N26 is a banking and financial technology start-up based in Berlin, Germany. It launched in the United States in July 2019, has 3.5 million customers across Europe, and the waitlist for the U.S. launch contained over 100,000 names. N26 is what’s known as a challenger bank, which means it’s a fully digital banking platform. We like N26’s innovative mobile banking features, which allow the customer to be more in control of their banking experience. A customer who is comfortable using their mobile device for all their banking needs might be a good fit for N26.
N26 at a glance
|Min Savings Deposit||Max Savings APY||1-Year CD Rate||J.D. Power Survey Score||Key Benefit|
|$0||N/A||N/A||N/A||Unique control over your account through the app|
What we like about it
N26 accounts don’t require that you keep a minimum balance and there are no monthly maintenance fees. It also doesn’t charge for overdrafts. Additionally, the app allows for more control than many customers have at standard banks. For example, you can lock your Visa debit card from the app if you lose it to stop fraudulent purchases. One of the best features of N26 is its sub-accounts (called Spaces), which help you to organize your savings into individual pockets. Saving for a trip to Tuscany? With Spaces, you can swipe money into a personalized sub-account designated for saving for that trip.
Things to consider
N26 only offers a basic checking account. Since it recently launched in the U.S., the company doesn’t offer as many options as its European counterpart. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all your banking, you won’t find it with N26 — at least not yet.
Also, the bank is fully digital with just an app and a website. For customers without smartphones, N26 wouldn’t be the best option for you.
N26 checking accounts
N26 specializes in checking accounts, and right now, there is one basic account available. For this account, you’ll pay $2 per domestic ATM withdrawal and $2 plus 2% on foreign ATM withdrawals. The only other fee the bank charges is for a replacement debit card, which costs $5.
You have complete control over your account through the N26 app, which has a budgeting feature that automatically categorizes each of your purchases so you can easily see where your money is going. Also, you can change your settings to allow for international spending. Usually, you have to call your bank or log into your online account to inform your bank of upcoming travels, but N26 has simplified this step for its customers.
Are you worried about not having a physical branch to visit with questions? N26’s customer service operates in real-time through its mobile app, phone or email. Moreover, the company has a lot of changes it is planning to implement soon. The company plans to roll out two premium paid options called N26 Metal and N26 Black targeting business customers.Additionally, N26 says it will begin to offer a rebate on two ATM withdrawal fees per month.
N26 savings accounts
The closest thing N26 has to a savings account is its Spaces feature, but this doesn’t earn you interest. Nevertheless, it’s convenient for people who like to visualize their money in separate sub-accounts. For those looking to earn money on their savings, Barclay’s Online Savings Account could be a great option. It offers an APY of 1.70% and there are no monthly maintenance fees. Also, it doesn’t require a monthly minimum balance.
N26 money market accounts
N26 doesn’t offer a money market account. Two great external options are through BBVA and TIAA Bank. Both provide a high rate of 2.15%, although BBVA requires you to have at least $10,000 to get that rate. If you can’t deposit that much, the rate is still high at 2.00%. For TIAA, you’ll need to have at least $5,000 to open an account.
N26 doesn’t offer a certificate of deposit (CD) account. If you’re looking to open a CD and earn better interest than with standard savings, you might look into BBVA or Capital One. BBVA’s 12-month term offers a rate of 1.50% with a deposit of at least $500, plus there are no maintenance fees. Capital One offers a 2.20% APY for a 1-year CD, but there is no minimum to open the account. This option could work for customers with less than $500 to deposit.
N26 IRA accounts
N26 also doesn’t offer IRA accounts. Outside options that might be worth looking into are Wealthfront and Charles Schwab. If you’re a hands-off investor, Wealthfront could be for you. It charges a low 0.25% management fee and requires a minimum of $500 to open. A robo-advisor manages the account and does the hard work for you. If you’re looking for a Roth IRA, you might try Charles Schwab. It has no minimum balance to open an account and charges a $4.95 trading fee, which is similar to many other brokerage firms. It also offers a user-friendly online dashboard for trading on your own.
N26 credit cards
Since N26 doesn’t offer a credit card, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you want a card with a great sign-up bonus, you might try the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Upon opening, you get 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening that you can redeem for travel. However, the card does have a $95 annual fee.
N26 doesn’t offer any investing platform, but there are external options available, such as Merrill Edge. Its fees are reasonable at $6.95 per trade, and the company provides in-person support at around 2,500 locations through a partnership with Bank of America. You could also look into Ally Bank, which, like Merrill Edge, has no account minimum. Its fees are a bit lower at $4.95 per trade.
The bottom line
A person who’s comfortable using a mobile app for all their banking services and doesn’t need in-person support would be a great fit for N26. Moreover, anyone who wants more personal control over their banking experience might do well with N26. However, a customer who prefers a physical branch location — or even someone who prefers not to use a smartphone — might not want to go with N26. Additionally, if you’re looking for an all-in-one banking platform, N26 is not the best option, since it only offers checking accounts.
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