N26 on international use ⇒ for most people an amazing surprise!
What if there was a credit card,
- with which one can withdraw cash everywhere free of charge and
- that does not charge an expensive foreign transaction fee at card payments in foreign currencies and
- that would not be entered at the Schufa and
- that would be 100% free of charge and
- where the account opening is completed in only 8 minutes including the legitimating?
It is not a dream anymore! Such a card is available since the beginning of this year. It is the free MasterCard of N26 (former: Number26).
Did I mention that there is a functional current account on top of that, which has been specifically developed for Smartphones and …
the credit card arrives only 3 days later in your mailbox?
Number26 will improve your life!
… regarding your finances and your convenience. Let us take a look at the advantages point by point.
1. You save fees
Okay, that one can withdraw cash free of charge with a credit card abroad at almost any ATM is already offered by many German direct banks. The classic is the DKB Visa card.
However, if you pay abroad with the credit card, the vast majority of suppliers charge an foreign transaction fee. Depending on the provider, these are 1-3% of the card transaction, e.g. Comdirect as well as DKB charge 1.75%.
As the owner of the Number26 MasterCard, you save these fees!
Although, one could bypass the fee at other banks, if one always withdrew enough cash and always paid with cash, but this was not always optimal at higher amounts or at deposits.
Moreover, there are countries, where cash has already been pushed back. Recently, I have read a book titled Bargeldverbot (cash ban).
Note: Each withdrawal or payment with Number26 is free of charge. The country and the currency do not matter!
When withdrawing or paying in a foreign currency, the settlement price is adopted 1:1 by MasterCard. Without the usual charges!
One can find the exchange rates of MasterCard here: www.mastercard.com/global/currencyconversion/ (MasterCard Currency Conversion Tool).
2. You are safer on the road
The MasterCard of Number26 is great when travelling abroad, not only because of the freedom of charges, but also because of the security features:
- if the card is stolen or copied, only the amount can be stolen that is on the connected credit account
- you can always block and un-block the credit card through the app (this means that you will not lose time until the customer service has been contacted, and at a false alarm, you can automatically un-block it again and do not have to wait for a replacement card).
Details on security
If you really became a victim of credit card fraud, only your account balance can be affected – not a complete credit line, which may be up to Euros 15,000 in some credit cards.
At best, you only transfer the amount of money on the Number26 account that you plan to spend. Finally, the account balance will not accrue interest!
Tip for long-term travellers
Set up a standing order from your current account to the Number26-Mastercard, so that there is never too much or too little money available.
The MasterCard can not be overdrawn. It simply does not work, if the account is empty. Exception: You are in such an exotic region that no balance inquiry can be made in real time.
It is a Prepaid-MasterCard, but one does not recognize it, as it is embossed!
Another very reasonable safety aspect is that you can always block and unblock the credit card by yourself through the app.
You might face the following: “Oops, I have lost my credit card and I have to block it now through a paid hotline.” The problem is that most credit cards cannot be un-blocked and you will need a new one – possibly paying a fee, in any case with a time lag. This is particularly annoying, when you are currently travelling.
Therefore, it is really great that you can block the credit card of Number26 within seconds by yourself. Often, the credit card appears later, for example, because it had only slipped in a wrong bag. In this case, you can easily un-block it again via the app.
Apart from that, you can even make partial blockings:
- Payments abroad allowed (yes/no)
- Online payments allowed (yes/no)
- Withdrawing cash allowed (yes/no)
At a credit card abuse, cash will either be withdrawn abroad or it is paid in online shops. You could block this temporarily. For example, if you are not on a journey abroad.
You un-block the “withdrawing cash”-option until you are standing in front of the ATM. The implementation takes place within seconds.
Note: Banks reimburse the mislaid money to victims of credit card fraud, if no gross negligence was given. The bank has to provide proof!
3. 100 % guaranteed account opening
… provided that you have a modern Smartphone! The account was developed especially for Smartphones.
Thrilling: There is no creditworthiness check and no entry at the Schufa!
Background: It is a credit account.
So, theoretically, you can never slip into the red and owe the bank money. Therefore, the bank does not need to check your creditworthiness (no credit granting) and consequently no entry is performed at the Schufa (credit investigation company).
This also means that one can get a free current account with prepaid MasterCard from Number26, despite a negative creditworthiness rating.
One can only dispose of money that one has deposited (transferred) beforehand.
Moreover, the account can be used as a normal current account. With transfers and standing orders. These can be carried out via online banking on the computer and via the app on your Smartphone.
4. Account opening within 8 minutes
Number26 advertises with the statement that the account opening can be carried out in 8 minutes. This is an ideal time, which is also realistic, if all the conditions are present such as a fast Internet connection.
For the identification, an app (ID Now) has to be downloaded and one holds the face and ID card or passport in the webcam.
The account can also be opened from abroad, because the identification staff member does not know where you are (unless he/she can see the Eiffel Tower in the background).
However, the MasterCard – which is the only mail that Number26 sends to you – currently, only ships to addresses in Germany and Austria. Since December 2015 also France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Slovakia and Ireland. Others will follow …
The shipping takes 1-3 days in Germany (some days more in other countries) after account opening. This is much faster than at conventional credit cards.
After 2 days on average, you will hold the credit card in your hands!
“Start the account opening now”
… especially suited for journeys abroad!
I almost forgot: Absolutely free!
Isn´t it a great additional credit card? (e.g. for journeys abroad)
My own experiences with number26
I myself am a customer of Number26 since January 2015 and have taken the credit card on all three journeys abroad.
- best currency exchange rate in Switzerland
- second-best currency exchange rate in Hungary
- best currency exchange rate in Ukraine
If there is an Internet connection, the payment or cash withdrawal is almost displayed in real time in the app. This is yet another new security feature, isn´t it?
As you determine the PIN for the credit card at the account opening by yourself, Number26 is perfect as an additional credit card for journeys abroad.
I had used my Barclaycard for this, but I could not remember the assigned PIN at the appropriate moment.
Recommendation for action
No matter how satisfied you are with your Visa card of the DKB or Comdirect, get the MasterCard of Number26 in addition – just for its abroad implementation, because:
- Account and card are free of charge,
- You save the foreign transaction fee for card payments
(this does not apply to cash withdrawals anyway)
- You are more flexible and secure through an additional credit card,
- Management and online banking via Smartphone are comfortable.
All you need to do is enter your e-mail address for the account opening at Number26 and follow the process:
“Start the account opening”
… especially suitable for journeys abroad!
Questions, additions or your own experiences?
The comments box is unlocked for you. I would be glad, if you use it. Even if you only report briefly that you have opened the account and maybe a little about your first experiences.
Hello. I have a question. In case if withdrawal of money from abroad from number26 mastercard, some atm’s charge the fees like in USA. As I have seen in your posts, DKB and Comdirekt will reverse the charges once you show them the proof. I want to know does the number26 do the same as in abroad it’s difficult to find which atm’s will charge fees and which won’t. Also I have read on their site that some banks charge the atm withdrawal which they have no directly influence on. So in that case will they reverse the money?
It is an absolute exemption of the banking world that the DKB and Comdirect refund the foreign charges of US ATMs. I do not know of any other bank that is so customer-friendly.
Normally, Banks do not do this – not even Number26 – as the processing of the refund (generally USD 3) is significantly more expensive than the actual refund.
So it means it will be better not to use the Number26 master card in foreign bank’s atm’s as most of them charge.
Hi. I can’t understand if this works like a debit card or a prepaid card. Can you please clarify? Thanks!
Debit = The purchase amount is withdrawn immediately from your bank account connected to the card (if you have no money in the account, you cannot buy something). But the card works as long as you have money in the bank account.
Prepaid=You have to “charge” the card with money before using it, by manually transfering an amount from a bank account. The money in the bank account and the money on the card are two different things (the money you transfer on the card is not available in the bank account anymore, and you have to spend it only through card purchases).
Yes, it works like a debit card. And the current account is prepaid (without loan).
It is only one account. With the Mastercard you can use all money which is on the current account. Any more questions?
It’s now clear 🙂 Thanks Gregor!
I understand the “spend” can be multi currency but could payments into account be UK GBPounds (Salary/pension) without exchange fees?
Yes, it is correct that you can pay with the credit card in every currency. There are no surcharges for payments in foreign currencies (e.g. GBP). The exchange rate of MasterCard is taken 1:1 by Number26.
However, ingoing transfers to your account must be in Euros. Currently, transfers in foreign currencies to the current account cannot be converted by Number26.
When I want to transfer money from the UK to an account at Number26, I would transfer it using TransferWise. TransferWise does the currency exchange within good terms. Please take a look at it. I myself use it regularly with other currencies.
Is the mastercard a prepaid one? Usually i rent cars from rental companies and they don’t accepy a flat numbers card (prepaid I believe).
This card haven’t flat numbers. I used in USA for rent cars. I works wonderful!
Thank you for reply. I have zero experience in credit cards.
Have you tried to rent a car in Germany? using well known companies (Europcar, Sixt, Avis, Hertz ….).
When i went to the rental office they said: We don’t know about bank types. What we accept is: Debit cards or normal credit cards, No prepaid cards and no electronic cards in General.
You can use Number26 MasterCard in Germany for rent a car. Important is that you have enough money on your bank account. There is a check when you pay.
you mentioned that you used the number26 Mastercard for USA car rentals. Could you share your experience, e.g. which rental company and did they think it was a “full” credit card? I will travel to Florida soon and need to rent a car, but only have the number26 Mastercard, which, I thought, would be recognized there as a debit Mastercard. Thank you in advance!
Since May 2016 Gregor has withdrawn his recommendation for Number26. Many things have changed with this Berlin start-up. We cannot render support for this card anymore.
What documents are required when applying?
Your ID Card or passport. That’s it!
I have number26 account and the card. Activated both of them and i am good to go. Except one issue:
I don’t live in Germany but Spain. I don’t have a place where i can put money to my account. Since my number26 IBAN is German, transferring money from a Spanish bank will cost money. Do you have any recommendation for this issue? I heard something about SEPA which i have no idea about.
Thanks in advance.
if you transfer money from Spain to your Number26 account in Germany, it does not cost more than a transfer within Spain. Both countries belong to the EU, and this is EU-regulated.
Thank you Susanne.
I am interested in opening a Number26 bank account but I live in Croatia which is not a country where they do business yet. My question is, can I still sign up for a bank account and Mastercard but put a friends address who lives in Austria? Everything is done online as it seems, so I don’t see a reason not to just put a friends address as the mailing address. This would be my main bank account and I will most likely put a lot of money in it so I was just wondering if this would still be a good option despite them not operating in Croatia.
Yes, that should be possible. I myself have opened my account via a German address in Germany, even though I live mainly abroad, and it worked well!
But I only keep it as an additional account for certain purposes, so I am not so sure about using it as a main or ONLY account. As far as I understand they are still in their start-up phase, so I’d consider and wait and see before I’d – financially – “put all my eggs in one basket” and use them as a sole account …
A Little question please, does the free foreign payments also apply for online Shopping?
Example: If I´m in Germany and I want to pay a Website that uses the USD, is the transaction is also free?
Is it possible to internationally wire transfer money through swift code in number26 online banking?
is there any bank to send money from germany to iran by swift code through online banking? english is prefered also.
for international bank transfers we prefer TransferWise https://www.deutscheskonto.org/en/transferwise/. But as far as we know, you cannot transfer money to and from Iran with them. Maybe a web portal can help that is specialized on questions related to Iran?
What’s the comparison between Number 26 and Revolut Card in terms of the currency exchange? which one is more affordable? (Revolut has an app that convert currencies for free for €,$, BDP)
Dear Authors, Thanks a lot again for your efforts!
After being rejected by DKB bank, I applied for N26 and even got the account in 2 days. The app is superb.
I transfer money to India, for which I used Transferwise before.
But before it was complicated as I have to go to transferwise app, do the transaction, go back to my banking app, transfer money to transferwise.
Now with B26 its simple as they have integrated the N26 and TransferWise in the same app.
Also, now I dont need to keep another credit card from India as I do all my Indian currency transaction using N26 Master Card 🙂 So there also I save higher annual fees of Credit Card.
Now I will try withdrawing money by my N26 Master card from ATm in India. Hopefully there will not be any extra charges 🙂
Did you managed to withdraw money in India using N26 card?
I’m also living in India and curious if you managed to withdraw cash from ATM without any extra charges.
Are you still using N26?
I’m also curious if you managed to withdraw cash from ATM in India without any extra charges.
Are you still using N26?
This article contradicts 90% my experiences.
Yes, N26 is a cool product and easy to use.
But when travelling it is terrible! I am currently in Asia unable to use the card 100% of the time- whilst other mastercards are working fine (ATM and purchase). Customer service is moving in circles with me and not addressing/processing maybe even reading the information I am providing them with. For 2 weeks I have not been able to withdraw money or make payments and they have no clue why: again – other mastercards issued by German banks are working without a problem. N26 is unable to say why.!
This article was completely true at the time of publishing, but at current date, Number26 now known as N26 have completely abandoned their promises.
The statement that they offer a credit card is totally false. It is actually a debit card with support from MasterCard network. Any online payment portal requesting a credit card, does not accept the N26 master card. On approaching The N26 customer service in this regard, they confirmed that it is not an actual Credit card.
– Good for a second account to withdraw money from any ATM but in Europe and for a maximum of 5 withdrawals per month (for more you will be charged).
– Cannot use the master card in most of the international online websites as a credit card for online payment
– They do not approve new accounts for passports or IDs from most third world countries living in Germany
– People with accounts from the early time of Number26, with a passport from a third world country have very limited basic functionality.
Good day. Can I receive a money transfer from the N26-card to a currency account of the Sberbank?
Yes. N26 includes Transferwise. They can make a direct transfer from the N26-app to a card of the Sberbank (Russia).
Is there any way to transfer money from a Russian account to N26 account open in Germany? I tried using TransferWise, but it seems to have weird problems (like it allows me only to pick Euro as the currency for the Russian card and Rubles for the currency for the N26 one.
Yes, this direction of the transfer is actually an unsolved problem. The only thing that comes to my mind is to send a bank-to-bank transfer in EUR in Russia. Whether that arrives, I do not know. At any rate, transfers in RUB cannot be credited to N26’s account.
Can I connect N26 to my PayPal account?