Thiel, PayPal’s co-founder.
Initially Number 26 started transactions without holding a banking license; instead, it was simply an interface while the back end was provided by Wirecard. In July 2016 it re-branded as N26 Bank.
In July 2016 N26 also announced its Fair Use Policy for customers residing in Germany. This created some resentment on social media.
In December 2016 N26 announced that its basic current account would become available to 17 Eurozone countries.
In March 2018, N26 raised $160 million in a Series C round by Tencent Holdings and Allianz X (Allianz). On the same date, N26 maintained a customer base of 850,000, with the intent of having 5,000,000 customers by 2020.
In July 2019 N26 became available to customers living in the US, after initially suggesting a 2018 launch date.
To get the N26 bank card, one has to be a UK resident and over the age of 18; the application can be completed via the N26 app. It is then necessary to prove one’s identity by scanning a passport or a driving license with a photo. The card features include but are not limited to: instant spending notifications, spending breakdown, in-app support, saving pots, discreet mode, insurance, partnerships. The money one deposits with N26 is insured, protected by the German deposit protection scheme for up to £86,000.
Some of the pros and cons of using the N26 bank can be identified as the following:
Pros: online banking, easy to use app, no branches – online support, fee-free spending abroad, Apple/Google pay, spending notifications.
Cons: no telephone support, no standing orders, no overdraft facility, no guaranteed financial protections with Brexit, no bank branches – difficult to use for people who are not internet-savvy.
One particular word comes to mind when describing my experience: smooth
“I’ve been using N26 for eight months now, and one particular word comes to mind when describing my experience: smooth.” — Jordan Bishop, Forbes (2017)
“This kind of seamless experience is exactly what N26 co-founder and CEO Valentin Stalf set out to achieve when he started the company three years ago.” — Oscar Lopez, Mashable (2016)
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