N26 Bank: Is it really that good?

Andreia Ferreira
by Andreia Ferreira
Updated on

In the world of online banking, one name that has been making waves for expats in Germany is N26.

Popular among the international community, N26 promises to offer a bank account with little to no fees, hassle-free registration, and modern solutions tailored to a younger crowd.

In this N26 review, we will dig deep into the offering of N26 to find out if it’s really worth the hype.

We will dissect the plans, features, and benefits while scrutinizing both the pros and cons of the German virtual bank. Let’s dive right in.     

N26 Bank: Key Takeaways

Quick Summary

  • N26 is a real bank, with a German banking license.
  • N26 stands out for its fully digital banking experience in English.
  • The German bank offers 4 plans, with monthly fees ranging from free to 16.90€.
  • ATM withdrawal fees apply, with limitations on domestic withdrawals.
  • International transfers with no currency conversion fees are offered.
  • Unique perks such as N26 Crypto and Shared Spaces stand out.
  • Mixed reviews when it comes to customer service.
  • You can only have one account.

Recommended Plan: N26 You

For comprehensive travel insurance, unlimited global ATM withdrawals, and additional perks at a monthly fee of 9.90€.

Comparison Table

N26 Standard

N26 Smart

N26 You

N26 Metal

Monthly Fees

€0

€4.90

€9.90

€16.90

Free payments worldwide

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Free domestic ATM withdrawals (Monthly)

3 free withdrawals

(€2 after that)

5 free withdrawals

(€2 after that)

5 free withdrawals

(€2 after that)

8 free withdrawals

(€2 after that)

Free ATM withdrawals in the EU

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Free ATM withdrawals abroad

1.70%

1.70%

Unlimited

Unlimited

Travel Insurance

Yes

Yes

Incoming swift transfers

€12.50 + 0.1% of the transaction amount

€12.50 + 0.1% of the transaction amount

€12.50 + 0.1% of the transaction amount

€12.50 + 0.1% of the transaction amount

Mobile phone coverage and purchase protection

Yes

Cashback on purchases

Business account only

Business account only

Business account only

Business account only

Physical card

€10

Free

Free

Free

Extra card

€10

€10

€10

Additional sub-accounts

Up to 10

Up to 10

Up to 10

Shared Spaces

Up to 10 other N26 customers

Up to 10 other N26 customers

Up to 10 other N26 customers

Premium deals and discounts from selected brands

Yes

Yes

Yes

Priority Phone line

Yes

Yes

Yes

In-App chat

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

N26 crypto

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SCHUFA check

Google and Apple Pay

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

N26 Germany Review For 2024

N26 was founded in Berlin by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal in 2013. It operates in 24 countries and has reached over 8 million clients. 

N26 is the first 100% mobile bank to have been granted a full German banking license from BaFin. This means that N26 customers’ funds are protected up to €100,000 by the German Deposit Protection Scheme. 

The online bank offers one free bank account and three paid accounts. Let’s take a closer look. 

Subscription Options 

N26 offers personal and business accounts. You have 4 plans, including a free option: N26 Standard, N26 Smart, N26 You, and N26 Metal. 

a) N26 Standard (Free)

The N26 Standard is a free plan with no monthly or annual fees, which is its biggest plus.

N26 Standard

Because of that, you won’t have many extra perks with this bank card, but you can still benefit from free payments worldwide, and 3 free domestic withdrawals a month. 

With this free virtual card, you have no insurance and no additional sub-accounts or shared accounts.

If you withdraw money outside the Eurozone, you have a 1.7% fee. If you want a real card, you have to pay 10€. No phone support is available in this plan. 

b) N26 Smart (€4.90/Month)

The N26 Smart bank account gives you 5 domestic cash withdrawals a month, up to 10 additional sub-accounts, and shared sub-accounts.

N26 Smart

You can also have a physical debit card (Mastercard). Withdrawing money in foreign currencies incurs a 1.7% fee. 

In this paid plan, you also have access to “N26 Perks” on the app, where you can get discounts from selected brands. However, there is no insurance included.

c) N26 You (€9.90/Month)

The N26 You bank account gives you a stronger account with traveling insurance included, which covers medical emergencies, personal liability, baggage coverage and daily insurance, travel delay and cancellation, and trip interruption. 

N26 You

Although you have only 5 domestic ATM withdrawals, you have unlimited withdrawals abroad.

You also have access to sub-accounts, brand discounts, and a free bank card with a choice of color.

d) N26 Metal (€16.90/Month)

Besides the comprehensive travel insurance, the Metal card also offers you mobile phone insurance of up to 2,000 in case of theft or damage, as well as purchase protection insurance.

N26 Metal

The premium card, N26 Metal, offers you fee-free ATM withdrawals worldwide and 8 free domestic withdrawals.  

Like with the other paid plans, you have access to 10 sub-accounts and shared spaces, as well as N26 Perks. 

e) Business Accounts

Business plans are made for freelancers and self-employed people (not for companies), with the extra benefit of having cashback every month on all card purchases of 0.1%.

The remaining conditions are the same as the personal plans. 

However, you can only have either a personal account or a business account. Not both.  

Fees & Charges

N26 Bank Fees & Charges

Monthly Fees

N26 Standard

€0.00

N26 Smart

€4.90

N26 You

€9.90

N26 Metal

€16.90

ATM Withdrawal Fees

Domestic Withdrawals

You can only make a certain number of free withdrawals (From 3 to 8, depending on the plan), before incurring a 2€ fee.

Withdrawals In The EU

Free in all plans

Withdrawing Money From Abroad (In other currencies)

N26 Standard

Free

N26 Smart

N26 You

1.7%

N26 Metal

Cashless Payments Worldwide

Free in all plans

And you can benefit from Mastercard’s best currency exchange rate, with no foreign currency surcharge.

Transfers

(Within and among EEA states and Switzerland in Euros)

Free in all plans

Fee For Incoming SWIFT Transactions

€12.50 + 0.1 % of the transaction amount

(Maximum fee is €100 and transactions below €150 are free of charge. Doesn’t apply to Metal members).

Refusal Of Direct Debit

(Due to insufficient funds)

3€ per refusal

SEPA Instant Credit Transfer Fee

(Only applies to Standard plan)

€0.49 per transaction

Physical Card

€10 for the Standard Plan

Free for the Smart, You and Metal Plans

Additional Mastercard Debit Card

€10 for the Smart, You and Metal Plans

(Not Applicable to the Standard Plan)

*** You can check the full N26 price list here.

Bank Cards

All N26 cards are debit Mastercards with contactless NFC technology.

As a debit card, your Mastercard is connected to your bank account, so the money you spend will be immediately deducted from your N26 bank account. 

If you’re a premium customer, your N26 Mastercard is included with your membership, and you can pick between 5 colors.

For Standard members, you have a virtual card, and you can order a physical card for 10€. 

Residents in Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria can also order a Maestro card to accompany their primary debit Mastercard.

All N26 bank accounts come with a virtual debit card, which you can also conveniently link to your Apple Pay and Google Pay wallet.

N26 doesn’t currently offer credit cards. However, you can activate an overdraft, which allows you to borrow up to €10,000 through your checking account. The interest rate applied to your overdraft is 8.9% above the ECB rate.

You can also get a loan through the N26 bank, between €1,000 and €25,000, with an interest rate of 5.89% p.a. You can get more information here.  

Perks & Benefits

N26 Perks & Benefits
  • Free transactions between N26 users
  • Free international transfers
  • 100% mobile banking, where you can send money instantly, as well as receive money
  • Travel insurance, including medical emergencies, personal liability, baggage coverage, daily insurance, travel delay and cancellation, and trip interruption (“You” and “Metal” plans).
  • Phone coverage and purchase protection (Metal plan)
  • N26 Instant Savings, where you earn interest on your savings (2,6% p.a. for new members, for 12 months)
  • CASH26 feature that allows you to withdraw and deposit funds at N26 partner locations.
  • N26 Crypto feature, where you can buy, sell, and manage cryptocurrencies.
  • Spaces sub-accounts – you can get up to 10 sub-accounts with unique IBANs to organize and save your money from your main account (premium plans)
  • Shared spaces – As a premium customer, you can create a sub-account and share it with up to 10 other N26 users
  • Discounts on partner brands
  • Specialized accounts for freelancers and students
  • On a business account, you have cashback every month on all card purchases of 0,1%
  •  You can get personal loans of up to €25,000 with N26 Credit in minutes

Investments

N26 has had some bumps in the road when it comes to offering investment features to its millions of clients, particularly when the plan to buy the Dutch online broker Bux failed.

Although a trading product seems to be in the works, the German fintech is only offering crypto trading for now. 

N26 Crypto Investments

You can easily access N26 Crypto from the “Trading” section within the app’s “Finances” tab.  

To open a position, you need to select the coin and the amount you would like to trade, and the cash equivalent of the trade will be deducted from your N26 bank account, while coins will appear in your N26 Crypto portfolio instantly.

There are over 180 coins available to sell and buy.

N26 Metal customers will be able to make transactions with a 1% transaction fee applied for trading Bitcoin and 2% for all other available cryptocurrencies.

All other customers have a 1.5% fee on Bitcoin and a 2.5% fee for other cryptocurrencies.

Mobile App

The N26 mobile banking app equals hassle-free banking, helping you save money and make your life easier.

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With its user-friendly interface, the app ensures a smooth experience from the moment you log in, with easy access to your bank details.

Real-time push notifications keep you updated on transactions, providing a sense of control.

In the app, categorized spending insights break down your expenses, giving you a clear picture of your financial habits.

The “Spaces” feature allows you to create virtual sub-accounts for specific savings goals, and you can also share them with other users (with a premium account). This feature helps you budget and save money. 

Making payments is easy with N26’s support for contactless payments and Apple and Google Pay digital wallets. You can send money overseas in 38+ currencies with Wise in your N26 app. 

Through the app, you can instantly buy and sell almost 200 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

You can also set up direct debits easily for your monthly subscriptions. 

Security Features

N26 prioritizes your security, which is why it puts in place several security features to protect your money:

  • Device-Paired Access: Your N26 account is exclusively accessible through your paired smartphone.
  • Two-Factor Authentication: you must provide your password, or verify yourself biometrically.
  • Fingerprint and facial recognition: This minimizes the risk of unauthorized access even further.
  • Instant notifications: You will receive real-time alerts directly to your smartphone about each transaction.
  • In-App Card Locking: You can swiftly lock your card or change your PIN directly through the app with just a few taps if you suspect compromised card privacy. 
  • 3D Secure Authentication: Before processing online payments, 3D Secure requires authorization through your N26 app. 
  • Location Tracking: the system can detect unusual card usage patterns or transactions in different locations.

In 2022, there were reports of several N26 accounts being wrongfully closed, and people lost access to their money.

Tighter fraud detection systems were the culprit. However, it seems like the problem has been resolved or attenuated since then. 

Customer Support

There are mixed reviews when it comes to N26’s customer support.

Some people have positive experiences with it, while others share a more negative perspective, with unresponsive or unhelpful support. This is not so uncommon for online banks, though. 

You can reach one of N26’s agents through the website, or by using the chat function in the app. They are available from 7 am to 11 pm CET, every day. There is also a phone line, but only for premium members. 

You can also send them an email or reach out to Neon, an automated N26 Chatbot, 24 hours a day. Unlike most German banks, the support is available in English. 

N26 Bank Pros & Cons

Pros

100% digital and in English.

No currency conversion fee.

Good exchange rate for international transfers.

Sending money is instant between N26 users.

Free virtual MasterCard, accepted everywhere.

Interest on savings account.

Additional sub-accounts plus shared accounts.

Specialized accounts for freelancers and students.

Loans are available.

You can invest in cryptocurrencies easily through the App.

N26 is a regulated bank that you can use as your main bank account or secondary account.

Strong security features, including push notifications on every transaction.

User-friendly banking app, with many practical features.

Travel insurance is included in premium plans.

Cons

Limited withdrawals in your home country; cash withdrawal fees apply.

You can either get a personal or business account, not both.

No Spaces accounts in the free plan.

No credit cards are available.

Some negative reviews about the customer support.

Limited investment options.

How Do You Open An N26 Account In Germany?

To open an N26 account in Germany, you need to follow these requirements:

The registration process is very easy and unlike most traditional banks, there is no paperwork. You can do it via the digital bank app or the website.

Here are the steps:

  • Download the N26 app in the App Store or Play Store
  • Enter your email address 
  • Enter your personal details (name, address, date of birth, nationality, employment status)
  • Create your password
  • Choose your plan
  • Verify your ID over a video call using your passport or national ID
  • Pair your account to your smartphone

In the end, you will have an IBAN, and you can use your account immediately. 

FAQs

Yes, N26 is a licensed bank meaning it is a real German bank.

In 2016, N26 was granted a full banking license by the European Central Bank.

Yes, N26 is a safe bank.

N26 is a fully licensed German bank. That means it has the same security regulations as any other bank regulated by the German government.

It also means your funds are protected up to €100,000 by the German Deposit Protection Scheme.

No, N26 does not currently provide credit cards for euro accounts. All cards are debit Mastercards.

The price depends on the plan you choose.

N26 Standard is free, N26 Smart costs €4.90, N26 You costs €9.90, and N26 Metal costs €16.90. Be also aware of ATM fees to withdraw money. 

There is no minimum deposit to maintain your N26 account.

Conclusion

N26, a prominent player in virtual banking, offers a range of plans catering to expats in Germany.

With subscription options like the no-cost N26 Standard and premium N26 Metal, the bank provides modern solutions backed by a full German banking license. Features include travel insurance, shared spaces, and cryptocurrency management.

While N26’s app-centric model and security measures stand out, there are reported challenges with customer support.

However, the bank’s perks, such as no currency conversion fees and a user-friendly app, position it as an attractive choice for those seeking a hassle-free digital banking experience.

Hopefully, this review helped you get all the information you needed!

Andreia Ferreira
Andreia Ferreira
Andreia is our main writer/researcher here at TwoExpats. She does extensive research on the various products we review as well as writing compelling content that is easy to digest by our readers.

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