Home A Guide to Challenger Banks N26

N26 International Transfers

N26 is a fully-licensed challenger bank headquartered in Berlin, with international offices across the world in Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, New York, Paris, Vienna and São Paulo. The bank has come a long way in a short period of time – it was founded in 2013 – and is now a favoured banking alternative for expats, international students and self-employed nomads. In this review we will cover the costs and benefits of opening an N26 account, digging deeper into the bank’s international transfer services.

Updated: 01/10/2021
Read time: 7 minutes
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About N26

N26 began life as a fintech solution devised by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal, who wanted to simplify banking by providing total transparency for an elevated range of free financial services, all accessible via the tap of a few buttons. This transparent approach is applied to all N26 products; the website and mobile application are jam-packed full of company information, how-to guides and topical blog posts, making it a helpful resource for new and existing customers. 

In 8 short years, N26 has surpassed 7 million customers, breaking into 23 global markets. As a challenger bank conducting business solely online, N26 primarily focuses on developing intuitive, user-friendly features for a digital customer base, having created a modern mobile banking app – and compatible desktop version – which supports customers from all walks of life. 

While N26 may sound like it ticks all the boxes, we want to learn more about the international banking features, and take a closer look at the finer details of how money transfers are arranged with this challenger bank. 

Can I use N26 for international bank transfers? 

Yes, international bank transfers can be arranged thanks to N26 partnership with money transfer provider, Wise. 

Wise is directly integrated with the N26 app which means customers can arrange international bank transfers using their mobile phone, with 38 different currencies to choose from. We will run through N26 Foreign Currency Transfers in more detail later in the review. 

N26 Exchange rates and fees

Challenger banks are known for presenting cutting-edge alternatives to traditional banking fixtures: but is this applicable to N26? We will look closely at how these exchange rates and transfer fees fare, comparing them to the competition. 

Exchange rates

According to N26, the bank does not charge exchange mark-ups for their Foreign Currency Transfers, instead using the “real” exchange rate provided by Mastercard. 

Upon closer inspection we discovered that while Mastercard does base all foreign exchange rates on the mid-market rate, the currency conversion may be marginally higher or lower – albeit by only 1 – 2 % – depending on factors such as destination country, transfer size and availability of the foreign currency. 

Customers interested in evaluating the exchange rate of their currency pairing ahead of making an N26 transfer, should use the Mastercard Currency Converter Calculator

Transfer fees

With the intention of charging customers “as little as possible” N26 offers low to zero fees. Transfers & Debits Transfers received from EEA states and Switzerland in Euro are free, as are transfers within and among EEA states and to Switzerland in Euro. Valid refusal of direct debit due to insufficient funds will result in a fee of €3.00per refusal.

How do N26 transfer fees compare to using a money transfer provider?

In line with their goal to provide more transparent, low-cost services than the average bank, N26 offers very competitive transfer fees. Due to the integration of money transfer provider, Wise, N26 is able to offer customers bank-quality security standards alongside the low fees offered by money transfer providers. 

Customers can gauge how N26 fees compare to other banks and financial service providers by using our comparison tool to see the prices of other money transfers displayed side by side. 

N26 pros and cons

In this section we will review the advantages and disadvantages of banking with N26, presenting each contributing factor in a clear and concise way. 

Pros
Spending insights: instant notifications whenever a purchase or payment is made
Quick and easy access: online banking can be accessed via mobile or desktop app
Different membership plans: standard or premium accounts available for personal and business customers. Every tier offers varying degrees of financial features; from free worldwide payments to coverage of the German Deposit Protection Scheme of up to €100,000
Integrated with Wise to offer faster, more competitive prices for currency exchange and international payments
Cons
Online only: There are no brick-and-mortar bank branches and no designated helpline for customers who wish to speak to customer service agents over the phone
Membership plans incur varying fees: For example, an N26 Metal account costs €16.90 in monthly fees, and it is €45.00 to replace a Metal card if lost or stolen
Not available in the UK: Customers were left disappointed at the bank’s abrupt decision to leave the UK market, leaving other users questioning the trustworthiness of N26 accounts

Answers to key questions about N26

Before signing up with a new bank most customers will want a number of questions answered in order to fully assess the bank’s positioning. In this section we will address common queries related to opening an N26 account, looking at the accessibility and flexibility of their money transfer services. 

Can I open an N26 account in any country?

As of 2020 the bank closed all operations in the UK, citing Britain’s exit from Europe as the reason they could no longer operate in the country. Elsewhere, customers in the following 23 countries are still able to open N26 bank accounts: 

  • Austria
  • Belgium 
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • The US

Does N26 have an app?

Yes, as a digital challenger bank customers must conduct their transactions using the mobile or web app. It is free to download from the Google Play Store or App Store.

At the time of writing (May 2021) 92,484 reviews have been left by Android users, who have collectively rated the N26 app 3.9 out of 5. Over on the App Store 14,700 reviews have rated the iOS version of the app 4.7 out of 5 stars. The vast majority of reviews are complimentary.

Are there transfer limits?

Yes, transfer limitations apply to the following types of transactions: 

  • Domestic transfers between N26 customers: €1,000 daily limit
  • Incoming/outgoing SEPA transfers: No daily limit

How long do bank transfers take with N26 ?

This depends on the transfer type, destination country and currency used. 

Recipient bank’s which support instant credit transfers will receive SEPA credit transfers within minutes: SEPA banking regulations will apply. 

Standard SEPA transfers should arrive within a maximum of 2 working days.

When setting up a money transfer N26 advises 2 – 3 business days for most transactions. 

Due to the transparent nature of N26 services, the estimated arrival date of your transfer will be displayed throughout the process. 

What customer support options are available?

Users can reach the N26 customer service team via live chat; available 7 days a week. There is also an email address for customer queries and support. All services are available in English, Spanish, German, Italian and French.

Can I use a N26 debit card when travelling abroad? 

Spending money overseas can be very costly with banks, as many of them add conversion fees onto the foreign exchange rate for payments abroad: N26 does not charge conversion fees. 

Furthermore, despite not having any physical branch locations, the company has partnered with banks around the world and is able to provide overseas ATM withdrawal services. These foreign ATM services are free for premium account holders, but standard users will have to pay a 1.7% conversion fee per transaction. 

How to open an account and transfer money with N26?

To begin transacting with N26, customers must first sign up for an online account. In this section we will outline step by step guides on how to open an account and send money using N26 Foreign Currency Transfer service.

Opening an account

Step 1. Download the N26 app for mobile or desktop, open it up and begin the sign up process by entering your personal information: this will include full name, date of birth and contact details

Step 2. To proceed with the sign up process you will need to confirm your email address by entering the verification code sent to you. Once this has been entered, you can choose your desired account type from the available Membership Plans 

Step 3. In addition to verifying your email address, you will also be contacted by an N26 agent, who will verify your identity via video call. The video call typically takes less than 10 minutes and as a 24/7 service the call can be made outside of business hours, speeding up the verification process. 

Step 4. Once your identity has been verified by an N26 agent, you will be able to add funds to your account and set up a money transfer. You will also be able to pair your mobile device with the app, setting up two-factor authentication for added security

Transferring money

Step 1. Overseas transfers can be set up by first selecting the Send Money on the home screen, then tapping Foreign Currency Transfer. 

Step 2. Choose the desired currency from the dropdown options, enter the amount you want to send in € and the app will automatically convert into the foreign currency of choice

Step 3. Next you will need to enter your recipient’s details; full name, contact information and address. 

Step 4. Review the transaction in full before entering your security information and submitting the payment

Additional Information

If your required currency does not appear in the Foreign Currency Transfer dropdown options, you will need to make your transfer using Wise. We would recommend checking out our in-depth guide to Wise services by reading our full review here.

Summary

A growing number of challenger banks have been set up over the last decade, designed to shake up the traditional banking standards by empowering customers and granting them total access: N26 does exactly this. The app is easy to use and makes moving money between banks or other N26 users stress-free and straightforward. 

Generally speaking there are more pros than cons when it comes to setting up an N26 bank account. The bank also offers a variety of reputable money transfer services along with favourable exchange rates and minimal fees. Unfortunately, N26 is no longer available for customers in the UK; customers will instead  have to explore other challenger banks such as Monzo, Revolut or Starling. 

If you are sending or receiving Euro transfers, this challenger bank is a great option. However, before locking in a transfer of any kind, we encourage users to take advantage of our comparison tool, to get the best understanding of what other money transfer providers have to offer. 

Keith Hodges
Written by
Keith Hodges

Keith is a digital specialist with a background in the financial industry, both as a marketeer and a journalist. Keith joined MoneyTransfers.com in order to take the business to the next level and expand our offering in multiple international money transfer markets.