N26 (bank)

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N26 Bank GmbH
IndustryFinancial services
HeadquartersKlosterstraße 62, 10179, ,
Area served
Germany (primary)

Eurozone
United Kingdom
Denmark
Norway
Sweden
Iceland

Portugal
ProductsStandard, Black, Metal
ServicesDirect bank
OwnerN26 GmbH
Websiten26.com
N26 Black

N26 (formerly known as Number 26 until July 2016) is a German direct bank, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, that offers its services throughout most of the Eurozone and in the UK. N26 has also announced plans to expand to the US in early 2019. [1][2][3]

History[edit]

In April 2016, N26 received €10 million in a series A round by Valar Ventures.[4] Valar Ventures was co-founded by Peter Thiel, PayPal's co-founder.

Initially Number 26 started operations without holding a banking license; instead it was merely an interface while the back end was provided by Wirecard. In July 2016 it rebranded as N26 Bank, having received its own banking license from BaFin.[5]

In July 2016 N26 also announced its Fair Use Policy for customers residing in Germany. This created a backlash on social media by unhappy customers.

In November 2016 customers were asked to transfer their accounts to N26 Bank's infrastructure. As a result, they would have to get a new account IBAN number, while the previous accounts held by Wirecard would be terminated.

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 Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and Allianz X (Allianz). On the same date, N26 claimed a customer base of 850,000, with the goal of having 5,000,000 customers by 2020.[6]

In January 2019, N26 raised an additional $300 million in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and a few existing investors also participating at a valuation of $2.7 billion. With its new valuation of $2.7 billion, N26 overtook Revolut as the most valuable mobile bank in Europe.[7][8]

Product overview[edit]

N26 provides a free basic current account and a Debit MasterCard card to all its customers, as well as a Maestro card for their customers in certain markets. Additionally customers can request overdraft and investment products. N26 also offers premium accounts (N26 Black and N26 Metal) which offer additional features for a monthly fee.

The account opening process can be completed via a video chat with N26's identity verification partner, IDnow. Only holders of certain passports and ID cards can verify their identity online; others will have to visit a German post office if it is supported by Postident.[citation needed]

Availability[edit]

N26 offers their services in 22 EU countries, their "N26 Black" product is not available in Greece and Slovenia. In Austria, Germany and the Netherlands customers can additionally request a Maestro card.

Some parts of the website and customer service are provided in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish regardless of the customer's residency.[citation needed]

Mobile payments[edit]

N26 customers in several of its markets can use their smartphone for in-store purchases. N26 supports Google Pay in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, and Spain, while it supports Apple Pay in the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Additional countries are added as both Google Pay and Apple Pay gradually expand throughout N26's markets.

Fees[edit]

N26 has a basic account with no monthly fee and charges no fees for basic banking transactions or credit card payments in foreign currencies. ATM withdrawals are limit to five per month for primary account holders and three per month for others. N26 charges a fee for any additional withdrawal. ATM withdrawals in foreign countries are also subject to a fee, at least for basic accounts.

German customers can also withdraw and deposit money at retail locations.[9]. While there is no fee for withdrawals up to €999, free deposits are limited to €100 and additional amounts are subject to a 1.5% fee.

Security[edit]

Customers can lock and unlock their MasterCard through the mobile app without having to contact N26 support. They can also enable and disable it for usage abroad or online usage and modify the daily limits for cash withdrawals and card payments.

Mobile transfers[edit]

The N26 app can scan the users' contacts in their smartphone and identify other N26 account holders. Using a service called Moneybeam a N26 customer can send funds to these contacts without having to fill in their IBAN. Moneybeam transfers are executed instantaneously.

Controversy[edit]

In June 2016 N26 notified several customers that their accounts were going to be terminated. The company cited as main reasons that some customers were making too many ATM withdrawals, while others were suspected of money laundering.[10] The introduction of the Fair Use Policy in July 2016 came as an aftermath of these terminations.[original research?]

During the transfer of its customer base to its own banking infrastructure, N26 customers took to social media to report various problems.[11]

In December 2016 Vincent Haupert, a research fellow in computer science from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, demonstrated how he could take advantage of security vulnerabilities in order to get access to N26 users' accounts.[12] Haupert had already notified N26 of the vulnerabilities back in September 2016.[13] N26 acknowledged the issues and claimed that they had been fixed before they became public, adding that no user account had actually been compromised.

In March 2019, German media reported that customers who had their account credentials stolen found it difficult to contact the bank and resolve the situation. Customer advocates reported that there was a growing number of complaints from phishing victims who were unable to access their accounts and found it difficult to contact the bank. In a widely reported case N26 took more than two weeks to restore access for a customer who had €80,000 stolen from their account. The reports raised the question if the rapid growth of the bank had left it ill equipped to deal with the increasing number of support cases.[14][15][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Running, Thomas K. (26 September 2018). "When is N26 launching in the US? Launch date and how to open an account". nomadgate.com. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  2. ^ "N26 expands its bank of the future to 17 European countries". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  3. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "German digital bank N26 launches in Britain, sets sights on U.S." U.K. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  4. ^ Dillet, Romain (2016-04-16). "Number26 Grabs $10.6 Million To Bring Its Bank Of The Future To Everyone". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  5. ^ Dillet, Romain (2016-07-21). "Number26 is now a true bank as it now has a full banking license". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  6. ^ N26. "N26 raises $160m co-led by Allianz X and Tencent". globenewswire.com. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  7. ^ N26. "N26 raises $300m at 2.7 billion valuation". techcrunch.com. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  8. ^ Smith, Oliver. "With A $2.7 Billion Valuation, N26 Overtakes Revolut As Europe's Most Valuable Mobile Bank". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  9. ^ "What is CASH26?". n26.com. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Number26 closed accounts because customers made too many ATM withdrawals". Finextra. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  11. ^ Wirminghaus, Niklas (2016-12-21). "Der Shitstorm zieht nicht ab". Gruender Szene (in German). Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  12. ^ Ghosh, Agamoni (2016-12-29). "Smartphone bank N26 is not safe and exposes users to hacking, says researcher". International Business Times. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  13. ^ Wirminghaus, Niklas (2016-12-14). "Massive Sicherheitslücken bei N26 aufgedeckt". Gruender Szene (in German). Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  14. ^ Weidemann, Tobias. "Betrug bei N26: Jetzt spricht Valentin Stalf". t3n News (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  15. ^ Gründerszene, Caspar Tobias Schlenk. "Einem N26-Kunden werden 80.000 Euro gestohlen — und die Bank ist überfordert". Business Insider Deutschland (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  16. ^ Jauernig, Henning (2019-03-28). "Phishing-Attacken und schlechter Service bei N26: "Das kostete mich viele Nerven"". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2019-04-07.

External links[edit]