The most modern current account of Europe (advertising message of Number26) is now available since more than a year in Germany and Austria (+ some more EU-countries) and is actively used as clearly shown by the number of 100,000 customers that the bank could win up to this point of time.
Success: From 0 to 100,000 customers in 12 months
Time for our readers to take a look at the result: look at what has been achieved and look ahead of what might come in the next 12 months.
For readers, who do not have an account at Number26 or have heard of Number26 since just recently, this video clip could be an easy start.
What Number26 can do already (host video by Blogi_)::
Go directly to Number26 ► https://number26.eu/en (information + account opening)
strong>Note 1: There are some minor mistakes in the video clip; however, these are resolved by reading this page thoroughly. 🙂
What does Number26 offer?
- free current account
modern and easy management through the Smartphone web banking
- free MasterCard
for fee-free cash withdrawals at most ATMs around the globe or for paying cashless
- free MaestroCard
as an additional card for all payment terminals that do not accept credit cards
- more than 6,000 free possibilities to deposit cash
through supermarket chains, such as Penny, Real, Rewe etc.
- overdraft facility loan up to Euros 2,000
however, not from the first day, since there is no creditworthiness check nor proof of income during the account opening (= guaranteed account opening); Number26 wants to see the usage behaviour, before deciding on the overdraft facility.
If you want to get a deeper understanding of the use options of Number26, it is advisable to read our principle article about the provider, before proceeding with this page. 🙂
Part A: What happened until today …
Quite a lot! More than some “traditional” banks could manage in 10 years!
I opened my own account in January 2015 – at that time still with Invite-Code – and thus I was one of the first customers of the bank. This gives me the opportunity to tell of many personal experiences.
At that time, the account opening was more complicated than today. On my last trip to the USA, I convinced Susanne to spontaneously open an account, which I was allowed to film. Here you can find the documented process of account opening: Open Number26 online – you might want to watch this documentary later and continue reading this page …
A selection of the most relevant points of the last months:
A1: Cash26 – Depositing cash free of charge
Depositing cash to an account of a bank without branch offices was a huge challenge up to this point and mostly associated with long trips (DKB) or expensive third-party fees.
Number26 has found an alternative solution. Each account holder can deposit cash on one’s own current account at more than 6,000 supermarket stores in Germany.
Tests and Experiences
How this works and what experiences I have made with the cash deposits, can be seen as examples in these two articles:
- How to deposit cash (Penny-Markt) (article in German language)
- Depositing through the self-service checkout at the Real supermarket (article in German language)
A2: Number26 introduces the Maestro-Card
Actually, this point was not part of the company’s business plan. However, the customers in Germany have so massively requested the “EC-Card” (debit card) that one is used to by the Commerzbank up to the Sparkasse (savings bank), so Number26 has sought and found a solution quickly: the Number26 Maestro-Card.
one free account – two free cards
This is not an “EC-Card” (debit card) though, but Maestro-cards are at least more accepted than credit cards in Germany.
The Maestro-Card can be ordered, as soon as you have had a cash flow of Euros 100 in the account.
From my experience, there is no other EU-country where merchants fight so massively against modern card payments as in Germany – e.g. this year in January, I was even prompted to return the purchase in the Edeka, because a card payment below Euros 10 is not allowed!
The Maestro and MasterCard are both linked to the current account, so that it makes no difference for you with which card you pay. Not even for the merchant, since the European Union has adopted a law in the end of 2015 that the card payment charges may not be higher than 0.3 percent of sales on the merchant’s side.
Tests and Experiences
The Maestro-Card is not widely accepted (but better than credit cards). For example, I could not pay with it in the pharmacy of my village and at the Penny-Markt. However, it was possible at the V-Markt, which otherwise does not accept credit cards.
As one can withdraw cash free of charge with Number26 at almost all ATMs and at more than 6,000 supermarkets, one always has an opportunity to access money. For example, you can create a cash withdrawal code through the app in the Penny-Markt, which exactly corresponds to the invoice price, so that no cash payment and deposit would be necessary. However, the daily use is not that complicated.
I pay higher amount mostly with a card and withdraw cash free of charge for the little things (e.g. snacks) every two weeks.
A3: Number26 introduces the overdraft facility
Just like the Maestro-Card was not planned by Number26, the overdraft facility was introduced due to the massive customer request. The overdraft interest rate is currently 8.9 percent, which is average and should not be used permanently.
However, the overdraft facility is ideal to bridge brief shortages and to protect especially from debit returns.
Credit line up to Euros 2,000 possible
When a current account has no funds, the cards do not work. Okay, that would be tolerable. However, if a direct debiting (e.g. mobile contract) has to be paid and the account does not have sufficient funds, the debit payment will not be made, causing unpleasant consequences!
Therefore, the setup of an overdraft facility is very meaningful.
The overdraft facility can be applied for and set up individually in the Control Center at any time. Also with notification function, so that one is not unknowingly and unnecessarily using the overdraft facility (in order to avoid interest payment).
Tests and Experiences
My own application to set up the credit line was rejected. This was certainly not due to the Schufa (credit investigation company) query – up to the overdraft application, Number26 is Schufa-free, therefore, one can exactly consider whether one should apply for the overdraft facility – but because I do not use Number26 as my main current account.
According to my research and reader queries, the picture was created that mainly people were granted an overdraft, who chose Number26 as their salary account and have been active customers for already more than 6 months.
A5: Account change service
In order to make the change to the account of Number26 as easy as possible, there is an account change function in the Control Center. There, Number26 partially takes care of the notification of the new account details.
I did not test it myself, because I use Number26 as a secondary account. If someone has made positive experiences with this tool and can give tips, I would be pleased to receive an addition to the article through the comments feature. Thank you very much!
A6: Number26 became multilingual – Account opening possible from other countries
In addition to German, the banking app and online banking is available in English. The communication with the customer service and even the account opening can be implemented completely in English.
This year, French, Spanish and Italian will follow.
The account can be opened, if you have an address in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Slovakia or Greece. Other countries will follow too!
Number26 provides Europe with modern and free banking
From personal contacts, I know that some people in Switzerland, England and Poland are already waiting to become customers of Europe’s most modern bank. Some have already managed to get the account taking a “detour”!
By adding further languages and the card shipping to other countries, Number26 is on an excellent path to become a European bank!
Part B: To what one can look forward to at Number26
Introduction of foreign currency accounts
You may then easily exchange between Euros, Swiss Francs, British Pounds or US-Dollars. Moreover, it will then be possible to open the accounts from even more countries.
So far, there are only free transfers and these take place within the SEPA area. For international transfers, the supplement TransferWise is recommended. The technique of such a provider for payments in foreign currencies is expected to be integrated in the future at Number26.
(Addendum: Since March 2016, one can also transfer very cheap in foreign currencies (e.g. USD, CHF, GBP and some others). You will be able to read more information soon in a separate article!).
Saving or asset accumulation
An extension to a savings account or other strategies for investing and accumulating assets is meaningful for a modern bank.
The financing of major expenses is a core element of banks. In particular, if one uses Number26 to perform payments and expenses, the technical processes can perfectly calculate the creditability and recommend suitable offers or similarly, other savings proposals.
As a customer, you can look forward to actively experience an exciting development of Number26.
When and how individual points are implemented is not officially scheduled. It can also be that some ideas will be set back in favour of customer requests, just like with the Maestro-Card and the overdraft facility.
However, one thing is certain: Number26 will further develop itself and this faster as most other banks will want!
Part C: What Number26 was able to do from the very beginning
C1: No fees for payments in foreign currencies
That and the fact that there are no charges for cash withdrawals at Number26, make Number26 especially interesting for people, who love to travel.
ideal for people, who love to travel
Since January 2015, the N26-Mastercard accompanies me on all my trips abroad.
Number26 can hardly be beaten in card payments in foreign currency, since most banks add a foreign transaction fee in the amount of 1 to 3 percent of the payment. This does not apply to N26. It uses the official MasterCard exchange rate. You can see the huge difference clearly in the article Saving money at the card payment!
C2 to C5 …
… were already discussed above with the free MasterCard, the cash withdrawals free of charge, the world’s best 😉 banking-app, etc.!
C6: Account opening possible without leaving the house or on the road!
The account opening has always been possible through the app or more comfortable using the computer with webcam.
Or first filling the account application on the PC and doing the video chat through the Smartphone …
The online application is short and simple. Number26 does not ask for unnecessary things.
In the process of the account opening, one sets the password and PINs for the cards by oneself. There are no surprises, as with many other banks … and you can thus remember the access data much better.
This does also unburden the customer service. After all, it is a completely free account, so Number26 prefers to develop outstanding technical solutions to make cumbersome manual settings.
So as a customer of Number26, one does not get (advertising) letters or the like by mail. Only the card(s). At least as long as not everyone has a 3D printer!
The account can applied for from everywhere and one only needs:
- a stable internet connection,
- a delivery address in Germany or in some other EU country,
- an identification document (ID-card or passport),
- a few minutes of your time
- … and the link to this page: https://number26.eu 🙂
Account opening done!
Tests and Experiences
Of course, I can report of my own account opening (German article) … in the meantime, the process has been improved a lot. I know this, because I have been able to accompany some people in their account opening over the last few months.
I was even allowed to film the last account opening, which you can see here: How to open the Number26 account online.
People are often surprised of how easy Number26 has designed the account opening.
If you are already a customer: What is your experience with the account opening? Did it work well?
If you are not yet a customer, you may want to save the link to this page in order to refer to it or commenting later.
I am pleased with the commitment of smart bank customers on our special portal!
“N26 implements fees for withdrawals”
… open a better – really free – account with Visa Card!
Number26 is one of the most favourite banking apps!
Which development step of Number26 was the most important for you?
Help us to explain Number26 even better to other people and to give a start-up help for the account usage. You can add your own experiences and tests to this article. Thank you so much!